Thursday, July 26, 2012

Learning to Deal With Loss

An impromptu project inspired by Maya Stein led us to make these adorable tiny flower boxes complete with inspirational messages this morning before we got started on our planned projects... 
 Then the girls and I sat down to talk about how our ability and desire to create would be changed by loss. What if we lost one of our senses? We would certainly still be able to make art if we couldn't taste or smell, but what if we lost our eyesight? How would we create? Would we still have the desire to be creative? 
So we experimented. I blindfolded the girls and set them up with canvases on the wall. They were excited to help each other by holding the plates filled with paint. I cranked up the music (because we also know that our other senses become heightened when we lose one, so maybe some good tunes would be helpful if we could no longer see...) and the girls painted with their hands. Feeling the page on the wall, feeling the paint squishing between their fingers, feeling the music. It didn't matter the outcome, just the way it felt to be in the moment. To be in the dark and still feel motivated to make art. The girls discovered they could still mix color and they could still make something beautiful. The texture on these pages is what is amazing. Pretty powerful stuff. 

Next we discussed what it would be like to  lose the use of our arms and what we would have to do in order to find new ways to be able to paint and draw. The girls tried drawing with their feet and then painting their sketches using only their mouths. They found out how hard it is to control the paintbrush or pencil, but how incredibly satisfying it is to make marks on the page, to learn how to create something without their hands, even if it is abstract or silly. They were amazed that they could still be so creative without using their hands or fingers to make it happen. Ella had fantastic control with the paintbrush in her mouth, Madi and Abby mixed gorgeous colors on their paper and made beautiful brushstrokes despite being "paralyzed", and Grace laughed when she saw she could actually paint with her mouth, although she had to sit on her hands to keep them from jumping up to the paintbrush!

We also spent some time today writing circle poems and making totem jewelry. I thought the necklaces and bracelets would be a nice way for them to remember this week we have had together. I want them to always remember. 

I want Abby to remember sometimes you make a "mistake" and the thing you are creating turns out even better than you had imagined. I want her to remember how wonderful it feels to learn how to do something you've never done before and actually be great at it right away.

I want Ella to remember the joy of discovering something new. I want her to remember how generous she is, how she is encouraging and kind-hearted, and brave for taking risks. I want her to remember how it feels to leave the comfort of home, to meet new people and make new friends wherever in the world she goes. 

I want Grace to remember freedom. Play. Self-discovery. Laughter. I want her to remember how it feels to do something on her own, independent of her sisters, just for herself. I want her to remember how funny she is, how she lights up a room with her smile and how infectious her enthusiasm is. How good she makes everyone feel.

I want Madi to remember not to worry so much about rules--to let loose, let go of frustration, stop thinking so hard, have fun, and create from her heart. Giggle instead. Use her instincts. Trust them. Because when she creates from her heart, she creates beautiful masterpieces. Every.single.time.

I want them all to remember even in the face of loss, you can still have a brave heart.


  1. such great stuff. love seeing all the blooms blossom.

  2. you are magic and now the girls are magic and the world becomes magic!

  3. What a miracle you are, Tingle. What a gift to these girls...they won't forget. Absolutely gorgeous.

  4. You are Amazing! These girls are so very lucky!