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Reflections on Creating During COVID-19 (and Experiments with Natural Dye)

A close up photo of floral embroidery on a light purple shirt.
Coleus on 100% cotton thrifted embroidered blouse.

I'm familiar with the quote "There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long." I find comfort in these words, and repeat them again and again to friends and colleagues when we beat ourselves up for taking a day or a week or a season off from creating.

Recently, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, my fine art process has waned. I've barely picked up any of my cameras other than to snap a picture of my cat doing something cute (which, to be fair, is quite often). It's easy to look back on the lack of progress in this area and think I haven't made anything, let alone anything "good". I see this one metaphorical plant laying dormant and focus in, letting it fill the frame of my vision.

To look at the act of creation through this lens doesn't truly reflect the reality of my own creative process. Rather, I try to remind myself to think of it all as an entire garden of blooms, budding and growing and blossoming and withering all one after another. Just because I didn't have a camera in my hand doesn't mean I wasn't making anything - instead, I was stitching hundreds and hundred of face masks, improving my craft for other projects down the road. I was foraging dandelions and rusty nails from the backyard of my crumbling former rental home to make solutions to dye and shift fabric. I've rearranged the furniture and wall art of my newly purchased home probably a dozen times already, experimenting with different textures and shapes as I seek to create a cozy, welcoming space. These functional creations are not less valuable or less creative than any other kind of art.

I share these thoughts and words as a reminder to all of us, but especially myself. And with all of that out of the way, here are a few pieces of magic I've created in my dye pot recently. All of them are made with natural materials foraged from the Lansing area. Wearable, tangible reminders that the blooms are there - and they're beautiful.

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Well said!

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