Weekend Chats: Heart in the Hills

Weekend Chats: Heart in the Hills

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.

-Max Ehrmann from his poem Desiderata

In the summer of 2009, amidst all the hustle of New York City, I met Amy. We were both there for a class, Broadway and Beyond. We spent seven days in the Big Apple, and I managed to make my way into a few of her photos before we officially met. On the last day of the class, we finally connected. Back home in the Midwest, we shared another class where we officially bonded as friends and almost ten years later, we are still.

The photos she took on that trip weren’t your typical touristy type pictures. She is an artist in many mediums and photography is one of her most longstanding art forms.

“The summer before 7th grade my dad had an SLR camera, he let me take it out one weekend when he was visiting, and I fell in love. That Christmas, dad gave me my first SLR, I have taken an untold number of pictures since then and the magic hasn’t worn off,” she told me.

Amy taking photos in the Flint Hills.

She recently found the magic in metal art as well. When I asked how she found her way to creating art out of metal, she said, “For what seems like years, I had been telling people I’ve always wanted to learn to weld. In the summer of 2016, I decided it was time to stop wanting and start doing. A friend of a friend offered to show me what he knew. Once the torch was in my hand, I knew I had to figure out a way to do more!”

2016 was a transformative year for Amy in more ways than transitioning to a new medium for creating art. It was also the year she decided she wanted to move from the city to the Flint Hills. “Sometime in the early months of 2016, I mentioned [moving to the Flint Hills] jokingly and realized the idea and feeling wouldn’t leave me alone.”

She toyed with the idea of moving there when a house serendipitously became part of her Flint Hills dream. This house and her newfound love of welding would become the means that allow her to follow her heart into the hills. Where she used to work a job that gave her no satisfaction, her ideal day is now, “Sitting on the porch, drinking coffee with my cats, then working on a metal art project or heading out to take pictures, dinner with my partner and finishing up by watching the sunset.”

While she has plenty of ideal days, she must work like the rest of us. However, her job is no longer in an office located in a tall building downtown. Now her typical day looks like: “I start work at 5am, so I’m out of the house by 4:30. I spend the next 10 hours building livestock containment systems; cattle chutes and alleys, fence panels and hog houses. After work, I either shower, put on pajamas and relax, or I tinker with some project around the house or yard.”

A quote from Amy that says, "I decided to stop wanting and start doing." Picture is of the Flint Hills.

When she isn’t spending time creating something amazing out of metal or taking the perfect photograph, she spends her time enjoying her new life in the Flint Hills. She says, “[I drink] coffee on my front porch, sit around a fire, explore the gravel roads and take in all the amazing sunrises, scenery and sunsets my little piece of the world has to offer.”

But she’s not done! There is more art she wants to do. “Something I’ve recently discovered about myself is a love of writing. It’s the creative area I spend the least amount of time with; I hope to give it more attention in the coming year.”

Her major motivator is to create, and so she does. You can see some of her creations on Instagram or Facebook at @PhoenixArtbyAmy or on her website at amymjones.smugmug.com. Go give her a visit and a like!

 I am so grateful to these women who are sharing their amazing stories of triumph and following their dreams. They are all inspirations to me and I hope to you as well. If you missed one of their stories you can read them here!

Photo credit for the feature image goes to KJ Grimmett, used with permission. All other photos in this post are mine.

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