Social Isolation

Multi-media piece, “Too Much” in progress for “Disappearing Girl: exploring the myths and realities of teen girls and mental health” compromised of blown glass, fused glass and multi-media 2D work.

While we are all practicing social distancing these days, I thought it would be a good time to think about those who experience social isolation on a daily basis when there isn’t a pandemic in place…those who struggle with mental health diagnosises.  It is a good time to  “step into someone else’s shoes” to create empathy.  I want to point out that empathy is different than pity.  With pity you peer into the hole a person is in and feel bad or sorry for someone’s experience or situation.  As discussed in my daughter’s DBT group, empathy is when you crawl down into the hole with them to listen and open yourself up to any similar pain you have felt yourself, to just listen and acknowledge how hard it must be for them without comparing or judging.  Yet before coronavirus, I doubt many people have ever experienced what it feels like to be socially isolated so it can be hard to have that understanding when you are listening to someone struggling with mental health issues or the isolation some parents of children with special needs feel. Think about the difficult days you are having during this pandemic… whether you struggle with the fear of the unknown length of time, or the dangers if you or a loved one gets it, or the lack of personal human interaction, or the ability to go to work to have a “normal” day or the ability to escape the family issues for a few hours at work where you feel like you know what you are doing, or whatever you find difficult during this time. Then imagine if this was your daily reality for years or knowing that you had no idea how many years it would take to move past. And then you can empathize with those who struggle with depression or anxiety or bi-polar or PTSD or the many other mental health diagnosises or the family members of those struggling with mental health or families that have felt socially isolated from their former friends after having a child with a special needs diagnosis. Open your heart bigger now that you have felt for a moment what they feel daily and remember after the pandemic passes to reach out to them more often. They need you even more when you get back to your “normal” so don’t forget about them now that you have gained empathy.

Happy 2020

Cheers to a new year of glass making! Looking back 2019 was a good year of glass making: Splash received 1st place at the Woman Made Mid-West Open in Chicago, Sweet Tooth sold within 10 min of the opening at Vandalia Glassworks while the person who first wanted to buy it missed out when thinking it over, Flame Thrower went to the MN State Fair with FOCI, Dance Your Glass Off at Corning with Laura Donefer helped me grow not only in skills and knowledge but in being confident and embracing my wild in my work, and I received a new McKnight grant from Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council to work on the glass pieces for Disappearing Girl: exploring the myths and realities of teen girls and mental health.

In 2020 I look forward to diving in on my glass sculptures and painting for Disappearing Girl, finishing the parts for a piece on the symbiotic relationship between us and nature, learning casting and sand blasting, enjoying exploring more with texture and color patterns and spending time with my family and friends. I wish everyone a life full of color, peace, love and joy in 2020 and beyond.

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Pink and orange feathered blank

I am so excited to be back to working on sculptures again. Late summer and early fall are times when I make functional pieces for holiday sales and while I appreciate the money they bring in, it is not where my heart lies. I created some blanks recently to blow out into parts for a four piece sculpture I am working on. Each of the 4 sculptures is compromised of several glass pieces combined together. I am working on the last two to complete the work. Here are some pictures of the blanks and some other pieces that will be combined. When I complete the whole piece I will do another post…until then enjoy the colors and textures. My heart is happy! Peace, love and joy to you this holiday season.

Candy shop

Remember that feeling of being a kid in a candy shop or if you are from S. MN visiting the candy barn for the first time? That is what it feels like when I get to order glass color! I absolutely love color! And having grant funds to buy color makes it feel like a free trip to the candy store. Looking at all these wonderful colors in bars, frit and cane…you just can’t help but get excited! Now I can’t wait for it to arrive!