Family Fridays—“Look For the Helpers”

Because of the unusually intense tornado season throughout the US this spring, I decided to begin today posting Family Fridays.

Transitions #2: Confusion, © 2005 Joni Beach

So many families, particularly in the South, Mid-West, and Northeast, are reeling from the sudden destruction of their worlds and daily lives. The rest of us are left to watch in amazement and, perhaps, feel some guilt at being relieved that it was not us. Of course, whether a tornado or another crisis, we sometimes wonder, “how would we deal with such circumstances?”

In studies of family stress, Froma Walsh discusses what people need whenever they experience an unexpected crisis. What contributes to helping them to cope, recover, and be resilient? Two very important factors are social support and resources, such as after the tornadoes–water, food, shelter, and medical aid. When a sudden crisis happens, people and their families find themselves quickly needing immediate help from others.

I often wonder how to make sense of this type of life event myself. Recently, I heard the story of Fred Rogers‘ (TV’s Mister Rogersanswer for making sense of scary things. As a child, Fred’s mother always told him to “look for the helpers”. For some reason, this was very helpful to me. While it does not change the bad thing that has happened, “looking for the helpers” gives me a way to focus on something positive and reassuring in the midst of it all. And, I know by personal experience that whenever life has been especially challenging, it was the help of other people who made it possible for me to cope. Looking for the helpers after these intense storms, we see real life examples of the needed social support being given to people, which helps them through a crisis, and how important that help really is…

May we all have helpers when we need them, and may we be helpers whenever we can…

Walsh F. (2003). Family resilience: Strengths forged through adversity. In Froma Walsh (Ed.),  Normal Family Processes (3rd ed., pp. 399-423). New York: Guilford Press.

**I’d love to hear your comments! 

Tuesday…In the Studio–“An Artist’s Response to Materials”

An artist’s response to organic materials influences their creative process and the resulting piece of art–a sculptor carves a fish from wood…a potter throws a vase from clay…a painter paints a landscape with paint and canvas…or a textile artist creates a wall hanging from fabric and thread.

Batik Cotton

Growing up in North Carolina, there were many fabric shops and factory outlets with a large array of different types, colors, and patterns of textiles. I first found my love of fabrics and thread, and the possibilities of what they could become, wandering @ and dreaming in these stores. My first sewing project was in sixth grade Girl Scouts. We got to use a pattern, cut-out fabric, and use a sewing machine to make an apron. I was hooked…During high school, it amazed me that I could find fabric that I loved, find a pattern similar to styles in the stores, and create clothes!  Magic…plus–they fit me!

During this past holiday weekend, we took a trip to Floyd,Virginia, a center for music and visual arts. This is one stop on the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail and along the Blue Ridge Parkway with its natural, beautiful scenery.

Blue Ridge

It was chance to get out & about…get inspirations from the sights and sounds of a new place…have time to incubate ideas… and gain encouragement to be creative.  A time to be relaxed with other people…listen to music at the Floyd Country Store‘s noon concert…view other artists’ work in galleries, shops, and visit the sights and sounds of the outdoor community market. But, the main highlight for me was spending time at Schoolhouse Fabrics.

This store is reminiscent of the shops of my youth—an old three-storied school building filled with fabric of all types— including wools, cottons, and satins, colors—reds, greens, and purples– and textures—nubby, silky, and coarse.

Silver & Gold

I found the hard to find gold and silver fabric that is needed to finish my Lifeweavings  wall-hanging,

brights for the fabric “paint”stash,

Bright Fabric "Paint"

Vibrant Silks

wonderfully vibrant colored silks,

and fun fabric for my grandbaby, I just could not pass up.

Child's Fabric, print ©Hampton Printworks.
Printed Fabric, © Hampton Printworks.

These are examples of the materials that are collected and used by textile artists. The artist responds to the color of the fabrics, the feel, or hand, of the cloth, and the texture of the piece visually and by touch. Wandering through the many aisles and rooms of colorful fabric, not only did I imagine what I might create…                                                                                                                 I remembered the girl dreaming of all the possibilities…

♦What are the materials you respond to in your artistic endeavors?

With Our Senses Awake…

We will live this life only once.

Experiencing the world @ us, in ways beyond what we can imagine on our own, is truly an exciting experience of the sensesIt can be…

Water Falls

seeing with our eyes, a huge vista in nature, beautiful beyond words… 

hearing with our ears, music that tickles our ears and vibrates our bodies…                                                                                                                                                                         holding a in our arms, a sweet baby who is warm, new, and beautiful…

      smelling with our nose, honeysuckle’s scent swirling past us on a path…

        tasting with our tongues, golden cookies freshly baked, steaming from                                                                                                                                               the oven….

Fresh Baked Cookies

Or, it can be…                                                                                                                                                  a work of art, large in size, vibrant in colors, and amazing to our eyes.

These  things all peak our curiosity,                                                                                                                     take us outside of ourselves,                                                                                                                          and remind us what it is to be alive…

As a parent caring for your family, an individual working each day, or an artist creating an original design. It is through our senses that we take in information from @ us and the environment in which we live. This information can serve, among other things, to remind us of the importance of the everyday, encourage us to value those @ us, and to inspire and motivate us to accomplish more than we can perhaps imagine!

♦ These are some of the things that help remind me to enjoy my family or motivates me to engage in one of the arts? How about you? ♦                                            (If Comment box is not on page, click below on small gray words, “Leave a Comment”)