We’ve been digging deep trying to find our balance in a teetering world. Somehow, I found beauty, grace and resilience amongst all the chaos and quiet of last year. And from this, I discovered new skills within myself. Some call it pivoting but some days it felt more like scrambling; the same thing with more emotion. On those days, I’d go for a run, take deep breaths, and get on with pivoting.
A massive thank you to my VIPs and customers for investing in me. You’ve kept me and my company afloat during this difficult year. Your money stayed in the local economy and supported a women-, BIPOC-owned business and that means a lot. We are the poetry and soul of the economy.
With that, here’s my Year in Review. (Note the hair length throughout .)
Photo montage: Seeing friends at the ACC show in Baltimore; Booth set up; Baltimore Mirrored Egg at the American Visionary Arts Museum, Baltimore Aquarium.
American Craft Council Baltimore was my last in person show in 2020. I had a couple free hours to go to the American Visionary Museum which was chock a block full of great art. I also had a chance to visit the Baltimore Aquarium. If you haven't been, it's world class with an open plan and sharks swimming in super clear water.
Photo: Massive mask making sesh. Read about the win win win.
Then we locked down and I made masks, donating a portion of the proceeds to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. It was a win win win for myself, my customers and the ACCFB. I was also featured on the ACCFB website. That felt great for myself and my customers.
Photo: Craft Gives Back Auction, Jewelry Artist Ladha
When the terrible murder of George Floyd happened in the summer, I was looking for other ways to give back. So I teamed up with my friend Marja of MGG Studio to create “Craft Gives Back” an Auction for Justice. Our goal was to amplify our local BIPOC artists and raise money for Planting Justice, an Oakland-based food security education group. We raised over $1,000 which was great for the first time out.
Photo: Friends around the fire pit.
During the summer, my husband and I found a sweet spot in our backyard by the fire pit. We'd have friends over and loved to hear our neighbors laughter over the honeysuckle-laden fence. Those moments inspired my shibori design called “Neighbors Laughing”. Read about the full inspiration here.
Photos: My first photo shoot as my own photographer.
Another pivot for me was, I became my own fashion photographer using my iPhone. A dear friend and I had a plan to do a shoot in August. But because the California wildfires affected air quality so much we postponed a couple times.
When we were both in the right headspace we rushed down to the location and let our creativity flow. We only had a little time before the smoke took over and blocked out the sun. I wasn't sure I could get the shots I had in my mind but we relaxed into the moment, played some music, had fun and captured the essence of the garments.
Photo: My friend modeling a fuchsia flannel smock and grey shibori scarf.
And there were some beautiful surprises like this pic. It’s that moment when you can feel the wind rising and you don’t want to blink in case you miss something. I just kept taking photos hoping I'd have something to use. She trusted me and that was everything.
Anyway, I have newfound confidence in doing my own shoots. This might not have happened in normal times, I don’t know.
Photo: Pulling my own video together with elements I already have.
In Sept I was invited to take part in American Craft Council’s SF Bay Area Craft Week. I need to pull together a process video. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time and finally had a deadline to help me make one. In the end I was really happy with the results. You can view the video here.
Eventually, I got in front of the video camera, doing Instagram Lives almost every Thursday evening, talking about what’s new and showing styling tips. I wasn’t used to being in front of the camera, but by the end of the year, I loved doing these. My customers also slowly migrated on to Instagram. It's such a great way to stay in touch.
Photo: Beautiful moon rise at Joshua Tree.
Most of the year was spent in lockdown and my husband really didn’t venture out. However in October we did make it down to Joshua Tree. That was such a magical place. I saw some of the most beautiful sunsets and moonrises. More on this trip later.
Photo: Me as a model wondering how long my hair is gonna get before we have a vaccination.
And the last, very funny pivot was I became my own model. I hope I don’t have to do this often but when literally up against a wall, I got it done.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for being here. You are my community and I appreciate you. I’ve learned so many valuable lessons from this pandemic from a personal and business standpoint. I’m sure you have too. I’d love to hear how you’ve pivoted, discovered new skills, or found resilience this year. Please let me know in the comments below. Let’s get to know each other better. It matters.
Here's to a healthier, happier 2021.
p.s. To keep up with my goings on, join my email list in the footer and follow me on Instagram. I'm going live there every Thursday evening at 6 pm PT.
Great story and photos, Jenny!