Spicy Sweet Seat, Mixed Media on Nujabi Paper, 5" x 7", ©2020 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
I've had personal struggles with mental health - both myself - and people very close to me in my family. I have seen first-hand how mental health support can move people towards and through recovery. But, that mental health support all too often is limited, out of reach - and even more so Black communities due to a variety of barriers.
Last week, I stumbled upon The Loveland Foundation, Inc. searching for mental health organizations that focus support on the Black community. As I browsed through their site I was taken by their mission to provide Black women and girls funding towards therapy sessions. They are a relatively local organization, based out of Newburgh, NY. but aim to reach a national audience. They have partnered with Therapy for Black Girls, Open Path Collective, National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network, and Talkspace, as well as networks and service providers that match their mission. Founded by Rachel Cargle in 2018 when she successfully raised $250,000 through a social media campaign for her birthday. Their current goal is to hit $600,000 to offer over 5,000 hours of free therapy.
This is just one way that I can be an ally to the Black community. My own TeaScapes artwork - which focuses on meditational environments in watercolor - has grown out of my experience through a personal mental health crisis. The making of art can be a therapeutic modality, as well as a vehicle towards mindfulness. It is my hope that the end result of my artwork also assists in a peacefulness to the collector. Throughout the month of June, I'm aiming to raise $480 (which equates to 4 therapy sessions for an individual) through sales of my work to benefit The Loveland Foundation, Inc.'s Therapy Fund. 50% of profits from sale of my original art and 20% of yoga mats / functional art will go to The Loveland Foundation, Inc. If you decide you'd rather donate directly to the fund you can do so through this link. Please join me in this initiative to help women and girls within the Black community.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Teaching artist from NJ making art, raising kids and helping people find mindfulness through making and collecting art.
I don't always realize how productive I have been until I take a moment to pause and gather everything for a shop update. My studio doesn't have much wall space so I can't always see everything at once - it gets shuffled to drawers or shelves. This past week 8 new works from my growing TeaScapes series have been organized, photographed, titled, described, priced and uploaded to my site.
Corresponding with this artwork release is my Give or Save Event which I have periodically run in the past with a lot of success. What is it? In brief - through May 5th, you have the opportunity to purchase my original work and have me either donate 50% to Feeding America or choose to save 50% on my work. You can read more about the event, how to participate and get almost first dibs on the work by subscribing to my list. Currently, only subscribers are accessing the work through April 30th.
It feels good to release them to the world, and I hope you'll join in for a change to collect new pieces, and possibly GIVE to an organization that is much needed now, before I open it up to the public Friday. Simply enter your email address below. I hope you're staying safe, healthy, and finding some way of reaching peace at this time. My heart goes out to everyone and my hope is that I can support the greater population through my work, and give you something to cherish in your home.
A Seat by the Firehole, Watercolor and Gouache with Image Transfer on Paper, 14" x 9.75", ©2018 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world. - Amy Poehler, from Yes, Please
I think I forgot over the past few decades that I was one of those dreamers, a thinker, somehow magical for what I do. I grew up as a dreamer - playing, creating, and then I became a mother, at the same time as opening a studio / gallery in a storefront. A lot of energy went into creating that space, the events, the shows, the lessons, and some artwork along the way.
Since closing my brick and mortar in 2013, I birthed another son, took time off from creating art, but then slowly started pulling myself up and out of my house. My art classes moved locations, grew in number and then shrank again while I tended to some very personal needs for my family. All the while, I was making, exhibiting, but something was shifting. During that contrition, my artwork started blossoming again, changing, emerging as something wholly new.
While motherhood may spark dreaming in some people, I have found in some ways the opposite. There were moments of creativity and bursts of ingenuity that surprised me, but for the most part I was tired, exhausted, and spent - trying to juggle so many things. The truth of motherhood is that it is so damned hard. And, it doesn't get easier. But, somehow in the past two years, I have worked equally damned hard on myself and have found a burst of growth that is too amazing not to notice. I have found peace, I have found more space for my ideas, and I have found new places for my work.
From left to right: Ginger Thermal, Mint Hemlock, Cold Season
WRITING AN ARTIST'S STATEMENT:
I began making TeaScapes in early 2018 after returning from a trip out west. While I've been offering the works in exhibits and in my online shop, and writing about them, I never officially wrote an artist's statement specific to them until last week. I submitted several of them to a juried show (which will remain secret until I hear the results) and needed a 1000 character statement. Every show has different requirements, and for this I began with a longer version, then whittled it down to what's included below.
Writing an artist statement usually pains me. Writing is never an act I come to with ease, and over the course of my education was always criticized for my inability to be succinct. Since becoming a professional artist I write more now than ever, and in the early years of my business, my husband who has a degree in English, helped me tremendously. Read on, and if you feel so moved, send me your feedback - I'd love to hear how readers and art lovers respond to my work, and to improve how I talk about it.
A GREAT RESOURCE:
Last week I stumbled upon a user friendly blog post by Sarah Hotchkiss on writing an artist's statement. The Creative Independent broke things down into an understandable format that helped me craft my latest statement. I didn't use all of her techniques, and I was writing at the last minute - against her recommendation - EEK! So, read on, and if you feel so moved, send me your feedback - I'd love to hear how readers and art lovers respond to my work, and advice on improving how I talk about it.
"After a family trip to Wyoming and Utah, I wanted to imbue my art with the peace and spaciousness that I experienced there – to make those places and feelings permanent in my art, and life. I started meditating and playing with image transfers of tea packaging, and made a connection between the tea and the places I had travelled. The surfaces could be layered with watercolors and gouache over the transferred packaging, connecting the teas’ ingredients, their colors and intended purpose to the landscape. I could both hold those places for myself and help viewers explore the landscape more deeply – creating a meditative artwork.
The paintings have become stylized interpretations of the landscape – while maintaining a clear reference to the location. I’m interested in using highly pigmented paint, often employing strong linear elements to help describe the energy in a place. The reversed labels from the packaging create a subtext of pattern, inviting the viewer to see more."
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
If you'd like to read the full version, subscribe to my newsletter for a free download. The entire current collection of available TeaScapes are available at traillworks.com.
If you're in the NJ area the weekend of November 2 - 3rd, I'll be exhibiting my work during the SOMA Artist's Studio Tour in Maplewood, NJ.
Your down dog may never be the same again. Truly - this mat will invigorate your yoga practice. I've been a practicing artist my entire life, but I discovered yoga in my early 20s as I began working after college and finding the beginnings of aches and pains. Over the past two decades, I've practiced yoga at numerous studios in New Jersey and have developed a fairly good knowledge of my go-to asanas when I need to stretch and ground myself.
Over the past two years I've gone through personal struggles - including mental and physical health. Yoga, with meditation, running, continued art making, along with supportive doctors and family, have all helped me come to a place of improved overall health. I'm still working at it. My TeaScapes - meditational environments painted in watercolor - developed out of this transformation.
A few months ago I was chatting with some artist friends about exploring products to expand my revenue and I stumbled upon a few printers using the yoga mat as a substrate. I found it! This was it. And, I was in need of a new yoga mat. So I played with some designs, tested out an order and the feedback has been amazing, both personally and from buyers.
A testimonial from one of my first buyers on her first use on a rainy day -
I can’t think of a better antidote to this rainy day than doing yoga on my gorgeous new yoga mat by TraillWorks. I want to do yoga all the time now.
The first issued TraillWorks Yoga Mat is "Cold Season" - a cropped portion of a TeaScape, titled "Cold Season" that features an abstracted geyser from my trip to Yellowstone layered over a transferred Yogi Tea Package. While doing a downward facing asana - the orange glows on your face - extending a feeling of energy and healing.
You can read more about the TeaScapes that inspired this TraillWorks Yoga Mat and learn more about the mats, and if so inclined, purchase one directly through my site. Shipping is now available worldwide.
I may play with issuing other mats from my TeaScapes in other color schemes and in other elemental themes - this one being geothermal. What TeaScape would you like to see on a yoga mat? Send me an email after you've explored them - I'd love your input.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, a big mutt Ringo, making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my West Orange home studio, but is sometimes spurred through my teaching.
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Studio on the 3rd Floor
West Orange, NJ
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