Here we are. What a month! I can’t even believe everything that happened this month…it was a long year. I think that if there was ever a month that was going to test our resolve to make time for ourselves as well as our motivation to make, it was this one. I made all but three days and that feels like a huge accomplishment. Today, when you think back over the month, I encourage you to focus on your wins. You had lots of them. Find them and hold them up and say… YaY Me!
Hopefully, this is just the start of your making practice. You have started the year off right and you can keep this up. You can turn to making anytime you need it. Making will always be there to help you distract, process, create, express, voice, hide, laugh, focus, calm, connect, sustain, nourish. You got this.
Today is the final prompt. Tomorrow, I’ll send a final email with resources to help you carry on with your making if you need them. Tomorrow night I will host the final #MakeDontBreak Zoom check-in.
The prompts will remain here for you indefinitely as a resource. The slack channel too. You are, of course, welcome to keep making and connecting using the hashtag.
Enjoy this day and our brilliant prompt from a brilliant human.
I am proud of you. I love you.
Shannon Brags on Melissa:
One day on Instagram Melissa and I realized we lived down the street from each other! The next day, we were having coffee at a café. Minutes later, we were exploring the art show that featured loads of her and her husband’s work. I was in awe. Now, she is a dear friend and conspirator and I stand in deep admiration of how she moves through this world. I am grateful that she is part of my beloved community.
About Melissa (formal edition):
Melissa Blount is a Detroit born artist and licensed clinical psychologist. She creates textile art that explores the trauma of white supremacy, culture and interpersonal violence. Through community sewing circles she cultivates unique opportunities for people to bear witness to the unjust and violent loss of life in communities of color. Dr. Blount has hosted community sewing circles at Northwestern’s Block Museum, Chicago’s Colvin House and local Evanston art gallery, 1100 Florence. Historic and contemporary influences include Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Frances E. Willard, the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective, Amos Kennedy, Ben Blount, Krista Franklin, Bryan Stevenson, Isabel Wilkerson, and Claudia Rankine. Dr. Blount lives in Evanston, IL with her husband and has the wonderful privilege of being mom to a precious and precocious teen daughter.
This month has been one of many firsts. The first insurrection at the United States Capitol incited by a sitting President; the first Black, Caribbean, South Asian, female Vice President; the oldest President; the first President to directly state an intention to address white supremacy and systemic racism; and the first Second Gentleman.
It is also the month that we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Our country has romanticized and diluted the legacy of Dr. King but I am calling on the tremendous community Shannon has cultivated to choose a more active understanding of his work, in particular his vision of a Beloved Community. Dr. King said, “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” He believed that my present and future is inescapably linked to yours.
So, I am asking you to engage in fierce self-reflection and to decide what are you willing to do, to create a Beloved Community where you dwell. What will we accomplish in service of Dr. King’s vision to address systemic racism, poverty and war? After the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush, Toni Morrison felt a crushing sense of despair. She was explaining to her friend that her despair had shut down her creativity, when her friend interrupted her and said, “No, no, no! This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!” I say this is our time, so let’s get to work!
Connect with Melissa:
@beingblount - insta
@blounttalk - twitter