So Staci, how was your trip to Ireland in March?
Not gonna lie. I think I have a little PTSD. I was looking forward to this trip for over a year. A month in the lovely little town of LIstowel in County Kerry. I planned the perfect capsule wardrobe in my suitcase for a month away, packed my art supplies, rented a car and made arrangements to fly to London mid-month to visit a friend. At the same time I was following the development of the novel coronavirus.
And I got very nervous. I cried at the airport when my Mr. dropped me off because as much as I'd been dreaming of my month away I didn't really want to go now. The last thing I wanted was to be stranded in a foreign country if things got out of control. Or worse--get sick while there.
But I pulled myself together and got on the plane. A few nervous hours later I arrived. Arriving at the apartment over Olive Stack Gallery felt like returning home. Later that day my roommate Yvette arrived. We tried like heck to relax and enjoy our trip. But in the back of our minds the virus loomed. Every morning we checked the news and the numbers. And got more and more nervous. Eventually we decided the prudent course would be to cut our month short and go home early. I came home after only a week. Cost me a fortune in change fees however I'm glad I did because right after I got home the travel bans took effect. The flight home was a nightmare because half of us were diligently trying to social distance while the other half were completely obtuse. I worried the entire way home about touching anything or breathing someone else's infected air. I carried with me a tube of Lysol wipes and used them on EVERYTHING. I sucked on zinc tablets. Tried to cover my face with my scarf. Tried to stay calm.
5 days after getting home I started running a low grade temp, dry cough, all of it. I was recommended for testing because of my travel and the test came back negative. ( We think I most likely picked up some random bug in the airport.) I was a little disappointed as now I'm back to worrying about getting it.
BUT, the lasting effect of my week away and all of that mental chaos was a new body of work and it's inspiration. Somehow the stress of the pandemic has given me a somewhat f*%# it attitude towards my work. I'm taking risks artistically I hadn't considered and am even looser with my shapes and color. I'm working on a series of figurative collage pieces that are meant to protect us. The first pieces were what I called "The Grandmothers".
Rather than get too long winded, I'll write more about their inspiration next Monday. Meanwhile, on Thursday I am expecting a guest post by Kim Alderman who is going to tell us about her found object garden planters that she's been making while cleaning out the garage during the lock down. But for now, as I write this it's 5:30 (virtual happy hour with my peeps) so why don't I call it a day and see you soonest!