What I Did on My Pandemic Vacation
by Nina Gross aka “MamaNina”
The hardest part about this forced pandemic vacation has not been the sameness of the days or the warping of my sense of time and purpose; it’s been, ironically, being on the outside, looking in. Yes, although hermetically sealed inside my boring, mid-century ranch, I am actually outside – outside of the fascinating creative process of Mundo Images and the mind of Ann Peterson. And it’s cold out here!
You see, for the past 11 years, I’ve had a front row seat. Sometimes I’m the cheering section, sometimes I’m the annoying heckler, and sometimes I’m the useful sounding board. Just prior to this suspension of normal life, Ann was beginning to twitch with the artist’s itch to grow and change. She started exploring a new way to present and experience her art; a new way to share her photos, inspirational quotations and Irish wisdom. I always love the “what ifs” of this phase, the possibilities that fly back and forth: What if it were smaller; what if it were framed differently; what if it were useful as well as beautiful?? I just love living in this subjunctive paradise where no idea is shut down, even if it provides only comic relief.
What started in December as a vague concept in the fascinating Peterson dome, by March had materialized as not one, but two new Mundo Images offerings. Getting to this point had required an interesting new medium, complicated equipment and a challenging process. I wintered February in Florida, so I skipped most of the really hard work. Upon my return, I was not surprised to find that Ann’s colorful photos coupled with wise sayings now resided on square, ceramic tiles housed in fresh, modern, shadowbox frames. Unframed tiles, already striking wall and tabletop art, had grown feet and become trivets! Brilliant!!
It was now time to enter the scariest phase: would others find them as beautiful and useful as we did? So we hosted a focus group of lovely friends whose opinions we valued. Over wine and cheese at the gallery, we discussed examples of the new offerings. It was a wonderful, stimulating evening – March 13th – the last time I was with people other than my charming but ohmygoditsjustyouandme! husband.
Being well into the age group considered vulnerable to this insidious virus, I have reluctantly agreed to wall myself off from the world. I watch from an admiring texting distance as Ann creates new pieces, one more beautiful than the next. She tries to keep me in the creative loop, but I can’t feel texture or really appreciate scale and color on an iphone. I still give my two cents about packaging options or the logo design, but the easy bounce of ideas is stifled. I’m outside inside.
I know my plight is stupid. I am so lucky. For all of you who may be stranded in truly dire circumstances, we hope you can take heart in knowing that art endures, and beauty endures.
We will all get outside again.