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full heart

Full Heart Altar watercolor painting by Phoebe Stout of Untold Imprint
Full Heart printed tank by Untold Imprint
Full Heart tees by Untold Imprint
Full Heart Wall Hanging by Untold Imprint

Some days I have to remind myself just how lucky I am for all the good in my life. I can get stuck focusing on what I haven't accomplished yet, all the things that I haven't done, places I haven't seen. In a world where social media is so prevalent, it's an easy trap to fall into. But when I notice those thoughts of doubt and inadequacy taking over, and redirect my thoughts to all that I do have and what I have created, I feel truly lucky and blessed – and proud too. Always at the top of my gratitude list is my niece – she brings more joy to this world than I thought possible. When I sat down to paint an altar representing my gratitude for her, and the countless other things in life that make all the negative thoughts melt away – the first image that came to me was a full heart. I could feel it bursting with love and happiness, and I could picture the garlands, streamers, and bountiful flowers, heralding a celebration. You know that feeling you have when you're filled up to the brim and are at peace with what is? We have to hold on to those feelings and keep them near so that on tough days that aren't so filled up we can draw on their energy to pull us though. This full heart altar is a gentle reminder to be grateful everyday for all that we have. 

I'm printing, dyeing, and stitching up lots of new things for Squam Art Fair this Saturday at Rockywold Deephaven Camps in Holderness, NH. I'll have Full Heart Altar wall hangings, cards, & tanks at the fair. It seemed fitting to make these for Squam, since it's a place that always fills my heart.

Gratitude to all of you who help fill it too. 

the comfort of old friends

moss covered walls of Central Park near The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

moss covered walls of Central Park near The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

exterior of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on a gray day.

exterior of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on a gray day.

The Little Fourteen-Year Old Dancer  with  The Dance Class  and  Dancers Practicing at the Barre , all by Edgar Degas.

The Little Fourteen-Year Old Dancer with The Dance Class and Dancers Practicing at the Barre, all by Edgar Degas.

detail of  Mada Primavesi  by Gustav Klimt.

detail of Mada Primavesi by Gustav Klimt.

High C (Forte Chanteuse)  by Georges Seurat

High C (Forte Chanteuse) by Georges Seurat

The Album  by Edouard Vuillard

The Album by Edouard Vuillard

Saint Mary Magdalene  or  Holy Woman  | French 1500-1525

Saint Mary Magdalene or Holy Woman | French 1500-1525

detail of  Nasturtiums with the Painting "Dance"  by Henri Matisse.

detail of Nasturtiums with the Painting "Dance" by Henri Matisse.

The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii  by Hercules Segers

The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii by Hercules Segers

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On a recent trip into New York to visit my niece, sister, and my dear friend from college, I took a few hours and spent them wandering around The Metropolitan Museum of Art. As a textile design student in NYC in the 1990s, I would go to the Met on a semi-regular basis with the help of student passes and their amazing 'pay what you wish' entrance fee. Some days I went just to see my favorite painting, which was The Album by Edouard Vuillard. I would sit in front of it for a while and then head home. What a luxury – to be able to have the time and easy distance, to visit this museum whenever my heart desired. Memories of those pre-internet days, when a glimpse of a favorite painting were not a keystroke away, are so dear to me. I loved that in order to research a textile or sculpture, I had to go in person to see it, and then spend hours in the library hand writing notes, which I would type into a finished paper on my little portable word processor. There was a great sense of adventure and satisfaction in the long process. I noticed on this recent visit, that while I still love The Album by Vuillard, it's not so much the painting that I love now, but the vivid memories of how it made me feel on my frequent visits. It's comforting seeing it and being in a place where I spent so much un-rushed time. It's like sitting with an old friend or visiting the home of a beloved relative where you spent content days as a child. Each time I visit The Met as an adult, I find new favorites and am struck by the peacefulness of a place that is always so crowded with people. If you're lucky enough to enter an empty gallery, as I did when I happened upon The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer, the stillness and wonderment of being alone in the company of such awe-inspiring art, is a gift that feels bestowed directly from the artists themselves. 

they did not know we were seeds

My mom, two sisters, cousin and I were five in a crowd of over 500,000 women, men, and children at the Women's March on Washington. It was an emotional and historic day. Prior to the 2016 campaign of Hillary Clinton, I'd never been that involved in politics. I'd never attended a rally or protest. Never called my senator. I didn't even really watch the news all that much. All that has changed – I’ve found my voice that I’m proud to use it. The recent election and the current administration is not really about politics anymore, it is deeply personal. This is about who we are at our core. And thanks to the thousands of people who marched on January 21st – we showed the world who we are.  We are resilient, we are fighters of injustice and hate and racism, we are accountability keepers for those in government, we are allies to those who need support, and powerful opposition to those who try and silence us. We are seeds.

The day of the march was long and when it came time to head back to our hotel, even though our feet were sore, we weren't quite ready to close our eyes. The natural high was too great a feeling to part with. We stopped in a bar to have a drink and talk about this movement we were now a part of. My sister was on her phone showing us photos and reading social media posts that people from all over the world had shared that day. She came across a tweet that quoted a Mexican proverb, "They tried to bury us; they did not know we were seeds." There was a collective exhalation as she read it. It summed up what we had experienced so perfectly.

I think about it each time I see people rise up and push back against attempted oppression. When I turn on the news and there's a little girl on her dad's shoulders at the international arrivals terminal holding a sign that reads 'You Are Welcome Here'. When I hear about the leaders of a Jewish congregation in a small town in Texas who gave the keys to their synagogue to the community of Muslims who lost their mosque in a fire. When I read that 40% of Democratic women plan to get more involved in political causes in 2017. When I see post after post on social media about the daily resistance actions of friends, and strangers alike. Each time I click the 'Follow' button on a rogue national wildlife account, or drop a postcard to my Senator in the mailbox (to either plead with or thank them) – I can actually feel the rising happening in real time. The collective resistance that we are engaging in each day in order to reclaim what's been taken from us, and hold the line for what we will not allow them to take. 

I'm proud of every single person who has spoken out in ways big and small. Every word counts. We will not be buried. We will persist and succeed because this democracy is everything to us. 

40% of the proceeds from the sale of my 'We Are Seeds' print will be donated to the Global Fund For Women

The Global Fund for Women is one of the world’s leading foundations for gender equality, standing up for the human rights of women and girls. We campaign for zero violence, economic and political empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Our Vision is that every woman and girl is strong, safe, powerful, and heard. No exceptions.

my summer vacation

Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine
Ogunquit, Maine
Ogunquit Beach in Ogunquit, Maine
Camping in Wells, Maine

Since starting my own business, I haven't really taken a vacation. At least not the one to two week overseas type that I became accustomed to when I was in my corporate life. Vacations require time away from work as well as some saved money. Being a one-person shop, there's no one to step in and take over for me while I'm away, and money – well, almost all of the money I make goes right back into my business. So these days, my vacations are a great deal shorter and much closer to home. A few days stolen here and there when I can stop being the boss of myself and just relax. 

This past weekend was one such vacation – three days with my sister Zoe (the saucy siren in the photo above) in New England. We drove to Boston for an overnight to see Pearl Jam at Fenway Park and then headed up to Ogunquit and Wells, Maine, where we camped and spent time at the beach. I think it's been four years since I last stepped foot on a beach and oh how I've missed it. The surf at my feet and gulls flying overhead. It was pretty much perfection. It's also kind of nice to see and feel how I've changed these past few years. I've come to love road trips, and camping, and the raw beauty of the United States. My dream vacation now is to drive across country and sleep under the stars in Yosemite National Park. Someday soon I hope to make that happen. In the mean time, I'll have to ask my very demanding boss if I can get the time off. I have a feeling she might just say yes.

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