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“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Some of my earliest memories are of drawing pictures on sketch-pads atop the old brown shag rug of my first family home. As a five-year old, I would draw, colour or paint for what seemed like hours; and my love of creating new things began to hold an intoxicating sway over me. From that moment on, I needed art in my life. I needed beauty around me, I needed to make things beautiful, or to have beautiful things come from my very hands. It was powerful, and it made me feel less small. Perhaps this is how you feel about art too: that it is essential; and without it, life is lacking.
There is a lot of hurt in this world, but there are two powerful lessons that this busted-up life can teach us: 1) beauty helps us to survive when things are hard, and 2) beauty is everywhere - and I mean it - everywhere: even in the darkest dark, beauty is there; and it is the soothing balm to our wounds. That is the sage wisdom we can take from seeing how pain is transformed into art (all artists have been keen to use art as an outlet): beauty is healing. This is where Sage & Balm was born: I needed to learn and apply and to be wise to this lesson and soothe the hurts by doing what I was called to do.
This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Five years ago, my husband and I learned we were going to have a daughter! Up until that point, I had been working in a wellness clinic following a Masters of Science program. I found myself struggling to work in an environment that was becoming perpetually frustrating and competitive. I often had a persisting niggle at the back of my mind to continue making art, but I struggled for years to ignore the urge to be creative because it just wasn't “practical” and perhaps then, not worth pursuing. I told myself that my creative outlets would have to remain quaint hobbies – relegated to “spare” or empty spaces in my day-to-day. Any creative person would burst into laughter at that: as if you can ever change who you are and turn the faucet on and off when needed! I'd come home from work,aching for an artistic outlet. I'd refinish furniture (my other love), and I'd paint, or sketch, or play the piano - anything creative at all. I started to pick up my old point-and-shoot camera and dapple in taking interesting photos that were entirely my own. Then when the time came for my daughter to be born, I had a fixed idea of who I was and where I thought I was going, and how life would be as a mother.
But then I had a tragic and utterly devastating experience having my daughter, and not only that: she was born with several birth defects and underwent multiple procedures and surgeries to keep her alive. It all broke me. I could not cope, and I was completely and utterly broken...and I'd never be the same. It was the darkest dark.
Besides help from friends and family, photography and other art forms are how I picked up the pieces. Trauma and PTSD had shattered my perceptions about the world, so I had to take a hard look at how to move forward. My parents kindly realized that my picture-taking hobby had started to become more of a compulsion to deal with the pain, and taking photos was something I could not slake. Finding beauty in my every day through my lens became an anchor to me. My parents gave me my first good DSLR camera that helped me to hone my photography skills, and that was that: I was head over heels for good!
After that, I was compelled to have a creative outlet, and after years of practice, tutorials, workshops, vending shows, (and did I mention practice?), I started to sell my work. I particularly resonated with the "abandoned" genre of photography where a seemingly dark and crumbling place could still be captivatingly pretty in its own way. It is really the story of life - the beautiful cycle of death and rebirth.
I really love photography and finding beauty no matter where I find myself. I love transforming what I see through my lens into a piece of art that has the ability to form a connection between myself and my customers. How personal and beautiful is that – to have someone connect with my images and display them in their home, office, or business? I am thankful for that. I am thankful that you are even reading this! Perhaps you too, have experienced the darkest dark, but have found that art has led you to know that beauty is special, and it is there, waiting in the dark.
I heal a little more everyday, and photography has a very special place in my heart for giving me that. You must also know too well that life can be challenging: but life with art is very much worth living, isn't it? I thank you for joining me on this journey to seek, find, and create beauty from the world around us. I want you to feel as though my pieces let some beauty into your home or workspace. On days that seem dark, I hope that you can look at my photography and feel as though you are not alone, and that your space is just a little bit brighter for it. Let's continue to bring more beauty and art into our spaces and our lives, for beauty really is everywhere.
" From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
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