I'm a champion stuffer. At least, I used to be.
I swelled with pride at my success in tucking away uncomfortable feelings and painful experiences and marching on with life. I was able to carry on without the distraction of inconvenient emotions.
The animal mentors in my life have gently nudged me closer to the place where I have the courage to sit with and experience those feelings rather than packing them away in a dark, hidden place. I made a lot of progress.
Then I found art.
Whether it's paint, film, clay, pencil, ink, fabric, or something else, art encourages us to feel. Art asks us to connect with ourselves to connect with others. Art challenges us to consider different perspectives.
Art presents all sides of life as worthy of beauty and curiosity.
Creating art requires emotion. Appreciating art requires emotion. It's an echo of life. Living without emotion is not really life at all.
When people ask me about why I chose art when I could be doing something else, this is why. I see so many who yearn for this kind of connection and intimacy and are too afraid of vulnerability to try. I recognize that because I was that person.
In the space of caregiving for animal family with exceptional medical needs, providing hospice, or establishing a new normal after death, art has been a gift for me. It brings focus and allows for possibilities. It comes without judgment. It encourages me to be in the moment and flow from this one to the next.
This spring I’ll begin teaching photography workshops regularly and also offering other art workshops. Totally casual and supportive spaces for you to begin to open and look into spaces that may have felt to dark to see. I’ll be so very glad to see you there.
In November I am absolutely thrilled to be able to support two local nonprofit organizations as they work to make the world a better place for animals. Slobbered Lens will participate in two mini session events to raise money for Kindred Souls Foundation (November 12) and Northwest Spay and Neuter Center (November 19).
I can't think of a better way to give of my time and make spirits bright. And now I'd like some hot cider.
Kindred Souls Foundation provides sanctuary to abandoned, abused, and neglected dogs and cats of all ages. Kindred Souls uses a holistic approach for the animals within its care, which it provides through a network of foster homes in the area. My family was fortunate to be one of those foster homes many years ago and I can vouch for the heart and impact of the people at Kindred Souls.
Northwest Spay and Neuter Center provides high quality, affordable spay and neuter services for cats and dogs to prevent overpopulation. Every animal deserves a loving home, and NWSNC addresses the root of the issue of homeless animals. I can also vouch for NWSNC first hand, both as a client and a former board member.
When you donate $100 to one of these organizations, I'll gift your family a mini photography studio session and a gorgeous metal ornament. You are thinking about your final charitable donations for the end of the year, anyway - let me help make the decision a little easier for ya.
Thanks to my models, Rhys the Dane and Max the kitten, you can anticipate how stunning your companion will look in the Making Spirits Bright studio. The studio experience is quite different from the natural light photography you have experienced if you've worked with me before, and because of the nature of these events I don't recommend them for animals who need lots of time to feel comfortable in new situations. If you are curious about whether this is a good fit for your family, give me a ring and we'll talk it through.
I'll offer limited edition art pieces that I make available only for mini sessions, and they will be on display at each even along with some tried-and-true pieces I know you love like 11x14 metal prints. In the next two weeks I'll showcase some of those pieces on Facebook (@slobberedlens).
Only 15 sessions are available for each event, and several have been reserved already. Ready to save yourself a place? Here's what you need to know.
For the November 12 event benefitting Kindred Souls Foundation:
And here is the information for the November 19 event benefitting Northwest Spay and Neuter Center.
I'm Shannon, and I love and am loved by four Great Danes, four cats, and one horse (four Danes, one cat, and one horse are no longer walking this earth). Here I'll share stories of my adventures in grief photography for companion animals, my own grief journey, and thoughts on caregiving.