Michelle Gardella: Artist + Photographer

 
 All photos copyright Michelle Gardella. Used with express permission.

All photos copyright Michelle Gardella. Used with express permission.

 

How do you start your day?

I still sleep with my 9 year old daughter each night, so I start my day with the most wonderful snuggles. Waking up to her sweet face is one of my life's greatest blessings. My son is 16, and family breakfast chatting with my kiddos is heaven. I love having as many of my chores out of the way in the mornings as possible. I make the beds, switch up the laundry and tidy things up around the house before dropping the kids off to school. Doing this frees up my day for more important things, like art.
 

What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?

Because I have a naturally anxious disposition, and am very sensitive, it's easy for me to feel overwhelmed or stressed. I have found that nothing soothes this quite like making pottery, crocheting, or being deeply immersed in art making. Many women call themselves crafters but I feel like that delegitimizes our sacred work as makers. There is so much healing in the act of making things with our hands.

What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?

My children and my husband. It might sound silly but when we are all cuddled together at the end of the day eating snacks and watching football on TV, my heart is content. I love camping with them, too, but there's just something about our nighttime living room snuggles that will always give me pure bliss. It's almost like, no matter what happened that day, we have one another and that's all that matters.

 
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What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading a book that was gifted to me for my Birthday. It is called 'becoming' and it's by Renaada Williams

What are you listening to right now?

The rain outside my window. I am from New England and rainy cool days bring back feelings of cozy nostalgia for me since moving to Austin, Texas.

What does nourishment look like to you? 

Bone broth. Always and always. We make two huge pots each weekend and then freeze them in mason jars in a freezer in our garage. I need to drink it every single day. Something about it soothes my nervous system and feels very grounding and nurturing.

How do you make space for play?

Dance! I love to dance with my friends and family! 

What are some favorite mantras you cling to?

“I am safe.” On repeat. 

 
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Please share some words of wisdom you’ve learned over the years.

I recently joined a group of women for a healing trauma workshop. It was grueling and painful and really scary to face sometimes. But what I have taken away from that experience, perhaps more than anything else, is the importance of gathering face-to-face with other women every single day. For me, I need that connection. While I have heard that humans are innately tribal, I'm not sure about the anthro-philosophical truth to that. What I do know is that, for me personally, being side by side with other women and just being ourselves and letting it all out is the breathe and balm of life I have been longing for. Now that the workshop is complete, I'm not sure how I will continue to have that same beauty in my daily life, but I'm dedicated to creating more spaces like this. Women need one another - not just online but in real life. We need hugs and comfort and laughter and hands held from one another and there is no shame in that. I only wish I had known sooner how tremendous it feels to have a female friend with her hand on my back, tell me everything is going to be OK. Heaven, really. 

 
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About Michelle

Michelle Gardella lives in Austin, Texas with her beloved husband and two children. When she is not collarbone-deep in a river, she can be found on her pottery wheel or with a crochet hook in hand. Follow her on Instagram or visit her website.