sad anniversary

Ten years ago today, the studio building where I had worked for 11 1/2 years- the Kendall Center for the Arts, burned down. The fire has been one of those markers in my life- before the fire when I did pottery, and after the fire. Right after the fire was a very difficult time for me- no surprise. It happened right in the midst of my art midlife crisis. Losing my studio and community, my sketchbooks, photos and notebooks, changed where I even considered going next. I have thought a lot about how the loss propelled me into new directions in a way that might have never happened otherwise. You know- all those phoenix rising analogies. It was after the fire that I got onto the internet. That’s right- before mid-1999, I was a computer illiterate. And why did I get onto the internet? I wanted to replace the books I’d lost. And I found Ebay- which turned out to be the gateway drug to the wide world of the internet for me! Wow- and did that ever start me off on an interesting path.

So, this is one of those tales- bad things happen and you never know where you’ll be 10 years later. I know I have been lucky.

15 thoughts on “sad anniversary

  1. Thanks for sharing this lesson and your story. A few years ago, an art studio/gallery that my father owned and our whole family worked on burned. I will never forget walking through the hallways and seeing canvases hanging on the walls burned and hanging out of their frames – it was devastating. So much work was lost, and the various artists have since ended up dispersed around the city at new studios. I’ve often thought of them and wondered how they are each doing and how the fire affected their lives. I hope they have found similar silver linings. :)

  2. May I add my thanks for your story. Sometimes it isn’t anything as literal as a fire that puts an abrupt end to a significant part of your career. Life circumstances can do that too. It is encouraging to think of how the picture may be very different in ten years and you will be able to see the purpose in past sorrow. I am just rising up from some ashes myself and beginning to feel these new and hopeful directions taking hold.

  3. That kind of loss is just heartbreaking. Today I visited an old boyfriend of mine, who is in a nursing home (at age 68) with Alzheimer’s. He’s still very aware and alive, and it’s tragic. Loss. I’m melancholy tonight. But glad to be in this community.

  4. Life’s a funny thing – we never know where it will take us. Or should I say, where we will take ourselves….

  5. So sorry- you are so gracious to tell us of your silver lining. Thank you for putting the Purl Girl ( Gurl?) pattern up- It looks lovely. I use patterns for mostly learning techniques rather than the actual templates. I do try to make a pattern once through without making any changes. I don’t really know any other artists in real life, so blogs, books, and patterns provide me with the “aha, so that’s how she does that” moments. I wouldn’t worry about any pattern you make being unsuccessful- it is very generous and art affirming that you are willing to share with us in this way. Are you familiar with They are doll artists who sell patterns and seem to have a good system going.

  6. I remember that this happened to you. Amazing how things that are tragic in our lives can lead to wonderful things as well. More power to you!

    Also, I love the nerdy girls!

  7. I’m so sorry for the sorrow that you had to endure at such a loss. I guess life is the greatest instructor but I have to say it has been an honor and privilege to meet and get to know you. For that I am thankful. PS – I’m gathering my supplies to make a Purl Girl on my vacation – I’ll send pics when she is done :)

  8. Mimi,
    I am so sorry; I had no idea. Thank you for sharing this story. It is coming to me at a sad crossroads in my life and I hope that I can find the hope, courage, and love of life that you display. Yes, we are lucky.

  9. Oh how my heart goes out to you on this your Anniversary. You are such an inspiration. The fire may have taken your place of business, but you still have your creative spirit and it’s indeed alive and well in your beautiful dolls. They are simple marvelous. I saw your work on the Purl Soho news letter and I just had to come and visit you and leave a message. Your blog is just a delightful piece of sunshine! I can’t wait to try one of these little darlings. I wish you much happiness, creativity, and joy in your new space.

  10. Some folks would have been shut down and blocked by what happened to you. But i know we always have choices, if we can just learn to recognize them. Bravo for seeing the possibilities in the midst of disaster! And look at where you are now! Congratulations!

  11. Thank you for this post. I am in an artist crisis now. After many years my field is disappearing and I need to continue to work both for spiritual and financial sustenance. I had no idea you had endured this past crisis and emerged in such
    a remarkable way. I love your work. I made dolls many years ago and have always loved them.

    Your post has been an appreciated encouragement. Many thanks.

  12. Your strength and creativity are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing this part of your life. I can’t even imagine losing so much in a fire. I’m glad you came through it stronger and still so creative.

  13. It’s good to hear your story of picking up, moving forward, and seeing the positive after such a huge blow. That’s what Chroma Lab is for me, too.

  14. Pingback: Mimi Karchner’s Dolls « OccasionalPiece–Quilt!

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