Another Way of Keeping a Diary, Part II / by Hayden Michelle

  I begin where I last left off, anticipating that my sculpture for this exhibit, "Another Way of Keeping a Diary", was awaiting placement on the pedestal for the opening on Friday, November 20, 2015.  I woke up the preceding Thursday morning to an email from one of the curators and artists for the exhibit, Flo Bartell, explaining in the kindest way that she could, that my sculpture actually suffered severe damage, and that she attempted to fix it the best that she could, but that she did not know how the repairs would hold.    Four of six luna moths had become detached, many were cracked, and one was missing a tail, the branch was completely disconnected, and many thorns had been broken or removed.   After some deep breaths of acceptance, I went about my day, dismayed as I was.  After lunch, I received a voicemail from my dear and supportive spouse, encouraging me to consider flying out to fix the sculpture.  After intense deliberation,  I quickly booked a plane and flew out the next day, arriving 14 hours and 3 planes after take-off.   I was picked up from the airport late at night, given a lovely bed and use of private encaustic studio, and provided with much encouragementc, French press coffee, and early breakfast by the most welcoming couple-- Flo and her husband, Dr. Gary Bartell.  There was another artist in the exhibit, Mira White, who was staying with Flo, and she graciously shared her bedroom accomodations with me.   I  felt so nurtured, and trusted that the Universe was providing me with as much support as possible to restore the piece (yet again!).  

  Flo Bartell  beside one of her pieces selected for the exhibit...

Flo Bartell beside one of her pieces selected for the exhibit...

  Mira M. White , next to her piece in the show...

Mira M. White, next to her piece in the show...

I awoke at 4:30 a.m., and began the 6 hours of intensive repair to rebuild the sculpture.  I did much perspiring during those hours, hearing the ticking of the clock as the reception opening hour approached.  I reflected on how resilient we humans are, and how we just have to step up to whatever things happen in our life, and do the best we can to make it through.  It was such a strange mix of fear of not being able to complete it, and such challenge to finish it even stronger than before. Thankfully, my hands remained steady and my intentions could not have been more clear, and it was, indeed, completed!  I kept 2 fingers on it for the entire transport to the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, where I placed it on the pedestal 40 minutes before the juror and artist , David Limrite, arrived to spend time with the pieces before doing his presentation for the opening.  Never have I been so relieved to literally step away from a piece I have made!  And then I took many deep breaths of relief...

 Wonderment at seeing my sculpture restored and on pedestal, as if no worse for the wear...

Wonderment at seeing my sculpture restored and on pedestal, as if no worse for the wear...

 Standing with David in a cloud of great relief and gratitude to be there together...

Standing with David in a cloud of great relief and gratitude to be there together...

  The most wondrous thing about the whole experience is that by having my sculpture arrive destroyed, a window opened for me to go out and be part of one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  I was able to meet many talented artists and view a wide range of beautiful work in person, and to share stories of what brought them to work with the incredible medium of encaustic in such diverse ways, the meaning of their pieces, and bits of life histories.  I was also able to connect further with David Limrite to process the unbelievable journey that evolved throughout the creation of this piece, and to share some of the profound gifts it has brought.   After the opening, I had the opportunity to join the International Encaustic Artists board members,  David and his wife, Jordan, and Flo and Mira for a delicious dinner at an authentic Italian restaurant... it was a lovely ending to one of the most magical days of my life.  I flew out the next morning after dear Flo drove me to the airport at 5a, and had one experience after another where kindness unfolded, despite it being the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, which challenged my inexperienced travel skills to their depths.  It was fascinating, and left me with so much evidence of what happened as a result of letting in what was offered to me... the gift of going out to repair that which was broken.  I can't imagine it getting any more profound than that, or any more joyful.  Lucky me. 









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