Rough Winds Do Shake the Darling Buds of May but...
...nothingcan shake The Stardust Startup Factory! Along with the Spring announcement of microgrant awardees in mid-May (check Stardust's
Facebook/website and your inbox for the official list), Stardust is bringing you another issue of The Constellation: your monthly newsletter celebrating Stardust's many accomplishments!
In every issue we highlight a microgrant recipient and a Stardust Board/Advisory Board
member who offers keen insight into one of Stardust's focus areas of health, learning, and sustainability.
In this month's issue, we will focus on those that best exemplify the focus area of mental health!
You'll learn about Lilyanne Randal Smith, a long-time Advisory Board Member of The Stardust Startup Factory, whose interesting career and lifestyle choice makes for a great
Lilyanne's story is followed by the Stardust microgrant recipient Joslyn Richardson and her innovative project, The All Watch: a project thats deep symbolism fosters a powerful message of acceptance.
Lilyanne Randle Smith: The Intersection of Tiny Houses, Nature Therapy, and Ceramics
As an independent ceramic artist, Lilyanne Randle Smith is no stranger to the anxieties of business ownership. However, after a brief Q&A with Lilyanne, not only did I learn how she copes, but how her love of sustainability and nature has turned into an integral part of her life.
Even though business can make life stressful, Lilyanne
remarked that her ceramics work (creating functional pieces using a high-fire, stoneware clay) is therapeutic to her:
"Sitting down at a wheel with a ball of clay is very soothing. Feeling the clay run through my hands puts me almost in a trance and I forget about all my stress and anxiety I’ve had."
After asking Lilyanne more specifically about her struggles with mental health, Lilyanne replied:
"I have had mild anxiety,
as I’m sure do most people. When I experience stress or anxiety I sit outside on my back porch (when I get a moment); I leave my phone inside and just sit with my dog and listen to the birds and the wind on the trees."
Along with her love of nature, Lilyanne is also the proud owner of a tiny house that was built and designed by her and her husband, Sam Smith. They are thrilled to be a part of the tiny house movement and excited about the growing popularity of sustainable, eco-friendly living.
As her Stardust bio reads, "she brings
her love of the outdoors, her dedication to sustainable living, and her artistic passion to the Advisory Board," and upon communicating with her, that truly became apparent to me. Regarding the featured Stardust microgrant recipient (The All Watch), Lilyanne had this to say:
"I remember reviewing her application for a grant and thinking that it was a very interesting approach to the perception of time, how time effects each person differently, and what they think about it.
One of Stardust’s core focuses is mental health and I think it was a perfect candidate."
As Angus's cousin, Lilyanne expressed that she's so proud to be a part of The Stardust Startup Factory because she truly feels that every microgrant recipient has pertained to Angus's vision of helping improve the world. As a lover of nature, sustainability, art, and entrepreneurship; it's no wonder Lilyanne Randal
Smith is vital in assisting Stardust on their journey to create a healthier, more sustainable future for the world.
The All Watch: An Exploration Into the Human Perception of Time
Joslyn Richardson is a recent graduate of the University of Amsterdam. Her time at school - not to mention her Masters in Philosophy - has taught her that art is
uniquely powerful. Joslyn herself is quoted as saying,
"the tactile, utilitarian nature of the applied arts affords them a unique aesthetic dialogue when it comes to communicating abstract ideas."
Because of this, Joslyn was inspired to create The All Watch: part social inquiry, part fine jewelry. With two main components, The All Watch delves far beyond mere interpretive art.
One part of her project aims to interview people from all over the world about their perceptions
of time, collect these interviews, and make them available within a searchable database. The second is focused on making individual perceptions of time physically tangible by handcrafting beautiful wearable 'watches'.
As her Stardust website bio explains, Joslyn's website (which
is currently under maintenance so that she can expand her business) has a growing body of time interviews, a built-in commerce platform, and a forum for people to design their own physical conceptions of time.
From my own interpretation, the concept of The All Watch seems to fit somewhat within the Buddhist teaching of impermanence. However, time (more specifically a lack of it) seems to be a common source of stress for
After speaking with Joslyn personally, she remarked that The All Watch project has served her own mental health over the years, helping her cope with a somewhat indescribable anxiety tied to the inevitable passage of time.
Awarded in the Spring of 2016, the Stardust grant was vital in
solving a complex material issue: sourcing & creating sustainable leather watchbands. Joslyn is currently working on finalizing the logistics of her project: making sure she has an efficient website format, pricing, etc.
For now, Joslyn Richardson currently resides in New York and
maintains a jewelry business - with sculpture and The All Watch as her passions/hobbies. She's hopeful that once The All Watch project is situated, she can move on to making unique time interpretations upon request, which she feels will offer more of a personal element to each piece.
Unique projects like Joslyn's are important in proving one central item: art and creativity are just as valuable to The
Stardust Startup Factory as science and ecology. You can view The All Watch's functioning Instagram here, and afterwards please consider helping Stardust fund more projects just like it.