Friday, March 11, 2011

Art and Soul Workshop

Last weekend, artist Sarah Larsen, from Thangool, travelled to Theodore, having offered to run a free Art and Yoga day for residents of Theodore and surrounds, in the wake of the December/January floods. After a beautiful Yoga session (which I have no photos of - mostly because I was blissed out on the floor, relaxing, after enjoying much bending stretching and twisting...) it was down to Art business...Sarah began by showing us how to make marks with charcoal, and set us to work making as many different marks on our sheet of cartridge paper as we could in a short amount of time. Fun!

Our efforts were all unique - every one's marks very much their own. What Sarah did notice though, was that all these sheets bore marks that were twisted, tangled and somewhat reminiscent of flood debris...hmmm....interesting...

As the day progressed, Sarah demonstrated some techniques and encouraged us all to explore...

We worked on heavy brown paper with charcoal, white and black gesso, adding torn papers and some acrylic paint towards the end. I couldn't resist this image of the old aluminium teapot against the work on the brown paper...what a neat water container!

This is my young friend Andrea (whom you've met here before) at work on her piece. The most fascinating part of the day (for me, anyway...) was when Sarah 'interpreted' every one's works. We spent the day working very freely, feeling no pressure to make it look like anything or be anything - after all, this was just brown paper and charcoal...nothing precious, no expensive materials. We just followed a few directions, and before we knew it, papers were covered in marks, motifs, symbols and scribblings. To Sarah, these marks were clues, telling her stories about each of us. I can't speak for the others (I darted off the next morning to visit my Mum and go in search of something to wear to our firstborns wedding, so haven't had a chance to chat much with the other participants), but I, for one, found this to be a very cathartic experience. I became aware of a few things that had been bubbling under the surface for a while, and the act of creating something around them simply allowed me to let them go. I have long had a great belief in the healing nature of the creative act, and this wonderful day once again assured me that there is tremendous power in the act of creation.

We had to have a clean up (I think all our hands looked pretty much like Meredith's...) before we settled in with a Yoga session to finish. It was a wonderful day, full of laughter, sharing, learning, exploring and perhaps the occasional tear. Our most heartfelt thanks to Sarah who really gave up two days to give us this one day. Also to the generous (anonymous) lady in Sydney and the Theodore District Health Council, who together funded the materials, and incidental costs so that Sarah could deliver the day as she hoped for it- with no cost or preparatory stress to participants. As a community, we continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of others - many of them strangers - as we go about reclaiming our town, lives and livelihoods in the wake of the floods. There is a box of left over materials from the day, and we plan to get together and continue to explore creatively. Who knows, perhaps the world will come to know some new artists as a result of all this?


Peta said...

Tracey, what a wonderful workshop! It sure sounds like it was a fantastic way to release some of the emotions of the past months and Sarah would have been the perfect facilitator, what a treat with both yoga to relax and art to express!!
Love the photos you have taken, especially the one with the teapot water holder!!!!

Donna Iona Drozda said...

I so agree with Peta...what a generous and healing day to share ...I can only imagine the ways in which all that was expressed will continue to bring gifts to you all.

And my favorite photo is of the charcoal covered hand...yum...what fun!!

Tracey said...

Peta and Donna...yes, it was a wonderful day! And the two of you have enjoyed my two most favourite images from the day as well!