Helping Out

16mm by 16mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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If you're at all like me, one of the things you have thought about while sheltering in place is what can you do to help others. How can I improved someone's life? How can I improve someone's day?  I saw a sign on a walk, attached to a pole, that said, "We are all in this together!"

We ARE. So how can we help one another in this time? How can we make sure that our favourite local—and not so local—businesses survive the crisis?

Here's a couple of ideas that my sister and I have used. We are shopping local as much as possible. Our Saturday farmer's market remains open, with the same restrictions applied as grocery stores. Lorna can run in and out in minutes, and collect our veggies for the week. We order our wine from a local wine merchant, I prepay online and they pop the wine in our car trunk when we drive up. They will also deliver for $10, which gets donated to the food bank. We have also shopped at a local grocery store, the Italian Centre. It was civilized, well stocked, and physical distancing was catered for and maintained. They will also deliver. Since my sister and I do not have underlying conditions and are both under 50, we are trying to leave grocery delivery for those who need it most, and so haven't used these services. My sister has also asked her nail technician if prepurchasing appointments can help, though this offer was declined.

I've recently heard, and it makes sense, that if you can order from a restaurant directly for delivery or pick up, this is better than using a service like Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats, as more money goes to the business (these "middlemen" services take up to 30%). Everyone is struggling right now, so keep your money in your community if at all possible. And tip your delivery person!

In the arts, everyone is out of work, and yet collectively we are relying on the arts more than ever to get through this. Like many mosaic artists, I depend as much if not more on my teaching income as I do on studio work. That is pretty much toast for the rest of the year. My annual mosaic conference, run by the Society of American Mosaic Artists, has been postponed to 2021. As a result, this year will be lean for a lot of professional mosaic artists, myself included. 

So if you are interested in doing a bit of online mosaic learning while you shelter in place, I highly recommend checking out Mosaic Arts Online. Their workshops are taught by some of the best instructors and artists in the business, and you get lifetime access. Their motto is "learn in your own space, at your own pace", and there is no better time than now to do so. Even better, until April 12, you can get 10% off the purchase of all workshops, including my Shag Rug Mosaic and Smalti Mosaic Jewelry workshops. To get the discount, use the coupon code CREATENOW. At purchase click on the words "add coupon" and a box will appear where you can enter the code.

And if anyone has any ideas as to what we could do to help the Safeway and other general grocery store workers, please let me know. They apparently seemed to be clinging to their last shred of sanity when Lorna shopped the other day, and we've been wracking our brains on what we could do ever since. What could help?