Joy Itiola 
Long Island, NY

Photography by Kate Berry
Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised on Long Island. Until recently, I was living in Philadelphia, and before that, I was living in Brooklyn.

Please describe who you are/what you do?
I am an educator who enjoys a healthy laugh with friends. I teach within the Waldorf educational system and integrate (things I love about) art and nature into my lessons.

What are you working on/interested in at the moment?

I am relearning how to sew well, with a focus on quilting and doll making. I am also working on building a classroom cooking routine, one that will enrichen the senses of smell and touch.  Recently I've been interested in learning how to paint with watercolors on a large scale.

Do you make time for self-care, and if so what are your rituals or routines?

I enjoy small rituals throughout the day, tiny parts of my routine.
My favorite rituals are rubbing shea butter between my palms until it becomes oily, then applying it to my skin with a fragrance mixed in. My other is drinking warm water with ginger and lemon in the morning.

What is your favorite product/art piece/project that you have created and why?

A few years ago, I took a woodworking course and made a beautiful spoon. When I was in middle school, I attempted the same project but was unable to complete it well. I enjoy comparing the two. Life comes full circle!

A few weeks ago I also finished knitting my first doll. That made me smile.

How has COVID-19 affected you- emotionally or practically- and how are you coping with the new paradigm we live in?

Just like everyone in the world COVID has disrupted most of everything in my life. Although that hasn't been easy, I am compelled to be grateful. I have a community of family/friends who have kept me grounded, and I'm fortunate to have them. I've also been lucky enough to have personal projects and classroom plans to pursue.

pick a current favourite...

a song -
Oh goodness, I can't choose, I love playlists and whole albums!

a book -
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

a scent -
Everyday Oil in original scent and shea butter. I'm currently trying out Sun Potion shea butter.

an item of clothing -
A Rudy Jude mini sleep dress paired with second-hand Martiniano shoes.

plant/flower -
Peony and Ranunculus.
Citrus trees and Begonias.

a recipe -
Nigerian red stew & salmon.

artist/maker -
I don't think I can name just one, but I am amazed at how makers and artists are adapting their work to this period in time. It's very inspiring!