Time is moving more quickly than I am... I thought I would accomplish so much during the first two months of the year. In January, my calendar was empty as far as I could see - my expectations were of many happy hours playing with fabric & fiber, drawing with the sewing machine, and reveling in all that free time. I had just completed an undergrad course in the fiber arts at school, learning batik, marbling and weaving. These techniques would be explored & employed in my new work done early in 2005.
All that changed quite suddenly when a fellow teacher at grad school needed a sub for this semester... I volunteered - mostly because the course is entitled: Healing Arts, and I knew I had much to offer in this area of holistic health & healing. But I had no research ready to supplement the teaching of this course & gratefully accepted my friends class notes, hand-outs, etc. So far, I've been teaching music theory and therapy - not my area of expertise, but one with which I am quite familiar. However, the Dean has specifically asked me to include the other arts in this course, so my time is now split between researching, documenting and teaching various healing arts!
I find hand quilting to be very therapeutic - a true healing art. The rhythmic needling of the fabric is like a movement-mantra and often induces contemplation when uninterrupted. Why is it then, that I choose to machine quilt most of my work, I wonder... Speed, to be sure, is one reason. Arthritis in my hands is another quite valid reason. And I really enjoy freeform quilting - it's like drawing with my machine on fabric rather than with a pencil in my sketchbook... Any type of drawing mesmerizes me - I am transported into a state of semi-union with the object I am drawing. My sewing machine (or pencil) becomes one with my hands, my arms, my heart, my body, my mind and everything flows through me onto the drawing surface. Not only is the object now pictured in two dimensions, I am somehow in two dimensions as well since a part of me has literally moved from inside to outside in the process of creating.
Creating, in and of itself, is healing. Whether it's the way I arrange my fabric stash or the way I keep my food stuffs, I have created the pattern of these objects. When I cook, I am equally creative - although I can't say I enjoy cooking anywhere near the way I enjoy any so-called "art" activity.
When I create, I often select music to match my mood, the theme, the spirit of what I am working on. Yet there are other times when silence is preferred for only in the silence can I truly hear what the piece is asking of me. My creation is really not my own - it is from me and through me, but the piece itself dictates some of what I do. The piece may demand I leave it alone for weeks on end - we are not content with one another. Our expectations are not being fulfilled. So time apart allows a fresh vision and a better, listening heart for what the piece is asking of me and what I am trying to 'say' with the creation.
It seems to me that any creative activity is healing to the mind, body, heart, soul,and spirit. It seems to me that true creativity imparts new life into the creator and the creation. And that most certainly invites and promotes healing. I wonder if I should bring to class some hand quilting materials for my grad students to experiment with... I wonder what such an experience would be like for them... The non-sewers would be awkward & filled with trepidation. And the others? Who knows... Maybe I'll offer it as a potential option in place of another assignment. May as well research with my own students that which I am teaching!