Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winter Wonderland in Buffalo, New York

"The Center Piece of the 1st Annual Buffalo Powder Keg Winter Festival is the World's Largest Ice Maze. The Maze was completed Thursday night 2.25.10 and contains almost 2,200 - 300lb blocks of ice. Amanda Mochan from Guinness World Records was in Buffalo to confirm and make the presentation to Jeff Empric of the "Roaming Buffaloes" adventure club and Newell Nussbaumer of Buffalo Rising, Co-Founders of the Powder Keg Festival. The Maze beats the record set in Toronto in 2005."

Chewbacca the Wonder Pomeranian slept all day Saturday while we cleaned, painted and packed a few more boxes. As the daylight slipped away I got dressed in layers preparing to attend the Powder Keg Festival in downtown Buffalo.

Chewie can always sense my excitement began to bark and jump around showing his enthusiasm to be included in this adventure.

Kara went back on Sunday afternoon with her friends to find the line for the maze was down the block to Main St. where the night before we walked right in from the parking garage at the HSBC. Over 60,000 people took advantage of the lovely Winter Powder Keg Festival 2010

“True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.” Jean Cocteau

Writing this post on the last day of February 201o, perhaps the fastest and the most pleasant February I remember during the past decade. Here I am enjoying a Saturday afternoon in a nature trail in Amherst, NY.

On February 6th I was supposed to have attended a wedding at St Paul's Cathedral with our good friends the Mackin family. When I sent the RSVP to Jim & Kathy, I wrote a note that I would attend except if we had trouble with snow. NEVER did I dream I would be snowed out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania my hometown. That is exactly what happened; my dress hung in my bedroom, bags all packed to go, card and gift ready when it was clear, Pittsburgh was under a state of emergency to all unnecessary travel. Sorry I missed Jennifer and Raymond's wedding as well as an opportunity to see many of my dear friends in Pittsburgh.
I hope to see y'all real soon ;~)

Not worry, since I did not go to Pittsburgh February 6th, I was free to attend the Opening of the Art & Healing show @ Impact Artists Gallery.

Things are as they should be ;~)

February was a month of new beginnings for me, doors opened. I said YES !!!

Now I have great joy to work with a growing group of middle school students as an After School Group Leader with inner city Buffalo children. I LOVE MY JOB ;~) My own children are grown. Barry & Kara know I have enough love to share with many so this is a perfect position for me right now. I was hired because I am an artist with a vision for possibilities of what could be.

Last week the north east had more warnings of a snow storm predicted for Friday, the kids dreamed of staying home all day to play video games. Many of the students looked at me kind of funny when I told them I hoped we did not have a snow day, because I would miss seeing their happy faces in After School Program.

The big snow scare turned into a false alarm so we met last Friday. Here are a few of the children I get to spend five days a week with in program.

The first pic is of a student who I just taught to finger knit; she is a fast learner. She is also a good leader. I told her I need her help to teach the other students to finger knit for our new project.

My concept is to build a chain, Peace Chain, by connecting the finger knitting samples from the students. On the knitted chain we are going to create then hang small flags concept borrowed from the Tibetan Prayer Flags.
Since this is a public funded program and God/ Prayer were thrown out in the 1960's; my emphasis is on PEACE. Thank you Madalyn Murray O'Hair

I greet each student as they come into the studio everyday. Much like when Barry & Kara came home from school I offered them healthy snack, ask what they have for homework then ask them to share one good thing that happened in their day. At this time some students tell me something new they learned or something that made the feel good. Too often they tell me a worry, concern or about students being angry or fighting in school. My goal is to the channel their concerns/anger into creating a flag for our Peace Chain with the hope that once we name the concern, offer it up then let it go.

All of the students are wonderful, beautiful people. This young man is especially a pleasure to work with because he is so intelligent, eager to learn and respectful. Here he is working on building his drawing skills. Practice, Practice, Practice ...

This young lady is so full of energy I wish I could tap into her for a quick boost when my energy starts to drop.
Don't you just love her smile ???

She is bright, cheerful and did I mention she has energy to burn ???

Today it the last day of February, I am going to ride the six miles I owe myself on my stationary bike everyday, work in my studio then go to mass at 5:00 o'clock. Today is a new day with no mistakes in it yet. I have feeling it is going to be a great day. Tomorrow I look forward to the adventures that the month of March 2010 are going to bring ;~)

Friday, February 19, 2010

I love you and that's all I know...

" I bruise you, you bruise me We both bruise too easily, too easily to let it show I love you and that's all I know ."
Jimmy Webb
Since I began my on going art project, Flowers of Secrets, a few weeks ago I have had the opportunity to speak with many females. Females of all ages from teen age girls, young women in their twenties, middle age women and even older women relate to the pain of carrying a secret that makes them feel like "trash".
The first question women want to know is where I find these secrets. Do I know who belongs to the secret? How will that female know I am praying for her, elevating her secret from trash to a treasured piece of art work?
My answer is simple; have you seen the movie Avatar? I related more to the Avatar world of nature, spirituality, interconnectedness theme than to the human army group. Not a fan of military tactics to break an individual down then remake them in my own way, I believe when one of us is hurting all of us hurt. Like the huge tree in the movie Avatar, I see us connected, like an invisible root system, in one giant community.
The most common theme of the women's secrets revolves around a sexual experience that left these women feeling empty. The handmade postcard from above captures the vicious cycle of both males and females trapped in a vicious circle of being hurt then hurting another person to make themselves feel better. This in turn creates another person damaged by sex without commitment. Fearful of true intimacy this person goes out to infect, damage, destroy, then toss away another person... All this attack with sex, overpower then leave quickly, fearful that the other may leave them if they really knew who they are, provides me an endless supply of Flowers of Secrets to elevate from trash to treasure. Unfortunately it also leaves too many walking wounded souls wondering the earth looking for someone to build their ego.
Has our EGO been used as a way of
E easing
G God
O out ???
PS I am a hard worker, I need more used coffee filters for my ongoing project trash to treasure.
No need to rinse them out, just shake out the grounds, toss the used coffee filters into a plastic bag, toss in the freezer until you want me to pick them up. I'll rinse them off, the stains are in important element in my work. Thank you so much for any contributions of used coffee filters you can offer. The need for your trash is urgent now !!! Please help ;~)

Friday, February 5, 2010

"After I was date-raped. I dated and slept with the guy that did it 3 more times. I hoped that if I could make it a "real"relationship I would not have to admit to myself that the rape was real."

Finding healing as a Subversive Stitcher-Women Armed with Needles, facebook online commuity for people with like interest to get connect from all over the world.!/pages/Subversive-Stitchers-Women-Armed-with-Needles/309080917039?ref=nf

For years as an art student when an artist made something that was particularly interesting or different, the battle cry from both professors and students was, " Make multiples, make a hundred of them." This never made sense to me as my work is about me, about something that is troubling to me, or about people I love.

Just as I gave birth to Barry 30 years ago and Kara 25 years ago, each child is unique. My art work is created, given birth, born out of my experience. The creative seed of a concept is planted, after a long gestation time where I love, doubt and hate the experience the concept grows. One day I get to the point where the concept has matured. "It is finished" Not only is the art object complete, I often find myself changed as a result of working through the process from conception to actually giving birth to my art.

Flowers of Secrets is a project that makes perfect, logical sense to create multiples. In fact, there may never be a cut off point when I say it is enough. The goal of my project Flowers of Secrets is to bring healing to a females heart one flower at a time. Slowly and lovingly, stitching helps to bring healing, replacing the feeling of being used, discarded trash into an art object of priceless value. Slowly through prayer and stitching I am creating a treasure. Trash to treasure is an unending process of healing. Unfortunately, there seems to be an unending plethora of secrets women carry in their hearts that allow them to view themselves as trash.

Carefully stitching the secret of another female, praying for her healing, then seeing the collections of completed healing garden of flowers grow can be cathartic relief from a deeply held-in painful traumatic experience. Of course in among the anonymous female secrets you can be sure I have included a few secrets that have been a burden for me to carry alone.

Last night as I was searching PostSecrets to begin a new flowers I discovered this sad secret.

"After I was date-raped. I dated and slept with the guy that did it 3 more times. I hoped that if I could make it a "real"relationship I would not have to admit to myself that the rape was real."

The pain behind this secret is palpable. I am praying for this woman's healing and peace right now as I work one stitch at a time.
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