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It has been well over a year since you heard from me and here’s why...
It has been well over a year since you heard from me and here’s why...
It has been well over a year since you heard from me and here’s why...
In late 2014 my husband, James Henkel, surprised us with a heart attack. Five stents later we made the momentous decision to downsize our life as quickly as possible. We sold the gracious 1901 house we had restored in Minneapolis, packed up our studios of decades and moved to our small cabin in western North Carolina, just in time for Christmas, 2015. Over the next two months it proceeded to snow more flakes than the Blue Ridge Mountains have seen in one-hundred years...
Moving across country has been like living in a constant blizzard of cardboard boxes, (hundreds), packing tape, (thousands of yards), storage units, (in two states), decisions (keep? donate?), and U-Haul trucks (one tire and one engine blown). The entire upheaval has been more destabilizing than I ever imagined, a constant process of reinvention:
Along the way I’ve learned how to lay stone steps (9 tons of rock and gravel, to date), shoo deer, trust a dowser (we actually found water where his stick pointed), and deliver plates at the local bar (Knife&Fork’s Spoon Bar, where I volunteered and met the town). I was without a studio for months so to keep sane I endlessly practiced my calligraphy, completing a couple of wedding invitation lists, and have now begun to teach teens.
Recently I found a temporary studio in downtown Spruce Pine, population 2,123. (Read about it here.) Jim, much recovered, is making still life photos and walking daily. (Follow jvhenkel on Instagram for his TREES ARE BEAUTIFUL series.)
Our cabin adjoins the Penland School of Crafts, the “Monastery of the Hand,” as my friend and lifelong inspiration, Paulus Berensohn, calls it (watch our recent 4-minute tribute to him, here or click on the video thumbnail image below.)
Paulus Berensohn Video
Slowly my new book, once abandoned in Jim's hospital room, comes into (new and improved focus, read occasional posts about the process here). Soon I will resume speaking in October with a keynote at the first Florida Gulf Coast Literary Festival in Ft. Meyers and a visit to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (my first) in St. Augustine.
Thanks for reading this rare Life Story edition of my newsletter. Next up: October is Miss Alaineus Vocabulary Parade Madness Month! New costumes and free downloads for students coming soon.
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