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art from the heart and other alternative forms of healing

updated mon 14 may 07


Deborah Thuman on sun 13 may 07

I had wanted to take one of Pamela Allen's art classes for ages, but I
don't live anywhere near any of the places she teaches. Sigh. Last
fall, I was surfing Pamela's web site and found a class for this past
Friday in Rochester, NY. I'm from Buffalo which is about an hour and a
half west of Rochester. So I signed up for the class. Then, because my
husband, Jim, was coming with me, he signed up as well. As we were told
frequently on this past Friday, we're making art NOT quilts. It's an
interesting perspective for me because I started sewing clothing about
43 years ago. Quilting is about sewing and rules. Art is something far
more primal.

"I have to sew? Is that the class I signed up for?" Why, yes, dear.
Didn't you know that working in an alternative medium is a way to jump
start your art in your favored medium?

And so we sewed. Jim made his first quilt, and it's quite nice. I keep
telling him he's got to finish it because I want to be sure people see
it. I'd love to see him do more of this kind of work.

I had no idea what I was going to do in this class. So much stuff, and
most of it not good, has been happening at work that I hadn't even done
laundry to get ready for the trip. Fortunately, I was off work on
Wednesday so I could get things washed, put together and packed so we
could fly out the next day. You do NOT want to wear ratty underwear
because if you die, the autopsy report will contain a discussion about
your underwear.

Something magical happened during the class. After I picked out the
background fabrics, and grabbed two fabrics for the face and started
experimenting, I discovered the woman I was creating had a deep,
intense sadness inside her. I want to get the quilt finished and hang
it in my office. No, I don't know why I want to do that - hang it in my
office, I mean. I know why I want to finish it. Only once before have I
sat down with one of my art toys and highly emotional art popped out
without me having the slightest clue what I was going to make.

Some of me is put back together. Art does that for me. Art allows me to
heal, to regenerate, and to escape from the world for a bit. Some of me
is still in pieces. One thing I do know - I can't be making pretty art
just now. Maybe I won't ever again make pretty art. Right now, my art
has to come from deep inside and it has to come out. I understand
things better when I make art. The work I do is very left-brained and
I'm thinking that when I make art, I'm dancing on the right side of my
brain and looking at things very differently .

Our quilts are on the blog if you'd like to take a look. Thanks.