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  • It’s a feeling, far deeper than words

    It’s a feeling, far deeper than words

    “In this world, I am happy. I can be myself without judgment. No rules for how I should behave, what I should say, or how I should look.”

    Just shy of 15, she’s not a kid, but also not an adult. She’s trying to figure out who she is, in relation to the universe. Her friends may be preoccupied with boys and trying to decide how to feel about them. Most of the girls have insecurities about body image. They wonder, are we pretty enough, tall enough, or skinny enough? Is our hair too curly or straight enough? Is anything about us enough?

    She feels boxed in by society and social norms. Everybody gets put in a category because that understanding puts others at ease. But for a young girl like her, she craves freedom and fluidity.

    Still a child in many ways, and dependent on adults, the love affair with her horse provides a sense of being in control and independence. She feels confident and free. Learning to control a 1,200-pound animal is empowering, and that feeling extends to all parts of her young life.

    It’s a sense of adventure and an escape from things she wishes she didn’t have to pay attention to. She’s in control, in a world that otherwise tells her what do to. It’s freedom and self-direction, something every young teen craves.

    How can you describe the connection between a horse and a girl, not yet a woman?

    It’s a feeling, far deeper than words.

    It’s unconditional love and admiration for a majestic beauty, with enviable confidence that’s innate, and that humans can only wish for.

    It’s a best friend who accepts you as you are, no matter how you look. It’s the eyes that say “trust me, I will never hurt you,” from rider to horse, and horse to rider.

    It’s the unspoken words, “we can accomplish anything together, we can go anywhere and need little else to be happy.”

    Others might not understand. Why would we expect them to? The horse and the girl, in their own little world, surrounded by snow but still warm. Unaware of anything but each other. You take me as I am. You don’t question my love, affections, or motives. We’re good to each other, and that’s enough.

    The chill in the air is not a bother. Together in their little world, there is nothing else that matters. The sun on her face reminds her to breathe and cherish the moment. She is where she should be, and she is enough of everything.

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  • Behind the Scenes

    Behind the Scenes

    To say this is my happy place, is a total understatement. Imagine a lush birch forest with a little wetland bog, deer happily frolicking everywhere, raccoons, wild turkeys and sometimes pesky mosquitoes. Just steps away from home, my studio is literally 2 doors down from my house.

    Inside it's quiet and super cozy, with a little pot belly stove burning in the corner for warmth. It’s practically a cliche, except it’s very real, and exactly what you’d expect for a little rural Montana art studio. 

    There is no need for a shop front, with only occasional visits from a customer here and there, who comes in to pick something up.

    I share the space with Tammy, a friend and fellow maker, and also Les, my step dad, who is a retired goldsmith. Often, you’ll find him inside, forging beautiful little copper vessels, but usually when Tammy and I aren’t working, because he makes a ton of noise. 

    The coffee is hot, strong and plentiful. The snacks are naughty and decadent, but necessary. Most days you’ll find music, or a juicy audio book playing in the background. It’s comfy, and it feels like home, but without distraction. So much creativity bubbles out of this space, too big to be fully contained.

    Some days I go there, by myself, to sit and just be. Quietly replenishing my mind, my body and my creative flow.

    On any given day, you’ll find Tammy, Les and me, gathered around a bench, solving huge design challenges together. Pencils, sketchbooks and stones strewn everywhere, as we work through a design hurdle for one of us. An outsider might see chaos, but this is our happy place.

    Sometimes I'm in there using loud equipment with my headphones on, listening to an epic fantasy fiction novel, like the Queen of the Tearling trilogy. Time flies in my happy place. At times, you’ll find me sprawled on the floor, doing the stretches prescribed by my physical therapist, to keep me safe and comfortable during my long hours at the bench. This work takes a toll on my body.

    My studio. My happy place. But it’s so much more than that. I never know what will consume me there each day. Some days I have a clear plan, and I carry it out seamlessly. Other days the plan unfolds before me, sprinkling in a few surprises and challenges here and there. More than just a happy place, my studio is a place of peace, healing, creativity, excitement, problem solving and, of course, endless snacking.

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