Name: Magnolia Laurie
Profession: Artist and College Professor
Neighborhood: I live in Baltimore City and the neighborhood is called Sabina Mattfeldt.
What emojis are you using most right now?
I seem to use a whole lot of hearts.
What object, things, or process have you fallen in love with at home during quarantine?
I’ve been making masks for friends and family, baking bread, and cooking a lot more. These activities can feel productive in a self-soothing kind of way. They are good breaks from my Zoom meetings and emails. I still get to my studio when I can, but painting has been an odd process for me during this—big changes often impact my studio practice. I’ve tried to give myself some rules until I figure it out: I have these sacrificial paintings that I’m allowed to do anything to right now. I have a series of paintings that are about ninety percent done and I was planning to use Spring Break to finish them up, but now I’m not allowed to touch those… my head’s in a different place at the moment.
What do you look forward to most every day under quarantine?
It is different each day. I would say the most familiar and normal feeling is that I’m still hopeful each morning. The day proceeds with little joys: new blooms on the trees, birds going about their business, a successful loaf of sourdough bread, a kind exchange. What feels strange is the sense of relief I have each night. Relief from what, I don’t know. Most days I haven’t even left my house.
How has your living space changed to accommodate you during this time? Is this a physical change, a work-life balance change, or mental change?
My husband, Nicholas, and I are both working from home. His office is set up in the basement. My office is exploded all over the dining room table and I have lots of projects all over the house. I would say the change has been both physical and mental. My work/life/studio practice has always been overlapping and colliding, but having it all isolated to one place turns life into a strange unending dream. I feel a little in limbo and there are times when it is harder to distinguish if something matters a lot or doesn’t matter at all.
What will you do, with great joy, when you are allowed to?
Hug people, eat dinner with friends, go to openings, finish that series of paintings, and travel beyond a five-mile radius.
Have you taken up any new hobbies?
I have been feeling really lucky to have a yard and trying to make the most of it. I’ve been doing more gardening than I normally have time for. Particularly at this moment, it feels really good to see something grow and persist and thrive, so I’ve been planting and weeding and trying to make that happen where I can.
What kind of support do you/your business need? How can people support what you do?
I hope we can continue to find ways to share our work with each other. Anybody up for a one-off exhibition featuring the oddball works that hang out in our studios? I’ll have a few of those soon.
As an artist, I’m not sure the needs have changed all that much. We need to make, we need to share what we make with an audience and exchange ideas. And yes, we need to sell some of that work if we can. Many of the opportunities to do this are on pause and some might not exist when we can get back to something closer to normal. So we need to find ways to adapt and continue to share and support one another.