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  • Dianne Cutler

I feel like I am eating glass.

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

The Passing: Original Botanical Monoprints Created By Boiling Plant Material Onto Paper.

"My mom is now hiking the cosmos," said my niece. I sat with that thought for a minute. I rather like that analogy. I lost my sister to breast cancer this year. I'd like to think she is off on another adventure, in a different universe, looking at us all with an understanding that we can't seem to find ourselves. I'm hoping she found a less hostile place than planet Earth. I also lost my father. And while not unexpected, no less painful with the gaping hole that now exists in my life. I witnessed a lot of suffering this year. I'm not sure there is anything more painful than to watch the people you love struggle with every last breath they can muster to stay alive. I'm not sure why things have to end this way except maybe God, The Universe, whatever you want to call He/She or Nothing, maybe they make it so painful that everyone just wants it to end. Because watching the suffering is worse than the void left behind. Everyone is ready to let go. Well, maybe not ready, but perhaps resigned that it's really happening. The icing on the cake this year was learning my brother has an aggressive form of prostate cancer. While the surgery was successful, it's like a watching a trailer of a drama series set to run in 2022 and you don't know how the story is going to end. It's true, you know. Life becomes more precious the older you become. Things that matter, things that don't matter come into better focus. That being said, I'm not sure what is happening on the planet. I think we are losing our noodle. Our lifelines to compassion, tolerance, empathy, kindness, understanding are being stretched to the point of failure leaving behind broken tendrils. I feel like I'm eating glass. So, I retreat to my studio. I can spend days at a time there and be just fine in my own head, in my own heart. Someone once told me my work is prolific. What is the alternative? I see people entertaining themselves all the time with things and people that don't really matter, trying to fill the hole. I get it. I have my moments of late night shopping. I will admit I make a lot of trips to Goodwill. But, I think I am becoming more mindful of my time, of my goals, of the people I surround myself with, of the intention of my work and what it is that I want to say. This year I took a deep dive into the world of eco printing and what a rabbit hole it was. I studied fabrics such as cotton, wool, and silk. I learned about detergents and natural dyes and multiple techniques using all these different fabrics. And then there was the trial and error of plants material: what prints and how and what doesn't leave any botanical fingerprint. The tunnel is still headed south. I still have so much to learn and my list is long. 2022 is just around the corner. Tomorrow I will make some space to contemplate all that has shaped my year, light a candle for my father and my sister, set my intention to create something that is true to my heart, and end with a prayer of thanks that I have another day on this crazy beautiful planet to recreate myself again and again and again.

My Dad holding his great granddaughter, Nora.

My sister, Laurie, a couple of years before she knew of her breast cancer.

When my brother picks me up from the airport, we always stop for an ice cream on the way home.

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