2016: a new year?

 |  January 11, 2016

I just spent some time reading through my blogs of 2015 and it is always interesting to read back and see the year and time and life in general reflected back. It was a busy year of making, which I am so grateful for. And to all the people who stopped by here and on my website and my newsletters, thank you. For the people who purchased my work and brought it into their homes or gifted it others, thank you. Buying original work from artists makes such an impact for the artist in big and small ways, that I hope people who do so, know it and know that it is so deeply appreciated. It keeps us going- financially and emotionally. Thank you!


In 2015 I was in 9 exhibits, one of which was my first time curating, and three others where I actually exhibited my book art. I tend to not exhibit my books. I don’t really have a good reason why I don’t. But this year I stepped out from that and I am glad to have done it. Part of the creative process for me, is sending my work out into the world, having people see it, touch it, experience it. And hopefully bring it into their homes and daily lives.


The accomplishment that I am most proud of though was my Art on the Trail installation because of the fact that I was so scared. Scared is actually not quite the right word. That sounds like I was quaking in my boots. But there was fear involved. Some anxiety. Which, to be honest, is always present when one is always putting their creative work out in the world. But this was different because one, I had had this idea for a few years and I had to submit a proposal to be scrutinized. Because this was an idea I had had for so long, I had so much of myself invested in it and I just wanted it to be right. Then having an outdoor installment was something completely new to me. I remember a week before installation, I emailed my friend and was like “What was I thinking that I could do something like this??!!” And she wisely replied, as she always does “Part of the process of being an artist, I think, is that we tend to push ourselves onto the bleeding edge. We seem to thrive in a state of perpetual discomfort. And as a result questioning why we are doing [fill in the blank] is a regular practice.”

As always, Jen speaks the truth.


Other than dealing with that fear, I was in heaven those weeks making my Field Guides, it felt right and good to be working with materials in that way. Working with natural found materials has been part of my process since the very beginning, but with these books I was really pushing myself. When I installed at the park, the people’s reactions to my books were priceless. The delight and the pause and the realization that my pieces were books and they were all made out of natural materials, and their gratitude. I will always carry that with me.

Field Guides: Book of Moss

On new years day I asked my husband if he had any resolutions or intentions for the new year. He said, a new year does not really exist, it’s arbitrary, so, no. I laughed, and actually felt a sense of relief. But then I started thinking about how I want the new year to be and nothing was coming to me. I started to think, maybe something is wrong with me?! Why am I not coming up with a vision of what I want? Am I lazy? What?

But then I started thinking, maybe nothing is wrong with me? Maybe it’s all just about being in harmony with myself and feeling that out. What exactly does that mean for me? For my artwork? For my family? I’ve always kept goals for my art in mind though because if I don’t know what I want, then how am I going to even get there? Maybe I just need a little more time to get my bearings for this new (arbitrary) year.

“The rest will be written as the story unfolds.”

Field Guides, photo by Leslie Marsh

This awesome photo was taken by the very talentedLeslie Marsh

Funny thing- I wrote this post last week when it really was still the new year and I obviously am late in posting. But I’m ok with that. Some things you just have to let go to have that harmony.

With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things. -William Wordsworth


  1. by Mary Jo Fisher on January 11, 2016  2:00 pm Reply

    You write so true! You set a really good example by sharing all your process and honest feelings, and that honesty is so evident in your art. Which is why I was drawn to it, and treasure my custody of it!
    I feel so privileged when I can communicate with, and follow the life journeys of artists I admire. This is my real education. This is the way I want to go.
    Best wishes for an even more positive and creative continuing experience!

    • by Bridgette Guerzon Mills on January 12, 2016  10:49 am Reply

      Thanks Mary Jo! I always hope that I can help others by sharing the good and the bad. I feel privileged to know you- in person and online and that my work lives with you. Thank you always!

  2. by Judy Shreve on January 11, 2016  2:37 pm Reply

    This post is fabulous on so many levels. But your installation - these books made with natural materials are fabulous. It lets me know I can 'read' the earth, be with it, not just walk on it. Such an honest approach done so very simply - that I know could not have been simple to do -- yet the message is simply clear. Wish I were closer, so I could see it in person.

    • by Bridgette Guerzon Mills on January 12, 2016  10:50 am Reply

      Thanks Judy- I love that you got the message through the books that the earth can be read and that there is so much to learn from our environment. happy new year!

  3. by mary on January 11, 2016  3:10 pm Reply

    Reading this on a day when I'm trying to get together a submission for a juried photo show. Spent hours trying to decide what to send. I love how you mention that fear is definitely a part of the process. I can't tell you how much your blog over the last few years has nurtured my artwork. The Field Work project is something I cannot get enough of.

    • by Bridgette Guerzon Mills on January 12, 2016  10:52 am Reply

      That means so much Mary! I don't post on my blog as much as I used to and sometimes I wonder if I should just stop. But I write to record my journey and also I hope that somehow it helps others. Thank you for letting me know that this blog has in a small way nurtured your artwork. Hope you have a wonderful year ahead. and good luck on the show!

  4. by Just Jen on January 11, 2016  8:25 pm Reply

    I saw on FB that you'd written this but hadn't gotten to my feed yet (I use Inoread) and only just getting there. So imagine my surprise to see "me" buried in here. It's been a really rough couple of days. And frankly, to be called wise when I feel anything but, well it made my heart soar. I thank you for that!
    And if you haven't figured it out yet? Installation work in nature ...with nature... is your calling, girl. You have only just begun. And I can't wait to see where it takes you.
    ps ... arbitrary new years? oh mr. mills we have so much more to discuss! lol

    • by Bridgette Guerzon Mills on January 12, 2016  10:53 am Reply

      So glad Jen you found yourself buried in my post. :) I truly mean what I said. And you were right- we put ourselves in really uncomfortable places/spaces over and over again- it's part of our growth and process. You are in the thick of it, it sounds like! You'll make it through. xo

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