Volume 1, Issue viii
Creation During Covid, pt. 3
Wild Greens 1, no. 8 (June 2021)
Creation During Covid, pt. 3
Welcome to the June 2021 issue of Wild Greens
This issue, we’re returning to our roots. Creation During Covid, pt. 3, is the third time Wild Greens has published art we’ve created since stay at home orders altered our lived experiences. For over a year and a half now the pandemic has changed the way we live day-to-day. Now in the US, widespread access to vaccines has brought hope and the promise of a return to “normalcy.” But Covid is a global phenomenon, and in this issue of Wild Greens, the presence of artists from around the world, including Belgium, India, and Singapore, tells us that for most people in the world Covid is far from over, and the return to normalcy is still on the horizon. Perhaps what’s normal feels different on the other side. Perhaps we should change what normal means. What feels normal to you now?
Sally Smith writes that before Covid she led an active life in Oregon, that revolved around spending time with her grandchildren and playing music on the mountain dulcimer (which we say is the coolest instrument!). Now, sixteen months later, her life has changed, and while health problems have put a halt to music, it has made room for Sally to explore art. Her “Acrylics” depict her family on her farm in Oregon and her childhood home in Pennsylvania. Following Sally’s paintings, Annapurani Vaidyanathan’s poem, “Hanging by a thread,” writes that this is one of those times when the whole world is grieving, and one of those times when we need to hang on to each other.
Julie Brask learned how to make stained glass during the pandemic, and she contributed to one of our first Creation During Covid issues. This issue, she’s back with an absolutely stunning Philadelphia skyline transom. Lauren Bonner’s home baking business, Okayish Cakes, was also born out of Covid. She started making cakes for her friends’ kids as a way to make a Covid birthday still feel special. Lauren takes Covid baking to the next. freaking. level.
Turtle and Hare offers a different take on creation during Covid. . . the authors of Turtle and Hare are expecting a little turtle this month!
An essential part of many people’s Covid routines was the daily walk to get out of the house. Michelle Clements’s colorful work of digital art “Spring is Sassy” was born from her walks, where she writes that she would collect moments to prove that time was passing. Natalie Foo’s watercolor and accompanying poem notice a flower she spotted during a morning bike errand.
Robin Brownfield’s animal mosaics were created while she was unable to leave the house – so Robin improvised with what she had, using tiles around her home to make mosaics of chimpanzees, a lion, and a tiger. Natalie Foo’s second watercolor and poem featured in the magazine, "KRANJI," is also about wildlife. "KRANJI" is a poem about the tragic destruction of a large swathe of tropical forest by Singapore’s government.
We conclude with a return to our homes. Jess Danyi’s pastel semi-nudes observe a person in her environment. We feel the subject’s comfort in her space, relaxing at home. And then to Annapurani’s second poem in the issue, “A map to your mind,” which explores rooms created in the mind to house memories and orient one’s self. And then, something a bit different—Meghan Woodard, a musician by trade, takes us into the world of Victorian pen pals—a hobby she and her husband started to keep things fun while stuck indoors with a newborn daughter during the pandemic. They collect fountain pens as a hobby, and the ink, handwriting, and folding of the letters are all based on historical practices.
Until next time –
Table of Contents
by Sally Smith
Inspiration: My Background: I am a 74-year-old woman in Oregon. Before COVID I led an active life revolving around my grandchildren and music. I taught mountain dulcimer at a music store in Portland, belonged to two dulcimer groups (mostly former students and present friends!), and was an active Hospice volunteer (for 17 years) playing music and singing for patients.
Now, 16 months later, my life has changed. Over the past year I have had continued arthritis problems, aside from two knee and one hip replacement, I now have problems with my hands, preventing me from playing music any longer. I resigned from Hospice (it was time), and infrequently keep in touch with my music friends.
SO - I turned to art. I took online lessons and did some art with no instruction. I'm sending you some of the acrylics I've done since COVID began... Maybe one of these will interest you.
Hanging by a thread
by Annapurani VaidyanathanThis is one of those times when - no matter which corner of the world we turn to - there's only sorrow waiting to stem. This is one of those times when we're forced to sleep and wake up to mayhem.
This is one of those times when we are first left gasping for breath, and then, we are taught how to breathe,
This is one of those times when we suffer wounds and bruises that we wouldn’t have dreamt of in our nightmares, let alone having to live with them in reality,
This is one of those times when we are kept on tenterhooks every damn hour,when we are mercilessly stripped of every last piece of armor,
This is one of those times when we realize that the world feels a lot better when we’re there for one another,
This is one of those times when we learn that our grief definitely pinches us lesser when we stand together,
This is one of those times when we yearn for smiles and sunshine and laughter,
when we want to hold on to hugs a little longer,
This is one of those times when it hits us that you and I and everybody we care for isn't going to be around forever,
This is one of those times when we know that it is love, and those we love, that we must learn to protect and savor and fiercely treasure.
Philadelphia Skyline Transom
by Julie Brask
Stained glass, lead, copper foil
Methods: I used the tiffany method of stained glass construction with lead came for stability. I cut the glass using a toyo glass cutter, reduce it to the perfect shape using a water-fed grinder, and solder together using tin/lead.
Inspiration: I started learning to make stained glass last spring as a way to keep my hands busy and manage stress during the pandemic. I spent a lot of time on it and really felt like it "clicked" for me in a way that no other medium ever has. This winter, I got the courage to step up from suncatchers to a full stained glass window. I worked for weeks to create a transom window for my home. I did everything myself - drafting the pattern, picking out colors, building it to exactly the right size, and installing it in my home. For me, it's a symbol of how much I've been able to grow and learn despite otherwise feeling so stuck this past year.
From Covid, Came Cakes
by Lauren Bonner
Methods: Home baking and hand decorating
Inspiration: I’m a mom of two toddlers and a nurse of 15 years. I started baking fun cakes every year for my kids’ over-the-top, themed birthday parties. Friends began to ask me to bake for them...and I always declined. Baking for other people? Sounds stressful.
BUT then Covid happened. Parents couldn’t throw their kids a birthday party, but still wanted a way to make it extra special. And that’s where I came in... One day, a friend asked if I would bake a cake for her son’s birthday. He was bummed he couldn’t have a party and she was trying everything to make his birthday as good as any Covid birthday could be. I agreed to bake for him as long as she didn’t mind an OKAYISH cake. And so my business, Okayish Cakes, was born.
The truth is, I’m a perfectionist who makes sure my clients’ cakes are anything BUT okay. I love having this creative outlet, where I get to design, bake, and create something one of a kind for each of my clients. Covid held us back in so many ways, so it's important to also highlight the positive things that came from this pandemic. If it weren’t for Covid, Okayish Cakes wouldn’t exist.
by Lauren Kimball
Inspiration: The authors of Turtle and Hare are expecting a little turtle this month!
Spring is Sassy
by Michelle Clements
Digital painting using Adobe Fresco
Methods: iPad pen
Inspiration: Like everyone else in March 2020, I started walking every day and collecting moments- to prove to myself that time had passed in quarantine and to practice gratitude for the roses I never would have stopped to smell.
Some Type of Flower (I spotted on a morning bike errand run)
by Natalie Foo
all whisper of wing,caress of tongue,or shy, silent touch,enduring.
Leo, Rainbow Chimps, and Burning Bright
by Robin Brownfield
Mosaic/Mixed media, glass, stones, ceramics, beads
Methods: draw, glue, grout
Inspiration: Stuck at home with nothing to do, I resorted to spending much of my time making mosaics. It kept me sane, and opened up a whole new world for me, even as I was unable to leave my house. I love wildlife imagery, but the first week of the lockdown, I found I didn't have enough tiles to make a naturalistic mosaic of chimpanzees that I had planned. Ordering supplies was out of the question, so I improvised by using the tiles I had on hand to create something upbeat during what felt like the end of the world. I decided to make each chimp a different color, resulting in Rainbow Chimps. I donated this for a fundraiser for the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. I then used what I had on hand - tiles, beads, shells, and odd ceramic pieces - to create a majestic lion, partly inspired by the paintings of Fritz Hugg, an artist whose wildlife paintings were popular in the 1970s. My parents bought a print of a tiger painting done by Hugg, which was one of my favorite things on our walls. I had always hoped I would end up with it, but neither my sister nor I know what happened to it after our parents died. In the fall of 2020, I decided to make my own tiger portrait in the spirit of Hugg's work, so I could have a tiger with a red background on my walls.
by Natalie Foo
Methods: dry on wet
Inspiration: This charcoal drawing was made to accompany a short poem I wrote about a large swathe of tropical forest cleared by Singapore's government which, faced by a public outcry, blamed it on the contractor. The clearing ignited public anger because Singaporeans started to cherish our forests more during the restrictions of COVID.
Person in Environment: KP during Quarantine
by Jess Danyi
Pastels on 18x25 sanded paper
Inspiration: This piece looks at the person in their space. This became particularly relevant during quarantine lockdowns when our personal spaces had to serve so many purposes.
A map to your mind
by Annapurani VaidyanathanSome days – without knowing it – make a home inside your head. Then build walls, and floors and tiny rooms in your mind to store the memories that you will grow to look back and love, or perhaps dread.
Like how you sneaked out for a cup of coffee on that rainy October evening in 2016 and ended up walking into a theatre alone to watch a movie instead. Or how, for the most part of your senior year, you starved yourself all day long so you wouldn’t be hungry if you were forced to go without food in the future. Or how, on your 18th birthday, you set off on a road trip with strangers just so you could prove to the world that you are always open to adventure. Or how, after one man threw you under the bus, you vowed to never again get carried away by love. Or how, when you realized that, the person you’d sacrificed all the little joys for, didn’t care to believe in the future you saw, you woke up the next morning and decided that everything then on would first be about you, and about now.
Today, when somebody tries to rip you apart, or when they sweet-talk their way into your heart, you know it's not just déjà vu; it is your brain reminding you that these are escapades you’ve already been through.
Victorian Pen Pals
by Meghan Woodard
Pens: Dip pen, Sailor 1911 fountain pen
Sealing: red sealing wax beads, sealing stamp
Paper: G. Lalo Vergé de France blank 100g laid ivory paper
Ink: Diamine "Early Grey," Noodler's "The Heart of Darkness"
Methods: The handwriting style displayed is copperplate script, used during the Victorian era. Dip pens and fountain pens were both used during the Victorian era. The fountain pen was invented in 1827.
Inspiration: My husband and I were inspired to write Victorian-style pen pal letters to each other after watching "Bridgerton" on Netflix. We both collect fountain pens as a hobby and enjoy writing letters to family and friends. To keep our marriage fun while stuck indoors with our newborn daughter during COVID all winter, we decided to strike up a pen-pal relationship under new pseudonyms: Lord Gregory Milson and Lady Annabelle Mary Wright. We were somewhat lazy about Victorian letter writing etiquette in our letters to each other, using colored ink and sealing wax that wasn't the traditional red or black. Therefore, for this submission I decided to demonstrate as authentic a Victorian letter I could create with modern tools. I learned about Victorian letter writing etiquette from Youtuber, Ruby Grander of "The StudyTube Project;" and letter folding, sealing, and locking from scholars at https://brienne.org/unlockedbriennearchive and the related Youtube channel: "Letterlocking videos." Fountain pen, ink, and paper can be found at: https://www.gouletpens.com/
I am writing to you on this very hot summer day to invite you to become my new pen pal. I hope that we can share our most intimate secrets and deepest desires. Please forgive my handwriting, as I have a new quill pen and it needs breaking in. What do you think of our new young Queen Victoria? I recon that she is too young and likely will be rather insignificant. Time will tell! Do you like my green ink? It’s the latest fashionable ink for ladies, new from Paris. I would love to go to Paris. Have you ever been?
I hear that there was a measles outbreak in your town. How is your family fairing? When the quarantine ends, I will host a ball! I hope that you will grace us with your presence.
Write soon as I am ever so lonely
Lady Annabelle Mary Wright
Dear Lady Wright,
Thank you for your missive. A new Pen Pal, what fun. One would normally balk at the idea of sharing intimate details with a stranger about their private life, but it seems we are both far enough away from each other that our secrets would be meaningless to our social enemies. Your handwriting bothers me not, I find it rather coquettish.
The Queen! I admit, the idea of being under the rule of a lady to be rather intriguing. Our realm has done well in the past with them. But she is so very young, I worry the Palace will gobble her up before long.
I do appreciate the ink you are using, and hope you don’t find my rather… similar sheen to be a pale copy of your attempts. Is this your favorite color, or are there others you like to send the way of suitors. (I jest).
Paris! What fun I’ve had there. The dance halls are quite the thing to behold, many a drink to be had, and quite a few corners to find yourself lost in if you should need a spare moment with an acquaintance. There are of course lovely gardens and rouxs to walk on, but those are best done with a travel companion. Have you one in mind?
Ah, yes. We are rather bundled up at the moment. I am all alone for the nonce, with my staff. My brothers are off traveling Spain, and my dear sister had just fixed her situation with a suitor before the plague descended on us. Now I find myself alone by the fire, thinking of anything else.
How is London? Do tell me about your own travels. Maybe a bit of juicy gossip from your neck of the woods? Or perhaps, what you look for, in a suitor.
Until next time—
Yours—Lord Gregory Milson
Artists and Contributors
Sally is a 74-year-old woman born in the PA Poconos, now living on a small farm in Oregon with her husband of 54 years. They love time with their children and grandchildren in Portland where she taught mountain dulcimer and played music for Hospice patients for 17 years— but COVID-19 put a halt to the music and made room for Sally to explore art!
Writer & Artist
A 28-year-old mad hatter who can wolf down packets of M&M’s before you bat your eyelids. Instrumentation Engineer. Author. Poet. Blogger. Will lay her life down for Roger Federer. Loves working with numbers. Passionate about technology, art, culture, and literature. Hoards books for a living. Finds the scent of hydrocarbons intoxicating. Erstwhile software test analyst. Presently, a data journalist. Hails from India.
If you like her work, send her a tip!
Julie is a structural engineer with over a decade of experience designing bridges and other transportation structures and one year of experience crafting stained glass windows. She also enjoys running, hiking, biking, ultimate, and having a good beer with friends. She and her partner are moving from Philadelphia to Maine with their adopted dog and two cats.
If you like her work, send her a tip! Venmo: @Julie-Brask-1
Lauren Bonner is an RN of 15 years, mother of two, self-taught baker and owner of the custom cake business, Okayish Cakes in Medford, Oregon. When she isn’t baking, Lauren enjoys gardening and spending time with her husband and kids.
If you like her work, send her a tip! Venmo: @okayishcakes
Lauren Kimball lives in Philadelphia. She teaches literature and composition at Rutgers University, New-Brunswick. In her spare time, she plays with paint, digital pens, words, and home improvement tools.
Michelle studied textile design in Philadelphia and is currently the design manager for the European retailer C&A with the baby department. She’s a new mom to twin girls and less recently two fur baby cats in Hasselt, Belgium.
You can find her on Instagram @mclem11.
Writer & Artist
Natalie Foo is from Singapore. She writes for a living and makes poetry and art in private, surrounded by kiddy clutter, 80s cassettes, sci-fi DVDs, a lifetime collection of books, and a hoard of shells, twigs and rocks gathered from nature trails.
You can find her on Instagram @nataliefoomy.
If you like her work, send her a tip! Paypal: nataliefoogiacchi[at]gmail[dot]com.
Robin Brownfield is a former sociology professor who turned to art after becoming disabled. While she dabbles in numerous art forms, she finds mosaic art is a great way to recycle old materials and found objects. She has created murals, garden walkways, ornate tables, and countless other mosaic works, but recently, she has turned to creating portraits and works for social justice. She was recently featured in a FOX-29 News report, because she was commissioned by Tamika Palmer to do a mosaic portrait of her daughter, Breonna Taylor, whose death, in part, launched an international movement for justice for victims of racist murders. She has also won numerous awards in juried art shows, was featured as one of the Best Mosaic Artists in New Jersey in Best of NJ, and has had her art displayed in galleries all over the United States.
If you like her work, send her a tip! PayPal: rbrownfield[at]verizon[dot]net.
Jess Danyi is a Philadelphia-based artist who works primarily with pastels and inks. Her current series is exploring the person in their environment, most of which has focused on the home space during quarantine. In her spare time she does Jiu Jitsu and enjoys books, movies, and other people's art.
If you like her work, send her a tip! Venmo: @jessdanyi
Meghan Woodard enjoys a rich career as an oboist, oboe professor and scholar based in the Greater Philadelphia area. Meghan currently holds positions as Professor of Applied Oboe Lessons at Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, Immaculata University, and the Shipley School. In addition to teaching, Meghan is a sought-after orchestral and chamber musician on oboe, English horn, and Baroque oboe. She regularly performs with the Reading Symphony Orchestra, Symphony in C, the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, and is a member of Revolution Winds—an internationally-performing woodwind quintet known for musical activism and recent residencies at the Aruba Symphony Festival and Drexel University. Meghan's research interests include: historical performance practice and analyzing oboe recordings as historical documents.
If you like her work, send her a tip! Venmo: @Meghan-Woodard-1
Maggie Topel is an artist and writer living in Philadelphia. She designs our seasonal Wild Greens logo and social media avatar.
Arts Editor & Artist
Hayley creates the cover image for each issue of Wild Greens magazine and serves as the Arts Editor. Hayley is a social justice seeker, world traveler, rock climber, dog snuggler, frisbee player, event planner, and story-teller. She loves to paint with watercolors, embroider, and write. She grew up reading sci-fi and fantasy, and to this day she still turns to those genres to help her make sense of the world. She calls Philadelphia home, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
Rebecca Lipperini is a writer, teacher, and academic living in Philadelphia, and the founding editor of Wild Greens magazine (hi!). She holds a PhD in English from Rutgers University, where she taught all kinds of classes on literature and poetry and writing, and wrote all kinds of papers on the same.