In January of this year my plan was to rest, read, sleep, eat, draw, paint, do yoga, walk, meditate, and play with my dog. All in the comfort of our primitive cabin on a lake in Oregon. I wanted to begin the long process of healing from a traumatic family experience and begin to plan and reflect on what is next in my life once my youngest son goes off to college (next week).
Life, as it often does, had a different plan for me.
I had applied for a job as a three month Artist in Residence position for Washed Ashore on a whim — I basically wrote a quick e-mail and sent links to my website. Washed Ashore is a company in Bandon, Oregon (near our cabin on the lake). In Arcata, CA, I had applied to many jobs and received zero response from all the applications I filled out. I expected the same from this inquiry. Zero. Nothing. Nothing was not meant to be.
In February I began working with Washed Ashore. At first, provisionally. I told the owner I’d give her a month. You can do the math.
I have not had a “real” full-time job since… 1995. Oh lord! I found it so hard to type that number! By the way, who gets to decide what a real full-time job is anyway? But that is another story for another blog for another day!
For now, I am the Artist and Art Production Facility Manager at Washed Ashore. Mostly, I build sculptures and I do what needs to be done so that the team can keep building sculptures out of marine debris (read: dirty sandy wet smelly garbage) that comes to us from volunteers up and down the Oregon Coastline.
This is what I typically look like at work: see here. Click at your own risk! Ha ha!
Life changed in a crazy extraordinary way! In January, I applied to an Artist in Residence program at a non-profit organization called Washed Ashore in Bandon, Oregon. They advertised a stipend and a room to live in for three months of work in their organization. I got the interview. We hit it off! Instead of a residency, I was offered a job.
I am now a full-time Artist creating huge sculptures made out of marine debris –mostly plastic– that is found on the shores of the Oregon Coast. I, along with a huge team of volunteers and other paid team members, make the sculptures over several months time and then, the sculptures travel around the country to public venues to educate the public about the overabundant use of plastics in our culture. This is crazy hard work! I create with a power drill in my hand 40 hours a week or more…
I wish I could show you my work in progress, but the boss says no to photographs of works in progress… (insert sad face). Go ahead and visit the web site. Soon there will be photographs of the sculptures that I have been making added here, but for now you can see what we’re up to!
Pinch me! I cannot believe that I get PAID to be a full-time artist in an organization that shares a message that believe in. I work outside most days (I love being outside, even when it is raining out—well, that does make life wetter), my dog Luna comes with me to work, and I am taxing my creative skills to the limit!
The other life adjustment is that my husband still lives in CA, a 3 hour drive away. I live in a little room with no kitchen, but I have my own bathroom. We see each other most weekends, and spend much more time on the phone these days. We have already planned a summer vacation together.
My son in Boulder continues to get many surgeries to repair his body from his horrific accident last October. Amazingly, he is continuing as a student in Environmental Science and Geology at CU Boulder! His last Geology exam fell on a Thursday in between two surgeries –one on Monday and one on Friday– and he Aced the exam! The healing continues… He is an inspiration to me, he keeps such a positive attitude and outlook!
My youngest son is now less than two months away from his high school graduation and he has decided to attend Montana State University in the fall. Proud Mama!
Our cabin in Oregon fell apart this winter and we had a decision to make: keep pouring money into a 40 year old cabin that had reached it’s life expectancy, or start over. Due to the age and decay of all the home components, extreme windy and wet conditions that made the South side of the house buckle this winter, and a large tree branch that crashed on the roof a few days before Christmas creating several leaks… we realized the best course of action would be to tear down what we have and build a brand new house!!!
I get to tick off a bucket list item in 2017! I have dreamed about building a personalized house since I was a child. I cannot even tell you how many times I have drawn floor plan ideas. Now the dream is becoming a reality. In about nine months, we will get to move into a 860 square foot custom house on a lake in a beautiful area surrounded by farms, trees, nature, with the ocean only a short walk away! Did I mention kite boarding? My husband’s favorite hobby/sport, the lake is the perfect place for him too!
So, yea, for a little while Silly Girl Factory is on hold… but she’s still in my heart, now working with plastic, a drill, and dreams instead of paper, glue, ink and paint!
Yes! I am still making art! Yea. This month I am creating Free Art Postcards.
I have been swarming Instagram and Facebook collecting “customers.”
The Free Postcard Project is for March 2016!
As a challenge
To re-connect with my friends and collectors
To make drawings – especially of stuff I may not normally gravitate towards or even try
But, mostly to keep getting better at what I love – making art!
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I have two gallery shows coming up later this year in Eureka at Redwood Art Association Gallery – I have my own room! As soon as I am finished with the Free Postcard Project, all my attention will move to making new art for these two shows.
Here is a preview of what has come about so far…
Go ahead, tell me what you think. Tell me what to draw (and if you want your free art, send me your name and address).
These are being sent not as copies, but as the original art! Yep, generous. But only for 15 more days (limit one drawing per day). Math wizards, I already have 4 people on my list ahead of you! Wink, wink!