Written by Elayne
So, let me introduce myself. I am Elayne Linn, the Hopeful Caterpillar. While I hope to remain hopeful every day, life is sometimes darn depressing, anxiety-ridden and tumultuous. There are ups and downs and challenges that can stomp on the caterpillar, on us as humans. Part of my life journey has been working in crisis, sharing my lived experience with people with mental health issues, addictions, housing and many other human issues. Helping people find hope and discover their own path on their journey through wellness has been a passion and mutual gift for myself for many years. It’s my life’s purpose, my reason for being. My desire is to continue supporting people with their wellness, inspiring hope through my Instagram page @hopeful_capterpillar and through my Facebook page and connecting with people in “real life”, providing wellness guidance. It’s been a hard, long, tedious, stressful, rollercoaster of a year for so many of us (all of us) in different ways. For the first time in my existence and in the history of our recent modern world, the whole of the planet, every human, can relate in some way to life in a pandemic and there is some beauty in that. Connection, care, kindness…hope can be found if we take a moment to step back and see ourselves in the family of things, as poet Mary Oliver would say.
Speaking of the family of things, I find connection in Nature, being in the woods and near the water in my little corner of the world in Northumberland County, Ontario. One of my favourite places on earth is Monk’s Cove on Lake Ontario, and I enjoy spending time at a little spot that I call “Woods and Water” which I discovered in the winter of 2020, just before the pandemic hit. Walking slowly through Nature brings me peace, solitude, grounding and mindfulness, taking photographs of fungi and lichens, and little things that we rarely take the time to see. Icicles from a fallen log at the beach, driftwood, sunsets, the golden hour, Canada geese taking flight…capturing these sights bring me joy and put me into the moment. Recently I decided to have a few of my images printed on greeting cards and they are available for sale through the Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop, as well as through me directly. You can also enjoy my images on my social media pages.
Creativity also brings me joy, peace of mind and focus. The making of something out of nothing is blissful and exhilarating, even if it doesn’t work (admittedly a bit stressful until we move out of our own way). Even if it’s not pretty. Even if it’s just mud and getting our hands dirty. Learning to accept ourselves, where we are and the process…there is value in the process. In 2019, after wanting to try pottery for years, I finally quieted my inner critic and took a class at Kawartha Potters Guild in Peterborough. And then another. And, in the middle of that class, the pandemic hit half-way through the session. I was able to complete the classes in the Fall of 2020, and something clicked in me. I felt inspired and capable, as I started hand-building pottery at home. My friend and artist Jenni Burke suggested I apply to the Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop to have a few of my pieces showcased along with other artists in March 2021. I took a chance, and passionately spoke to the value of creating and being a beginner. Excitement, anxiety and imposter syndrome set in as they welcomed me and showcased my work as a beginner and have encouraged me to continue. And continue I’m trying…the pandemic is making it very challenging, as I work out of the Guild for glazing and firing, and they have been shut due to public health precautions since the end of December, all but one week. I hope to get there soon and dip and fire more pieces…this is an exercise in patience! Being a part of the Gallery show has been the highlight of a very difficult and trying year, and I am so glad I took a chance! If you are interested in viewing my pottery, pieces are listed on my Hopeful Caterpillar Facebook page. Send me a message if you would like to bring a piece home with you!