Sunday, 21 October 2018
BREAKING NEWS

Be You: Megg Sorensen

Be You: Megg Sorensen
27 Sep
11:43

Megg Sorensen is a Wycinanki artist. Wycinanki is the art of Polish papercutting and the fine work is done with scissors. Megg first learned the traditional art at the age of 11 – it keeps her in touch with her Polish roots. She is one of a handful of people in the country practicing Wycinanki and her art is vibrant and beautiful – you can find her somewhere downtown for Artwork and see her meticulous work on Facebook under Sparrow Papercraft – she takes commissions and is working on some beautiful things for Christmas. 

Megg is not from here, but is part of the creative heart of Lafayette. She has traveled the country, finding this community on the way, and returning here many times. Megg is thoughtful and open with a wisdom that comes from travel and meeting different people. She is a delight and we are lucky to have her here. 

What was your first job?

I worked at an ice cream shop that also sold children’s books (a messy combination), about 20 miles outside of Chicago, where I grew up. 

Describe a typical day in your life. 

These days I get up and have coffee on the back porch. I tend to my plants, which is always nourishing to me. Until recently my only income was from my papercutting, but I just got a job at Parish Ink, so I now split my time between those. When I’m papercutting, I’ll usually work on a piece throughout the day, and deliberate way too much about colors and shapes. When I feel stuck I’ll take a break and play or write music. I’ll cook a meal at some point, which is something I quite enjoy. I’ll glue down the papercuttings I made at the end of the day, and press them under heavy books overnight. I journal every day, usually in the evening, ideally with a cup of hot tea. 

What advice would you give the younger you?

Chill out! Follow your instincts and respect your intuition. It’s okay to be softer. Oh, and learn French. 

What event in your life most shaped who you are now?

It’s hard to pin down just one, as it all seems so interconnected to me.

In September 2014, I quit my job and left Chicago with all of my belongings packed into a little Saturn Ion. The idea was to travel full-time, alone, working on farms, hiking and seeing the country. I’d always wanted to travel, but hardly had. This shook everything up for me. It got me out of my shell and forced me to talk to new people, see new things, and learn new skills. I never had a lot of money but I lived very cheaply and felt richer than I’d felt in my life. Traveling is how I met some of my best friends, how I first came to (and learned I couldn’t stop returning to) Lafayette, and how I ended up in Standing Rock for seven months during the Dakota Access pipeline protests. My entire life has been transformed. 

What values do you live by?

I value the collaboration of community and the power of mutual aid. I’m naturally introverted and this is a very individualistic society, so sometimes it can be hard to find and cultivate communal strength. By now I’ve come to understand my place in different communities and groups, and I have witnessed the profound effect of working together and supporting one another. I have found I am happiest when I am both able to give and provide for others, and also have a trusted support system. I believe everyone is important, and everyone has something to offer. I think we all have the responsibility to be engaged and engage others in our communal good. Part of why I was drawn to the Lafayette area was the strong creative community here. 

What do you most appreciate?

True friends and clean water. Being able to connect with my culture by perpetuating a dying folk art, and being able to share my art with friends and strangers. 

What is your favorite journey?

Going home. I have about four locales that truly feel like home to me now (Lafayette, Chicago, Southwest Texas, and the Standing Rock Rez) and my heart swells with so much joy and comfort whenever I’m heading to these places. 

Where is your favorite place to be alone?

In my car on a road trip, or out in nature. 

What living figure most inspires you?

I can’t pin it down to just one. It’s mostly women: my Wycinanki teacher Doris; the powerful Indigenous womxn I met in Standing Rock (LaDonna, Bobbi, Kim, Lyla… to name just a few); my darling friend Cynta. People who are strong in who they are and in their actions. 

What was the best advice you were ever given?

“Travel while you’re still young.” 

What book would you tell everyone to read?

“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” It’s depressing, at times even nauseating; it’s in no way pleasant to read. Still, I think it’s vital for Americans to know and understand the history of genocide against the Indigenous peoples of this land. 

What is the best thing about where you live?

The music, being right in between the prairie and the Basin, and wearing shorts in January. 

How do you let the good times roll?

Well, it’s pretty easy now that I live in South Louisiana. I love nights of playing and listening to music, eating incredible home-cooked meals, dancing and being outdoors, and that happens to me regularly down here. Last year, Mardi Gras was on my birthday!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always answered this question with a long list that varied over time, but the constant answer was “artist. 

What is your motto?

When I was travelling full-time, my mantra was “always leaving, always arriving.” It’s less literal these days, but I try to remember that idea of letting go and moving forward. 

How would you like to be remembered?

Well, when I was in high school I wrote a song called “I Want To Be Forgotten.” I don’t know, I certainly don’t want to be famous, but hopefully people who knew me recall someone who fought for what’s right and also made some pretty funny jokes.

What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?

A lot of really mean stuff, usually, and then I cut it out and get back to work. 

What three things are vital to BEing YOU?

Art/music, activism, silliness

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I say “y’all” so much now. I didn’t grow up that way. This is y’all’s fault. 

What is your favorite word?

I like words that sound like what they are. Somewhere there’s a list I made. One that comes to mind is “nourish.” Nourish sounds like taking bite out of a juicy peach. 

What do you collect?

I collect sidewalk stamps (by photographing them). Those are the markings concrete companies stamp onto the sidewalk while it’s setting. It usually has the name of the company and the year that the sidewalk was set, and occasionally they are quite beautifully designed. They’re much more rare in the South than in Chicago, I’ve noticed. When I lived in Freetown there was a handwritten one on the sidewalk right in front of my house, which I thought was pretty rad. 

What food could you live on for a month?

Once I lived on peanut butter and honey sandwiches for a month, but if we’re being fanciful, I’d say Caprese salad and pistachio ice cream. 

What would you change about yourself?

I am incredibly insecure and have crippling perfectionism and impostor syndrome. I am working really hard to change that. 

What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with?

The Cheat from Homestar Runner. 

Describe yourself in five words. 

I’m still figuring this out. 

What is your idea of happiness?

Being outside without being bitten by mosquitoes. 

What is your favorite movie?

I hate absolutes, and don’t have true favorites for this reason, but I’m going to say the original “Dawn of the Dead.”

What music defines who you are?

I listen to and truly enjoy a wide range of music, but it all started with The Beatles. Ironically, I don’t listen to them much today, but when I was kid, that was it. My friends and I used to go to a Beatles convention when we were in jr. high and beat all the baby boomers at Beatles trivia. 

What do you most regret?

Throwing out my journals from high school and my childhood. I did it when I was 20 or 21. I understand why I did it. I was trying to grow up and move on from some very painful experiences, and at the time I felt like letting go of those journals would help this process. I understand it, but I’ll never do it again. How I’d love to have those journals now.

What question do you wish I’d asked? 

“What odd and esoteric instrument do you play?”

What would the answer be?

“Funny you should ask! I play classical theremin!”

Read or Share this story: https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/life/people/acadiana/2018/09/26/you-megg-sorensen/1383919002/

Source: https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/life/people/acadiana/2018/09/26/you-megg-sorensen/1383919002/

Recommended

« »

allsites

Related Articles