what if it's not too late?
happy summer solstice!
What I love about gardening is that there is always something to do: weeding, watering, planting, dividing, pruning, etc. This means there is always a reason to get off my phone and get my hands dirty.
This year I planted a garden of flowers that will yield natural dyes and inks.
I’m not an expert and am trying to divest from perfection. On the other side of perfectionism, I’m anticipating more fun and play. My intention is to have a zen approach.
In reality, a bunch of seedlings never got a good start despite me giving them a lot of attention. I didn’t plant my allium bulbs deep enough. As a result they’re flopping over on their sides. Little red beetles are destroying the 15 lilies I planted last November. For a few weeks I did nothing but grit (and grind) my teeth about it, but last weekend I changed course. I cut back the diseased lilies, and planted more coreopsis and cosmos because they are thriving in other parts of the garden. My friend Kayla gifted me a close-to-blooming dyers chamomile plant from her garden. I planted more seeds to see what might happen.
My mantra over the past few weeks has been “what if it’s not too late?”
When I think about the type of art practice (and garden practice and life practice) that I want to have, the recurring theme is flexibility and sustainability. The garden is one place to practice. I can’t control the heat, the bugs or the fungus, but I can adapt and find ways forward.
I think of a reminder that Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom shared on her TikTok - “water only what you want to grow.” I keep coming back to this. I want to water the belief that I can make adjustments and shifts in how I think and make.
If I don’t want to be locked into perfectionist thinking, I need to interrupt the thoughts and reroute. I have to experiment and practice doing things imperfectly and accepting them. If I need more flexibility in my schedule, I have to practice saying no and prioritizing space and spontaneity. If the way I’m working in the studio is hurting my back and joints, I need to adjust my form and strengthen my body. If the goal is to make art for the rest of my life, I have to practice making art in this moment in a way that aligns with that long term vision.
The studio note for the summer solstice is this: When it feels like you’re stuck and far off from plan A, B or C, maybe don’t give up.
Instead ask, what if it’s not too late to…
- reframe the goal
- tweak your approach
- be kinder to your body
- seek out a collaborator
- change your medium
- plant new seeds
What reminders or notes have you been leaving for yourself lately?
Here’s a list of seeds you can still plant in your garden right now!
Thank you to everyone who came out to the pop up show and studio sale I hosted with Kristen Drozdowski earlier this month! Thank you for being there, supporting the work and sharing more about yourselves and your creative practices. It means so much to me to share space with you all!