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  • Andrea Durnell

What's Up With the Seasons?

Quality of life is one of the main reasons I am motivated to earn my keep on this planet as an artist. I grew up in Montana taking for granted the extreme, jaw-dropping beauty that surrounded me. I first left the state (and country) as a college student and continued my travels periodically ever since, seeking out natural wonders in the places I go. At home, in each place I have lived, I surround myself with natural beauty that can be grown, eaten (so many herbs!) and appreciated. It really is the little stuff in life that adds up. Waiting for the thyme to green up for the year, watching for the return of the hummingbirds, seeing the cardinals in the berry-clad holly bushes, watching the evergreens grow heavy with a winter snow, and even finding a slithery visitor enjoying the patio with me while I sip my coffee.

Look closely at my hats and dolls in my booth in the fall and you will see a lot of tiny clues to which season inspired each creation. If you ask me, I am likely to remember the day of their creation based on what I was seeing out my studio or workshop windows.

My work is inspired by what I have around me and nature provides a natural break in my routines by changing seasons. The grey of winter allows me to dig in and focus on the physical labor of wet felting hats. The blooming and brightening of spring changes my focus to renewing my emerging gardens and embellishing the hats I have made (usually with botanical themes of things I have growing). As spring heats up and settles into summer, I am cleaning out the dead, drying, fallen branches and finding the animal faces who will be presented at shows in the fall. We are enjoying meals outside under the shade of the big maple, and I can spend my days carving with some sweet floral breezes swirling around me. I plant a lot of old fashioned flowering annuals and tasty herbs to use in pies, breads and cocktails. Many of my dolls have a sprig in their pockets of something I have grown. The drier, cooler days of fall get me excited about baking more breads than summery, fruit-filled pies, and less work in the garden means I am free to travel to shows. The cooler days cause me to dress my carved dolls in their winter woolens and they often carry a bag that makes them appear to either be coming or going, perhaps enjoying a gathering? The crisper the days, the more people are ready to buy hats and attracted to my dolls to seat around a hearth or perch on a shelf as many people focus on the coming quiet of winter fires, perhaps a Christmas tree, and family feasts. This is my time to kick back, enjoy the fruits of my labor, and let the creative juices steep until I begin the cycle again after the holidays.

And so it goes, the rounds of seasonal change keep inspiring, feeding the creative energy with different needs according to season. Hat Season, Doll Season, Show Season and Off-Season!

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