The Art Biz ep. 113: Self-Care for Caregiving Artists with Shimoda Donna Emanuel

Why is it so hard for us to take care of ourselves? To do what's good for us?

We get busy. We feel a sense of urgency to keep up and do more. If we're honest, we realize that very little is really urgent. Almost everything we do can wait without the sky falling.

fiber art Shimoda Emanuel colorful circle stitches | on Art Biz Success
©2021, Shimoda Donna Emanuel, Circles of Love. Canvas, fabric, metal, and bone, 8 x 8 x 1 inches.

All of this hustle means we neglect habits and routines that will keep us well. That will give us energy for the work in and out of the studio.

It's even harder when you're also responsible for caring for others. Whether you're a parent with growing children or an adult with aging parents, caregiving can take a lot out of you. It's hard to spend time on yourself when you're maxed out on so many levels.

It's no wonder that self-care takes a backseat to other priorities.

In this episode I talk with Shimoda Donna Emanuel. Shimoda has been the caregiver in her family, primarily for her mother Izola who recently passed after living with Alzheimer's, but also for an ailing sister.

In 2020, Shimoda wrote Sacred Stitches: The Art of Care Giving, which has tips for stitching yourself together when caring for someone with Alzheimer's. I would argue that most of it is applicable for any caregiver. It's not your standard, boring how-to book. Using her art as the backdrop for the pages, Shimoda's book is personal and fun to look at.

Shimoda and I talk about her routine, how she keeps her home to maintain a high vibration, tools she uses to de-stress and to stay calm, and how gratitude and “the rage dance” fit into all of this.



glass bead colorful brooch artist Shimoda Emanuel | on Art Biz Success
©2021, Shimoda Donna Emanuel, Brooch. Fabric, stones, metal, and glass beads, 3 x 6.5 inches.
  • The fiber collages, jewelry, circles of love, and sacred stitches of Shimoda’s work. (2:13)
  • Shimoda wrote Sacred Stitches during the pandemic while caring for her mother. (7:29)
  • Key tips for de-stressing as a caregiver artist. (14:20)
  • How to keep your energy high so you can stay positive and productive. (24:52)
  • Spring cleaning takes on a new meaning with self-care. (28:40)
  • Finding a support group that can give you the support you need. (31:16)
  • Handling emotions might mean screaming, crying, and doing a rage dance. (34:51)
  • How to cultivate a space that helps you destress. (36:30)
  • Making time for sleep and watching your diet. (40:45)
  • “Let this be easy” is Shimoda’s mantra for hectic days.  (46:05)
  • A peek at what Shimoda is looking forward to in the New Year, and where her name came from. (49:10)


Related Episodes

artist Shimoda Donna Emanuel and family | on Art Biz Success
Shimoda, mom Izola Emanuel, and husband Luther hanging out in the summer sun.

Shimoda Donna Emanuel Quotes

“I’ve got to take care of myself. The caregiver has to take care of themselves.”

“I’ve got to keep my energy high and keep my vibration high. That’s what’s most important to me.”

“It’s just not good to hold it all in. I can get through emotions quicker if I just let myself deal with the feelings.”

About My Guest

artist Shimoda Donna Emanuel | on Art Biz SuccessShimoda Donna Emanuel is an artist living in Harlem, New York. Shimoda Accessories has a range of work that includes intuitive jewelry and fiber art. Her art has been on HGTV as well as the covers of Essence magazine and other publications. Her art is available for purchase at The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

As a caregiver for her sister and then 97-year young mom with Alzheimer’s, Shimoda wrote Sacred Stitches: The Art of Caregiving. This colorful book offers tips, creative exercises, and rituals for other caregivers.

Shimoda also published Sacred Stitches: Fiber Art Dolls for the Soul and Sacred Stitches, an inspirational 25-piece card deck.

Follow Shimoda on Instagram: @shimodaaccessories

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