Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Endings and Beginnings - By Karen McGovern

A blur. That's what time is these days. A blur of energy and emotion. Time has FLOWN and we find ourselves on the cusp of a brand-new year. 

Are your living rooms still hiding shreds of wrapping paper and ribbon? Are your refrigerators overflowing with Tupperware and Zip Locks packed full of holiday leftovers? Do you still have the odd relative snoozing in the guest room? If so, you are lucky. Sometimes it's in the aftermath of a big event that you finally find the time to take a deep breath and reflect on what just happened....savor that.



To all that celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a phenomenal one. To everyone in general I wish you peace and joy during this time and into the new year as well.

The new year. I love opening a brand-new calendar. Crisp pages unmarked, the year divided into 356 neat and tidy identical squares--all blank but for their numerical identifier. Days full of potential--good and bad, but days that mark the passage of time in which we flow like salmon in a stream. EXISTENTIAL, MUCH?

Are you exhausted yet? I am. 2015 kicked my butt. Great things, terrible things, overwhelming things and intensely BORING things happened in my life during 2015 and while I have done my best to learn from all the lessons 2015 felt obliged to SHOVE DOWN MY THROAT, I am looking forward to a gentler, kinder 2016.

NO RESOLUTIONS. Just...stop already, okay? DO NOT GUILT-BUY THAT GYM MEMBERSHIP. Do not set yourself up this year. Simply accept that yes, a new year is about to begin, but that does not mean you have to force yourself to swear by some list of promises you may or may not be able to keep. Resolutions piss me off. Why? Because being forced to make a list of self-improvement implies that from the get-go YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH AS IS. Crap to that, I say. Take the new year for what it is...12 more months to exist and do the best you can as a human being crammed on a planet with 8 billion other human beings. Keep it simple. 




My goals? To be kinder. To be quieter. To listen more and speak less. To make more art and give it away. To eat really good food. To smile more. To listen to more great music. To see more of my friends. To buy art from artists I love. If I have one "resolution-ish" thing to add to the list it would be to try---ugh---to not spend so much money on shoes. (Screw that, we know it's not going to happen. At this moment I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of FOUR NEW PAIRS OF SHOES I DO NOT NEED BUT ARE SO CUTE!!!! Seriously, Nordstrom Rack is having an UNBELIEVABLE year-end sale....) 

I took quite a bit of time off artistically at the end of this year. My real life job is exploding--so many new and exciting events going on within our organization (Rare Species Conservatory Foundation). My role has expanded and so has my husband's. It's exciting and terrifying. I built our new website from scratch using WIX (more on that in another post--I love WIX!). We have new staff, new programs and babies everywhere. Baby primates and bongo antelope--the best gifts and more than I could ever ask for. My focus has been here, on the farm, not in the studio, and that is really okay. If 2015 has given me anything it is a bit more clarity of purpose. Art will always be my refuge, but I find I don't need to bury myself in it in order to feel better about the world. As a conservation biologist, I am deeply aware of what a perilous time we live in for humans and nature alike. A terrible time, to be honest. But I can't hide from that and if what we do here at RSCF can help a fragment of our natural world survive and hopefully THRIVE, then I am doing good work. 







Yes, this is the world's cutest family of pygmy marmosets.

I haven't really been in the studio since October. Considering I finally got a brand-new stand-alone studio on our property that may seem odd. You'd think I'd be in there 24/7. In a way, the new studio has relieved the pressure I felt before to create frantically, whenever I had a moment to spare, standing over the overflowing bench in the garage, working in 20 minute chaotic spurts. No more. My studio is there, waiting. It's not going anywhere and neither am I. I've got time.

So, in this rambling post, I offer you all a few pieces of totally cliched, yet good advice. Slow down. Quit hating on yourself. Accept who you are at this moment and love that person. Make art when, where and IF you want to. Give some of it away, and buy somebody else's. Go outside and look up. Breathe.

To start 2016, I am giving away a bit of my art. A set of two hand-forged, 8 inch copper bangles. Comment below how you plan to make 2016 a better year for YOU, and next Tuesday I will put your names in a random name generator to pick the winner. My gift to you!!! 



I wish us all a fantastic 2016--NOW GO MAKE SOMETHING AMAZING!

26 comments:

lake ave said...

Expand. ...my mind, not my jeans.

Amanda Leonhart said...

I currently have a nice stock of made things. I am going to make 2016 about learning and then REALLY learning new and better techniques. I have only taken a handful of classes, the rest of what I do it self taught, so I want to really hone my skills, in my own time, at my own pace. That is what 2016 is about for me!

Renee Mastin said...

In 2016 I plan to be still more and spend more quality time with my teen daughter, glad she finds me cool enough to hang out with ;-)

bug Jenkins said...

Those bangles have been on my wish list for awhile, they're perfect. On the topic of the coming year, I much more like you; not so much resolutions, more goals to just be an even better person. I am making a somewhat loose goal to meditate twice a week, but I say loose because it is to better myself more than beat myself. I hope your new studio and the new year bring much inspiration.

bugrocksthehouse@gmail.com is my email in case you need it =D

Karen Z said...

My year-end inventory looks a lot like yours; be me. Just me. Be kinder to myself, my friends, and the world. Be quieter, gentler, than I was yesterday. Move more intentionally amidst the peoples of the world, human and otherwise. Create when the spirit moves. Happy new year!

Lori Steel said...

Thanks for words of wisdom, it's like you were speaking from my heart. I will spend more time in my studio finding inspiration by looking up and ....Ah breathing

Kathy Lindemer said...

Great advice! We all need to give ourselves permission to slow down and enjoy life.

Lori Steel said...

Thanks for the great words.....sounded like myself talking. I love your work and your post.....I plan to find a new creativeness by tapping into nature and myself ....happy 2016

JAIME H said...


WEL SAID MY FRIEND! WE DO THE BEST WE CAN AND BE AS KIND AS POSSIBLE. HAPPY NEW YEAR AND KISS ALL THEM CRITTERS FOR ME!!I LOVE THEM TOO!

Brooke Bock said...

I absolutely agree with all you had to say...except the shoes part...My weakness is art supplies. This year I am hoping for health and happiness for those I love and myself. In the end, that is the most important thing... Best wishes to you and yours...

lordblessu said...

I want to finish things. I'll try my best to do that. Love your blog.

thecolorofdreams said...

Great post and love the video! I hope to relax more and keep the stress down. Using my creativity is therapy for me. I hope to try some new creative areas for me and give more time to volunteering and charity causes.

Rebecca said...

I am going to listen to my body and mind more this year and focus on things that make me happy. I hope to try out a few new crafts as well :)

lakesuperiorwaves said...

I deeply enjoyed your post. My goal is to focus my energy in helping one of my best friends go thru the journey of breast cancer. I want to be completely available to her.

Terri Del Signore said...

I plan to spend more time creating and making "stuff" with the small people that live with me and even others ones in the community. Also want to cook and bake even more from scratch!

Ann Schroeder said...

I plan to bring more joy into my life this year. I feel like I lost that along the way. That means making more choices based on whether or not they bring me joy - from what I eat, to how I spend my time to my attitude toward everything. Thanks for a great post! I'll read it throughout the year and revisit your good advice.

Rhonda said...

I will attempt to balance family, creativity, making money, and having fun in a more whole fulfilling way. I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of gal. And maybe when I'm wandering around the house aimlessly, not knowing what I should do and think of putting food in my mouth just "to do," I'll simply take a nap. Add better sleep as well. ;-)

Leigh said...

In 2016, I plan to watch more pygmy marmoset videos! And to fire up my torch and start working with metal again. I have been away from it for a while, but miss it terribly!

Tish said...

I think you summed it up very well. We're still enjoying our summer break and I'm looking forward to a couple of days just to spend crafting before I head back to work. Making things is good for the soul, giving something you have made doubles that.

Ivey said...

Lovely post. I like your goals and advice to others. Also, I totally love your life! Not only do you get to work and help amazing animals but you're also a great artist. You're living my dream! Happy new Year and best blessings to you and yours!

Mary Jane said...

Excellent advice hope you have a beautiful new year!

Janice Hartvigsen said...

I would like to be more organized

Here Bead Dragons said...

Those are great looking bracelets. Thanks for having the giveaway.
~cryssT

Here Bead Dragons said...

My apologies, I missed the part about how I am making 2016 better for me. Surgery at the end of this month is one thing. Beading more is another.
~cryssT

Shaiha said...

This year will be all about growing. I want to take some classes, work on expanding my jewelry business and make some changes to our house to help it grow with us.

Eileen R said...

The best way to make every year or a day or even a second better for me is to make it better for others. It does have to cost anything. A warm smile or embrace can make someone's year better. Let's all spread happiness and love.
Eileen Roche

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