Saturday, September 29, 2012

BraveGirlsArt With A Twist

 When I walked into the quiet studio last night before everyone arrived, I felt strangely different than I had just a year ago walking in to the same studio for the same event. Last night I felt calm; more centered, more confident, more energetic. Which is not to say that the last time was "less than," not at all. It was just new and I was nervous and afraid and unsure of myself. I was worried about my skills and my ability to teach anything, even though my classes with the girls had been successful thus far, and I'd had so much fun. It's different with my peers, and I was untrusting of myself.

But earlier, I had written a Marc Chagall quote on the tables, one that I believe fiercely to be true: If I can create from the heart, nearly everything works, if from the head, almost nothing. And so as I lit candles and set out snacks and placed the notes I had written to each participant on the tables, I looked around with a deep sense of pride for this space I have created, this place that feels like me. Calm and fun and quiet and boisterous, serious and silly, large and intimate. It felt like it encompassed everything that we actually all are inside. And out. And best of all it felt like this space invited creativity.

 The women trailed in and we started with a drink and some small talk, a loosening of sorts. Then we sat down and I asked them to take a look at the writing prompts. I asked them to answer questions like, What moves you? What speaks to you? To me, embracing my vulnerabilities means: and I spoke to them about being mindful of putting a part of their story into their art. Of the way that by doing so, we create something that others can find a piece of themselves in, too. Our art then becomes unique and special. We can be bold about it, putting our story front and center, or quiet and nuanced leaving it under layers for only our self to know it is there. Just like the studio, art is full to brimming with the various pieces of us.

I asked them to think about these questions and write for a few minutes and then take their time and walk around the room to see what supplies I had collected. I had chosen two projects to work on--an Altoid tin assemblage piece and a collage on a wood block. I told them to think about composition and color and the elements they brought from home. I told them the same thing I tell the girls: to jump in. There are no mistakes. There are happy missteps. But no mistakes. I told them to play. To trust. To try.

 And they did. They showed up in spades. They played. They tried things, when it didn't work out they way they hoped, they tried something different. They trusted the process. They created from the heart. And nearly everything worked. Their smiles got bigger, the laughter and the chatter flew sometimes, they were quiet in other moments. They hula hooped and I juggled. They typed on the typewriter, they had fun. They were relaxed. And so was I. And their pieces are wonderful and unique. True expressions of each of them.

 I got an email from Danielle today. It said;
Just wanted to say thank you for last night... It was so much fun to experiment and learn different techniques in art... I got so inspired that when I got home I started to paint and reupholster an old chair I found in my parents barn ... Jeff and I were watching a movie and I was sitting on the floor painting 'til 3 AM... And got up this morning to show the kids and broke out all my art stuff and a couple of canvases and got the kids painting for the last three hours...So, thank you for the inspiration! You are great ! I really look forward to taking more of your classes ...
 I thought my heart would burst. And I knew why I felt so calm and peaceful last night before everyone arrived. Because I have created this space from my heart. And nearly everything works.

Maya's nest

Pieces of Danielle's life come together beautifully

Jennifer's memories of her daughter's childhood
Connie's block. I love the origami crane and the piece of
wrapping paper she saved from her 1st Christmas with her
husband, 11 years ago: From your  husband and future father
of your children. How brave she was to add this
precious piece of their story...

Nella's elegant tribute to her dogs, Sobe and Frisco

Ruth's wish


  1. Awesome! you are inspiring as always!

  2. I love your imprint on the planet and our hearts. x0

  3. wish i could have been there! xo