Love and Hate at ANTHRO

As part of my Artist’s Way program, there is a weekly date. An outing made to fill your inspiration cup.. Trip to a greenhouse, visit to your favorite bookstore or a good browse through a thrift shop… You get the idea.

Mine was Anthro, and although you’re suppose to go alone, seeing as Maria had never been there, I took her along.

As usual, the store itself did not disappoint, the installations , the prints, the homewares.. Each more beautiful than the next.

 By the time I left, my right brain was vibrating.

And it’s all made in China.

ALL OF IT save for one piece of pottery.

And the planner I’ve been scheming for months?

They have it.

And the mumus I’ve been painting?

Got those too.

And the warm toned abstract acrylics that I’ve been sketching?

Also there.

And a book on Sonis Delausnay? The subject of my last Art History paper?


 In a deeply humbling moment, I realized I’m far less original than I thought, all my  ideas already existing in the zeitgeist of craft and art in the 21st century.

But having spent an ENTIRE WEEK OFF INSTAGRAM, I thought I was in good shape! Clearing my intake to make more space for my output, trying new things out, feeling SO MUCH MORE efficient in my design work and all around much less “burnt”.  All of it undone by one trip?

I’ve been crippled with the idea that it’s all been done, a million times over by someone with more intent, more means and more hard skills.Even with 10 years of blogging under my belt, I feel terrified almost every time I press Publish.

Today’s paralysis is brought to you by the very common fear that  by letting the creativity stuff take over, I’ll have nothing left for my family. That by choosing one thing, I’m free falling away from the rest.  Last night, after a chores related meltdown, I banished myself  to the studio and painted for an hour. Nothing good came of it, but nothing good would have come from me navigating Luca’s tantrum either. I felt sad and selfish  that I went dark on them, but my need for solitude overrode my will to parent. If it wasn’t shrouded in so much guilt and shame, I think I could congratulate myself on noticing and then acting on what I needed. We’re so seldom encouraged to put our needs first. If you were telling me the story, I would be hi-fiving you just for recognizing your limits, but again, we so rarely wear the white gloves for ourselves.

I need either more or less coffee.

{Tiffany Turner}

Where was I? Ah yes, what’s wrong with Anthro?

Nothing and everything.It left me feeling inspired and unoriginal. Special and part of the flock.

It’s essentially a Kmart with a phD in art history. And yet, of  all the stores, it’s by far my favorite. The bedsheets? The shower curtains? THE DISHES??? There is NOWHERE else you can get stuff that pretty, without paying triple the already hefty pricetag.

Alas, the thought of all the containers slowly making their way across the ocean from China to the shores of North America… all in one goal;: to raise IPOs and  line the already well padded pockets of the all male, all white Republican Board of URBN. Today the cost of it all makes me want to go back to sleep and wake up in a cabin, in Alaska. Alone with my carved spoon, and a chambray uniform dress. And cashmere tights  (this is a fantasy, after all)

I’m in the parking lot of Michaels, about to buy the craft version of the Anthro wears, I’m watching an angry mother try to handle her toddler. I’ve got acrylics paintbrushes and canvases, I’m tired and numbed by the hundred failed flowers of the morning. When my eyes close, I see dozens of ideas float by, but the block makes it impossible for me to grab one.

Maybe like you, I feel torn between my obligations and my longing. It’s far easier to stay here than to move to action and make a plan. Today, plans are exhausting. Today, I cannot see who I am in the midst of all my roles.

Today, I am empty and honest, and it’s not pretty like an Anthro installation, and it’s not made in China either, but if I know anything at all, it is that feelings are impermanent, and destined to shape change when cast by a new day’s light. And tomorrow is almost here.



18 thoughts on “Love and Hate at ANTHRO

      1. It’s fun – I’ve bought gifts for friends and family and myself … and I’ve had sales from friends and fans of my work. I like seeing which designs people like to buy. The products are a nice quality, too.

  1. Love the post – it’s hard being so many different roles. And when it comes to art, best to not compare. You have value and handmade with love is always better than shiny, manufactured stuff. And here’s to days when feeling depleted* is all you have energy for – I’m right there with you! {* PMS makes me want to scream at everyone and my life! Luckily, it doesn’t last forever. Just sucks it comes back every month like clockwork!}.

    1. I am so SO grateful to have you reinforce that this isn’t just the ramblings of an insane person!

      My PMS has gotten so bad, I heard that it gets worst as we near the transition phase- like the body is super efficient at manifesting symptoms and then everything goes batshit crazy!

  2. Anthro doesn’t have such a well written blog post! (or the experience of motherhood and parenting to write one either!) Refreshing read! xoc

    1. TEN YEARS. We’ve been at it for TEN YEARS!?!?! How is that even possible?!
      I have a debt of gratitude to you for your constant encouragement 🙏🙏🙏 lady… You’re awesome.

  3. I am totally inspired by “I banished myself to my studio and painted for an hour.” For me that could easily have been “I refreshed Facebook for an hour willing something interesting to happen” or “I browsed Netflix for an hour without actually selecting anything to watch” or “I wandered aimlessly between my couch and my kitchen for an hour hoping donuts or cake would appear”. I am very impressed by the fact that you were able to do something constructive and creative and self-nurturing when the going got tough. When I grow up I wanna be like you!

    1. Oh Chan, your FB is my IG.. All the same thing. You have no idea how many PB + Jd I had to eat before getting to that point! And also, I wear a hunting jacket that I bought with you at the Salvation Army one gloomy hungover Sunday morning, and I think of you each time I slip it on. Nowhere close to being a grown up..

  4. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, a guy friend and I were planning all the amazing things we would do in our life, invent, create and we were high off our enthusiasms. I remember it precisely. An adult male heard us, he was a neighbor I guess, and as we excitedly shared with him all we would do, he said “There is nothing new under the sun”. It was crushing. For a moment. I decided then and there I would prove him wrong. That idea that we are unoriginal in our enterprises is a negative thought that can paralyze or it can push you further. The only way to be truly original, because you are Em (just as you are), is to keep digging and pushing like you do. You could ignore Anthro, but by seeing what is there, you are being brave to look beyond your own nose, it is only a challenge from the universe to push you further, because you have it in you. Keep taking the time. Your kids will learn by example, to stumble, to look further, to dig deeper, to never give up, and you will get there and Anthro will buy your beautiful paintings if they had any true sense of beauty, which they really do. My 2 cents on the matter. With love. xx

    1. I love your two cents- and I’ll take two more whenever you want to dish them out! I realized that I outputted a TREMENDOUS amount of work during my week off of IG because I wasn’t focusing on what everyone else was doing. It’s important to know what’s going, but also be able to turn it off (that’s Where i struggle). And so my new IG rules are once a week, on Fridays ill post new work and stuff and catch up on what’s been happening.

  5. Such a beautiful post and so needed today. I fight against the same struggle that everything has been done before but I really believe it’s still worth doing if it brings you joy and furthers who you are as a person and artist. Your kids are lucky to have such a creative mom! Your work inspires me so keep producing please!!

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