The Slow Website Movement
So this business about updating one’s website…
In 2011, I thought I should finally begin to move on that great idea I had to update my trusty flash based website. Turns out, the trusty bit was beginning to fade. Kicking since 2004, my site’s little can-do-attitude just wasn’t fancy enough to keep up with the rapidly growing technology that was on the scene. Mobile devices and tablets emerged and there we were, just like that: vintage. (Gasp!) In my mind, I made due with “charming vintage” and life moved along. I had to make peace with what it was. At the time, my family and I were living in Ontario and life was busy: we were in the throws of two little ones and a pregnancy, setting up life in a new country, buying and fixing up a house, full time ministry, part time design work, and I was also trying to be in the studio painting.
We were in the throws.
Creating a new site seemed a far off hope. So I plodded along. Tiny bits here, little scraps there. Hoping that over time, over dirty diapers and over day-dreamt crumbs, that I wouldn’t lose track of all of this. I went along at the only pace I could muster, the pace of a family who cares about people and relationships and shared meals and spontaneous chats with neighbors in the front yard. This is the green grass of life. Life in community. This is the beautiful mess of a life that doesn’t stop. It tumbles and snowballs and then you add more kids and more friends and more cities and it grows on, gaining momentum, growing beautifully; intricate, weathered and wild. But what it doesn’t grow is elegantly designed portfolio websites. No, it doesn’t. This one I had to fight for. And so I plugged along. But the thing was, it wan’t at the world’s pace.
It wasn’t at the world’s pace.
This can cause all sorts of trouble, turns out. I think I may have lost some of you along the way. But hey, that’s okay! I wish everyone the best, I really do. We are so bombarded with the “new” – New websites! New experiences! New styles! New food! New kombucha-ginger-wasabi-dahl-from-that-tiny-island-no-one-has-yet-heard-of-packaged-in-a-hand-made-tin-from-sustainably-harvested-buckwheat-by-children-rescued-from-over-chlorinated-swimming-pools. What? You haven’t heard of this yet? Ah, yes, the tyranny of the NEW. There’s so much of it that you can start to feel lost.
Meanwhile, my little family and I have been swimming in the sea of the everyday. Take mealtime for example. Eating dinner takes a long time because 80% of that time is untying knots in bibs and reminding kids not to eat with their thumbs and I’m wiping messy faces and sweeping under the table for the fortieth time that week (well maybe wishing I had swept). This is where I’ve been. I once was lost but now I’m found. I once felt like I would be lost if I wasn’t swimming in the current of the “new.” But enter GRACE! Enter meaning! This is where I’ve been: Besides continuing to make art, I’ve been making a home(s), making babies (fun!), making friends and yearning hard with God’s steady hand to make our life meaning-full. You know, art does that. Art beautifies and glorifies and points us in the direction of the divine. It’s just that sometimes we get confused and we look outside of ordinary for the divine. Turns out ordinary takes time.
Four years later, this little site has finally taken shape. You are here! Reading this. Maybe you’ve been following my artistic journey from my get-go. Thanks for sticking it out. You are probably used to it now, but this is how we get things done around here: we use old fashioned time. Because I won’t move along in my business if it means leaving my family or my friends behind. I think I learned my lesson when I was doing full time art festivals around the country. I was too busy for a meaning-full life. I no longer choose that path for myself anymore.
There is a quote from the magical Rilke in my artist statement that speaks about gestation and patience. It will never not be a part of my artist statement because I think he hits the nail on the head when he says this:
“Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.”
Things take time. This website, this little life of mine as an artist and a wife and mother, well it is unfolding, growing, gestating. So welcome to the slow-website movement. Leave it to me to try to pair two things that seen completely at odds with each other: slow + technology. (I love to see possibility where there is none!) You’ve seen it here first, folks.
What I’ve really desired over the years was for my website to be a catalog of my work history, accompanied by story. The words that I share alongside each painting are deeply important to me. It feels good to finally put the two formally together. I pray this blesses you.
More on that later. For now, enjoy perusing this labor of love. Make yourself a cup of tea and enter the gates of the slow-website movement…may you discover a meaning-full gem along the way. I’ll catch up with you when the time is right.
→ Black and White Photographs courtesy the talented Stephi-O Photography ←