It's Been Awhile
I used to do this fairly frequently but fell out of the habit as life got hectic. To recap - in the past few years I closed my brick and mortar business of over 38 years, left Ohio (leaving the kids behind) to move to Florida to continue to care for my mother - this time in her own home (the one her mother built) and we got a new dog (a stray with heartworm from Georgia). When COVID hit we sheltered in place, since we are quite isolated (out in the boonies) but all our plans for connecting with the art communities, doing shows again, and having day trips just went out the window. Then in the past year Michael's health declined. He passed away on July 24, 2021 and a few days later I lost my beloved (and former store dog) Sisko. When I am sad the desert calls, so I went to Tucson in January to attend the rock and gem shows (my dream for years) and stayed with Michael's best friend and his wife (I came back with pounds of beads, stones, a few bones, a lot of wonderful photos and bittersweet memories). I drove to Kansas with my mother (three days each way) to visit her oldest friend (and my second mother) and MY oldest friend (who I had not seen in over 50 years). I bought a jewelry studio from a retiring artist with the hope of combining the jewelry arts with glass art. I planted a lot of trees.
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of Michael's passing. I am reflecting on the loss. I am trying to envision the future. I used to be very good at seeing where things were going, back in the art district days. I find that now I am too close to it, and it isn't the feel of a changing neighborhood, but my own feelings, which can be very hard to process.
The next few years will tell me if I want to continue representing artists from across the country, selling their work, loving it while it is in my possession, then passing it on to yours. The part of the job I have always loved the best is finding the artists. Getting to know them, supporting them over the years. The past few years have been challenging for them, too. Some are regrouping - on sabbatical, getting "real" jobs. Some retired. I totally get that. But I am not ready yet. I feel like I still have an adventure or two in me. A few more artists to connect with. More art to make.
My latest journey was just down the road a piece to St. Augustine (one of my favorite towns and the oldest city in the country). Two of our glass artists live there - a couple who make the most wonderful jellyfish bells. The last time I was there with Michael and COVID kept us out on the lawn. This time I was able to visit their studio and talk with them for awhile when I picked up my order. This is the fun part. The creative people who, in their studios tucked into back rooms and garages, make the most magical stuff. And I get to share it with you.