If you haven’t read pt 1, please head back to your Inbox and read it before continuing on.
I used to measure my business in terms of accomplishments. In a given year, I’d launch a collection, host a workshop in my backyard, celebrate the Wonder Mastermind ladies with a beautiful end-of-year graduation, and so on and so forth. I liked the bullet points of accomplishments, one after the other. To me they were my tiny victories moving me closer to…closer to what? A thriving business? A worthwhile pursuit? A name people recognized? Proof that I am growing a successful art business? The questions go on and on.
I’ve thought long and hard about this since June 5 – the day my father said goodbye to this world. After much thought and reflection, I am confident that I have chosen to pursue the thing that brings me great joy and purpose. I am so fortunate that I am able to do that. I do this work from the core of who I am. The successes and joys live side by side with heartbreak and sorrow, but somehow the heartbreak and sorrow never seem to make the bulleted list. But I think it is critical that they do, as they often lead me to where I sit. The death of my Dad has transformed the work I do and how I do it. His loving and humble heart weave its way into my days. I’ve found the memories of him to be as meaningful as my walks. This way of thinking has changed me. It has changed my heart and my work and my studio practice. It is a part of me now.
With July came flowers and backyard workshops and trips to Longwood Gardens. It seemed to fold all my favorite things together: friends and family and work and Cape May (NJ), and the annual workshop with Mara. It was a full month that provided a soft spot for my heart to land as I navigated the idea of “no more Dad.”
August was more of the same – battling grief alongside my family, all while enjoying the summer sun and more time in Cape May, more workshops and shows, and seeing my work printed on fabric! August also brought with it a move out of my 3rd floor home studio and into a garage space about 7 blocks from our house where I could walk or ride my bike. It was awesome to have the space, but proved to be missing the finer details of a studio and really got my brain churning. More on that in the coming blog posts.
September filled my heart to the brim with John’s sister moving to PA (together with our niece and nephew (3 of my favorite people!)) and the installation of the show Lost in Lavender that I worked all summer to put together. I have never been more proud of a body of work in my life. My Artist Talk was one of the more poignant things I have written to date and was the first time I spoke openly about my Dad. I was teary but made it through the whole talk. And so began the true realization that contradictory feelings can be felt at the same time and exist in the same space. Accepting this has been a great gift. I also got to meet the potter and author, Frances Palmer, and I nearly passed out from excitement. What better way to end September, than with my Wonder Mastermind ladies who came to the in-person retreat at the end of the month. It still feels like it was a dream.
And then October … John came home from a long walk with one of our best friends saying, “That house we love has a For Sale sign.” We promptly took to Zillow, scheduled an appointment, got in at 6pm that same evening and as they say, “The rest is history.” Except that it was only the beginning of a long but short/ short but long road to where we sit now (which is in the dining room in that very house.)
I fear that this will get too long if I go into all the house details so I will add a full house post (or five) to the blog posts that will come in 2023. Stay tuned.
Oct, Nov and Dec were quite the wild ride, so here are just a few bullets from each:
November – calendars and cocktails with friends, my 40th birthday, so much nature, the holiday shop and minis and ornaments galore! More friends and markets and holiday events that really brought the spirit, all while figuring out all the new house details that were honestly maddening and frustrating and glorious and scary.
December – closed on the new house, made more art work and traveled to Charleston by car for a 3-day Field and Supply Holiday Market. We got home and packed the house, moved and hosted the first Handmade Holiday all in the same week. Are you tried yet? I am. I am a little tired but… I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I still really love a bulleted list of accomplishments (it feels good to see all the wins together!) but I’m leaning towards folding the sorrow and the pain in with the accomplishments because they are all a part of this extraordinary, ordinary life I am so honored to live.
Here’s to you, my sweet friends and here’s to more writing in 2023! xoxo Sarah
Workshops + Retreats