February 10, 2012

Aging Gracefully in her Studio

This week's beauty is artist Liz Smith who is the creator of  Made in Lowell. Liz is a fellow lover of felted wool whom I met several years ago at the Sowa Holiday Market in Boston. Since then she has been featured on Martha Stewart with her polymer clay eggs and is creating  all sorts of things wonderful in her Etsy shop.

"I’m 42, turning 43 this year. My husband and I are both the youngest kids in our families with siblings much older than us. He’s the only other person I ever met with the same family structure as mine; 4 kids with 3 bunched together in age and one 7 or 8 years later. We were surprise babies for our parents. It was like being only children, with siblings. We grew up accustomed to being around older people. Our parents were often the age of our peers’ grandparents. I feel like this made me more attuned to the aging process, made older people less “other”.

Sometimes I feel alone in that I didn’t love being young, I think I exhaled when I reached 30. Not that I’m in a hurry to get through life, I cherish every moment. But I adore being an adult! I feel autonomous and in charge of my life, well, as much as anyone is. It’s such a contrast to the chaos I felt right through my childhood and into my twenties. I notice it every day and it feels like freedom.

I do notice that I have been inculcated with society’s youth obsession and sometimes find myself chagrined at the draping of my neck skin, the softening of my face. I am determined to fight these feelings as I believe they are false instincts, that I am brainwashed by advertising. No better proof of this is that I don’t have these thoughts about anyone else! Someone else's soft, wrinkled skin is a sweet indication of experience and wisdom.
I interact with the public a lot when I vend at craft shows. I make it a point to thoughtfully acknowledge and listen to anyone I think might have become invisible in society due to her age. It’s a small thing but I hope it helps.

If we are lucky, we grow old. I hope to be very, very lucky."

Thank you Liz for being this week's beauty. 

P.S.I love this picture of your adorable parents.