This afternoon my family and I went to the Dahlia Show that's happening this weekend at the MAH. On the second floor of the museum I ran into someone who took my brass wall hangings workshop a while ago. We smiled and greeted each other and pointed out our families to each other as they continued walking around the different exhibits. She shared that she's looking forward to returning to a consistent routine now that her eleven year old is headed back to school.
Just as we were about to part ways, she touched my arm and said excitedly, "I wanted you to know... My life has changed since taking your workshop. Years ago I used to create so much and then it all just stopped. But after coming to All Hands, I set up a dedicated space at home to start making again. The workshop was pivotal. I just wanted you to know that."
I got chills as she spoke and thanked her. Her words were a powerful confirmation of All Hands' original impetus: creative empowerment and well-being.
And the thing is, this is not an isolated account. I've had several of you tell me that you've taken bold action towards a more creative life as a result of an encounter at All Hands, either with the maker who taught a workshop you took, or a new friend you made at the table, or even through an idea shared in an email like this.
This gives me great courage and hope because it suggests the stirrings of a grassroots movement, at however small a scale. And a creative community in motion is exactly what the world needs to solve some really entrenched social ills. So as we each become 'unstuck' as individuals, we are better able to contribute to the collective effort required to help society free itself from negative forces like racism and sexism and rampant materialism.
Whoa, you maybe thinking, somewhere I took a big leap from wall hangings to world peace. What's the connection? I don't have a complete answer, but my initial attempt is this:
Creative handwork is spiritual medicine and allows us express our ideals of beauty, harmony joy and even justice. This has always been the power of art and craft. It is the soul's sign language, if you will, and a necessary part of an ongoing cultural conversation about the world we would like to create *together*.
Cheers to the power that is in our hands,
PS. The photo shows the steps Inka Petersen is teaching the students in her sold out 2 week spoon carving class that started last Thursday.
PPS. Something pivotal, perhaps:
Abstract Watercolor - Fri Aug 30th 6-8:30pm
Block Printing on Fabric - Sat Aug 31st 1-3pm
Resin Ocean Waves - Sun Sep 8th 1-3pm
Watercolor Florals - Sun Sep 8th 4-6pm