Art as Remedy for National Stomach Virus
Fear and Hatred won the electoral college, but Love and Art will rule in the end.
I've rounded the corner in the past 48 hours. NOT that I've resigned myself to the new normal. Definitely not slipping back into business-as-usual.
No. It's just that the kindness of strangers at Trader Joe's is lifting me up.
The lush green weeds in my yard remind me that growth happens. Always.
And then this:
And then I heard this:
"Sometimes you have to throw up in order to feel better."
If heartbroken is the word I've used and heard most from my circle to describe the aftermath of November 8th, sick to my stomach is runner-up.
Now granted, I do not wear a hijab. My skin is not black. I have not had insults shouted at me, or been threatened by anything other than run-of-the-mill sexism. I'm one of the lucky ones. I live in the liberal bubble of the Bay Area where we actually know and love and work with people from different backgrounds. And yet ugliness has been unleashed even here, thanks to our role model-elect.
Everything we progressive-minded folks hold dear and true has been kicked in the gut. Knocked down and stomped on. Spit at and mocked.
That image of our nation spewing vomit made me feel better, ironically. Eeew. But yes! A hate virus is rampant in the United States, and the afflicted are blowing chunks on the whole of our nation. We need to get this poison out of our collective system before any more of us get sick. Then we heal.
This pithy truism from Mark is also helping me keep things in perspective: "It's always darkest before the dawn."
Combat ugliness with beauty. And action.
What I see in the election results is a failure of imagination. Fear won out over creativity. Hatred beat out courage. Hopelessness defeated respect.
Now that we've let ourselves feel the deep, deep sadness, my tribe is mobilizing.
On Wednesday my 23-year-old daughter published the blog she's been wanting to start for about a year. She found the motivation to use her voice, and is encouraging others to do the same.
Friends are making plans to head to Washington DC on January 21st. They're strategizing ways to bridge the divide among our fellow women. Love is propelling them toward the problem, not away.
And then there's Pantsuit Nation. :)
Hillary was right. We ARE stronger together.
When I turn off the news and look around me, I see resolve oozing out of all the cracks. We were shoved to the ground, but we're not out of the fight. Not by a long shot.
Plans are being laid. We are joining forces. Some of us may be mingling metaphors, too, from illness to combat. ;)
I choose art as my weapon.
I don't normally use battle language, but there seems to be a war of wills going on here. Let me state my position clearly:
I'm on the side of human dignity. I believe in science, critical thinking, telling the truth, taking responsibility, acting with love, and spreading optimism.
And I choose art as my weapon.
I'm also very stubborn. I ain't giving up.
The sole purpose of my business, All Hands Art, is to incite creative joy, especially in folks who do not see themselves as artistic.
Nothing lights me up more than watching a hesitant mural volunteer get lost in the flow of making. Or to welcome a nervous newbie into my studio, and see them leave with more confidence, proud of what their two hands made.
The simplest acts can be the most transformative. Transformation = healing.
I feel more energized than ever in my mission!
The barrier I want to break down is this:
Everything I do through All Hands Art—from the craft workshops to the mural projects to the doodles I sell in my online shop—has one intention: to break down barriers to art-making. I like to pull back the curtain and show how the sausage is made, so to speak, so that you might try it, too. I want you to tap your creative potential.
Why? Because creativity brings out our humanity. It is our gift to the world. It makes our lives richer and more interesting. It's the reason we were put on this earth. And most of us have a sh@tload of baggage around it!
The so-called "art world" can be exclusive and elitist. Screw that! As humans we are ALL creative, whether we live in red states or blue ones, whether we call ourselves Creatives or not.
It's in our nature to make stuff. Our ancestors have done it since the dawn of time. It's what we were designed to do.
And with practice, we're really good at it.
It's a messy process of uncertainty and risk-taking, this art-making business. But the mess is beautiful and the rewards, enormous. (See my fledgling set of how-to videos here. This is a new arena of creative risk-taking for me! Please be kind.)
My question for our country: Is all that frustration, anger, jealousy, hatred, and fear just a cringing ball of suppressed creativity?
Imagine what would happen if we took all of our collective hate-charged energy and gave it some art materials. If we each set aside time for reflection and whimsy and asking "what if...?"
If we gave ourselves permission to experiment and make clumsy attempts and share them with each other.
I pledge allegiance to your creative spirit.
My pledge to you is this: I will continue putting inspiration and art-making opportunities out into the world, and inviting you to partake. I hope you'll join me. Spread the news to those who need a creative lift by forwarding this post, and signing up for my email newsletters!
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'Tis the season for art & community. Seriously, it will help you feel better.
You will be warmly welcomed at any of these upcoming, uplifting events. Come alone or bring your tribe!
1. Friday & Saturday, November 25th & 26th (see times below): Come for the company, stay for a glass of wine, and leave with lovingly hand-crafted gifts! It's our last annual Holiday Craft Sale at my home. Don't miss it!
2. Saturday, December 3rd, 2:00 - 8:00 pm: I'll be selling my whimsical wares at Twirl, 1424 Park Street in the heart of Alameda, CA. It's the first Holiday Artisan Faire hosted by this innovative new children's play-space, but most items will be geared toward adults. Snacks! DJ! Fistfuls of love! Cute flyer here!
3. Sunday, December 4th, noon - 3 pm: I'm hosting another Play with Clay & Ceramics make-shop in my studio! The folks who came last weekend whet their appetites and asked for more. My studio will be open from noon until 3:00 pm for you to come shape ornaments, put your little ones' hands or feet in clay, and paint pre-made pottery. Work at your own pace for a flat $10 studio fee plus a per-item charge for the things you make. Art therapy! Community! Messy hands! Email me to reserve your space: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Saturday, December 10th: For those of you in the South Bay, I'll be leading a mosaic mural workday on Saturday, December 10th from 10 am - 2 pm at Holly Oak Elementary School, 2995 Rossmore Way, San Jose, CA 95148. Join this welcoming, diverse community of families and learn new mosaic skills! We'll be adding images of children playing along the swirly ribbons of mirror.
I wish you a holiday season full of love, family, hope, kindness, art and community!