I hope you all managed to get some kind of winter break/rest/respite/ stillness before forging ahead in what continue to be challenging times. Valentine's Day is coming up soon and it seems a good time to talk about love. I am from New York but live in Scotland. In the United States, Valentine's Day is for everyone, and I love that. Maybe you'll get an extra special one for your beloved. When I was a kid, you got or made a valentine for every single person in your class, whether they were your best friend or someone you didn't know so well. That was around 30 valentines. And you got one from every single person in your class. Here, it's different. You get one for your one true love (or the one you want to be your one true love) and pretty much, only them. One of my studio mates back in Edinburgh had never received a valentine (!) so I made her one. Personally, I prefer the valentines-are-for-everyone approach. Life has been hard for all of us for some time now. Our connections with others are what keep us going, whether you live with someone, or your connections are digital via Zoom, video calls, and social media just now. I know for myself, the pandemic has really brought into focus how much I love my friends, whom I couldn't do without. Our mutual support system is such a cherished thing, one that deserves celebrating. My heart ornaments are a meaningful way to do that. Each one comes gift boxed with a label that reads: "This hand hammered heart ornament is one of my favorite ornaments to make and what I love about it is that it is bent, battered, and beaten, and yet it is still shining gold, like a little human soul. May it remind you of the resilience each one of us has, and no matter what life metes out, that we still shine. 24 Karat gold over hand hammered brass." The pandemic has bent and battered us all to varying extents. These hand hammered hearts are a lovely way to express your love, encouragement, and appreciation for those in your life who are battling on, perhaps as front line workers, teachers, health workers, carers, or as stalwart rocks in your life. They are also a gift from the depths of your heart for those who are really struggling. Recently I had the good fortune to partake of an online residency for artists in many different fields from music to theatre to sculpture to dance. Every day we had assigments. One of them was, if you could talk to anyone in your past, what would you say? So I sent out emails to beloved people from my past. What heart-filling joy to hear back from some, and in a bit of magic, I've heard from others at the same time. In these times, cherish the love in your life where you find it. Cast your net widely. So go on. Make someone's day. Let them know that you are grateful they are in your life. Call. text. Send them a drawing (it doesn't have to be good) or a recipe (it would be nice if it were good). Or maybe a wee gift. You are the sunshine in someone's life. Keep beaming where and when you can. The universe is grateful.
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