The Quail Song
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I will never forget the days after the 2016 Presidential election. Never before had I witnessed such a division in our country. When I went into my studio during the days following the election, there was an eerie foreboding sense of what was to come. Never mind who won or lost, but the fact that people were no longer allowed to voice an opinion (either way) without being attacked.
I worked in solitude in my studio, which was among 10 other artists’ studios. Only a couple of people showed up during that time. I was sinking deeper into a sad state of mind.
A neighboring gallery was owned by three dear friends who were away in Mississippi. We kept in contact and they knew how down I was. When they returned, they brought me a small ceramic bunny made by McCarty’s pottery, a well known family of potters in Mississippi. It was just the right size to hold in my cupped hands and surprisingly gave me a feeling of comfort and calm. Was it because of the love of my friends or the tiny creation itself; probably a combination of both.
Leap ahead 4 years later, when my mom passed away. She was in a nursing home in Michigan and I was in California. The Covid-19 fear was still running high, and I was too concerned about traveling, quarantine, etc. to get on a plane. My brother who lived in Boston, was in the same situation. Thank God (and my parents) for my sisters who were there with Mom at the last moments of her life. The only way I could cope was to make art. Something for my siblings. The McCarty bunny inspired me to make my own creature of comfort and calm; a desert quail, inspired by Mom’s love of birds and my love of the desert. I first made 6; one for each of my siblings and three for my friends in Mississippi. Then I started thinking about the many people in my life that are dear to me. Not only my immediate family, but the friends that have been like family here in the desert. I just kept making the little quails and working through my grief. I soon had 50 quails taking over the back room of the studio.
The little birds needed a mom, so I made one basketball sized quail. Some of the small quails were placed in the center of the tables at my Mom's memorial and found a home with family and friends. I decided to keep several more of them to give away to my desert family; treasures in my life. I was touched to find that I didn’t have enough to give all of the special people in my life. Maybe I will make more someday.
I set aside 13, plus the mom to raise a donation for a local art center that supports artists by providing classes, low cost supplies and hosting exhibitions. Mom would have liked that.
Art is such an important part of my life. It is my voice. It allows me to sing without making a sound. Enjoy my song.