I Loved Every Minute of It by shawna cross

I know, I know, "coming soon", how long can that take?

The truth is, almost as soon as I'd jumped into my studio full time, an opportunity at Burlington City Arts (BCA, BCA, the beloved BCA!) arose and I jumped right back out. There was no hesitation on my part; I've dreamed of being part of that team for so long.

The timing, I know, wasn't perfect. We had plans to move once Sam settled on a Ph.D. program, and at that moment he was still flying around the country, interviewing. I proposed that I would stay in Burlington and the position for a full year, knowing that would mean about half a year of long distance relationship-ing and rent on two apartments, and luckily, BCA took me up on that.

What a year that was. The best. A team of the most beautiful hearts and minds, deeply committed to their artists, their community, and the needs and changes of both. I loved every minute of it. My position was tough, it's true, and often meant staying until nearly midnight, but I enjoyed all of it, and learned so much. I'll post photos from some of my favorite events - the Lunchtime Concert Series, the Architecture + Design Film Series, the Jazz Festival, the award ceremonies, and the wildly successful Holiday Board dinner (the pièce de ré·sis·tance that became my farewell) - soon. I love looking back on them!

And now here I am, sitting in Boston (Sam chose Harvard), engaging with a totally new community. Packing up my studio was sad, but not terrible (more in another post), and for the meantime I've turned our living room into my studio, where I'm currently working on freelance designs and events, as well as personal design projects, functional fabric designs, and, for the first time, a book design. Also, of course, wedding plans, as the day is creeping near - this has been a fun process and feels like one of my biggest collaborative installations yet, as we pull from the talents of our friends and family to make one memorable Midsummer's Eve dinner party. Yes, I also see what's absent from the list - painting! My canvases are all wrapped in plastic and cardboard, and I look at them every day. I'll share the progress that was made on them, as well as my 15 month search for the "perfect pink". I love it.

Over the past year and a half I told myself I couldn't post on here, as I didn't have a full series to show yet. Of course I still understand that, but I've realized it also means missing out on the other creative projects that are equally worth sharing. So, here I am. I really can't wait to tell you about that pink.

Like Spring Except... by shawna cross

My Burlington neighborhood is encased in the blindingly bright words and sounds of all that is winter. Snow underfoot, snow in eyes, snow in ears; darkness that comes so quickly, daylight so bright, bouncing off an all-encompassing reflective coat of snow, the beauty is nearly painful. Citrus so brightly flavored, crisp, tart, sweet, it mimics the characteristics of living in the snow.

I'm currently growing 22 pots of flowers on my windowsills, watching them grow and reach against the background of white outside the panes. I wish to grow in the sun like this, too.

We all covet sunshine, don't we. Citrus tastes like sunshine, and luckily for those of us in winter landscapes (beautiful in their own way), citrus colors feel like sunshine when we don't otherwise have any.


I Want to Know by shawna cross

Here we are, welcome!

It's hard to describe my experience of returning to my studio full time, In the beginning I found myself working hard, of course, but also driving in circles, too. I was so intent on "setting up" - setting up my previously neglected studio space, cleaning up palettes left one day years ago with the intention of a return some long ago "tomorrow". I was busy commissioning stretchers, stretching and priming canvas, inventorying paint and supplies, compiling and organizing new pieces of storage furniture; cleaning my whole studio, room by room: discarding bits of old studio residents from their abandoned rooms, accepting new residents to the now-clean rooms, taking in that new energy; throwing out a past that I hadn't cleaned up yet, so walking into my studio no longer felt like walking into a past that no longer fit. I needed to build a creative space that could house my present, that has room for my future. I swept brick walls.

Honestly, I was terrified to pick up my palette knife and put it to canvas. What if I'm no good anymore? I'd think. I dabbled a bit at first, but it was so uncomfortable, like trying to pull off dry skin, and I found I was painting in a style that reflected my previous design work, and it didn't say much about anything. So I turned to textiles, block printing on them, and the repetition and easy-to-resolve start/end period gave me gratification. Now my eyes are open to new canvases, and my palette is more colorful than ever before.

Two and a half months ago I resigned from my position as curator and director of design and marketing from a young gallery that I helped build for four years, and that I, too, had grown alongside. It was a project that I loved very deeply. But this also means that after three years away from the studio I established seven years ago in Burlington's ever-evolving South End Arts District, I return full time to spend my last year in Burlington exactly where I first started it. I'm eager to see what comes out of these brick walls, after so much time away!