COLUMNISTS

It takes work not to be hermit

Susan Manzke
Not finished, but a good start.

People might not believe me when I say I’d rather stay home than go to a busy event. But it’s true. Even before COVID-19 locked down the world, I felt most comfortable at home.

I’m an honest to goodness introvert. In the past, when offered the opportunity to go to a celebration, I would use Bob as an excuse not to go. Many times he needed my help on the farm. That was true enough, but for an outing that would last only a few hours, he could spare me—in all honesty, I would rather remain home with Bob.

In the last year, it wasn’t too much of a problem to stay home. COVID had everyone locked down for our safety. Now that I have my vaccinations, I can go out in public, in a reasonable gathering, and not worry too much.

Last week, daughter Rebecca took me out of my home comfort zone. She gave me the gift of an art class at Swanstone Gardens, Green Bay. We were to join a group of masked artistic hopefuls and create art using resin.

This class was to be an early Mother’s Day gift for me and I looked forward to attending. Too bad my inner self worried about this adventure. I didn’t sleep well the night before, thinking of all the mistakes I could make. This would be my first time mixing chemicals to make resin. Eventually, color would be added, creating a colorful breadboard and two coasters.

The teacher explained and demonstrated the process of mixing the resin to the class. “It has to be mixed at least three minutes,” we were told. Any less would mess up our project.

I think the hardest part of the whole project was choosing the colors I wanted. There were so many offered. I wondered what color would enhance another. I could also add sparkles, or not.

Rebecca sat across from me. She knew her colors would include green, silver, and black. I wanted black, too, and white. I also chose blue, but there were too many shades from which to choose. I ended up with something called royal blue. At the last minute, I decided to add a red to brighten up the mix. At least I hoped it would mix well.

The blank cutting board and coasters before colors are applied.

My hand was shaking when I went to pour the first colored resin on my cutting board. I had to start somewhere, so I chose to dribble some of the black across the wood. After the first dark color started to spread across the beautiful wood, there was no turning back.

Blue brightened the black, but it wasn’t until I added white and red that my colors started to come alive.

I soon found out that this kind of resin pouring isn’t an exact art. The colors seem to have a mind of their own. They blend and mix where you didn’t want them to, but after watching them morph, you discover a better image than you had planned.

I did the larger cutting board first, making sure I had enough resin for my two coasters. When I finished the coasters, I found I had colored resin left. Not wanting to waste it, I added more to my board. Fingers crossed that I wasn’t making a big mistake. Luckily, it meshed with the rest of my board.

Susan uses a hairdryer to blow color around one of her coasters.

As I watched, the colors changed. The teacher said they would, but I couldn’t believe the beauty that appeared without me touching it—that’s a lot like many things in this world.

I had a marvelous time. I’m so happy my children are pushing me to get out of the house.    

It takes work not to be a hermit. Just like getting up and speaking in front of an audience, a person has to work at it. The skill can be learned.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.