01 October 2018

Behind the Shattered Series

I'm staring at a blank screen and listening to Moby's "Memory Gospel"... I'm sipping water.  This space where I'm sitting is the dining room we converted into the office.  The window is behind the computer and beyond it, I can see the towering oaks, the magnolias.  Patches of blue sky between the linear array of branches.  The occasional car passes by on this rural section of Main Street.  It's a Monday afternoon, the first of October.  It's sunny.  It's quiet, and I'm at war.

It went roughly something like this:

There was a verbal transaction, during which there were a number of suggestions made about me:
Perhaps my role as an artist is a liability to my ability as a mother.

Perhaps, just perhaps, there are negative and unhealthy consequences to allowing our children to see us in the active emotion of sadness.

Perhaps, in all my artistic sensitivity and intense self-awareness, my sentimental outlook and backwards glances, I am not emotionally strong and stable enough myself to provide the environment for a potentially- yet perhaps not currently- strong and stable offspring.


In my life, I've allowed such words to wash over me like labels trickling down- "inappropriate" and "negligent" and "reactive" come to mind.  Societal stigmas put to self-serving and constructive use, establishing a scenario utilizing diagnosed anxiety, suggestive verbs like "depressed" to describe my writing- laying the groundwork for a theme set forth about my full-blown mental state, a conclusion drawn by someone from scanning through posts on this very blog. My work, my own words, my transparent approach and honest dialogue as to why I create my art, in this situation used to suggest my inability and/or failure in my life's greatest privilege, raising a child.

Skipping the other details, my version of truth, my own concerns towards the person presenting these suggestions, and yes- even some very valid points made by us both- in the end, the aforementioned words stuck and held.  Simple and complicated as that.

{artist unknown- found via Pinterest with no accessible link}

{work in process}

Today, gazing out at the oaks again and the way their unapologetic presence shatters the pristine blue backdrop of an early autumn sky, I wonder why those words knocked the wind out of me?  This conversation, though in itself is enough to warrant anger or any other number of emotions, triggered a multitude of memories surrounding other conversations, other old arguments, other doubts and insecurities that stem both from the actions or words of others, and also from all the negative self talk I (we) so often fall into the habit of speaking.  It makes Today heavy when we take all those painful Yesterdays and carry them around instead of putting them to good use.  So, today, like lately, I ask the pain to manifest itself as a tool for transformation.  I ask it to have a purpose. In response,  the pain assures me that I always have a choice: How you handle The Hurt defines the purpose of its pain.

I choose to carry it with grace.

{Georges Braque}

For months I've questioned my own purpose.  If the artist in me is a liability to the mother in me, and both artist and mother are my life's passions... how does one wage that war without destroying herself?  Why should we wage it at all?  How divided we can be within our own beings- especially as women- and I'd eat myself alive from the inside out if I gave in to the labels, to the stigmas, if I began to actually BELIEVE for one moment that those suggestions were right.

They weren't.

Nor are any of my own "suggestions" about myself that I've made over the years.  That my goodness and worthiness are entangled in grades, reliant on relationships, on accomplishments, on appearances.  My value isn't dependent upon what others may think of me, my parenting, my designs, my income, my weight, my career level, my failures or my mistakes.  This is really hard for me, to be honest.  I know it's true but it doesn't always feel true.

I choose to be the best mother I possibly can be at every opportunity I'm given.  I'll fail at times, of course, because that's what parents and humans do, but I know in my heart that I am a good mom.

Likewise, despite fears and doubts, I choose to keep creating.  I choose to keep writing.  Despite how little I know about life and technique, I choose to stay honest about the intentions and concepts behind my work, regardless of if it's accepted or understood.

{The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo}

I choose to let the punctured places bleed out so that I may pour more of myself into the lives of others- to use what hurts in a way that increases my compassion, my empathy, my awareness of what others may be going through.  I choose to take inventory of my shortcomings and work actively towards bettering myself while simultaneously doing the difficult work of accepting my many flaws.  I choose to gather up the past, the present, each genetic legacy, each biological pattern, each mistake, each failure and triumph, each loss, each betrayal, each breach of trust, all of it... all of it.... and hold it close, and accept it as mine.  And then, to use it for something more beautiful than it could ever be if buried beneath an unmarked stone.  In short, I choose to let this make me a better human.

{Martin Klimas}

{Martin Klimas}

What is it I want to tell you?

I want to assure you that the source of your light doesn't come from the external.
You are not what you're labeled, what is suggested you are, what you fear you are, and you are not what you fear you're not.

I want to cement for you the value of your visions, your ideas, your creations.  

I want to reaffirm the calling that tugs at you in the dark, that compels you to move forward even if the stories you tell yourself are terrifying and the voices of others are loud.

I want to encourage you to allow the sharpness of self-doubt and personal defeat to soften and aerate you.  Let your dark places become a beacon of light for others because of what you've learned.

I want to show you that your broken pieces can be a beautiful lacework of human nature, nurture, victories, failures and even nonchalance.  Your past and present can align in a purposeful pathway that, should you choose so, can further your grand design, not defeat your destiny.

I want to validate all the components that make up the totality of your essence, good and bad, inflicted or invited. They can serve you somehow, if you let them.


{Carne Griffiths}

{work in process}

 {work in process}

I choose to wear my hats, walk my given path, play my dealt hand as if it were the best gift I've been given- the truth of those last words lies only in my choice of how to perceive and use pain, not in the actions or opinions of others.

I am an artist and a mother, not one iota less the latter because of the former.  I am built of sentimental spaces and emotional topography- highs and lows.  I've become a new person many times over as experience and time changes me.  I'll change again.  I think that makes me human, not unworthy, not incapable.  

Please value your fractal pieces.  Please use them to construct new ways of seeing and being, to build bridges, to shatter ceilings, to carve out new niches in a world that needs your experience. 

Please know you're enough. 

* * * * *

A patchwork of silver daggers shift together in a stronghold of dynamic movement, layered handwork, and broken light.  Despite the sharpness of the design, all corners have been carefully worked to a smooth finish, the points soldered with careful deliberation, the edges softened so that each ring may be worn with comfort, without fear of snagging or pricking.  Hallmarked on the undersides and finished with a band made of a sturdy triangular stock that works cohesively with the stylistic/conceptual setting, each ring is sturdy, hefty and unique.  

New work up tonight at 8pm EST.



  1. I have had the honor & sheer pleasure, to learn from you, create alongside you, be welcomed by you & your sweet, precious family in your lovely home, be loved by you, & to love you! You are without a doubt a most beautiful, amazing woman, a truly loving & wonderful mommy, a gifted, unique artist, & a treasured friend. Thank you for all that you give of yourself to so many. Your courage & strength is a powerful inspiration. My heart is with you. XOX

  2. I LOVED this post, it is something that so many of us relate to, I am sure. Having your open and honest nature about your emotions thrown back in your face can be rage-inducing if you are anything like me. I think channeling those strong emotions into creativity sounds like an extremely positive way to deal with things. Working with a lot of teens, I also see that those people who deny or shame the expression of strong emotions are more damaging to children in the long run, so kudos to you for being an example of how to safely deal with them.
    I was able to find the original artist of your first painting, http://www.davemerrell.com/personal-work/#/fragments/ , and I share here because I think seeing his piece as part of a series makes your message even more poignant; we are all imperfect, broken, healed, and what we do with those pieces is part of the beauty of this life.
    Thank you for sharing some much needed hope with the world and with me.


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