My love of art took on a new meaning when I wanted to commemorate moments. When my kids were little and growing, I couldn’t bear to throw away all their sweet little clothes that reminded me of sweet moments that we’d never get back. So I started making quilts with a mixture of their clothes and mine. They are keepsakes that I still cherish today. When they grew up and moved on, I couldn’t bear to throw away all those t-shirts that represented their interests in their teens. Yup, you guessed it, more quilts. But this time I learned how to free form sew with my sewing machine so I could add more personalized notes with the stitching. For example, I was able to sew an image of the tattoo my daughter designed for me right onto her quilt.
When I moved after a divorce and empty nesting, it was really hard for me to sort through this life I had built that was now over — evolving into a new life. There were so many sentimental feelings attached to trinkets. After studying shaman sticks to help empower my friend, I realized that I could empower myself the same way. Historically, the stick was the first weapon and eventually symbolized power; the wizard’s wands, the king’s scepter, the bishop’s staff. The power of connecting all the elements of nature on the shaman stick is important; wood (growth), rocks (solid earth), feathers (birds and heaven). I loved the idea of wielding a big stick of my own to gain power as I entered this new stage of my life. I put all my important trinkets onto a piece of driftwood that I loved; my engagement ring (a powerful symbol of hope and loss), jewelry my kids had given me over the years, shells I’d collected, rocks found on hikes all over the world. Anything that was symbolically important to me from all the elements of my life past and present went onto my shaman stick. I placed the finished piece where I would see it every day, to remind myself of where I’d been, who I am, and where I was going. Very powerful indeed!
Commemorating moments turned into commemorating loved ones lost. I knew the power of art in my own life and I wanted to empower others. For my friend who lost her daughter; a mixed media painting, a quilt, a dream catcher, a shaman prayer stick. Working on all those projects was just as important to me as it was to her. There is great therapy in making commemorative art, and great therapy in having it in view forever. For my nephew’s wife, a quilt of his t-shirts after he passed. There is no better way to wrap a loved one around you and keep them near. My next project is working with some of my father’s belongings and making several works of art to share a piece of my dad with my very large family.
Contact me if you'd like to discuss working on a project to commemorate a moment in your life.