Thursday, January 10, 2019

A new year

Why is it that a blank slate can be so darned intimidating? That first mark is so difficult to make? I've been sitting here, fingers poised on the keyboard, looking at the computer screen and trying in vain to figure out what to say in my first post...oh...for the past 10 minutes at least.

Lots of things have gone through my mind. Like I knew at 8 yrs old that my dream was to be an artist. That I grew up with a mom and grandmother who quilted, sewed, crocheted, cross stitched, etc. That I still have all the Barbi clothes that my mom and aunt sewed - including sequined gowns! That growing up surrounded by fiber, fabric, color, texture and craftsmanship ensured my love of craft and all that it entails. Is it any wonder that I became a fiber artist?

I currently find myself at a crossroads in my creative life. 


That last line from my first ever blog post back on January 10, 2010 gave me a good chuckle this morning. Is there ever truly a time in an artist's life when we don't feel that at some sort of crossroads creatively? There may be moments of surity, yet how fleeting are they? Or is it only me? For 9 years later, that sentence still applies.

I've been absent from the blogging world most of the last 2 years. A bit of the sabbatical can be attributed to the ease of Instagram, but the real reason was a confluence of events and topography that left me in a deep depression beginning in October 2016.

Waiting = Stitching, red circle #7, 2017, Jennifer Coyne Qudeen
All I seemed capable of for months was sitting on the couch, watching tv and hand stitching red circles.

A black hole had engulfed me and it took a literal change of scenery -

a family vacation to Whistler, British Columbia - 

to jostle me out of the hole...or at least close enough to the rim that I could begin to figure out how to get out completely. 

I'm still a work in process...and most likely will be for quite a while. One realization has been that I am not only a person who loves open spaces and abundant sunlight, but am one who needs them to be happy and thrive.

So I get myself out of the house more often, taking this big guy for walks, 

enjoying the view at Wilton Library while doing administrative type work,

meeting friends for lunch or chatting on the phone,

and watching my daughters ski. Ellie took first place this past weekend in the first race of the season. She's the cutie on the left. We're looking forward to the day that both our girls are on the podium. There's another race this Sunday...

A new year brings new attitides, new beginnings, new plans and new possibilities.
Here's wishing you all a very creative, inspiring and joyful 2019.


  1. Dear J - so good to see you back! I Have missed your presence in blog land, and am so happy for you that you are finding the top of that hole and stepping up into the light and the air and the breezes...looking forward to seeing what's next xF

    1. It's good to be back Fiona. During the deepest part of the depression, in order to avoid venomous comments on FB after the election, or the resultant news, etc., I wouldn't even turn my laptop on...sometimes for weeks. Because that's my portal to the blogging world, the result was a total disconnect, which then became a habit. And, as we all know, habits can be difficult to break.

      I have dearly missed the connections made in the blogging community as not turning my laptop on also meant no emails were written and sent to keep in contact with dear friends. And for that, I am most sorry.

      Here's to new beginnings with dear friends!

  2. sometimes we are in a depression without knowing it

    this is a beautiful post. congratulations to Ellie for all her hard work
    and congratulations to you for all of yours
    Happy New Year 2019

    1. Thank you for your kind words Judy. They truly are appreciated.

      As you said, sometimes we are in a depression without knowing it and, in hindsight, I have been in a low level depression since moving to Connecticut due to the topography of the area. It's odd to me because I actually love living up here - it's the small towns, the convenience of things, the opportunities (especially since we're so close to NYC), the community, etc.

      While I knew that I wasn't as happy as I'd been growing up in Virginia, it never occurred to me that the unhappiness was a form of depression until I asked a friend who now lives out west if the trees on the east coast bother her when she visits family. Her response was like the proverbial light bulb being turned on in my brain and so much suddenly made sense.

      Happy 2019 to you and your loved ones!

  3. Jennifer, I am so excited to hear from you today in your blog post... and to be able to tell you how much of a support and hugely wonderful influence and inspiration to me continuing my own work when days were dark/confusing and the art was not pouring onto the design wall. I have saved so many of your posts and images of your beautiful work. They are first folders in my inspiration file drawers. The stitch, colour composition and bright joy you have put into your creative work ARE all a guiding light to many of us. You earned a break! So glad you are back! Love Connecticut - what a beautiful region!

    I love that your daughters are skiing and enjoying an outdoor passion that will support their health for the rest of their lives! Cheer on, great Mom!

    Bethany in Kingston, ON

    1. Bethany, I honestly don't know what to say to adequately convey the gratitude I feel right how for your lovely words. Thank you doesn't seem quite enough, but please know that it is a heartfelt and very grateful Thank You.

  4. I echo others in saying how happy I was to see your blog post pop up ... you have been much missed. May 2019 bring you (and all who come here) full measures of peace and joy

    1. Many thanks Liz! May your 2019 be filled with joy, peace, love and lots of studio time!

  5. Well, I don't know you but your work has been an inspiration for some time. I totally understand the red circle thing. I had a series of family deaths in very quick succession and became fixated on a piece of coral fossil, believe it or not. I drew it and drew it, made papier mache copies of it. I even took it on a trip to Boston with it in my suitcase. I was afraid to leave it behind in case 'something happened' to it while I was away! I've still got it. Dropped it twice and smashed it and glued it together again. When I looked at your circles I saw a bird circling, looking to find the best place to land. Red is a very invigorating colour too, being the colour of life blood. All very positive. I look forward to your future blogs. :) Ann Isik

    1. Thank you Ann for your kind words and for sharing your story with me. Isn't it amazing what our brains latch onto to get us through a difficult time? I'm glad you had the coral to keep you company and be an outlet when one was needed. How's it doing these days? I picture it settled on a shelf in your studio, quietly surveying all and keeping you company.

      As for me, I've always loved circles and see them as the representation for so many things, mostly though, for life itself. That you saw a bird circling, looking for a safe landing spot, is wonderful - and very apt for, in highsight, that's what I was doing.

      Thank you Ann. Enjoy!

  6. thank you for sharing your thoughts and journey ~ sometimes it is just a conversation or stepping back and viewing a moment in time, that alters our thinking on a situation ~ so glad you had one of those moments, that brought change to you. Stay happy & well dear lady.


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