Janie Woodbridge is probably one of the most influential people in my life. Sounds dramatic? The thing is, is that Janie was my roommate in Florence, Italy when I was 20 years old. She was a few years older and we were both studying abroad. And we were connected at the hip. I never in my life have had so much fun living with someone. Janie was cluttery like me so I didn’t feel bad about being messy. Janie loved to sing songs in her bed and talk for an hour before we would fall asleep in our twin beds. We talked about everything and had an amazing time. Janie most definitely loosened me up. Made me less serious in the best way possible. She is an artist, through and through since she was a child. Art is what she does well and easily. She inspired me. I felt like a fake a bit too. As for her, art was a constant and for me it felt like a choice. As you can imagine, studying in Florence was a magical thing and we had a magical time.
The thing is though that Janie and I are both worry warts. We knew we were supposed to make the most out of our time and it stressed out at times. Looking back, we made the mots of it and now it is 12 years later.(Janie and I sat down with the photos while I was there. :)) We had visited each other around 8 years ago when I lived in Boston and she was at RISD for her MFA in Textiles.
Janie has lived in Durham, with her husband, Nick, for a year and half. They have a lovely home. And the cutest dog EVER, named Teddy.
After a night out with Nick and their friend Ryan, we decided to walk downtown for the project. As I had mentioned I was looking to find out how people in different regions react to women walking together. It was a warm day, and I got to wear shorts!!!!!
Two large discoveries in this walk were that I didn't want to stop holding hands with Janie and she didn't want to stop holding hands with me. And I think that has to do with our history and how much affection we feel for eachother. We have a special bond. My hand ached afterwards because of it. Secondly, the project is happening somatically without me thinking it through. The magic of this project is in our bodies and happens without the walkers cognition. Holding hands, does the work and we just walk and talk and let it happen.
As Janie reflected, we were able to catch back up to where our friendship had been easily through this walk. Through physical contact. We spoke of art, weaving, plans, jobs, Durham and it's treasures.She also noticed that people noticed while we walked but didn't react which she was glad about. It was surprisingly open. There was a group of Christians talking bible verses at the coffee shop we wrote about. I wrote down some of the verses they spoke about but I couldn't tell if it was about premarital relationships or about homosexuality. Either way not light coffee talk.
I am so glad I got to see Janie. I needed this walk. I needed to remember this amazing time of my life and the energy we both had as we raced around Italy. Also, that we are maturing nicely and beautifully. We met up with some of my friends from a class at haystack in Maine and I hope Bryant and Ann are now friends of Janie's. Ann mentioned a possible residency at the Scrap Exchange in Durham. And I will be making a serious effort to get back to Durham this coming Spring. Before it gets hotter than hell fire down there. :) Art-cation 2014! As you may have noticed of these photographs I clumsily copied with my phone, Janie is a great photographer.