Had the pleasure and honor to attend the Kids Peace Foster Care and Family Services 2019 Fundraiser cruise aboard the Rip Van Winkle in Kingston, NY. My dear friend and neighbor, Beverly Johnson, was recognized as having done a fantastic job in selling tickets for the fundraiser. Beverly is a foster parent. She’s an amazing foster mom. Richard and I will begin foster parent training in the coming months…Yes, you read that right….Stay tuned. #gratitude
I bought these vintage Alain Mikli frames at the Manhattan Vintage Fair in 2002 for $25! They sat in a drawer for all that time, until I saw a clear pair of the same AM frames on Etsy. I had forgotten about these. I am so excited to have pulled them out and have had them fitted with my prescription. I wanted rose colored lenses. It’s official, I am looking at the world through rose colored glasses. The world is beautiful!
I’m having so much fun with building this garden. It’s taken several years. The creative process brings joy.
This garden is bringing me so much joy this summer. The neighbors love it too. Gardens are to be shared. The way the plants wander through, wrap and intertwine Richard’s rusty sculptures is for me, a lesson in resilience coupled with transformation.
Immensely grateful for the moment by moment struggle to move…grow…change…learn…open…listen…do…be…accept…love…live…connect…Made it to 55…Sending out Love to you!!!!!
Birthdays are not a given…I am so enjoying my garden this year…Gratitude.
I’m obsessed with vintage millinery fabric flowers that I’m listing in our Etsy shop Artivisticvintage.
He watched her
She was dressed in long fine jeans and green cowboy boots
Brown butterflies graced the tips of her shit kicking toes
Slender fingers playing over a silver platter of old silk millenary flowers
She bit her full lip in thought
Switching out different flower combinations
Placing them on the design wall in her mind
He spotted her from the other side of the flea market
His stares went undetected
Shielded by the blue lenses of 1920s round sunglasses
Feigning interest in an old phonograph
Flipping through boxes of heavy 78s
He watched her
How she moved
How her eyelashes fanned her face as she looked down
How her auburn dreadlocks swung passed her shoulders
He wanted to feel her breath against his cheek
He wasn’t browsing
With primordial intention
He made his way over to her
He passed by tables ladened with porcelain china and milk glass
Bowls of mysterious skeleton keys
The flea market was suspended in the air
Tapestries and quilts floated around her
Lead crystals and glass door knobs were her aura
Reflecting the sun into prismatic stars
He tracked her through the asphalt aisles of the 26th Street Flea Market
Wading through centuries locked inside steam trunks
Climbing over vintage furs, oil lamps, Mission chairs
Leather bound books, piles of lives
Overcoming a velvet sofa
Didn’t even notice the taxidermy bear
Indian summer in New York City
No blazing red maples
Only yellow cabs careening up 6th Avenue
No leaves burning
Only urban musk and hot lattes
There by the clouded gilded mirror
He picked up her scent
He inhaled his deepest fear of dying in a fire
He stopped breathing
He was done for
From the beginning of time and before they were born
The universe patiently waited
He was at her side, his arm by her elbow
Reaching over to the platter of old silk flowers
He met his fate
Entering her frame
He too was fingering silk flowers
She was engrossed in deep purples, dusty rose, intricate crystal grapes
Finally, he broke the air between them
What are you going to do with these flowers?
She turned her face to him
He fought to keep from falling into the pool of her almond eyes
She took him in
This man with round blue sunglasses
Shock of loose grey hair
Mustache reminiscent of her father’s
Silver and turquoise belt buckle
I’m making handbags
His accent was outrageous
She was amused by his eccentricity
He made her laugh
The more he talked
She became intrigued
The longer his eyes locked with hers
He became determined
Shelita Birchett Benash
Walking the Back woods.
Chadd and Donna walk in beauty.
Another 4.5 miles around the lake. Ran in the rain this morning. Saw Chadd in all God's beauty. I made two cairns along the trail for Chadd. Two sacred memorials for Chadd. I want him to stay close.
Ran the lake today. While I was out there, I thought of my nephew, Chadd. I thought how I saw that Red Robin in the woods behind the house where he lived with his parents in Columbia South Carolina. Chadd's spirit was close that weekend. And I feel he is very close now.
This is a conversation with my nephew, who transitioned from this earth at the age of 30 years old. I need to process this new state of being in the world and my family. Chadd is no longer here with us. These haiku are meditations and prayers. I am chanting for my nephew's spirit to stay close.
This piece reflects my love of art glass, vintage glass and swaroski crystals. Work in Progress.
I've been accepted into the Rutgers School of Social Work MSW Program Fall 2018. I will specialize in clinical social work with a certificate in aging and health. As a mature student and Baby Boomer I am interested in studying the solo aging demographic, as well as the benefits of proactive and creative aging. I am so honored and excited to be on this journey of self-discovery through service. The Rutgers School of Social Work graduate program is exactly what I've been looking for. There is a daunting amount of work ahead of me. Still, my life's work and my art work are merging. I am forging my passion for the arts with the creative aging movement.
Now, I've not been posting to my blog because Richard and I are experiencing significant life challenges with remaking our home after the farmhouse fire in November. I am so grateful for god's grace, as I pushed through with the Rutgers MSW rigorous graduate application process. I'm so glad that I did not relinquish this goal or put it off.
I look forward to sharing this journey. Gratitude.
Richard and I have experienced a tectonic shift in our lives. There was the life before our house fire on November 10, 2017. The fire wiped away what once was...as it purged a significant part of what was our home. Subsequently, we have relocated to a rental property that we own in, Beacon, NY. As our house in Shawangunk needs serious renovations. Still, we are grateful for God's grace, as we are reminded of what is real and what is most valuable in this world.
This Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year Day, I provided companionship and family support at the Kaplan Family Hospice Residence, where I am a certified hospice volunteer. I've been sitting quietly with precious souls who are transitioning from this world. It is an honor to hold their hand, read, talk and to pray for them and their families. In those moments time ceases to exist, as I am experiences what is deeply human, yet super natural: our breath. We are breathing life and death in every inhalation and exhalation...And at any moment, our breath could stop...Peace.
I am so grateful for what this volunteer opportunity has brought to my life. It is a tremendous honor to serve this way. It certainly helps to keep my own life and sense of loss in perspective.
I've also joined the new cohort of volunteers for Meals on Wheels of Greater Newburgh. I will work a weekly 2 hour shift delivering meals to elders. I will write more about that experience in the coming days.
For now, I'm getting ready to leave for hospice.
Happy Blessed New Year!
I'm making recycled art necklaces for the first time. This series centers on vintage 45s.
Records are imbued with emotional context. They are tactile memories. Records were once prized possessions; and the records we bought bared Wittness to our souls. Our record collection told our friends and neighbors who we were and what was important to us. The records we owned screamed our defiance and our core nature.
In this series of mixed media art necklaces, I've combined vintage 45s with old accounting ledger board. The resulting bib necklaces are surprising to me. Suddenly, I see math. Math is beautiful! Numbers are ancient and creative. Putting it all on the record is a bold statement, too. (Pun intended.)
Pencils, also have their unique place within our sense memories...Do you remember the first time you held a pencil? for the human species, the pencil is the undisputed tool that carries us into literacy. To command a pencil, is to think, exist and be counted on this earth. Pencils are powerful.
I'm excited for where this recycled necklace series will take me.
Richard and I were honored to have been among the invited artists for the Marist College Ethical Fashion Fair 2017.
The Marist College Ethical Fashion Fair was a unique opportunity to engaged with Marist fashion majors, along with the greater student body and faculty. Conversations were lively. I made a point of asking each student and faculty member about themselves, when they approached my table to browse. Subsequently, we benefited from exchanging authentic personal points of view. I wasn't just there to sell. My interactions were intentionally meaningful and beyond transactional.
As artists who live and work green, it was a pleasure to share our sustainable wearables with the Marist College community. Richard and I enjoy the smiles and 'aha' moments as our ingenuity sparks curiosity in those who encounter our recycled works. Marist College students plan and run the entire event. They should be commended for their hard work and dedication to exposing the Marist campus to sustainable culture through fashion. Richard's recycled truck tire rubber bags and belts, made people think. My old record necklaces inspired conversations about recycling plastic materials for art in a non toxic way.
The sustainable works on display made an impression. Shopping sustainably can turn one away from blind/thoughtless consumerism, while leading toward connecting what we wear directly to individuals who make; while also celebrating the beauty of narrative based cruelty free remnants and legacies.
I've just returned home from a marvelous and deep weekend spent with my mother and sister. They allowed me to photograph them for my project. Photographing people whom I have an intimate connection with, is becoming one the most profound artistic experiences I've ever embarked upon.