At the end of 2021 I took some much needed time off. As the year came to a close, my commitments to finish special orders were completed, I opted to spend some time with my family, reading, playing music with my daughter, decorating, walking, and engaging in some “non-gourd” art pursuits.
As I look back over the year, I can say the Lord blessed in more ways that I can count. Art shows opened back up and so did the opportunity to connect with customers and other artists. The PA Gourd Fest was another such event, it has become to feel like a family reunion to me each year.
In the beginning of 2021 my art studio underwent some upgrades, all the brainchild and muscle work of my husband. He had an idea that he thought would work well for me, I wasn’t too sure about it at first! I can get pretty set in my ways, but after it was all done, this cozy little spot with improved lighting and my tools and gourds within grabbing distance, he was right about it after all.
During the course of the year, I managed to film and edit 7 gourd art videos on YouTube, launched an online gourd art “school” course, made 146 Christmas ornaments (seriously, what?!) won best of show at the PA AGS Gourd Art competition and was surprised to see my winning mask featured on the cover of The Gourd Magazine! Wow! God is exceedingly gracious!
These past few months my social media has been getting quieter. I have been considering what I want to do about my account and what I really think about social media and if the positives outweigh the negatives of all that social media is and what it takes from creativity. This year you may find me posting and being on Instagram much less, but writing more on this blog in order to communicate in more meaningful ways to those who are most interested to stick with me.
The year ended on a sad note for me though. My heart is heavy to share that my family had to say goodbye to our little cat Clover at the end of December. You may have seen her in my videos, or on my Instagram photos. She was my shadow, my comic, my cuddle bug. She was very often spent the day sitting on a little basket on my table while I worked on gourds, she was a special little girl and I miss her terribly. I am thankful to have cared for her for a happy 18 years, again God is gracious.
In the next year I plan to launch a couple more courses on the gourd school. Two in-depth courses that are in the works now are Gourd Pyrography for the Absolute Beginner, and Celtic Knots, Borders and Zoomorphics for Gourds (link here). I am also considering a few shorter project courses. I do plan on teaching in person again at the PA Gourd Festival, but have not decided what I am going to offer. More on these will be announced later.
Looking ahead I hope to spend some more time on nature journaling and observation and working in other art media like watercolor, pen & ink and calligraphy. It can be tough to squeeze that in when the gourd demand is on, but is necessary as it helps to keep my work fresh and thoughtful. Towards the end of 2021 I felt my work was getting too formulaic, and I personally was getting burnt out. The calendar looks fresh and clean now, and I get all kinds of ideas of things I would like to do; but the reality is that it fills up with all sorts of unexpected things, the stuff of life. It is difficult to keep it all in balance all the time, and sometimes some things just have to fall away. I am hoping to slow down, make more meaningful decisions on how time is spent and given to others and to God.
How about you? What have you been reflecting on and looking forward to? I would love to hear from you, comment below or send me an email.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
1/4/2022 11:00:48 am
Hello. I live in ohio and was wondering where in Pennsylvania do you teach at shows, or anywhere else. Thank you.
1/5/2022 09:10:22 am
Hi Georgene, I teach at the PA Gourd Fest, this year will be in June and it is held at the Lebanon Expo Center. You can go to the PA Gourd Society website and get more info about the fest.
1/4/2022 11:41:27 am
Hi Jenn! I love reading your blogs and loved taking one of your classes at the PA gourd festival. I was surprised as well by receiving a Best of Intermediate and 1st place for my container gourd and then to see it in the December issue of the AGS was very humbling for me. I wish you a Happy and Healthy new year ahead. Hope to see you again in PA this year! God Bless you!
1/5/2022 09:08:42 am
Thank you Barb! Congratulations on your win and it is a beauty! God bless you too!
1/4/2022 04:22:16 pm
Always a pleasure to know what is going on with you and your family! Best wishes for 2022.
1/5/2022 09:04:54 am
Thank you so much Helen! Hope to see you at the end of the month at the gourdpatch meeting! Blessings to you and Eric.
Mary Kay Anderson
1/4/2022 08:34:45 pm
Jenn, I can’t thank you enough for helping me with the gourd burning. I fell in love with burning from my first class with you in Pa. I too struggle with my schedule because I love painting with WC pencil, acrylic and watercolors. I seem like I never have enough time. I have to decided to put God first this year and pray all will fall into place according to his will. Smiles and Blessings
1/5/2022 09:03:56 am
Mary Kay, That warms my heart! It can be frustrating when there are so many good things that you can throw yourself into and poof you find you spent all day on just one thing! You are absolutely right, "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you" (Matt 6:33) Making His will of most priority will give you peace. I am glad you are enjoying burning and all the other forms of art too! It is a good gift 💝
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Art has always been a part of my life, and I have worked in many different mediums.