Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Bird Nest is a Symbol of Hope

This sweet bird nest lives in my house.  I was very lucky to find this original watercolour under the Christmas tree--a gift from my husband.  I love it.  I also love its artist--Jody Edwards.

A lot has gone on this past week.  A week ago, Jody found this very nest and several of her feather images in the Etsy shop and on the blog of a German artist. Through hours of detective work, Jody tracked down three other Etsy artists who had their work copied by the same person.  The copied images are gone now but the past week has been a week of pain, anger, and frustration for Jody. I got involved because Jody is my friend and I feel sick when artists, especially friends, go through this kind of thing.  I ended up being labeled a 'hater' and 'bully' for standing up for Jody and the other artists by saying that the other artist was wrong to do what she did.  While she has apologized that others saw a resemblance in what she was selling (they were identical), she still claims never to have seen Jody's work before. Yesterday, despite two walks with Meeko in the forest, I was in and out of tears. I was feeling disappointed with the world, discouraged with what that means for my daughters in the future and reeling from the names I had been called.  I have taught Emma and Chloé to stand up and speak out when things are wrong. It is a strong message in our household, not to mention their school. I thought, if this is what happens when you do speak up, had I taught them the right thing?

But, do you know what? This is a new month. Bird nests, especially those filled with tiny, sweet eggs, are symbols of hope and love.  Here is a list of good and wonderful things I can take from the past week:

I am thankful for my friendship with Jody. Who knew that an email I sent her last October on Etsy telling her how much I loved her watercolours would turn into such a special and supportive friendship. We have our painting styles, motherhood and a sense of humour in common.  It turns out that she grew up just minutes away from my sister's house. My sister now owns some of her originals too. I encourage you to have a look at her beautiful paintings, maybe even say hello to her.

I am thankful for my beautiful friend Colette who sent me the most amazing email one morning this week full of words that had nothing to do with me being a bully or hater without knowing how very much I needed to hear them. She is also the sweetheart who delivered that bouquet of Valentine candles to me.

I am thankful for my sweet friend Lucile who took time at midnight in Paris to send me words of encouragement when I told her that I was feeling discouraged this month about my art and Etsy. I am also the proud owner of two of Lucile's original paintings and I will show you them some day.

I am thankful that a stranger named Mary Jo took the time to leave a sweet and kind comment here after I visited her new blog, a welcome place of peace and beauty called Still.

I am thankful for the internet. Though this past week, I started to think of it as the big, bad internet and it definitely has that side, it has been the source of the most wonderful creative inspiration and beautiful friendships. There are a lot of very nice people out there and I am lucky to know so many of them. I am thankful for knowing Geninne, Margie and Arounna...and there are so many others that I can't list you all here as I would be afraid to leave someone out and hurt your feelings. I appreciate each and every one of you.

I am thankful for my daughters. They are kind, sensitive and wise. They are so supportive of my painting efforts--"Mama, go upstairs and paint!". They have a true sense of integrity, not to mention wonderful senses of humour (they are slightly nutty). For everything I teach them, they teach me something back.

I am thankful for my parents because I know that my moral core comes from what they taught me when I was young. I am also happy to say that my Mom is doing really well these days.

I am thankful for Meeko and how he gets me outside even on days when it's icy and horribly frigid, and the unconditional furry love he gives me throughout each day.

I am thankful for my husband and the gift of this painting. And Jody again, for making this beautiful bird nest, this symbol of hope, something that I get to look at each and every day.

One more thing:  I am thankful that January is over! :)


Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune--without the words, 
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; 
And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little bird 
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land, 
And on the strangest sea; 
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

Bird nests and feathers are symbols of hope.


  1. Kathleen,

    I am moved beyond words.
    There was a tear in my eye and a smile in my heart as I read this post.

    This past week has been very trying for me. I felt helpless in many moments, but with support from true friends like you, I can only feel strong and optimistic.

    I am so lucky to have such a fierce champion for justice and I only hope I could be as helpful to you if the situation was reversed.

    I've learned so much this past week as well.

    The world truly is, a very small place (especially online).

    People will believe what they want to believe.

    Opinion and Truth are very different things.

    When people work together, anything is possible.

    Most importantly though, I learned just how important your friendship means to me and I am so, so fortunate you sent me that message "once upon a time". Because, it feels like we have always know one another, and I have definitely needed you this week. :)

    As Anne Shirley would say, "Kindred Spirits" indeed.


    1. Jody--I am glad that I was able to help in some way. It made me so mad and sad (but mostly really, really mad) to know what you were dealing with. What a lot of time and energy you have had to devote to this whole thing and you were a fighter not just for your own work but for the other artists too. But it is good to come out of a difficult situation feeling that there were valuable lessons. I love how you summarized them and I love the idea of you and me and Anne Shirley in a sentence together. I am honoured to be the owner of your bird nest and I am so happy to be your friend. xx

    2. Anonymous3:26 PM EDT


      I was googling the symbolism of bird nest and your link pop up. So I clicked and how inspiring you are. I normally have not the time to read blogs, but I will keep an eye out for yours. We should all be thankful everyday as you are.

      Barbara S.

    3. Thanks, Barbara, for taking the time to comment and for your nice words. Yes, we all forget sometimes to be thankful for the good things in our life. It's too easy to concentrate on the other things.

  2. There is nothing much more to do than standing for who/what we care for, having value & respecting them, putting our chins up & keeping on living our lives with love, joy, respect & conscience.
    I went through the same feelings as you for Jody, last year with Margie. Some people should get a life, AND a conscience (which they really lack of !!)
    Happy February, Kathleen. oxox hugs

    1. Sonia--Of anyone I have come to know over the internet, you are the one whose moral compass shines bright and true on a daily basis. You are such a thoughtful person--and I mean that in terms of what goes on in your brain but also in how you treat others. You are also on my 'I am thankful' list. A Happy February hug to you. xx

    2. I am extremely touched by your words, Kathleen, really deeply, thank you warmly.
      The internet world can bring the best (/good) & the worse (/bad). I'm so happy to have a lof of the best in my online universe, and only had to encounter the "worse" only once. (I will never forget though)
      With more love & respect, this world would be such a better place.

  3. I´m glad you stood up for your friend, you did the right thing. It always saddens me when people act like that, I hope she doesn´t do it again.

    1. Tina--I have really liked getting to know you through your blog and your comments here. I love your joy, your zany humour and your optimistic way of looking at life. You are on my list too. :)

  4. Oh Kathleen I am glad to be part of one of your good things, I found january very hard here too...
    This issue with Jody's work is incredible, I am going to look at her artwork, your husband's gift is wonderful.

  5. I forgot : I can't wait to see gardening in your blog "painting and gardening and other lovely pursuits " Isn't gardening HOPE too ?

    1. Oh Lucile, you are a very good thing in my life and you already know you are on my 'thankful' list. :) I cherish our friendship, am inspired by your art and enjoy your sense of humour so much.

      You are so right--gardening is full of hope and promise and its season is just around the corner. In gardening, you can work and work and work and what are you rewarded with? Beauty! I don't know of a better deal. I hope that there is sunshine in Paris in the days ahead for you. xx

  6. Ohh what a sad week you had!!! I,m so, so , so sorry for all what both of you went trough. These things make my heart shrink. It,s difficult for me to express all what I think, I,ll hope you understand. It,s not the first time I read something about stolen ideas or work, and it is very sad to hear that they don,t admit what they do and even reply in such a bad way. you are a very speciall person. I don,t know you in person, and though we are so, so far away , wenn I read your posts I can see that you are so sensitive, respectful and loving person, not only with your work or others work, also whit all what is around you... your family, friends meeko...It,s is the way I also think that life should be, so I wish you and Jody,as there is nothing much more you can do, a February full of hope, smiles and good moments!

    I,ll go to see her paintings! and I must say that I,ve visited also Mary Jo,s blog. It,s beatifull and so peacefull.

    1. Karin--I love reading all of the comments you leave me. I always smile and appreciate what you say. You are a sweet and sensitive person and I admire so much that you take the time to comment here in English. I think we have a lot in common despite living in such different parts of the world. We have talked about the blogging experience before, haven't we? You are on my list of what I am thankful for when I am thinking about the 'good' part of the internet. I hope you have a wonderful February too.

  7. Oh my goodness, this all sounds traumatic. How awful. I worry sometimes when I post things on my blog, it makes you wnat to disguise things somehow, so people can't properly see your art. I had a rotten experience, like you, of someone putting their name to some artwork that I did. I stood up for myself too, but it didn't do me any favours. They actually had their name printed on the back of a card and I had done the artwork! I admire you for standing up for your friend, I hate to see this. Her work looks beautiful. I shall check it out. I hope you have a fantastic Feb, to make up for it. X

    1. Julie--I think it's an ongoing problem for artists. It happened to me well before the internet existed. The internet just makes it easier for some. There will always be dishonest companies and individuals, but as Jody points out the internet is big and small, all at the same time. People do find out and maybe that will be a deterrent for some. I think it's also important for artists for look out for each other. I am thankful for the group of artistic friends that the internet has brought me and that circle includes you. Happy February. xx

  8. Look at all the good you have done! By standing up for what is right you have touched the lives of all these beautiful people who have left comments here. The world is going to be OK because of people like you...I love you

    1. Your comment made me cry--in a good way. Thank you for your ongoing, amazing support. You are a beautiful friend. I love you too. xx

  9. I just wanted to say that I am happy that so many of you have said that you will go and look at Jody's work. I hope she is getting crazy page views of her Etsy shop today! :)

  10. i have been in the same situation as your friend a number of times, and know how heavy hearted it can make you feel to have your creative work raped and pillaged. This was before we met each other and I am quite sure you have no idea what I went through. But tell your friend that in the end if we stick to our positive stance that stealing is wrong and that everyone has the ability to create their own original art if so encouraged to do so, things will work themselves out. There will always be people in the world that think stealing is fine but you will not find them in my beautiful web of friends of which you are an integral part of.
    much love to you and your friend.

    1. Margie--Thank you so much for your sensitive, heartfelt words. I am so sorry that you have gone through this too. I was trying to explain to someone this week how it wasn't a small thing and that there is an enormous sense of shock and violation each time an artist discovers that their work has been copied. I think it is because creative work comes from inside of us and even when it exists outside of us, it carries a piece of us in it. I am so very lucky to have a friend in you and am so honoured to think of myself on a web with you--one of your beautifully photographed webs glistening with dew drops and sunshine. Thank you for the love you have sent Jody. I know she will read your words. Thank you for how you make the big world small and the small world big on an ongoing basis. Much love to you too. xx

  11. Susan O'Connor10:36 AM EST

    Reading all this makes me so proud to be able to say that Jody is my big sister and has touched so many people the way that i see her. Amazing, thank you for supporting her through her tough times and celebrating with her during her sunny moments. XO - S

    1. Susan--Your big sister is a wonderful painter. There is strength and beauty in her work and I know that is part of her as a person too. I am glad that I could help in some way and add to the support that I'm sure she was already feeling from you, other family members and her circle of friends. Reading all of the comments here has been so reassuring for me and I hope Jody too. There ARE good people in the world. I feel happy and lucky to be her friend. xo

  12. Kathleen
    It is good to hear your sadness, because it is who you are, where you are, speaking your truth in this moment.

    It is also so wonderful and uplifting to hear all that you are thankful for! I laud your honesty and send my appreciation and encouragement to you! Today you are part of what I am thankful for.

    1. Cynthia--I am very touched by your words. Thank you so much!

  13. Wow!
    I'm so overwhelmed by all of the heartfelt responses here.
    Thank you everyone!
    You've wiped the smudges from my Rose Coloured glasses and I can see clearly, again. The world is full of kind, honest people, with the odd exception to the rule, to remind you to cherish the others.
    I so appreciate every comment , and every one of you who has stopped into my Etsy shop to have a look at my work.
    So much of my gratitude goes to Kathleen, so full of empathy and heart. A lover AND a fighter! LOL

    1. Jody--I was hoping you were reading all of the comments from these overwhelmingly beautiful people here.

      Just to let people in on our joke--this week I posted the song 'The Girl Is Mine' by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney on Facebook for Jody, telling her to substitute the word 'girl' with 'art'. That was also a day when I was grappling with whether I was a 'lover' or a 'fighter'. You have no idea, Jody, how very stuck that song has been in my brain ever since. Maybe we should put our paintbrushes down and go into a studio and record our new version? No, maybe not... :)

      I am so glad that this has helped you and I really like the way you pointed out that the exceptions to the rule may be there for a reason. It doesn't make it easy, but it does allow everything else to shine in comparison.

      Big hug, Kathleen

    2. Kathleen,
      I just read my comment and I SO used the word SO a lot! LOL.
      Will have to do more editing before I ever think of blogging myself.
      Thanks again,

    3. I would SO read a blog by you. ;) I would.


Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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