I was recently sitting at my sewing machine sewing facemasks and I suddenly realized that what I was doing is going to go into the history books.
As a kid in school I read about what people did to get through the pandemic a hundred years ago and the one two hundred years ago.
How people had to nurse their loved ones because the hospitals couldn't handle all the patients and it was just dumb luck if you didn't die too. Some places had you put a mark on your door to warn others that someone in your home was sick. Bodies having to be carried through the streets and burned en masse.
It seemed surreal to me and I couldn't imagine how so many people survived it back then without all the knowledge that we'd gathered since. 30 years ago I really didn't think we could ever have a global pandemic like we did so long ago. Fast forward to a world with the Internet and an unfathomable amount of ignorance despite the amount of knowledge at our fingertips and now I know. We learned very little and sadly became complacent to our own ill-fated future.
As I sat there for hours sewing facemasks for my friends and family I wondered how all this would be written out in the end. Would we learn anything this time?
To be honest, I had to take a break from making the masks to do something else that made me feel more positive. So I turned to the Paired Hearts. At least when I make those, I know that I'm going to help someone feel a little bit of the love they've been missing. Yes, the masks are hugely important and helping to save lives and that's why I make them and can't bring myself to charge more than a couple of bucks for them, but the hearts have more.... well, they have more heart in them. The minute I read about them in another city had me drop the project I was going to start because I really felt this was more important.
For me, I need the balance between making something to save a life and making something to honour one... and as a painter I am definitely going to need to back away from the sewing machine a bit and pick up a brush soon!
That would be the next step for me. Getting back into creating artwork that I enjoy and that has only one purpose: to make someone feel something. I refuse to do commissions now (they've never gone well in the past) and this has helped me get more out of my painting. And what I get from that I'm definitely needing these days. I encourage everyone to try painting or any form of art that lets you create something from nothing. The rollercoaster of emotions and the pure distraction that comes from creating something is a therapy that has never failed and continuously grows on itself. The hardest part is not comparing your work to others and truly enjoying the thing that you've created.
Big moral lesson from all this is; do what needs to be done, don't forget to help where you can and find some time to heal yourself. After all, this is all going to go down in the history books.