It’s hard to believe that April is almost here. I will be heading back to Mendocino, CA to wrap up my artist-in-residence experience. I spent 6 weeks there in the fall and returned home to finish the body of work started there. And now there is a body of work of 21 pieces! Thank you Fed Ex ahead of time! It has been pretty exhausting trying to realize this goal but I did it. You know when you want to throw in the towel and question things you do because you get so tired? I started feeling that way until yesterday when something from my past came back into my life to remind me of why I do art.
About 15 yrs ago I received an Illinois Arts Grant to make an art quilt for the local cancer center. It hung for a long time and then a renovation took place. The cancer center was no longer going to hang it and they were kind enough to call me to return it. ‘Hope’ is a large piece, about 6′ x 4′. I picked the piece up and knew immediately where its new home had to be. I carried the piece across the medical campus to the cancer floor of the hospital. A few years prior to that I spent a lot of time there with a young friend who eventually lost her battle with cancer. Kristin & I would hang out & talk about how to make the cancer floor better for patients and we dreamed that someday we’d get art quilts in there. So I walked into the area with the quilt and gave it to them.
It took a few years but some special funds allowed the piece to be framed. As I entered the area, there it was! Gloriously gracing the entrance area greeting people with its warmth. I forgot how beautiful it was. There are giant daffodils coming out of the dark background. Daffodils are the cancer flower of hope. I started to cry as I took this in with a few of the nurses who remembed Kristin as well.
Walking away I knew that my exhaustion made sense & I was reminded that I do art to try to make a difference. I can’t cure cancer but maybe with my art I can make the journey a little more tolerable.
So find a reason to remind yourself why you do what you do. Grasp a time that stood out and allow yourself to be exhausted but to celebrate that exhaustion.