Die to Yourself Everyday
Think about that for a moment. Every single day, to arrive presently and without judgement, you must allow yourself and your own perceptions to fall away — to shed every evening as you lay down to rest. This daily cycle is key to mindfulness and, in my experience, to daily harmony in relationship with others.
Moving to Minneapolis has been very much about honoring cycles — within me, within the Earth. As blanket after blanket of snow and grey sky rested heavily over the northern landscape, I was learning to recognize the Earth's cycles and love her through them. Likewise I was learning to recognize my cycles; to love myself through them. It's been a struggle, to be quite honest. I am someone who has vocally despised winter since my teenage years, despite never having gone through a true brutal winter. So when I felt the relief of the first Spring day after the longest winter I've seen, I also felt the relief of shedding skin. Like the snakes that so frequently make appearances in my work, I was growing.
If you follow me on instagram you know I’ve been taking a little break to clear out all the input and overstimulation. I was afraid I would lose followers, and that fear was a glaring signal that this was the right thing to do. The results are twofold:
First, when I stopped sharing to instagram, I stopped drawing. Not completely — I've still done some sketching and planning and doodling — but I stopped making finished pieces in favor of studies and experiments.
Secondly, as I strip away the layers of "supposed to" I discover what is truly my voice. It turns out that voice isn't much different than it's always been, but it's been more quiet, more sheepish, drowned out by all of the messages received from external sources. I'm beginning to see glimmers of the path that i’m called to. It pokes through like memories of a dream the night before — fragments — the way my sketchbooks used to look.
Putting this all together and listening to my body and what it needs from me in this time, it's becoming more and more clear to me that the current phase of Tenderheart Studio is coming to an end. What I had been forcing my body to do with service-based illustration work and prints hasn't felt quite right and when I sit quietly with that thought I feel at once a deep acceptance and a tragic undoing of my ego. My thoughts often surface in black or white with little grey area, and so my original impulse was to give up art forever and always. After taking a few breaths and a few steps back I realized that all of my interests and passions are very much related, exist in harmony rather than in a vacuum, and are not mutually exclusive. The simple truth is that I've reached a new cycle in my practice that is begging to be honored.
A significant reason for my social media hiatus was to focus on a new collection of work to be released July 15th. At some point I realized that this collection didn’t need to be one of drawings or products. It could just as easily be a collection of content — process videos, pieces of writing, recommendations, blog posts, etc. Leaning into this idea, that part of me that's begging feels relief. I feel myself expand.
So, what does this mean moving forward?
First of all, I'll be having a big sale on prints beginning June 18th. My intention is to move as much stock as possible to create space for whatever comes next.
Second, this website will be changing just a bit. Tenderheart Studio is and always has been me, and will continue to be the container for whatever work is coming up. So, very soon, the URL will change from www.kendallquack.com to www.tenderheart.studio.
What kind of content can you expect moving forward?
I have been writing since I was very, very young. It’s the way that I connect with my deepest feelings and the best way I know to connect with others. I will be honoring that part of myself with more blog posts and by continuing to create posts for the patreon (sign up here) which will be more personal, in depth, and encouraging of a community that I'm already attempting to shape in that space (Tenderheart Club y'all!).
This discovery came in 2015 when I began researching content for the drawings that later became prints for Tenderheart Studio. I had recently gone through an emotional falling out with my family and a dear friend, and had begun the process of self-healing. Illustration, the skill I'm most trained in, became an outlet — a way to make manifest the feelings and insights I had a hard time putting words to. During my research I immersed myself in Jungian psychology, southern gothic literature, and victorian floriography. My work became rich with symbolism. Then a friend suggested that I research the plants that formed the basis for common medicines and healing remedies. While I was vaguely aware of the potential of plants previously, this exposure was the catalyst for so much more expansion. I began learning basic properties of various plants, how to use them as medicine, how to dye cloth with them, and I fell in love with the natural world in a way I hadn't experienced before.
Moving forward, I'm diving headfirst into that curiosity and wonder. I want to share what I learn along the way, whether it's related to medicine or dyeing or food and nutrition.
Holistic Living and Mindfulness.
If you know me in person, or if you've been with me since the Tiny House Creative days, you know that I built a tiny house on wheels with my former husband as part of my thesis in art school. It was a project centered on creating a life of self sufficiency with our key value being "Make Time, Not Money." We have since gone our separate ways, but we each are still creative types that value people over profit, and the thread that ran through all of my work in college was a value for conscious living and wellness. Health, mindfulness, growing my own food, and generally taking care of myself and others has been a deep part of my nature, and I want to share these things with you.
A shift in tone.
Have you all noticed how damn seriously I take everything? Yeah. That’s something I’m working on. As I navigate this new work I’m hoping to find that delicate balance between reverence, transparency, tenderness, and a realness with myself and all of you that allows me to lighten the tone of this blog. I am not and never have been a love-and-light kind of person, but I do hope to strike that balance. It's a work in progress, now and forever.
For the last two years, drawing has been a way for me to understand the world around me. Etching lines into paper gives me the same sensation as tracing my fingers along the body of a lover. It is a way for me to dive deep and experience something in its entirety. As I shift and grow, that work shifts and grows with me. I will never stop drawing, but this work will now exist in the greater context of these interests.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being with me through this phase of Tenderheart. As I write this I realize that this shift may seem much larger for me than it does to those who have known me and known Tenderheart Studio — after all, this new path has always been part of me in some way. But isn't that how it tends to go? Just as we often judge ourselves more harshly than others do, we tend to detect our shifts more acutely than those who see us more objectively. At any rate, as I move through this new season, I hope to continue seeing you all here. It's my hope that each day I'm able to show up fully present to do the work that's needed from me. This is all so much information, but I truly value transparency and communication and think it's really important to let folks in on my process and inner workings.
I truly and dearly appreciate the opportunity to share all of these things with you. Thank you!