Last year I was encouraged by a friend and mentor from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts ( Hi Don Ehman! ) to apply for a 2018 Fellowship through the NJSCA and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. My work was reviewed by a panel of peers working in my field and I am so overjoyed to share that I was among 18 artists selected from 219 applicants to be awarded a 2018 Fellowship for artistic excellence!
I would not have applied for the Fellowship had it not been for my supportive friend, which is why I share this news with you all. As artists, we pour our heart and soul into learning, developing and pursuing our crafts while also working to pay our bills. It is not an easy way of life. Most of us dream and produce our work in the privacy of our homes and studios - and sometimes it feels like what we're pouring ourselves into might not matter because we don't make a living off of it or show our work in galleries.
What a lie! The private processing is where the real meaning is found - in the suffering, the questioning, the relentless quest for even more truth and beauty and purpose still that develops our character and manifests itself through something we create with our bodies. We need the private process, the solitude, the potential loneliness in order to get what's on the inside out through our chosen craft. Only then can know our true voice and use our God given gifts to come alongside and encourage others along their journey.
This past year I've practiced diligently in believing that there are good plans for my life, that I am blessed even when I don't feel that way. Blessings kept to ourselves are cut short of what they are intended to be, which is why my prayer is to be blessed so that I may be a blessing to others. Life is not fulfilling when it's all about us. In that truth, I am so grateful to have received this Fellowship and to dive deep into dreaming of what to do with the money.
Expect an outpouring of truth and love and hope in the form of community engagement through the craft that has been so transformational in my life and in the lives of many other weavers who've come before me. I am so looking forward to sharing more information as the dream develops and begins to reveal itself.