Happy New Year everyone!
As always this is one of my favorite times of the year. Sure it's still a bit dreary here in Humboldt County, but the days are getting longer and spring will be bursting through in no time. I like to take a beat every January to rest my body and my mind after the busy holiday season. So far this year I've been a bit of a hermit, staying in and devouring fiction like it's going out of style. I've also been using this time away from the bench and the university to reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of 2018 and to dream a little bit about what 2019 might bring.
Two of my biggest challenges of 2018 were delving into teaching and addressing an unfortunate medical condition. In addition to my usual academic support role in the jewelry studio at Humboldt State I had the opportunity to teach one of the Introduction to Jewelry and Small Metals courses. About a month into the new role I was asked to fill in for the Spring semester at College of the Redwoods as well. The experience was intense but well worth it. Unfortunately, near the end of Spring semester, I realized something was really wrong.
By late summer I was diagnosed with Cervical Root Disorder which amounts to a literal and figurative pain in the neck. I carried on with teaching at Humboldt State but had to reduce my time spent on my own work to a bare minimum. Now, with some physical therapy to help correct my posture, I'm starting to see some really positive results and I'm looking forward to a slow transition back to the bench while I teach for my last semester at Humboldt State. Although 2018 was challenging, the time spent introducing students to metalsmithing was incredibly inspiring and I'm excited to see where that momentum will take me in my own work.
Perhaps one of my greatest accomplishments of 2018 was one that I was only able to make happen thanks to the support of every person who has cheered me on and supported my work over the years:
Erin Austin Design celebrated its 10 year anniversary!
A huge thank you to all of you that make this crazy dream of mine possible! I can't express how thankful I am that I get to spend each day doing something that I love.
Alongside that amazing milestone, I was also able to create a charitable giving program for Erin Austin Design and this week I made our very first donation to the fantastic local non-profit Food For People. Food For People has been "working to eliminate hunger and improve the health and well-being of our community through access to healthy and nutritious foods, community education and advocacy" since 1979. For more information on their programs visit their website at www.foodforpeople.org
Here's to a happy and healthy 2019.
With much love and gratitude, thank you for reading!