• Sue McDowell

Respite, "a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant."


In my last post, I shared my struggles to think positively in this time of Covid, anti-racist protests, and increasing climate awareness. As a "glass half full" person, I need to participate in change that brings hope and balances the inevitable, but sometimes extreme, sorrows of life.

Because everyone needs a respite. Today, I thought I would share work by some of my favorite artists and creatives who are thinking deeply and looking for ways that they, too, can bring about positive change. Perusing their sites reminds me of all the ways others are trying to make a positive contribution - which helps.


Kelly O'Dell, Endangered Animals exhibition. Kelly is an amazing artist with incredible talent and skill in glass. I met her at Pilchuck where she was the knowledgeable force in charge of the hot shop - a well-respected woman in a sea of male colleagues. It has been an honor to watch her work mature, her family grow, and her values as an artist stay true.


Susan Martin Maffei's Pandora Box Series. I do not know Susan directly but became aware of her as news of the death of her esteemed partner/colleague, Archie Brennan, rippled through the tapestry/weaving world last fall. I have been learning to weave on a floor loom with a functional perspective. Susan (and Archie's) conceptual work in tapestry has been eye-opening to me and I particularly like this series.


Kathleen Sheard - Kathleen's was the second glass class I took and the first at Corning Museum of Glass. I felt woefully insecure but she patiently gaves us tools and taught us how to develop our skills to bring the wild world we loved to glass. Her skill in creating cast creations is unmistakeable. Her passion for the world around us undeniable. Kathleen's spent the last several years committed to protecting, and hopefully restoring, the Leatherback sea turtle population. In particular, her work at Pacuare Reserve has informed her life work and it has been an honor to follow on her Facebook page.


Quiet living: Since leaving my full-time job last year, I have been trying to be more mindful - seeking a better answer to "being" and not just rushing to the next "doing." When I need to remind myself to slow down, re-focus, and appreciate the present beauty in the spaces around me, I turn to these artists and their blogs:


Rebecca Mezzoff - a tapestry weaver and teacher who is grounded in her art; sharing her love of hiking in the West and her cares and concerns of our modern world.


Sarah Swett - an incredible tapestry/fiber artist. Her work to refashion, repurpose, and make art in a sustainable way is an inspiration.


And when I want to feel hope about the future, I look to groups like Wild indigo nature exploration - helping children from urban centers understand the power of joy and beauty in the natural world. I'm not sure how I can help them, but I'd very much like to try. Their info reminds me of my time as a docent at the Belle Isle Nature Center where I met so many great families exploring along the Detroit River. And, as a final dollop of dreamy cream, make sure you go here: Faroe Island's tourism (or their FB page here). Relish the clever way one country has tried to take our current challenges in stride. Oh, and drool at the work of Christine Montague and her bears. Oh, her bears. Enjoy. Be safe. Remember to savor moments of respite as you can.

Peace be with you.


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