I started my Corona Kimono a year ago today. That first entry had sheep in it and the words “low hum of menace“.
It’s a different world today. Even with how hopeful things are now, I also feel a little ragged. Like the year has worn me down a bit. I hadn’t really thought of it this way until I looked at that first entry, which actually looks more composed, more peaceful compared to the one I did today.
I don’t think I can bring up the exact feeling of fear I had back then, but I can see the relief at having a place to express myself in that first drawing.
As an artist, the Corona Kimono became the thing that I was able to do during the pandemic.
What I really wanted to do was to help in some way. This was more a selfish desire than an altruistic one. “Doing” always makes me feel better than not doing.
Especially during difficult times.
Besides making masks, and being there for the people in my life, and trying to put positive things out into the world on my blog there was little I could do.
Creating my Corona Kimono has helped give my life as an artist meaning during this time.
Looking back at all the entries, I clearly see that some are rougher, more raw than others. I look at some and wish I could erase them, do them over.
But then if my Corona Kimono is truly a journal I guess that’s to be expected.
My last few entries have sometimes come a month apart. But that too reflects that the urgency has diminished.
This morning a bunch of phrases that arose from the pandemic and have become a familiar part of our vocabulary flashed across my YouTube channel. I quickly wrote them down thinking they might become a part of my Corona Kimono.
I’m not sure if I wrote them down because I thought I’d forget them, or if it’s because they are so much a part of life, I no longer think of them as being something other than a part of everyday life.
There was a mix-up when Jon first signed up to get his Covid Vaccine. First, he tried to make an appointment online, but never got confirmation. So he called Walgreens and told them and they made an appointment for him over the phone.
Because of a computer error, it turned out he had two appointments. The pharmacy never corrected the error and it strangely worked out in my favor.
New York State opened vaccines up to people 50 and over yesterday. I tried to make an appointment online, but Walgreens hadn’t updated the guidelines yet. So when Jon called the pharmacist with a question, he asked about making an appointment for my vaccine.
The pharmacist looked to see if there were any cancellations and saw that Jon’s two appointments were still in the system.
He was scheduled to get his booster the next day, but his other appointment was for that day at 5pm.
That’s how I got my covid vaccine the day it was opened up to people in my age group.
When I think back to last year at this time, I never would have imagined that I’d be getting vaccinated for the Corona Virus a year later. It’s almost hard to remember the uncertainty and fear so many of us were feeling.
But when I look at the images on my Corona Kimono, it all comes back to me. With every drawing, each word, every stitch, I am flooded with memories, with what I was feeling at the time.
There’s not much space left on my Corona Kimono. I will have been working on it for a year in April. The idea of finishing it is in a way like the idea of being fully vaccinated. Hard to believe that that at some point soon it will be over.
I woke up with the words Covid Christmas in my head. I knew they belonged to my Corona Kimono.
Little by little pieces of the image became clear in my mind. A Christmas tree with Covid 19 Vaccines tied with a bow. Dr. Fauci, the angel on top of the tree, and Joe Biden’s Covid Taskforce, their names like the kids on Santa’s list.
In my mind, the list flowed like ribbon candy next to the tree, Anthony Fauci’s face grew angel wings and the vaccines took the place of candles on the tree.
Once in my studio, I did a rough drawing. But stitching on the sleeve of the Kimono is difficult. It opens on the wrong side to put the image right side up. And the sleeve is too small to stretch over the flat base of my free-motion sewing machine.
So I had to take the base off, which only allows me to see a few inches of the surface I’m sewing on. This makes it’s impossible for me to sew large images freehand. So I drew the tree with a white pencil before stitching it and traced over the drawing I made of Dr. Fauci’s face to make sure I got it just right.
I listed the first names of the people on Biden’s Taskforce.
At 2:30 Fate plopped her head on my knee, trying to convince me it was time to feed the animals. “Not yet,” I told her. I still have a half-hour and more work to do.”
Once I fill in the back of the left sleeve, I’ll only have the front edging to do.
I’ve been looking at my Corona Kimono for so long I don’t even know what it looks like anymore. But when I look at my first drawing from April, I can still remember the fear I felt of now knowing what would happen.
And now there’s a vaccine.
My friend and poet Jackie Thorne, who is also a nurse, got the first part of the vaccine this week. For her, it had the same effect as a Tetanus shot. A little pain at the site.
This is probably my last entry on my Corona Kimono for the year. And I’m feeling pretty hopeful.
You can follow my work on my Corona Kimono back to the beginning here.
There were just three of us in my Bellydancing class last night. The rest of the class stayed home for reasons due to the Coronavirus.
The facility where we dance is still open, but we’re expecting it may close any day. So we’re figuring out how to do Zoom classes to keep everyone dancing. It is interesting to me, that like most gyms, that it is actually one of the safest places, besides staying home, to be.
The space is sanitized between each group that uses it. There is an air filtration system and high ceilings, we sanitize our hands and feet (since we dance barefoot), keep at least six feet apart from each other, take and record our temperatures and, of course, wear masks.
Winter is here and, as predicted, cases of the virus and deaths from it are rising. It’s a Covid Winter.
So I stitched an image of the coronavirus with a hat and scarf. The words Covid Winter and 232,639 the number of deaths from the virus as of today.
You can see my Corona Kimono from the most recent entry to the first one in April, here.
When I look back at it now, I see the words “A low hum of menace” stitched in purple thread. I remember that feeling, the uncertainty I and so many other people were feeling. The expectation of the unknowable.
There’s still so much we don’t know, but it does seem evident that the virus isn’t traveling through the mail. I don’t know of anyone who is still washing down packages or leaving mail in their garage overnight.
But the USPS is once again on people’s minds.
This time in regards to mail-in voting, a necessary service for so many people, like me and Jon, who don’t want to risk going to a polling station to vote, during the pandemic.
And like everything else regarding the Corona Virus, there is political controversy surrounding it.
Voter suppression has a long history in our country, beginning with the Founding Fathers who severely restricted who could vote. It has manifested in some complicated ways over the centuries and this year it’s coming, from our Federal Government, in the form of severely limiting the mail service.
Ever since I started my business, I’ve had a very personal relationship with the post office, which I visit several times a week to ship my art, and the people who work there.
When I think of the first months of the Corona Virus Shut-down and how the postal clerks at my post office, Wendy and Josie, believed they may have been risking their lives to keep the post office going, I get choked up at their courage and commitment.
What I don’t get is how the Post office was important enough to keep open and potentially risk the lives of the people who worked there a few months ago and now it’s just a financial burden.
I made some practice drawing last night as I was listening to the Democratic Convention. Because of our history, I understand that some of us will probably always have to fight to vote. But I never imagined we’d have to fight for our post office.
You can see the history of my Corona Kimono since that first April 6th entry here.
Now that we know for sure (one of the few things we do seem to know) that face masks are becoming a regular part of life, I decided to do a drawing for my Corona Kimono with a face wearing a mask.
I wound up putting it next to the first thread drawing I did on the Kimono from April 6th. Some of the words on that one was ” a low menacing hum”. Today so many states are talking of partial openings that I chose those words to go with the mask.
I also wrote the word Plateau on the Kimono today. As in the virus hitting its plateau.
I spent most of my day doing shipping. I’m lucky to have a lot of art to be sending out. But this afternoon I got to work on my Corona Kimono.
My idea when I first began the Kimono was to do a drawing a day. But that hasn’t happened. I just didn’t get to it this weekend and decided unless I really have the need I won’t be doing any drawings on the weekend.
I need the time off. It makes a difference to me creatively.
Today I was inspired by our discovery of Saratoga Apple as a good place to shop for fruits and vegetables and hard cider. Since the virus has mostly kept us out of the big supermarkets we’ve been getting our food at the Cambridge Co-op, the Cambridge Market (a small grocery store in town) and Saratoga Apple.
There are few if any people when we go to Saratoga Apple and we bring our growlers and get them refilled with hard cider which feels like a necessity to me these days.
I’m also struck with the idea that cashiers are being appreciated for the work they do. Their status has been raised to “essential workers”. I was a cashier for many years and never would have imagined that there would come a time when cashiers would be risking their lives by doing what they do.
I keep thinking how this virus feels to me like my life is under a microscope. Everything is intensified and pared down. So if I’m aware, I can see more clearly, just by living my everyday life the things that really matter to me.
I laid on my studio floor on my yoga mat, the lights out, a candle lit. My friend Mandy, a Massage Therapist and Energy Healer, and I were doing a distance Energy session.
She had called me before we began and we talked a little but I forgot to mention the idea of grounding that was so important to me right now.
After a few minutes, I felt the pressure of energy in the palms of my hands and then in my legs. I saw in my mind a house with wings on top of a tree stump, the words “Grounded with Wings” popped into my head.
I didn’t think about the double meaning of the word “grounded” until I was stitching it on my Corona Kimono. In a way, so many of us are grounded right now.
For some of the design around the winged tree I used, what I believe are, worm markings on a log I saw in the woods today for inspiration.
I was shocked this morning when I read Jon’s post about how many people have died in New York State of the Coronavirus. I thought I was keeping up on the news but somehow It didn’t register with me that more than seven thousand people have died.
Maybe I just didn’t want to believe it. But seeing the number written out woke me up.
It was all I could think of when I began drawing on my Corona Kimono this morning. So I stitched 7,067, the number of people who have died as of this morning, held in a budding branch on the kimono.
I admit It’s staggering and I can’t truly grasp it.
But I didn’t want to leave it there, I always try to find some hope in the day. I believe in being happy when we can be. So when I got the email this morning that we were approved for the loan to get solar panels, I wanted to include that in today’s drawing.
The solar panels have become a symbol for Jon and me. We decided to get them in the midst of this crisis as a way of showing ourselves that we believe there is a future for all of us no matter how it may feel at times. And in our future, the idea of being good to the earth by using solar energy feels really good.
Solar panels are pretty non-descript so I drew an outlet on the panel in my thread drawing.