Tuesday, June 15, 2010
my grandmother::creative therapy
A couple months back I was invited to be a guest artist on Creative Therapy. Thanks Karen! I was asked to choose a prompt or catalyst for creating a piece. I chose "who is your favorite relative" instantly. My grandmother is my hero, as you may know... if not, you might like to read this. Her 89th birthday was coming up, so I made this collage as her gift. I even got to deliver it in person... that was back in February! She hung it where she can see it when she awakens each morning... a reminder of a life well lived and of a chapter so long ago, when her body was young and strong and small, chubby hands were constantly wrapped around her neck or pulling on her skirts. This is my favorite photo in the entire world! My young grandmother is surrounded by her clothesline and her children... radiant and relaxed. The reality was: she and my grandfather were building their home while living on the work site, she was teaching nursery school, and had a 4 year old and one year old... phew! Yet, look at that smile!When I worked on this, it was hard not to think of the passage of time... of moments frozen... of the innocence and vulnerability of young mothering. The 1940's may seem like a foreign age compared to the present, but if I could step into this picture, I bet I would find similar struggles and joys in my grandmother's daily life to ours today. Clothes lines symbolize so much to me and this one has the added reminder of my girlhood summers with this same lovely woman hanging our laundry out... as I swung on the porch swing nearby. Sometimes I helped, but honestly I mostly watched and absorbed her methods and movements... and we'd talk... and talk. I'd give anything to swing on that bench today, but I feel so lucky that I still have her to talk to. In fact, this last week I've taken to calling her every day... just to check in. Aging is never easy, you know... but my grandmother's middle name is Hope. For real!
I knew I had to incorporate that into her collage. I loved stamping it onto a mini cloth (diaper, perhaps...) and hanging it on the line. Shouldn't we all hang our HOPE out on a line? (You can read more about the details of the collage techniques I used over at Creative Therapy , where I just became the 113th catalyst.) And I invite you to create something for and/or inspired by your favorite relative. It will be time well spent, I promise. Did that special person jump into your mind when I said that... who might it be?