Celebrating Women

 

Image result for international women's day 2020

It is International Women’s Day. I wish to celebrate this with a simple blog. I have been taught many things that have inspired my personal success by a diverse group of women. Women who shine in their greatness in the most subtle of ways, yet are powerful, profound, and inspiring. These women deserve my deepest gratitude and more. 

As I ponder the countless women who have influenced my life, it is literally impossible to mention each one. However, here are a few who I have much to be grateful for. 

To an artist who has inspired me for over twenty-five years. Who gave me more than she could ever know. Her friendship, her joy, her art. I am blessed not only by your inspiration but by the honor in which you have taught me to regard my own work. 

To a fellow small businesswoman, who struggles with people’s horrific bigotry about her cultural identity, I humbling apologize for the ignorance of humans and am deeply indebted to you for your grace. You have taught me that even though I diligently try hard to embrace the wonder and see the good in all, I too have bias about what is not completely familiar to me and need to work on that.

To a woman I worked with long ago- a missionary, a nurse, unfettered by the dangerous and unfamiliar, thank you for teaching me that there are difficult things in life that are meant to teach us and as we “accept them with joy”, the power of these tribulations takes on new meaning. 

To my mother, who taught me gratitude in all things. Even on the worst of days, light will shine. 

To my great grandmothers – one from Italy, for teaching me unconditional love. I am grateful for the gentle way that you put your family first. Your tenacity in providing when you had nothing to share, your heart when you felt broken, and your smile. I remember the smile of each of these women. Their beauty and kindness burnished into my heart.

To my daughter, who celebrates life with her big giant heart. Her humor, her passion, and her ability to find incredible joy in twinkle lights, a cup of coffee, and walks in a park. You have taught me so much about embracing the moment. 

To my other mother, who would work well beyond what anyone could have expected of her. She would move a tree literally), bake five pies, and wash every window in the house JUST because it was on her to-do list. She was anything but lazy, She found joy in these accomplishments, and her laughter…. oh the laughter will forever be in my fondest memories. She knew joy in the simple things, the honest work, her beloved family. 

To a long time friend. She taught me that friendship can be lifelong and honorable. Even with distance – your friendship is real, present. You have taught me that relationships don’t have to be easy to be wonderful. You have taught me that I am worth caring for. 

To my sister. You have taught me that when your world literally ended, you could go on. You made a new world, with big love, with patience, with tears, with incredible courage… You made the best of incredible hardship. You raised your family and created more than love than anyone could have thought possible. You have taught me so much. You have encouraged me beyond measure. 

To the lady driving through the parking lot about four years ago smiling your face off. I was so lifted by your smile. It occurred to me that smiling is maybe something I should do more. You changed my life. 

To my husband’s grandmother. You taught me to do my best to put ME first. To take care of me, to enjoy the little things and do it while drinking a nice cup of tea. You taught me that life is to be celebrated, you taught me that I was worthy. I will always be in your debt. 

I could go on and on… there are women I have never met who have also influenced me. There are traditions that have inspired me that I could have never known had I not opened my heart and mind up to something unknown. I am grateful.

For me, International Women’s day is a celebration of the wonder of women. Embracing not only who we are, but where we have come from is a profound aspect of this. I am grateful for the incredible women in my life. Those who walk with me, inspire me, and love me. I celebrate you. 

with deepest gratitude and love 

Susan

We have moved on over to the East Side!

Yesterday, with the help of 12 people that are way too good to me (and whom I love dearly) I moved from the Hungerford to the Piano Works Mall! I am proud to say I am part of a new collective called, ” Central Creative(s)”- I hope you will find your way to the new gallery! This next step is exciting for me. I will take some time to concentrate on my own work and continue living the big darn dream!

The collective will have an opening on Saturday, February 29th, from 5-8 pm. I hope you will join us. Other than that, give me a few to get settled and create a wonderful space for you to visit. 

Thank you for your support-

Peace and great big love always, 

Susan

You make a difference…

As I prepare to move my studio from the Hungerford building to Piano Works mall into the Central Creative(s) Collective, I believe I have gone through some sort of mourning period. Abhorrent to the idea of that level of drama, I have perhaps been a little unkind to myself as I work through this transition. I have believed from the beginning that this was the right decision, perhaps not the easy one.

I love the Hungerford. I love my funky space, tall exposed ceilings, big windows, old wooden floors. I appreciate that at any given time when I am there creating art, no doubt there are countless other artists at work doing what they love too.  I love that the space is finally getting close to the vision I had swimming in my head. Sheers on the windows, professional signage, interesting opportunities for sharing work, a hanging system, card racks on the wall and floor.  It’s always a work in progress, but I was getting there.

Moving into the Hungerford nearly eight years ago, was my dream come true. I finally had a gallery space, creative space that I could really live my mission in. Since then I have hung a new exhibit almost every month for nearly eight years, I have hosted countless workshops, social activities, as well as socially conscious activities. I have paid it forward. I have had the opportunity to create and celebrate there. It has been almost like a best friend. Always there, always waiting. 

All of that said, for me, this space has been very important. I have grown so much as a human there. My mission has been lived and deepened. Opportunities bloomed there not only for me but for others. Making the decision to leave there seemed preposterous!

But it’s time. 

These last few weeks as I have worked through my own feelings about the upcoming move I chided myself for being silly. The new space is an incredible opportunity. The new collective will help me to take my business to a new place. (literally and metaphorically) But I felt like I was processing this like a loss. In a way, I suppose I was. 

Last night, a dear friend visited the (second) opening for the current exhibit. We spoke about many topics, not the least of which was reminiscing about the last 7 years of exhibits for West Irondequoit Schools. It was wonderful to hear another’s perspective. I felt great pride in her gratitude. 

Then she looked at me with a tear welling up in her beautiful eyes and said, “I didn’t realize how much this space meant to me until you said you were leaving it.” 

WOW

Those words were so powerful to me. I have always believed that I should follow my heart, I should do what I think is right regardless of the financial or personal gain. Create Art 4 Good is just exactly that for me. The opportunity to create art, pay it forward, get more beauty into the world. 

Then she said, ” You have made a difference in so many lives.”

WOW, again. 

I needed to hear that. Mission accomplished, I suppose. That is all any of us really wants to do, right? Be a force for something good, for positivity, for love and make some sort of a difference. 

I think what I didn’t want was to leave the Hungerford in any sort of negativity. It isn’t like quitting a bad job, it is more that I am ready for the next step and this move will help support that. The Hungerford, my spaces there, have been a true dream come true. I shall be forever grateful. But the dream has grown or changed. It is time to take the risk and move forward. 

Thank you, dearest Lu, for saying all the right things last night. For caring, for sharing in my joy at the Hungerford. Thank you, for making a difference. 

with love and gratitude. 

Susan

 

New beginnings…

Hearted by Susan Carmen-Duffy

As I begin this post to you, I feel a plethora of emotions. I feel the thrill of new ideas and opportunities bubbling up, I feel gratitude for the last nearly eight (really ten) years of your support, your faith in my business and mission, and your kindness. I feel that quivering thrill when you begin a new or different project, see something with fresh eyes. I also feel a bit melancholy. 

For nearly a decade, much of my energy has been dedicated to my beloved, “Create Art 4 Good”, a business where I can be all of who I am. Artist, mentor, socially and humanly conscious, and more. It has helped me to grow as a human and businesswoman, it has been my teacher, my inspiration, and my taskmaster.  I have suggested countless times that it seemed to have an energy of its own and I had to try to keep up with it. This comment was said with humor, but it is a fact!

In the first two years, I was sort of a cross between a gypsy and a Tupperware lady for artists. I would do a mini pop-up wherever I found a welcome space. My business plan (yes, I ACTUALLY wrote one!) hoped to get a brick and mortar in five years and even that was a big dream. To my deep heartfelt joy, I was able to give Create Art 4 Good a home at the Hungerford inside of two years. How amazing!

Since then, almost eight years later, the Hungerford has been a most wonderful home for me and Create Art 4 Good. I have hosted countless workshops, encouraging creativity and a moment to breathe from the crazy of life. I have hosted events that reach out to those less fortunate, blessing bags, collections for the homeless, battered women and more. I have hosted cd release parties, a plethora of celebratory events, and a town meeting with the most amazing Louise Slaughter. I have been honored to share the work of literally hundreds of artists featuring a new exhibit every month during my time at the Hungerford. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. 

 

The Hungerford was a dream come true. It afforded me opportunities I could have never anticipated when I signed the first lease. But now, new opportunities are on the horizon. With that, I am excited to announce that I am moving from my current working studio/gallery to Central Creative(s) in East Rochester.

Central Creative(s) is a new opportunity with a small group of artists. It hosts about twenty-three studios, two lovely classrooms, and a huge gallery space! It is an inspiration and collaborative space. I am so excited to be a part of this! I will continue the work and the dream, with perhaps new and different opportunities. 

Please know I am so incredibly grateful for you! You have been a big part of the reason that my work is so fulfilling and joyous. Your support has been the fuel to my fire! Continue to walk with me as I dance in a new space, explore new ideas and push the boundaries. Look for a new website, new workshops, new exhibitions! I promise as soon as I am settled, I will invite you to come to visit! See the new space and meet my fellow creatives! 

Thank you again for every encouraging word, every piece of art purchased, every workshop taken. I am looking forward to the next steps… the best is yet to be. 

with so much gratitude and love in my heart, 

Susan

 

 

with gratitude

I learned so much this year. It was a full year of giving it everything I have got! There have been surprises and disappointments, there has been growth. There have been joys beyond measure, and yes, there have been dark moments of doubt.

I sit here writing the day after I close for the holidays. I am honest to say that I am so tired, but I am also so hopeful. I feel like I have taken some time to learn, to grow, to fine-tune a bit. I recognize that even though sometimes this journey is a challenge, that exact thing is what brings me closer to my goals. 

So. I am so grateful. 

I am grateful to you, for your encouragements for your patronage, and for your belief in my big dream. 

I want to wish you the happiest of holidays- enjoy the quiet moments and the loud ones. Enjoy the loud ones too. 

See you in 2020- lookout! I am a whole new version of ready to share art and love!

It’s been a while

There are many things I want to discuss with you- so many things I want to say. There just never seems to be enough time in the day. So I will keep this brief.

Take time.

No one is going to give it to you. So take it. do what YOU need. 

take a minute longer driving to work because you detoured to see the leaves. 

Take a moment to wish someone a good day- and mean it. 

Take an art class. 

Read a book

TAKE TIME

it’s important – 

speak with you soon. 

Susan

Diane Hibbard- Escape into Nature

Diane sat on my sofa one afternoon sharing with me that many changes were happening in her life. Like most of us, she seemed to see this as both a little scary as well as an opportunity. We sat and talked. We brainstormed, we problem solved. As we were tossing a few ideas around,  it seemed obvious I should offer her opportunity in the July exhibit. 

Before I knew it we were discussing the opportunity, planning the wonder of the show.

Just like success comes in many packages, Diane seemed ready for new steps in her life. Diane’s passion for photography, as well as her very spiritual connection to nature, is personified in the images she will share. 

One of the things I love about her work is the profound connection she has to her subject. A tree, an animal, a body of water. They all have stories to tell, and Diane does her best to share that with you. 

I hope you will join us. You won’t regret it. 

blessings, Susan

The Art of Tea

It’s funny, you know, I would have never anticipated that I would someday do a call for art and have the theme of that call for art be the art of Tea. For me, tea has become almost a sacred experience. I find it comforting, I find it honest, I find it life-giving. It isn’t as harsh as coffee, it isn’t bad for you and it is calming.

If you google tea houses you will find a plethora of them. I remember being on vacation with my family and winding up in a tea house. It was terribly hot outside and we decided to get something to drink inside this charming little place. I fell in love instantly with the countless containers that held teas designed by the owners. They were loose and in jars. They were beautiful AND fragrant. I was in heaven. It was at that moment I knew my needs were simple. Give me a beautiful cup of tea and all seemed right with the world. 

The Art of Tea was an effort to see what others thought of this drink. The seventeen artists who were accepted each had a very unique vision. I hope that you will join us during the opening. Many of the artists will be in attendance.  Come, and celebrate, the Art of Tea.