A week ago, I was staying at our family beach house, and I found lots of old magazines from around 2010 and 2011—House Beautiful, Bon Appetit, Porter… (thank you to the cousin with great taste!) While flipping through the pages, I decided to make a vision board.
I’d once created a mood board at a workshop at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston. But recently, I’d read about vision boards. They’re basically the same thing as a mood board, but switching the word “mood” to “vision” changes everything. A mood is just a mood. It changes hourly. It’s a vibe. It’s a feeling.
But the word “vision” is powerful. It’s about seeing connections and setting intentions. If you have a clear vision of your life or a project, you can make proper changes or take specific actions.
There’s a good article on Martha Beck’s website about how to make a vision board and even how to make an anti-vision board.
On my vision board, I included a small shack in the South Carolina lowcountry. I sometimes dream about living in a small beach shack. I think it stems from an urge to run away from the cultural norms in which I live. I see myself with my naturally frizzy hair. I’d dress in old baggy jeans. I’d own fewer things, and I’d decorate my shack with vintage finds such as the hanging lanterns on my board.
I glued down a photo of the writer Joan Didion. I want her to be my writing talis(wo)man. When I see her, she’ll inspire me to keep writing.
I included a bright red jacket. I want to make more of a fashion statement as I age and go grey. The opposite of the beach shack look. But that keeps it interesting.
While the images on the board were pretty, two specific words turned out to be the game-changers. They were EXPANSION and PROGRESS. With “expansion,” I want to expand my art business. I want to expand my heart by being more vulnerable. I want to expand my way of seeing and learning about the world through traveling or simply staring closely at a green lizard moving across a brick wall.
With the word “progress,” I keep thinking, Caroline, progress not perfection. Bit by bit, you’ll get to wherever you want to go.
The next day, back home in Columbia, I went to pick up my Foliage Faces stationary I’d ordered from a local print shop. Before, whenever I’d been inside, the owner was usually there, but he’d never spoken to me. In my mind, he seemed a bit gruff. But that day, I was talking to the graphic designer and the owner left his computer screen and came over and told me he thought I should sell my artwork at the Soda City market on Main Street. He said he thought my Foliage Faces were unique and my prints, mugs and stationery would do well there. He showed me some wooden plaques as examples of how to display the prices. He said could help me design limited edition posters to sell. He even said he had a large tent that I could borrow. I stood there smiling, and I told him I was so grateful for his advice and kind offer.
I left the shop thinking EXPANSION and PROGRESS. This man was helping me expand my art business so that I could make progress. Would I have seen the connection to the words if I hadn’t cut them out?
Two days later, I went with a friend to help her pick out invitations at a gift shop. We ended up spending some time talking to one of the employees. I mentioned my art. I told her I’d thought about contacting the store, but the prospect of cold calling made me feel insecure. She asked to see my art, and I showed her a Frida Kahlo Foliage Face on my Instagram account. Her face lit up, she grabbed her phone and scrolled to a photo of her seven-year daughter dressed as Frida Kahlo this past Halloween. What were the odds? I picked Frida out of all the Foliage Faces. Her daughter loved Frida. The woman said she’d talk to the owner about taking a few of my pieces on commission. I left thinking PROGRESS. EXPANSION.
This past week, I also signed up for a healing herbs course in the North Carolina Mountains, because I want to learn how to make my own vinegars and oils. I could also incorporate my new “expanded” knowledge of plants into my Foliage Face art and Instagram postings.
And lastly, I had a one hour Zoom lesson with Kim Klassen to learn more about using Lightroom for editing my photos. Little by little, I’m making “progress” in photo editing.
People say writing down an intention makes it more powerful and likely to happen. It seems like tearing a word out of a magazine and pasting it on a board does the same thing. At least I’d like to think so.
My name is Caroline Lord. I'm a writer who loves nature, and I make portraits from twigs, petals and leaves.