Events

Lansing Community Library Art Show

IMG_20180303_141310_580ABM_152070807320180303_140717ABM_152070803620180303_140458ABM_152070799720180303_140435ABM_152070794720180303_140419ABM_1520707888ABM_1520710197Jaime Hazard art show

Welcome to my first art show! It’s from now until the end of April at the Lansing Community Library. I had a lot of fun revisiting my past work for this show and also creating some new things. I hope people can see it in person but if you can’t, I’ve included images of everything on display. Plus, all prints are available in my online shop. The library had to reduce my long-winded artist’s bio so it fits onto their marketing materials so the following is the official bio that I wrote:

Jaime Hazard has been a wildlife enthusiast ever since she hatched with all the other tadpoles in her clutch. Paired with that was a love of all things arts and crafts. In high school she studied art, played in several bands, walked dogs at the SPCA and spent every free second at the zoo. When it came time to decide what to study in college she was torn between animals and art. Animals eventually won out and she went on to earn an associates degree in Veterinary Technology from SUNY Delhi and for a little while she actually worked at the zoo she’d practically lived in as a teenager. Being the lifelong learner she is, she went on to earn a bachelors degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a masters degree in Environmental Communication and Participatory Process from SUNY ESF. Jaime went on to work as a field biologist and biological technician in various locations all over the United States including Yellowstone National Park. And although her work focused mainly on threatened and endangered species of reptiles and amphibians, she’s not biased. She loves all animals equally (with the exception of crabs, of course).

Needless to say, art definitely became an afterthought until one day a friend commissioned her to create some recycled jewelry for her store. Wanting to put her own personal touch on things, Jaime decided to depict her own experiences working with animals into small jewelry-sized works of art. What she discovered through that process was that her once very precise technical style had turned into loose, haphazard scribbles and what would normally take her months of agonizing over every detail was a quick, extremely satisfying, worry-free process of creation. These works are on display here as well as many more that she’s done since.

When Jaime’s not drawing, she’s working at Cornell University where she helps diagnose parasitic infections in every imaginable creature that this universe has cooked up so they can live long, healthy lives. She also teaches private tai chi and qigong lessons, volunteers for Hospicare, is diligently writing a book on life and death care, takes every opportunity to dance with complete reckless abandon, is obsessed with all things paranormal, makes and sells soap, builds furniture (and is currently working on a teardrop camper), and happily cohabitates with her furry best friends. Jaime would also like to warmly invite you to visit her photography exhibit coming up in May at Hopshire Farm and Brewery which will showcase some of her favorite moments of being a field biologist.

 

Health, Wellness & Enjoyment, Making Crafty Magic

More on Goals & Limiting Beliefs

owlsThis is a continuation of my last post on goal setting. I’d like to take this opportunity to delve further into Hunter Thompson’s idea of the decision between going with the flow by designing a life that accentuates your experiences and natural talents OR swimming against the current by re-inventing yourself in order to achieve a goal that may not reflect who you are now but instead reflects the person you’ll have to become in order to achieve that goal. (I hope this is making sense.) I can see the merits in both paths and it’s safe to say that I’ve sampled both.

Ever since grade school, I’ve focused heavily on cultivating my natural talents. I played guitar, was in various rock bands, took vocal lessons, wrote fantastic short stories and poetry and won awards for my artwork. Even before that though, I loved animals. I was born into this world with an affinity for and a kinship with animals. So in my senior year I was faced with a dilemma. Should I go to school for art, pursue a recording contract with my band or go to school for Veterinary Technology?

The veterinary work posed various exciting challenges. I was an honors student in remedial math, I wasn’t particularly scientific-minded, and blood & guts made me rather squeamish (a few months earlier I had fainted in front of my entire high school class when we took a tour of an embalming room at a local funeral home and when I toured SUNY Delhi I almost fainted when the guide began talking about analyzing blood samples). Basically, I was going to have to re-make my mind in order to succeed. Plus, it was the only career path that I deemed meaningful at the time. Thus, I enrolled at SUNY Delhi, I got over my squeamishness, and worked my butt off to be a Dean’s List scholar. I poured all my time and effort into swimming against the current, so to speak, at the expense of my creativity. My natural talents began to rust and after a while I was completely unable to write, play music or draw. I had sold my soul for a 3.9 GPA.

After college I began to realize my miscalculation. (Let me be very clear, I have no regrets about choosing that path. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It led me to my absolute best friends and for that I will always be indebted to SUNY Delhi.) It didn’t take long to realize that I had accomplished the only part of the goal that I found enticing: mastering those things that I completely sucked at such as math, playing with blood & guts, enjoying science, etc… When it came time to get a job, the only challenge there was for me was not accidentally killing something during my shift. And the meaning that I desired in my career was sadly lacking. Sure, I was helping some but not in the numbers I’d hoped. It all felt like a big, hollow letdown. And for many years I continued on this detrimental spiral of trying to find meaning in challenging myself to excel at the things I completely sucked at.

Flash forward to nearly twenty years later (I can’t believe it’s been that long!), I still can’t pick up my guitar, I write this here blog but not to the level that I once could, and I have only just started to draw again. But let me tell you, revisiting my creative roots by making all of the things I do and devoting my time and effort to it has helped me to find meaning and it honestly doesn’t feel like work. I am not battling against a constant current and I’m not trying to be good at things that I’m frankly just not good at. I wish I had realized this several college degrees ago because it could have saved me a lot of time, energy, stress and money.Octopi & sea turtle

Now that I’m starting to appreciate the benefits of swimming with the current instead of against it, I want to address some of my limiting beliefs that have made my swim more choppy. I know now that my creative block during and after college stemmed from the belief that one side of your brain is always less developed than the other–the whole right brain, left brain concept. To me this meant that if I devote my time to building up that analytical, scientific side of my brain than my creative side must be sacrificed. As you can tell, I no longer feel this way. You can balance both efficiently by partnering with those who are good at the things you aren’t and just accept the fact that you can’t be a rock star at everything.

Another example is with drawing. I’ve been trying to draw for years and have walked away from all projects feeling completely and utterly defeated. As soon as I’d put the pen to paper my own judgemental monkey mind and internal chatter would overwhelm me. Some of the chatter was about not being as good as someone else which is ridiculous when it comes to art because it’s a subjective experience and therein lies it’s beauty. Some of it is asking if “wasting” my time on something like art is actually contributing to any greater good? Some of it is about goals again and my self-imposed limitations, the biggest one being that I could never make a living this way so why bother? Then a few days ago something changed. I was hired by my friend to make some jewelry for her store. Proof right there that I can make money doing something artistic.

For years, I’ve loathed making jewelry because I’ve never felt like it’s an individual expression of who I am. I would cringe whenever parents looked at my jewelry and said to their kids that they could go home and make the same thing. It made me feel embarrassed and ashamed because I knew I could do better. For the longest time I’ve tried to phase it out but in all honesty, it’s my best seller at craft shows so I can’t rightfully kill the cash cow. My vision was always to make jewelry that expressed my love for animals and art. I’ve been wanting to move in this direction for years but couldn’t get past my own judgements long enough to actually finish a single thing. (Okay, that’s not true, I’ve finished one drawing in the past 20 years and that is the Hazardous Materials skull graphic, which I love).

However, with the deadline approaching for the OC Local Mojo store, I knew I had to bite the bullet and either stay the rather unfulfilling course or tap into those talents that I gave up on so long ago. Last week, I purchased some Sharpie markers, grabbed a few sheets of printer paper and the dam immediately broke. No monkey mind. No peep of mental chatter to speak of. I just dove in and made up my mind to go with the flow by fully honoring my gifts. The drawings have been coming easily and effortlessly ever since and I can’t wait to incorporate them into my jewelry…

After having only completed one drawing in the past 20 years, I’d say these aren’t so bad. In fact, I really love them! Mistakes and all! And it’s absolutely strange because I was always a very precise technical drawer who specialized in extremely tight line-work and was never able to let loose despite my best efforts. Needless to say, I have no idea where this scribble style has come from. Perhaps it can best be explained by this TED talk. I can’t wait to see what some time away has done to my song writing!

So maybe this rant seems rather incoherent. I guess this is my way of saying that swimming against the current and drifting with it both can lead to great places but swimming against the current too far, too long will only leave you spent. I only recommend it in small, exciting bursts.

Health, Wellness & Enjoyment, Travel

HAI Conference at Green Chimneys

Just a few short days ago, I was lucky enough to attend the 2013 Human-Animal Interaction Conference sponsored by the ASPCA and the University of Denver. The event was appropriately held at Green Chimneys in Brewster, New York. What is this strange place with the colorful chimneys, you ask? Green Chimneys operates a day school and residential treatment program for kids ranging from ages 5 to 21 years of age. About 100 kids with special needs live at Green Chimneys for an average of 2 to 2.5 years and another 80+ kids attend day school there. So what does a school have to do with animals, you ask? Well, in their words:

Green Chimneys is the nationally renowned, non-profit organization with a mission of restoring possibilities and creating futures for children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges through educational, therapeutic and outreach services, while providing care for animals and nature, thereby promoting a philosophy of dignity and worth for all living things.

They also offer, among various other things, LGBQT training, internships in various disciplines, summer camp, nature-based career training, and boarding for runaway/homeless youth in NYC. Their Brewster location includes a swimming pool, a ropes course, a wildlife rehab facility, an organic garden, a country store, a bee colony, a farm, a playground, a wood shop, a dining hall and a fully staffed medical and dental facility. You name it, they probably have it for the kids.  They do this all by holistically pairing nature, animals, and people. Honestly, part of this experience was bittersweet and left me deeply saddened. These services are open to the kids who need them the most but if we lived in a world that even remotely had its shit together (pardon the curse), this model would be the norm. This is what our public schools should look like. This should be the standard of care for every child. And we are nowhere even close, in fact, we get farther away each day.

Overall, the conference was an overwhelming and heartwarming experience for me. Without a doubt it reinvigorated my love for the field of animal-assisted interactions. First of all–hah!–the food was amazing (they have a professionally trained chef at Green Chimneys)!  The workshops were extremely informative and practical. The speakers were inspiring–I must have cried a million times. And most importantly, I met a lot of wonderful people who were passionate about creating healing, mutually respectful relationships between animals and people. There were about 200 veterinarians, attorneys, mediators, clinical psychologists, social workers, animal advocacy workers, public educators, nurses, caregivers, teachers, students, researchers, and a wide variety of other disciplines in attendance. It was also nice to see a few familiar faces from the University of Denver. I can’t wait to sport my new t-shirt with pride! Such a wonderful group of people. See you all in 2015!

I would highly suggest if you’re interested in horticulture, art, music, and/or animal-assisted therapy to learn more about the valuable work they do at Green Chimneys. They offer internships, research opportunities and volunteer programming. The Farm & Wildlife Center is open to the public on weekends and they have their biggest public event, Birds of Prey Day, coming up June 2nd so get there if you can. If you visit, let me know what you think of the place.

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It’s almost time for CNC’s Maple Festival! Yay!

A pic of my table last year.
A pic of my table last year.

Please join me and some of my favorite people (and animals) for a fun-filled weekend at the Cayuga Nature Center’s Maple Festival. This has to be my #1 favorite event of the year. It’s just around the corner on Saturday, March 23rd and Sunday, March 24th starting at 9 am each day. There will be a delicious pancake breakfast, music, animal programs, games & crafts, self-guided tours along the Sugarbush Trail and wonderfully talented craft vendors. And hopefully my best buddy from Cayuga Lake Creamery will be there to completely destroy my diet. To learn more and to order tickets click here. I will have my usual soaps (including home brewed beer soap!), jewelry, scarves, bags and whatever else I can think of to stuff on one table.