Seeking beauty in the year to come 

Published 4:46 pm Friday, January 3, 2020


Life With a Smile

It’s an exhilarating experience — stumbling across a new passion. 

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There you are, going about your business, living your life with cheerful enthusiasm and maybe even a bit of sparkle, when — wham — out of the blue, you encounter something that lights a new flame.

This intro could be the start of a romance novel. And, in fact, there are some parallels to how, two years ago, I unexpectedly encountered the man who would become my partner while I was sweatily selling beer at a downtown music concert. Wham, indeed.

But this story is about art. 

This fall, I discovered a new creative passion in the form of glass mosaic. I’ve dabbled in several art forms over the years, steadily increasing my exposure and interest since I began working at the Art Center in 2014. First it was small art quilts, then linoleum block printmaking. I tried my hand at ceramics but didn’t click with it. Then, on a whim, I took a beginner mosaic class.

And I was hooked.

After that first class, I practically sprinted to the nearest craft store to get supplies, ordering more online and rearranging our den to become my in-home studio. I joined Instagram (at last) just so I could follow mosaic artists and started participating in an online mosaic mentoring group. Ideas swirl around my brain faster than I can keep up with. Hours pass unnoticed when I’m working on a project. My heart sings with each completed piece, even though I recognize that they’re pretty rough around the edges. 

I don’t necessarily have a lot to say with my art just yet. My mosaics aren’t addressing climate change or social injustice or providing a biting commentary on the complex impacts of toxic masculinity. I just think they’re beautiful – both the process and the product. 

And it occurs to me that somewhere in that concept lies a pretty good new year’s resolution. Seek Beauty. 

I like to keep it simple. The first year after my divorce, my resolution was to Be Brave. Another year, it was to “be gentle.” For 2019, I vowed to “mean it.” This year, an intentional focus on beauty appeals to me. 

I’ll admit that I’m not naturally observant or introspective. I’m purpose driven and goal oriented. I do things. Lots of things. There isn’t always a lot of time and emotional space for smelling roses or pondering the nature of the cosmos. It’s just not my style. 

But maybe, with practice, it could be. Perhaps, if I remind myself to seek beauty, I will find more of it. 

The world can be an ugly place. Just read the comments section of virtually any online newspaper article. Or heck, just scan the headlines themselves. The world is (literally) burning, there’s a new mass shooting nearly every week, and our government has been hijacked by an incoherent, narcissistic bully who is intent on turning the country into his own private piggy bank while promoting hatred of the most vulnerable members of our society. 

I am in desperate need of more beauty in my life. Surely, I am not alone in this.

But this year, let’s not just hope that beauty finds us, friends. I know it’s out there. Let’s pursue it.