Sunday, January 27, 2019

An Abundant Life - A New Life

Today is my birthday, and when I thought about what I wanted to write on this day that is a special day to me, I realized that I wanted to continue writing about the wonderful people and places that have made my life so special and beautiful. There is a woman named Daisy who is like a flower herself, and though I've written about her before in other posts in years past, I've been wanting to write about her again because she has a new space that is such a beautiful extension of her lovely flower-like self that just visiting with her there makes the cold dreary weather seem warmer and brighter and more filled with sunshine.

I met Daisy more than five years ago when I walked into the store she and her wonderful husband Phil had for a number of years on Washington Street in Hoboken. I wrote about that store then, and when they moved out of that space and Daisy started her own business, Daisy's Wearable Art, I wrote about her again because though it was the same person, what she was doing was something very new. At the time she didn't have a permanent space, but one afternoon when I walked by one of the spaces she had been working out of on and off for the past few years, I noticed that she had moved fully in and I stopped by to see her and enjoy her company and the view. In a lovely touch, I saw an old vintage trunk I had given to Phil several years ago when I was moving into a new space, and it's been repurposed beautifully as a centerpiece to hold items for display. It was a trunk that I had inherited many years ago from a friend who had not wanted to part with it but couldn't fit it into her own space, and I had moved it from apartment to apartment first in Manhattan and out to Brooklyn for a time and then across the Hudson River until finally I decided I didn't want to move it any more. It is a very fun old piece, and one that does have value for collectors, but it took the eye of the lovely Daisy to see where it could be most at home. I love seeing it there, because it has indeed finally found a special place, just as Daisy has found her space and made it special by being there.

Some people are artists by nature, and Daisy is one of them. It is in every fiber of her being to create and make spaces beautiful, to design and style and find touches and fabrics and pieces that work together to create a lovely whole. Like the flower she is named after, the things around her bloom brighter because she is there, guiding and choosing and curating each piece and part with loving care. There is always something lovely to see in her store, and always a special piece that can brighten any weather. And Daisy herself is so pretty a picture that when you see her you'll want to buy the clothing and accessories she's wearing. If you're looking for something new, or just wanting inspiration, or if there's something that you're thinking of that you can't quite place, stop by for a visit and see what's in store - you'll be glad you did for the company, the beautiful sights to see and the lovely energy you'll walk out with.

Daisy's Wearable Art
260 First Street
Hoboken, New Jersey


Jannie Susan

Sunday, January 20, 2019

An Abundant Life - A Vision For The Future

Last year for Valentine's Day I wrote about Milène Jardine, a beautiful Chocolatier who I met at an event at City Opera Thrift Shop, a wonderful store that I was writing about at the time I met her. Before the holidays in December, Milène invited me to a chocolate and cheese pairing, a truly delightful evening for all of the senses, and as the evening began I met a very handsome and interesting young man who introduced himself as Shane Anderson. He had met Milène at another event, and as I know that Milène only connects with people as wonderful as she is, I continued the conversation and found out that he is an Art Director and a Photographer, and that in his relatively young life he has traveled to some very interesting places and experienced some very interesting things. I gave him my card and said I'd love to talk more for a blog post, and so one afternoon last week we met for coffee and a lovely treat of cake before heading over to a fashion show I had been invited to by the lovely Make-Up Artist Angie Valentino, a beautiful and talented woman in the fashion industry who I have written about in these pages before. Shane had originally suggested Stump Town Coffee Roasters, an excellent choice but there were no seats available when we met, so we decided to take a stroll across town to the area where the fashion show was to be held to see if we could find a place to sit and talk for a while. We decided on Cafe Mocha, a place where I'd never been, but one that had the charm of some of my favorite places from years gone by in New York City. Though there was a steady stream of happy customers, it was peaceful and comfortable and cozy on a cold January late afternoon, and our server didn't mind our not knowing what exactly we wanted and helped us make the choices by letting us take our time and ask lots of questions.

It's a very rare thing to find that kind of patience these days, and it was not only the waiter who was patient. Shane was patient with me in a way that only my best friends are - those people who know me well enough to know that I like to ask questions and talk and get to know a place and people through conversation and talking and listening and taking the information in piece by piece. I felt comfortable with Shane in a way that is hard to describe because though he is younger than I am he has the sensibility of someone who has lived a very full and varied life. On the way over to the restaurant we were talking about our experiences of New York City, and when I mentioned the year I moved to Manhattan I realized that he may have been too young to have known anything about the life and culture of the city at that time. He is so mature and so well spoken and well versed that he really can hold his own with anyone, and his work shows that depth of understanding of a much older soul while also having the exuberant life of youth. Shane is extremely forward thinking and visionary, able to create images and envision scenes that are radically charged and exciting. His conversation is interesting and he is fun too, so when I say an old soul I mean something that extends to the depth of his consciousness. He is interested in learning about people and places and in having new experiences, and he is interesting to talk to because he has his own experiences to share. He's one of those people who I could talk to for hours and people watch with and never get tired of it. Sharing the afternoon into evening with Shane was one of those experiences that I love in life - it reminded me of some of the best of times that I've had in New York City, a city I still think of as the best in the world, and brought back wonderful memories while reminding me that there is still alot of life yet to live. In a lovely way I felt inspired to keep moving forward, to not rest on my memories as in a way it would be easier to do. With my birthday approaching I'm moving toward a new year of life, and I felt renewed, with a sense that though I may not be as young as I was when I first moved to New York City, there's still alot of life to live.

Shane has an extensive background, with experiences as a Photographer and Art Director in Europe, London, New York City and other areas throughout the United States. He has classically trained as a double bassist and has studied mathematics, adding a foundation of logic to his creative life. The images and influences of suburban Midwestern America where he was raised add a dimension to the variety of cultural influences that combine in his visionary outlook. He's worked with established and newer emerging and cutting edge Designers and Artists, and he's always seeking ways to learn and enhance his already excellent skills. Supermodel Vanessa Brown has said, "He's like the Andy Warhol of the 21st Century, the next Meisel!" And though I agree that these icons are truly amazing and that there are some essences in Shane that could bring them to mind, he is his own very special, distinctive and extremely creative vital force. It's exciting to see his work at this stage of his life, and to begin to get to know him as a person, because he's a person of quality and integrity in the way he views the day to day of his personal life and his business life, and his work itself is extraordinary. He's an artist in the truest sense of the word, expressing himself beautifully in his photographs, styling, and art direction while being open to working in other mediums of expression to experiment and see what best fits which moment or statement he's trying to make. His is a vision that is unique and exemplary, one that will help us all to be inspired for the days and months and years that are ahead of us, and one that will keep us moving forward into the future.   

Shane Anderson
In Washington Square Park
New York City
Photograph Courtesy Of Shane Anderson

At Cafe Mocha
116 Second Avenue
New York City

Selected Images
Photographs Courtesy of Shane Anderson


Jannie Susan

Sunday, January 13, 2019

An Abundant Life - She Walks In Beauty

I've known Judith Barcroft Washam for nearly twenty years. I met her for the first time when I was in a play on 42nd Street's Theater Row in a Chashama space, a very special play by Craig Lucas titled "Mother Bird" that was being produced by the Circle Repertory Company LAB and Directed by Artistic Director Michael Warren Powell. All of Craig Lucas' plays are special, but this one in particular was special to me - it was a tour de force role in a play by one of the best playwrights of our time, with a company that I had been a part of since the year I first moved to New York City. The play was also special in the sense that it was not published at the time we were performing it, and in looking through the history of Craig Lucas as it is listed online, I can't seem to find any other performance of it. It was a powerful play, at a very special time in my life, and Judith Barcroft Washam played my mother in a role that, like every other role she plays, brought the character so much to life that it made my work on stage not work but pure joy.

These days I do theater projects once in a very great while, and I always tell people when they ask me if I would ever go back to acting in the way that I did once that being on stage, as much as I love it, causes me a great deal of stress. I have a writer's mind, and a heart and deep respect for artists of all kinds, and so I always end up memorizing not only my own role but everyone else's, the blocking, the direction, and of course all the lines that everyone has including every comma, question mark and pause. It's not that I want to play everyone else's role - I love the whole part of theater that brings people together to create something that can only be created by that group of people, at that time, for that time only and that each night is different for. I memorize everything because I want to respect the work that has been done leading up to the performances, because if anyone goes up on their lines, forgets a moment of blocking, doesn't sit when they were going to sit, is late for an entrance or doesn't pour that glass of sherry that leads to a bit of stage business, I want to make sure I can catch everyone up and get us back on track. I realized in recent years that I'm more of a Producer and Director. Though I still feel the need to keep everyone on track which can be stressful, at least I can be holding the script. But being on stage with Judith is a whole other experience, because she's so great an actress, so intuitive and sensitive, and she's also so professional and such a perfectionist that I can relax and do my role without worrying about her at all. In fact the only thing I have to do is try to match the quality of her performance, daunting in itself because she's an actress who performs every role at the highest level, but it's the type of theater work I love to do because it helps me grow and learn and fly.

Recently I received an invitation to the opening and reception for an exhibit that she is part of at The Church Of The Heavenly Rest in Manhattan. I had visited that church with her and her husband Wisner Washam ten years ago, at a time when I was in a reading of a wonderful play that Wisner had written, and I like the church so much that I visit on occasion though it is a bit of a subway ride from where I live. Before I received the invitation, Judith had sent a link to an online announcement with a photograph of one of her beautiful works of art, and there was a description of what the upcoming Exhibit would be. In all the years I'd known her, though I had known that she was very creative in many ways, I hadn't known that she was a painter. There was information about her background and studies, and because I already think Judith is amazing and the piece that had been linked was so lovely, I made a point to go up to the opening because I realized that this was the time to write about her. I'd been wanting to for some time, and now that this new information had opened a new avenue of my knowledge about Judith, the time seemed perfect.

The project is an amazingly beautiful and inspiring one. Using the concept of a Book of Hours, pairs of artists worked together to create a piece that incorporated visual arts with the art of poetry. Each piece in the Exhibit is a masterpiece, and together they bring you through the day with prayer and reflection in a way that is both contemporary and timeless. Though there are photographs online of Judith as part of the many professional plays and films and television shows she has been a part of and her history as an actress is extensive, there is another side to Judith, not only the lovely side of the artist, but also a spiritual one. She has had extensive seminary training and is connected to the life of the spirit in a way that is extraordinary, rare, and special. It seems somehow fitting that "Lauds / Before Dawn" is the hour she and her partner in the creative collaboration for this exhibit, Lisha Epperson, have created a piece for. There is something about Judith that seems otherworldly, a reflection of a higher realm that can be glimpsed at that magical hour just before the sun begins to break through the darkest hour to bring us glorious light. And in a beautiful echo of my own first meeting with Judith, the image in her painting is of a mother and child, the nurturing warmth and glow of God's love illuminating them. In a very real sense, the beauty that Judith Barcroft Washam wears and carries within her illuminates the paths of others she walks with.


Judith Barcroft Washam
With Her Painting "Lauds / Before Dawn"
A Collaborative Project With Lisha Epperson
Part Of The Exhibition "Illumination"
Tim Lively, Artistic Director Of The Project
The Inaugural Darlinton Hall Exhibition
At The Church Of The Heavenly Rest
1085 Fifth Avenue
New York City

"We Wait"
By Judith Barcroft Washam
From A Post On Spark And Echo
Artist Curated By Michael Markham

Spiritual Art By Judith Barcroft Washam
Photographs Courtesy Of The Artist


Jannie Susan