Saint Benedict Was On to Something

In art and life, continuing is a way of beginning again.  I read this quote by Saint Benedict on the Hope*ologie site and then made a sign to refer to again for myself.  With each day, we have the opportunity to take stock of where we are, whether that fits with where we want to be, and chart a new course.   We can wipe the slate clean...or not.  Even the decision to continue with what we were doing is a kind of beginning.   Something to think about on a sunny April Thursday in Maine. ~ Dixie Redmond





"Rare" Dixie Redmond Mini Izannah Doll in Progress

Here's what I'm working on now - a mini Izzy.  She needs thumbs, and to have her limbs painted and then set into the body covering.  Slowly, slowly, ten minutes at a time sometimes, she is coming together.  The description of my dolls as "rare" came from another doll-maker who was teasing me about my progress.  I'm happy to say this girl is coming along.    


I was talking about studios with another artist on the phone, who is thinking about moving to Maine. She said, "I imagined you had this huge studio setup."  

I laughed at that, and said, "Nope.  I have a very small 8 x 10 room that fits a sewing table, an ironing board, a set of bookshelves and fabric storage."  

It's truly a kind of "cockpit" for creativity. The painting table is in the hallway in the basement leading to this room.  It's not magazine worthy.  But I am so thankful to have it, as in my last house I had to use the dining room table and pack and unpack stuff.  ~ Dixie Redmond

1 in 68: An Autism Transition Story

My son Alex graduated last year, at a  graduation ceremony designed for him which included family and past teachers as guests. I blurred the photo so that people are not identifiable as I don't have their permission to share their photos.  

With the support of many of the people above, my son learned skills that have helped and will help him live his life.  He worked hard, teachers and therapists worked hard. It was so gratifying that a teacher from each of his schools came to his graduation.  These teachers really cared about their students.  

He graduated to no supports other than his family because our state had frozen services to people with developmental disabilities.  Many parents had to quit jobs to care for their adult offspring who had graduated. We were lucky that I had long ago become the on-call parent, not working for a while, then working part time at night, then selling art on the internet. We are lucky we can do that. And we are lucky to have some wonderful people that we pay to do things my son enjoys with him.

My son can do many things, and many more if supported. We were happy in September to hear that he had been approved to participate in some day programs.  We were hopeful that he would be able to continue growing and learning. But programs available are either not as structured or predictable as he needs, or they are dealing with content he cannot relate to.  He has struggled without the necessary supports.

The programs available provide a physical place for him, but not the staffing to give him the support he needs to learn and thrive.  The models in place work quite well for some people who are fairly independent.  The agencies' budgets do not stretch to provide supports for those with significant needs.  I am not faulting the agencies.  They are good people doing the best they can with the resources given.


The result is those who need significant support 
may end up with none


So on the books, the state can say they provided X to people with disabilities.  But a portion of those on their books are not able to receive services, because it is not offered in a way that is accessible to them. That would be like telling a man who cannot walk, "Look, five miles down the road there are crutches. Go get them."  Or to ask a sightless person to read aloud from a non-Braille book.

As a society, we must do better than this! 

Much of my time this past year has been spent advocating and spending time with my son. This is why there is less art here and more writing. This is the way it will be for a while.

Summer Splendor



Today it is raining in Maine here, but people in western Maine are getting snow.   I think we need a good visual to remember what is coming up!  This is not an edited picture.  This is pure Maine in the summer!  ~ Dixie Redmond

Where and When Does the Art Begin?


I saw this silhouette last night when the band director was setting up for R & B Project to play at the All That Jazz Concert. The image resonated with me. I liked how the form of the band director was one with the music stands.  He was setting out music.  So I used my iPhone to take a picture. I wish it had been sharper, but you catch the moment. 

Where and when does art begin?  Not when you start playing the song on the stage at the concert.  Not when you unveil the painting. The potential for art begins when you learn where the key note is on your instrument.  The potential for art begins when we set out to learn.  The final product begins with humble beginnings - learning to put your instrument together, learning to prepare a canvas.  The art begins taking shape when you slog through the beginner's blues.

These young people becoming musicians - are part of the art of the band directors.  It's a powerful thing to help launch and shape an artist.

  
Here is one song that the R & B Project did last night:




"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden




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