Re-Treat

 
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When we started making chocolate four years ago it seemed as though I never had enough. I pined for more hours in the day, more room to experiment and more courage to make mistakes. Like anyone who devotes their life to a creative endeavor knows, such a discipline can be as isolating as it is rewarding.

But of all the things in short supply, what I really needed most was perspective.

When Sophia, Lauren and I first conceived of Mujeres Milagros, our motivation was simple — step away from the demands of our daily lives and gather with like-minded “women in chocolate” in a serene, supportive space. We had no way of knowing if the idea would resonate but we dared to imagine. Worst case scenario, the three of us would relax at a private hacienda outside Santa Fe, watching the sun rise and fall over a mystical mountain range while commiserating over a stash of decadent craft bars.

 

 

Mindful conversations, intentional bonding, nurturing food.

 

 

More mantra than mission statement it was, ultimately, a selfish motivation — a connection we desired for ourselves, intimate in both scale and intention. What resulted, however, was nothing less than a magnificent confluence.

One by one, the most perfect women walked through the massive antique Puebla doors and swiftly into our hearts. They were real — these brilliant women — and they not only shared our passion for cacao but a desire for something more transcendent than working for work’s sake.

Over the next few days, we laughed and cried and shared many, many bars as we reconnected with the reasons we all fell in love with cacao in the first place. And, after only a few remarkable days, the retreat had easily become one of the sweetest things I’ve had the pleasure of bringing into the world via Batch.

As we approach another year of making, I’m still unclear as to the kind of impact I might have on craft chocolate as a maker. I am abundantly confident, however, that this little sweet spot we’ve created in the desert has the magic to transform the women who graciously walk a similar path. 

This year’s retreat will “celebrate the art of chocolate” with a healthy balance of playful and meaningful.

For me, finally, enough.

Art, Party

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A collection of my latest, New Mexico-inspired drawings and paintings will make their debut at a two-day exhibition hosted at Gallery 5 (above) in Old Town, Rock Hill this November. For those of you not interested in torturous suspense, follow along on Instagram as I continue to post sneak peeks in the coming weeks.

 
 
 

 
 
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Admission to the sale is free and open to the public

Fri, Nov 17 + Sat, Nov 18 / 11am–7pm
131 E Main St, Rock Hill, SC

 

 

The new series will be displayed alongside work from accomplished painters Harriet Marshall Goode and Tom Stanley. In addition to impressive careers as working artists, both Harriet and Tom are steadfast arts advocates. The holiday sale will be a perfect opportunity to add work from these significant artists to your collection.

 

 
 
 

The holiday sale will be part of Old Town’s 2nd Annual Art Party, a 3-day celebration of visual and performing arts in South Carolina’s first state-recognized cultural district. From November 16–18, local and regional artists will showcase their work at locations throughout Old Town Rock Hill, SC including a juried exhibition, open artist studios, a special performance by XOXO plus workshops and seminars.

 

 

Not Even Evanescence

 
This Woman’s Work GOLD LEAF + CHARCOAL ON PAPER 11 X 14 IN

This Woman’s Work

GOLD LEAF + CHARCOAL ON PAPER

11 X 14 IN


 

Feels like I’m storm-chasing

caging beauty before it escapes,

watching precious flakes of metal

get swept away 

like fireflies on the breeze.

 

But I know, now, that nothing eludes

nothing evades.

 

Not the essential,

the essence,

not even evanescence.

 

It’s inside

of me

awaiting

a kind of palace.

 

 

With Altitude

 

 

I am a teenager
for the first time,
again
Out here —
a ripe mango
in the wild


I left on a Friday
By Saturday I was pumped full
With altitude
With air
With a delirious appetite


I imagined myself
floating above him
Like I did when we first met
in his truck, at the lake
On the roadside
At the ocean
Wild


My hair licking him clean
His hands,
two hands,
both hands —
All hands
on my hips


Before he knew it was my weakness
my undoing
I ached for him
like
a teenager
Again
with visions of movies
and stars
to hang my lust upon


We moved like music
all waves and electricity
The outside of him
inside
me.

 

 

Myopic

Grateful AF OIL, WAX + COPPER LEAF ON PANEL 24 X 24 X 1.5 IN

Grateful AF

OIL, WAX + COPPER LEAF ON PANEL

24 X 24 X 1.5 IN

 

 

Artist Statement

 

 

My drawings and paintings explore a real and persistent preoccupation with ritual, order, learning and growth.

 

 

Building upon two decades in illustration and design, my newest body of work, “Myopic,” abandons a reliance on ones and zeros in pursuit of tangible artifacts that are both timely and timeless.

I invite the viewer to join my conversation via the shimmer of metal leaf, the sensuousness of wax, iconic words and symbols and interactive magnifiers.

Rejecting the ethereal nature of a virtual world, I attempt to transform myself into the kind of human I want to be through the rigors of making. To be patient, I make work that requires patience. Preciousness to become gentle. Boldness to embolden.

My studio is a meritocracy where growth and work are rewarded over safety and luck. In this space where “Command-Z” no longer exists, I am slowly learning to yield control.

Making

It’s 4:30 am and I’m in my studio. These quiet hours before the sun raises itself over the hill outside my window are magic-filled.

I light a candle, smoke and embers, and dream of old masters layering burnt umber on linen beneath a flickering flame. I wonder, what would be on their canvas this pre-dawn morning?


I try to imagine all the kindred souls pulled from the arms of a warm lover into the darkness to create, create, create...


Why did it take me so long to get here?

I guess I used to save it up, waiting for the right time. For the thoughts worth giving voice to, the ideas worth painting. To have something worth saying while I gathered the skills to say it.

But on these mornings I’m no longer distracted by a struggle to divine something novel and new. Instead, my studio has filled with drawings and paintings that simply trace the arc of my years. They are easy and honest, replete with the lucid, precious things I have seen and felt and learned.

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As the glow outside my window grows, I know this time will not be forever, so I cherish the making while I can.

Into and out of the darkness, no mornings or candles left unspent.

Why I Quit Being Social

Lately I’ve been sharing a lot of dreamy things — our extended trip through Europe... an epic hike around the Alps... the upcoming release of an inspired collection of art and chocolate… 

And while it’s been marvelous broadcasting any and all of these endeavors, there’s one adventure I wasn’t able to share until now.


I fired myself from my company.


The decision was a few years in the making but the conversations, negotiations and legalese that made the separation official were completed just before I stepped onto a plane bound for Portugal. And while being on another continent was a welcome distraction for almost two months, I knew I’d have to tell the world once we returned. 

Fortunately, breaking the news went so smoothly that, looking back, there was no reason for a self-respecting, C-level, type-A personality like me to have Googled “How to Write a Farewell Letter When Leaving a Job” in the first place. 

Though I didn’t include warm and fuzzy gems like “I’ve enjoyed my tenure here,” or “Thanks for your support during my time at ABC company,” I’m proud to report that the top-shelf folks in my life eagerly embraced the announcement.

It was, ironically, the dialog with myself that ended up being the most difficult. 

After working tirelessly for more than 13 years to build my utopian version of a design studio, Social was the most stable, capable and creative iteration I have known. Not to mention, I was finally entering a time in my career when I could exit worker bee mode to guide the next generation of talented folks that shared my vision.

So WTF?

In short, being at the helm of Social no longer makes sense for me.

While I am proud of the collaborator, mentor and business owner that Social helped me become, I regret to admit that the years of hustling to fulfill the dreams and demands of others has left me incapable of tending to my own. It would seem I got so caught up in being Social that I forgot how to be my own person.


I crave the freedom to experiment with new ways of making, including the pressure to perform and the potential to fail, uninhibited by feeling responsible for others.


Rather than alter the trajectory of our work by bending projects to my will or redirecting the energy of our team, I learned to finally accept that I would travel this path alone. Of course, “alone” is relative when you exorcise your demons on a blog so I decided to share this here because, who knows, maybe you’re grappling with a major life decision too? (You’re not alone either, but you already knew that, didn’t you?) 

With time, I’ve come to trust that what appears to be a selfish, impetuous decision on the surface is, ultimately, best for everyone. In the event that someone should start a rumor about me entering early retirement (thanks a lot, Dad), know that I remain as curious, insatiable and obstinate as ever and I’m thrilled to be redirecting my creative energy full time into Batch.

So here’s to sometimes quitting in order to never give up. As always, I welcome you to join in the adventure.