Tuesday, June 15, 2010

my grandmother::creative therapy

a collage for my granmother
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!
hope and smile
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? Pin It

24 comments:

  1. Oh Maya! This is so lovely! I am going to read your story on Creative Therapy. They asked me to be a guest artist too- she said it would be up sometime in the fall. Thanks for this sweet inspiration this morning Maya :)

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  2. I absolutely love it! I've really been in to my family's old black and white photo's recently. I made some Christmas ornaments last year that reminded me of this but you've given me and idea. hmmmmm. Thanks!

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  3. a gem maya...the reminiscing about days gone by & the beautiful explanation at CT of how you lovingly
    created a memory in art.

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  4. Hello Maya!!!
    Wow, I like your work a lot!!!
    It gives me some emotions!! and let me think about my grandmother!
    Thank you!!!
    Laura from Italy!

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  5. This lovely post reminded me of my own late grandmother. It made me smile! Thanks for that.

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  6. How lovely..
    It's wonderful isn't it, having these strong women in one's family to talk to, look to, be inspired by - an incredibly precious source of, you said it, hope.

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  7. I was blessed to be raised by my grandmother from birth. To me she was MAMA. And yes, everything I now can accomplish was taught to me by her. Thank you so much for sharing your Hope.

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  8. Maya,
    What a blessing you are to your grandmother as well.
    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.
    Warm wishes, Tonya

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  9. What a beautiful collage and story! I actually teared up reading this post...my grandmother passed away almost 3 years ago. She is the person who taught me how to sew and create, and we'd talk and talk too. I miss her even more now that I'm a mom.

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  10. Your collage came out just beautifully! Love the cloth on the line and that little delicate bird. Just lovely.

    Becca

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  11. What a lovely tribute to an amazing woman!
    After reading your earlier post on your grandmother's life, I can see why you admire her, Maya. I hope you do write that book about her life- it sounds like it would be wonderful to read.

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  12. Thank you ALL for your very loving thoughts!

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  13. Such a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your Gran. My Gran died when I was five so I never really knew her well.

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  14. it's beautiful. I love everything about this. I don't have any grandparents left so this must be such a treasure for you to still enjoy yours. Best Wishes for her ;)

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  15. Such a lovely remembrance, both for her and for you. Thanks for sharing this with us all.

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  16. just love this post! thanks for sharing the story behind the (wonderful) piece...

    ~Jess

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  17. How lovely. She sounds like a very special lady.

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  18. Maya each line you wrote about your childhood hanging laundry with your grandmother rang so true for me as well. That truly is where my love of clotheslines come from. I love this photo of your grandmother, what a treasure! When I saw the bird stamp as well as "Hope" it reminded me of the stamp you placed on Kelly's (Wellness Tree) package. Because of the great number of ornaments that came in yours was in one of the last mailings to her during her last days. I cut out your stamped envelope and placed it with your gift for her that said Hope because it spoke so brightly to me. I should have sent this to you in an email but this post brought it to mind. xoxo

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  19. What a wonderful post, it really warmed my heart. you are very fortunate to still hve your grandmother, she is a real blessing. i lost my mom almost 2 yrs ago and I tell ya, those pictures mean a lot. Aannd, that collage is beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.

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  20. Love this post Maya. Love the piece you created. I too learned much from my grandmother - all my cooking skills and loved just hanging out with her, remembering each house dress she owned with their big pockets. She lived to be 97
    and now I look in the mirror and see my body morphing into hers and figure, hey that's okay, she was something special. You inspired my creativity today already, a little more re-invention, now I will have to think about Nana too! xox Corrine

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  22. I imagine that your own smile is just as beautiful, Maya. Thanks for sharing this lovely story from the heart.

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  23. That was a very sweet story, made my eyes tear up :)

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  24. Oh! This story touched my heart and made me think of my Grandma.She was my favorite person in the world! She is also in her early eighties but I started losing her a few years ago to alzheimers. She is in the final stages and a hollow shell of her former self. She is dying but reading this helped me to remember her the way I always loved her...full of life, young at heart, and happy! Thats how I want to think of her and remember her! Thank you :-)

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