During this time, the fellowship of making art with other people is a big missing for me. Art making is how I stay balanced. It is how I release my stress after a long day at work. Making art with other people creates special affinities.

Under quarantine, things are a bit different. Telecommuting for a work-a-holic personality is all consuming. At the end of the day, I am exhausted from having been SWITCHED ON for hours. I just don’t have it in me to call anyone, organize or hop on a ZOOM to say in touch with my community.

Lately, the few calls I do make, i’m learning about the passing of a mutual friend or family member due to covid-19. I tense up when the phone rings now. And the sentimental TV spots are starting to annoy me. I’m tired.

The one thing I look forward to is the 7:00pm Cheer for Heathcare and Essential Workers. The clapping, banging on pots and hooting and hollering each night with my high rise neighbors is a welcome release.

This is my new community. I now find myself listening for a certain scream from a building on Morgan Street or a particular clanking of a pot from the high rise in front of my roof deck. Hello new friends, thank you for keeping me sane.

Flash Back to Art House Big Mouth Workshop

One thought on “Rethinking Community

  1. Hi Theda,

    I met you in Jersey City at the exhibit at the hotel back at the end of February – what seems like a few centuries ago!! I am friends with Valerie Dearing, who you know from Baltimore I think. I was unable to join you in your community yarn activities as I was going the next day to be a vendor in Virginia to see if I could sell the fabric I had designed – and then, of course, Covid hit, so all bets are off as they say.

    Meanwhile, this morning I came upon a video of a talk given by a woman artist who died several days ago from Covid – she was 89. I watched this video and thought of you as she was discussing how she had made a body of work in which she invited other women to tilt canvases in various ways so that the oil on them would be forced by gravity to pool and form sacs. She also discussed another project on which she had invited women to write their thoughts about nuclear devastation onto pillowcases, which were subsequently used in installation pieces. She was way ahead of her time in my opinion in that she was addressing the environment (specifically the threat of nuclear annihilation). Though I am not at all an installation artist, I found her and her work to be extremely interesting, and her using other people to help her make her art reminded me of your hair projects.

    This is the name of the video, which you can see on YouTube: Helene Aylon: Whatever is Contained, Must Be Released

    Meanwhile, my heart goes out to you, reading that you are having to reconfigure your art since we cannot share space anymore. For me, I have been putting off getting a decent fine art website up for a VERY long time (too embarrassed to share exactly how long that’s been), so instead of using this time to create, I am using it to work on my web site, once and for all. Of course, this is in between eating, exercising (Chi Gong on YouTube, I have discovered!!!), and, mostly, talking on the phone and/or ZOOMing with family and friends to try to keep sane, so I am still not getting done as much as I want.

    Anyway, take care of yourself.

    All my best,

    Miriam Jacobs

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