Zero is a temperature reading--everyone knows that much. Well zero is also my current dog quotient as, I'm very sad to report, Dakota has departed. She went over the Rainbow Bridge in late September and I'm still feeling the loss. She was a good companion and was my last living link to my dad. So in classic Karen fashion, I buried myself in new work (a pattern I have finally figured out I've been doing for decades now, to cope with heavy losses.) If I'm immersed in a new project, new work, a new series, I don't brood...quite as much.....
|Dakota, Summer, 2013|
So the back story is this. After I posted the post below, Dakota continued to slowly, very slowly, fail all summer. A few times, I thought "this is it, she's giving up now," but I'd manage to coax her back. She got a terrible infection that was very challenging to heal (although I did learn to fit her with a T-shirt to keep her off the wound--a very nice alternative to "the cone of shame.") I resorted to buying fresh roasted chicken for her, to bribing a friend to cook beef for her, anything I could dream up to keep her eating.
But it was getting harder, she was having trouble navigating the area, the step up into the camper, the deck--her eyes and her balance were failing. We all finally realized it was time, and her wonderful doctor helped me help her to a peaceful ending. I have her ashes here. I mean to scatter them around the farm and the campground, and on my dad's grave. When the weather improves, I'll take care of this.
So around this same time, the end of the summer, I was contacted by the Haystack School of Art to learn that there was a cancellation in their faculty retreat in early October, and that my name had been drawn to fill the spot..."Are you able to come to Maine?" I basically moved heaven and earth to get there...I needed that proverbial "shot in the art" that only comes through a group of artists acting like kids. And I had a mission, too...I wanted to get back into that metals studio on campus there to see "what's next?" In my mind, I wanted to experiment with vitreous enamels....and what this has also come to include is working more directly with metal, too. Copper in particular, but silver might be good too.
It was wonderful to be at Haystack again, to see old friends and meet new ones. I postponed grieving for Dakota for a couple of weeks....it hit me when I returned to the campground and realized she wasn't sharing my camper anymore...most of you know this drill....the profound sense of loss.....
So my tried and true coping mechanism? Besides keeping all the "regular things going" I dove into making stuff. And somehow, a whole new body of work began and has continued to evolve, in fits and starts, since October. You can see some of it here Metalwork Pins & Pendants Since I didn't have the luxury of staying quite as focused as I'd like, it's been slow--I did manage to close down the campground and move back to town during this time....and I did get through a pretty good Christmas season, too. But when I can get some spare time, I just keep making more of these new pieces....and I give all the credit to Dakota. It's not rational, there's no direct or obvious link, it's just the way things came together the past 6 or 7 months. I miss her. Her absence is noted now that I'm back in town now, too. But I'm trying to start writing again. And looks like I just took my first couple of steps!