Gifting Gently This Christmas
I want to talk about gifts and blessings today, as we approach Christmas. December is a month that often feels like 8 days long. I feel like I am at Day 30.
There are many types of gifts: tangible gifts, gifts of service, or gifts of charity to those in need, whether they be individuals, communities, or nature. Growing up, my sister and I could always be sure that at least one gift from our parents would be an “acre of Amazon Rainforest”, from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), or something along those lines. In later years, I have given people virtual goats or similar gifts, through organizations like OXFAM - so that a poor family could begin securing and building their own future. We are all connected, through land, water, air and all living things. Although charity begins at home, in the wealthy Western part of the world we have the ability, and a duty, to extend a helpful hand beyond the artificial borders of our own city or town, or country. Many national and local nature and conservation-focused organizations can also use your help, now more than ever. It’s a gift that helps to support us all, on physical, mental, and spiritual planes. The world is shrinking, and we need to be better stewards.
I think about these issues through my art practice, too, considering where my raw materials come from, thinking about how they were extracted or made, packaged, and shipped to me. Considering what effect bringing these materials to me has had on the environment. Thinking about how the workers at every level were
treated and paid for their work. I’ve considered my packaging, as well: natural brown instead of dyed boxes and bags, and creating a recognizable branding that is interesting enough to re-use without looking like a leftover bag or box from a store. Some packaging, like bubble wrap, is almost impossible to avoid, but it is possible to reuse bubble wrap many times, if you can keep from popping all the bubbles first! 2019 was a year when we became even more aware of issues surrounding the effects of disposable packaging and lifespan of gifts, and their eventual impact on our land through disposal to landfills, lakes, and the air.
This was an interesting art year. I started to work larger than I had been, and pushed the boundaries of what I thought I could create. It’s the best way to learn. Working a bit with limestone for the first time was a new experience, and different,
but I found I have more of an affinity for soapstone at the moment. On a spiritual level, I began to feel more part of the Port Rowaan community and Norfolk County as a whole. It was as though invisible silken threads began stitching me to the land and its wonderful flora and fauna, and to the warm and interesting people I am getting to know here.
I am excited to begin working on a series of carvings for a major new show in the spring of 2021, which sounds far away, but isn’t really in terms of getting 10-15 major carvings done along a specific theme. I will be using Canadian Soapstone exclusively for that particular show. I’ll share more details once I actually get going on the new work this winter. At the same time, I will be completing other works in progress (about 5 at the moment), and trying out new ideas.
Thank-you to all of you who encouraged me and purchased my carvings this year. I appreciate the support, always. And for those of you who will receive one of my carvings as a gift, I truly hope you enjoy it. I always have to catch my breath when someone wants to buy my work as a surprise for a loved one - it is a special honour as an artist.
Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May these weeks and the year ahead be filled with wonderful experiences, good health, and happiness. Do something kind for yourself, and then do something kind for others. Your soul will sing.
Long Point Art Studio, Port Rowan, December, 2019