The celebration could not have been better. Both my children were here, one from Seattle and one just before leaving for a new chapter in her life in New York. They have been such a part of my work from their childhood days in the studio to their advice and support as adults. It was so right to have them be a part of the celebration. There was a steady stream of people all day. My son said it had an Our Town kind of feel and I think it did. Two of my kids’ preschool teachers, their pediatrician, a candidate for state government who came in on his campaign walk, friends that have become family, fellow artists with whom I have shared the journey, as well as people I did not know but felt an immediate connection to.
It was so gratifying to have so many people come to see the work, and to really look at it carefully. There was plenty of conversation but it was not like some art receptions where it seems that the social aspect is the dominant one. In my promotion of the event, I tried to stress that while there was work for sale, that was not the purpose. Sales were better than they have ever been for me (friends and family took care of that so I could enjoy the day unencumbered by such concerns) but people who came to just look seemed very comfortable doing so which was my intention. Many people (both familiar and new faces) thanked me for sharing my space, my work, and my birthday with them. To quote Kurt Vonnegut in his book of advice to the young, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”
If you have been reading my 65th year posts, you know I have been working through some things related to my work and its interaction with the larger world. As I prepared for the Open Studio, I confirmed my commitment to acceptance and joy. I had prepared the text of the 65th year posts to publish in a hand-sewn simple book. As the time drew closer, I decided not to do it. I wanted to start my 66th year fresh as the artist who is content with her choices and her work and ready to embrace the future.
Another change I made as I prepared was to only show my art. I had originally thought I would share some examples from my most recent teaching with adults, some of my commercial calligraphy from the past, and my solstice cards over the years. As I started to put up my art, I realized that I wanted it to be center stage. While I believe in the value of all creative endeavors, a lot of my 65th year has been about claiming my identification as artist. Thank you to all of you who have read my words over the years and supported me in my life and work.
I am considering putting some of the easier to ship things on my etsy site. You'll be the first to know.