Sunday, June 6, 2010

Art and Healing: Part Two

Lately, I've been so busy doing things that there hasn't been a whole lot of time to blog about them - or time to absorb what's happened. *

It's been a wonderful whirlwind, and now I'm ready for a little reflection and a little quiet artmaking time. Sometimes things don't make sense until we write them down or until we share them - either through words or through our artwork or both.

And a good place to start reflecting is the amazing women I had the opportunity to work with at the Quest Center for Integrative Health's Healing Empowerment Project. The Project, led by Jo Brody, provides an expressive outlet for those living with breast cancer and its consequences. With a different art class led by a different art teacher each month, the women have the opportunity to create, explore, and take an active role in their own healing process.

The participants, diving in!

Opportunities to teach in an environment like this are few and far between, and I was honored to be invited to teach an all-day shrine making class earlier this year. As is often the case, it seemed like all I did was unload materials from the truck, offer a little bit of information about structure and adhesives, and then get out of the way.

The women were fearless. They took risks, told personal stories, and were absolutely willing to work intuitively. It was a joyous and inspiring thing to witness. And there is such a lesson there. Perhaps once you have faced your own mortality, the blank canvas just doesn't seem as scary as it used to.

Starting with Egyptian deities . . .

and completing with feather and sea.

Dress patterns, Botticelli, and Mother Mary . . .

United by spirals.

A collecting of materials . . .

and a lid of riotous color.

This piece, assembled by a particpant, features an image of singers originally created by Deborah Koff-Chapin.

And this is what art is about - at least for me. Expressing and exploring, and maybe getting lucky enough to tap into something utterly beyond ourselves.

* If you were curious . . . In the last four months, I've attended workshops at ArtFest in Port Townsend, taught several workshops here in Portland, joined Sister Diane on a marvelous Mexican cruise with the Crafty Chica, had a feature show at 100th Monkey Studios Gallery, participated in a few charity art auctions, taken on the role of Treasurer for Portland Open Studios, celebrated my 40th birthday with friends, visited family in Texas, and now, I'm in Beverly, MA, for the Encaustic Conference at Montserrat College of Art and will then be heading off to present at the Summit of Awesome in my hometown of Portland, OR. I have a serious back-log of eye candy and insights to share, so get ready!

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