Open me up, Open you up, Open me up…


Me and Jackie Campbell.  Jackie came from Minnesota to be at the Open House. We've
Me and Jackie Campbell at the Open House.   Jackie ‘s from Minnesota and we got to know each other when I made her a couple of quilts from her Husband and Mother’s and Grandmother’s clothes.

I see now that the essence of the Bedlam Farm Open House is the Open.  Because that’s what Jon and I are really so much about.  We began in our relationship together by opening each other up.  It started with conversation.   The kind of conversation I had never known but always dreamed of.  Filled with honesty, curiosity, real listening, understanding  and respect.  And once we opened ourselves up to each other, we began to open ourselves up to the rest of the world. For me this meant finally being able to dedicate myself to my work and share it.  Terrified as I was, that no one would like it or understand, never imagining that people might actually want to buy it.  At first my website (then called Yes, No Quilts)  was just about showing and sometimes selling my work. But as I evolved, and my work evolved, and my confidence grew, and I made connections with my readers, I opened up even more, or maybe it was the other way around.    And after much blogging, I learned how to open up in my writing too.  Sharing, not just my creative process, but the parts of my life that seemed as universal as they were personal.  Then, I think it first happened when Rose died, I learned how to write from the emotional part of myself.  To not be afraid to go deep inside me and expose and express what I was feeling in my heart and in my gut.

But it was the first exhibits at the Pig Barn Gallery that brought me out of the physical shell of my studio and made me come out from behind my computer.    At these shows  I  came to understand that actually looking at, and talking to a person face to face was very different from selling my work on-line.  Standing there in person, dealing with the realities of running an art show, and having hundreds of people in my back yard, letting them see me, not just at my best angles, at times frazzled and stumbling over my words.  Because I had to trust myself and the people who showed up,  it opened me up even further.

And now, at our most recent Open House, this idea of openness has extended to everyone who comes to the farm and to everyone who couldn’t be here. Jon’s Open Group (there’s that word again) the comments on my blog and facebook have introduced a new opening.  Not just between me and Jon and the people who come to see the farm, but between all those people too.  Everyone here, opening up to each other.

Last Sunday, Bedlam Farm was infused with a feeling of joy and trust and a warmth and openness.  Opening, expanding, it keeps me from caving into myself, from shutting down in fear and anger, from becoming small.  It forces me to say yes, and to trust. I used to think being open would make me weaker, that being vulnerable was dangerous.  Now I know it keeps me honest and makes me stronger.  And helps me connect to other people in a way I couldn’t have imagined and still have no words for.

Me and Diane Fiore at the Open House.  Diane and I got to know each other When Diane and her husband and her mother came to Jon's readings.  Diane and Jackie got to know each other through our blogs.
Me and Diane Fiore at the Open House. Diane and I got to know each other when Diane and her husband and her mother came to Jon’s readings. Diane and Jackie got to know each other through my and their own blogs.


15 thoughts on “Open me up, Open you up, Open me up…

  1. You did it again. A beautiful blog Maria. I identify with every word. Thanks for being such a power of example for me. (You look radiant!) 🙂

  2. Hi Maria:
    Not only do you create beautiful art, you’re a great writer too. I read your blog as well as Jon’s. I look forward to what you create!

  3. First of all, Maria – I love Jackie Campbell ! We both are Corgi-Dog Lovers! – I can’t help it. Thank you for recognizing and supporting and encouraging this very super strong woman. – and recognizing her as a Role Modal for All of Us to emulate. Jackie Campbell is an incredible woman: warm, loving, kind, ever giving, supportive, encouraging, persevering, ever to find beauty foremost in her thinking / in her mind / in her daily perspective: in the most bleakest of situations. She is definitely a “Keeper”….
    Second for all – I have read / loved Jon’s Blogs for a number of months, and I have learned so much from them –
    Thirdly, I have watched you, Maria, emerge from an incredible “silent struggling” cocoon into a full-fledged butterfly – to become a very articulated / very strong / no-nonsense incredible woman in her own right. Thank you –

  4. I love this post Maria! You have captured the essence of the joy in coming together. And another piece of the connection with Jackie too. I didn’t realize that she was the woman from her husband’s and grandmother’s quilts! I loved those stories of you making them. And I realize now that the reason I didn’t connect her with that and with Jon’s bookstore conversations, is that each of you shared those stories about Jackie rather than Jackie telling us. Interesting that she was kind of the background to those stories even though she was the reason those stories existed. I love her gentle blog too. Next time I meet her, and I hope there will be a next time, I want to talk to her more. She’s delightful and friendly, and open!


  5. The title is perfect for this post. Had I not opened myself up to the gifts of Bedlam Farm I would never have met such wonderful and supportive people as the three pictured above. I laugh because I’ve opened up so much, now I won’t shut up; the lid to the jar forever lost. The great part about opening up is how it spreads from one to the other because of one simple seed of encouragement.

  6. Wow..I saw the yes/no dress you designed (from Jons blog) and now read this..had to comment on how powerful art can be, and how therapeutic. Your work has really evolved and it is a positive statement where you are. Being a private person myself, I understand how difficult it can be to open up to other people, experiences..change. I love the is a awesome piece of art and a testament to women in so many ways.

  7. I hope some day to meet you and Jon. This group has allowed me to feel comfortable in sharing. I know what a relationship like yours is like and truly am blessed to have had it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Maria, Open is You! I love the flying trajectory of your life in words, in the music of your sewing, in the craft of your kindness – when we sit with your pillow between us in the morning having tea, the words of love nurture the future of our day. Good job! Good work! Great Blessings!
    Love, Pam

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