2016 provided both beautiful moments and tedious growth. Thesis. Navigating the post-college world. Trying to sketch out a life for myself in the midst of life-shaking change. I'll be processing the past twelve months in the next couple of days and have it on my heart to write more about how my heart moved and changed... in the meantime, here are some (but certainly not all) of my fondest and proudest moments of 2016.
I literally trudged through a white out blizzard with my art pals and roommates, Mel & Katherine, in three feet of snow from my house to the studio for the sake of my thesis. This was a few days before my big faculty review that would say whether I would have my show or not. Needless to say, a blizzard wouldn't stop me from working on my labor of tedious love.
"Rachel the Raccoon's Camp Adventures" is a beloved tale that originated at Camp Fontanelle. Jonathan approached me last year to see if I'd be interested in developing the characters and illustration work to collaborate on a children's book. We had it published earlier this year and have shipped off many signed copies to children and adults alike — everybody can find camp magic in this sweet story. I also found a way to sneak basset hounds into the illustrations., so that was a success in itself.
Finishing my thesis with my lecture presentation and show reception on March 13 brought the absolute craziest range of bittersweet emotions. To anxiously work for eight months so intensely and all of a sudden be finished was surreal and also the greatest burden lifted off my shoulders. Talking about my work in front of a crowd of people I hold in my heart, then seeing their reactions as they explored what my hands made, hearing what they thought... I never, ever want to forget that experience. Full video documentation of my show and a copy of my artist statement can be found :: here.
The end of thesis brought on extra time for new routes of creating! This was a project that I never really finished but I'm still intrigued in continuing it and I have a sketchbook of future project ideas. Dabbling in textile art & working with foraged materials over the last year will continue to be passion projects.
This was one of the last times the Three Amigas were able to spend time together before graduation and this was absolutely one of my favorite days with my two college best friends. We conquered Do The Brew with pretzel necklaces and beaming hearts. We also had the best night at Paige's wedding back in January. And we went for countless pie dates. I could honestly do a whole blog post about all of our friend adventures.
I graduated from Hastings College with a Studio Art degree in May and went right back to the studio after I received my diploma. A million hours were spent outside the sculpture garage and in my forest corner in the downstairs studio. It only made sense to culminate graduation with a visit back to my second (maybe first???) home.
Oooo my fourth and final year as a camp counselor / lead staff at Camp Fontanelle was my favorite yet. This one was full of discernment and God giving me other people to help me figure out where my life was supposed to head after the summer. The staff was skippy and I'm thankful that they put up with my antics. (I claim this bed!!) Of course, I love all of my campers dearly but God certainly and intentionally placed a few in my life. These girls have made me want to be a better person and they fuel my fire to write and create. I love them to pieces and I feel like I have bonus little sisters. Immensely thankful for all the ways that Camp Fontanelle has served me and allowed me to serve.
The end of camp brought a season of deep confusion and feeling lost in the wilderness. I had a few months of unsuccessful job searching and even more soul searching. So, I took a train to visit Mel in Colorado. I found God everywhere I looked — in the trees with beards, the time with friends, and the mountains told me that God created the landscape masterpiece, so He could help me create my life and I didn't need to be fearful. Running to the mountains was just about the healthiest thing I could have done for myself.
Finishing thesis brought on a six month hiatus from art. I had ideas but I never made anything in that time. I started weaving in October and developed a winter weaving collection that was ready to go in November — a little extra cash flow (always nice for a maker!) and a step into getting my hands into moving again.
In late November, I accepted a job as the Publications Coordinator at Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Island, NE. I bought a car, moved into an apartment and started my job in a two week span and quickly faced a lot of what I'd feared about the "adult" world. I am having the absolute best time making my apartment into a home filled with items that bring me joy and have a purpose. I'm learning to live alone in this quiet sanctuary and creative space — a place I can come back to after I spend the day writing and designing content for the church.
I was gifted with sisters who are my friends too and this is just one recent moment with them that I treasure dearly. The simplest days with my family are the ones I hold the closest and oh, there are so many with my immediate family and those who I consider that.
I'm going to be writing another blog post in the next couple of days to try and process all of the elaborate growth I've experienced over the past year. I look back on these memories and think about the less than shiny ones in between, and I'm obsessively grateful for all of it. I can see a Kate who I truly can admire emerging in a whirlwind of bravery and creativity and a desire to love that runs deep. I have a lot planned for 2017 and I am practically wiggling in anticipation for what is to come... I am going to write a book about bravery. I'm going to make things. I'm going to love humans as hard as I can.