2020 is over; a new year has begun, but the pandemic rages, and we are all waiting to be let free. And even though we are at the dawn of vaccinations, there are still so many unknowns as to when we will be “post-pandemic.” We are in the 11th month of stay-at-home. It has felt like a time of hibernation. When will it end?
As we finally turned the page to 2021, what normally is for me a time of intentional goal-planning, both personally and in business, has been a very difficult time of focusing in on my goals for this year. Because nothing is the same. And we aren’t going back to the same.
What should your goal be if you want to move forward during a pandemic, and you don’t know what the world will look like on the other side?
After a lot of reflection, I have realized that the goal is to be curious and open to new paths; to not look at the world the way it was; to not think of post-pandemic as going back to normal, but rather to figure out what new path is right.
I do feel confident that we will come out of hibernation this year, and so that means that we have limited time left to make the most out of our pandemic. 2021 is the year of new paths. It’s the time to make a change. And if you don’t know what that new path is yet, be curious enough to find it.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors & doing new things, because we are curious & curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
To new paths!
Shannon Downey is a fiber artist who uses embroidery to make art that is both personal and universal, thought-provoking and humorous, and incredibly inviting. Shannon Downey is also an activist and community organizer and a person who takes big ideas and brings them to life.
In September 2019, Shannon Downey found an unfinished quilting project at the estate sale for Rita Smith, a school nurse and highly-skilled crafter in Mount Prospect, Illinois. Before Rita passed, she had begun assembling materials for a massive quilt, embroidered with a map of the United States and surrounded by hexagons of embroidered state outlines with their official birds and flowers. Rita had completed the centerpiece embroidery map with state flowers, but Shannon found a box with all of the pieces cut for the rest of the quilt. Shannon bought up the entire box and the embroidery map and put out the call on Instagram for help to complete the quilt. People from all over the U.S. answered for Shannon to send them a square, and she organized the effort to send, guide, receive and compile back all the pieces. From accomplished crafters to those who wanted to hone their craft and contribute, the completed pieces came back to Shannon through the fall of 2019, and at the very end of the year, Shannon gathered with 35 sewers to piece the quilt together and finish it.
Shannon believes that a person who passes cannot possible rest easy with an unfinished project out there. She finishes it as a tribute. For sure, Rita’s Quilt is a tribute to Rita Smith, but the community effort and patriotic symbolism of the quilt provided hope and comfort for so many during the election cycle. Rita’s Quilt was triumphantly completed at the end of 2019 and the plan was to display it at the National Quilt Museum in March and tour it from there. No one knew then what 2020 would bring.
For Shannon, 2020 allowed her to get on the road, packing up everything into an RV to bring Rita’s Quilt around the country, as well as to create her own work. And now she is in Austin – not only with Rita’s Quilt but also with her own pop-up art show It’s Nice to Meet Me opening tonight. Shannon’s show is an installation of 204 cross stitch pieces that show how embroidery can be used as a tool for raw expression, activism and to inspire action.
You can see Rita’s Quilt (masks required) at the Neill Cochran House Museum through February 7.
CHILD SUPPORT ALERT – NO GARNISHMENT FROM SECOND FEDERAL STIMULUS FOR PAST-DUE CHILD SUPPORT
If you were behind on your child support payments and you were issued federal stimulus funds during the first stimulus in 2020, you may not have received the full, or any, stimulus issued to you because the State of Texas had the right to garnish from the stimulus any past-due child support you owed