From Angi's desk - July 2000
My name is Angi Sullins and I am the President of Duirwaigh, Inc. Now that our dream is materializing, I feel it only fitting to share with you the story behind Duirwaigh: it’s conception, creation and how it Almost Wasn’t...
In 1997, although I maintained a hideously uninspiring day job, I began laying the ground work for Durwaigh: an art gallery and publishing house who would grow up to be a non-profit museum and artist’s retreat. I had always loved the stories and images of Wonderland, Narnia, and Oz. Yet as an adult I found precious few resources to stimulate my sense of Wonder and Awe. So I decided to invent the world I wanted to play - and shop - in. The excitement of making a dream come true was upon me, and each day was full of hope and enchantment as my goals grew closer to reality.
In July of that year, the momentum came to a devastating halt. I was admitted to a hospital for what was described to me as major but routine surgery, to alleviate a pinched nerve caused by a herniated disc in my neck. I entered surgery unit #6 on the morning of July 14, 1997. I would never be the same.
I awoke from surgery completely paralyzed. The worst part was not paralysis, but the treatment I received from the hospital I trusted. Whether the physicians and staff were worried about a lawsuit or were just acting out of their own insecurity, I’ll never know. They treated me as a hostile witness in a fiery court case. As the days passed, I sank into a colorless, hopeless shape of despair while my dreams of art, expression and inspiration slowly seeped from my spiritual veins.
We lost our business. We lost our inventory. We lost the momentum and excitement of our expansive plans. But most precious, I found I was losing my Self: the very enthusiasm, energy and electric hope that made me, well... me.
Some months later, sitting in a wheelchair in my too-many-stepped apartment, I received a package in the mail. Wendy Froud, a doll maker in England, had sent me a little sculpted creature of healing. He was there, according to her card, to make me well. His assignment was to smile for me until I could smile for myself and to care for me until I could care for myself.
In that moment I KNEW: Healing was mine. Triumph, too. For he made me reach past my own pain to feel joy again. I held in my hands a portion of Divine Healing all wrapped up in fur with a face and a smile. He did for me what I had always wanted to do for others. In doing so, he rekindled the Duirwaigh Dream: to pass the torch of inspiration and healing around the world.
Six months later, I could walk. The emotional devastation took much longer to heal, but in time I found my dreams bounded and rebounded again. I was able to do nothing about them for so long that they simmered and marinated and became rich with the flavor of possibility.
In the years that followed, I began communicating with artists and friends, planning with business owners and entrepreneurs, praying with angels and muses. Together with a blessed bundle of friends, we have formed what we feel is the beginning of a bright institution. The dream of Duirwaigh has moved from hope to despair and back again. It has sustained physical paralysis, emotional rape, bankruptcy, betrayal, death and disillusion. And still it lives. It will not die. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it soars high and it soars free. And I am alive and well and full of joy because its wings beat in my heart. It is with deepest joy that we present Duirwaigh to you. Today, a publishing house and an art gallery. In the days to come, a museum and artist retreat: a place of respite and resuscitation where artisans, collectors, teachers, students and seekers can meet to share inspiration.
Every penny spent with Duirwaigh goes toward building this dream. For what are we without Inspiration? Without the Hope to Dream and the Daring to Believe? We are mortal coils. But with Inspiration, and the art that births from it, we are Eternal. We are Spirit. We are Alive.
AND WE ARE ONE.