Art and rituals

Hannah Hamad shares the gallery this month. Hannah, like many of us, is a lovely assemblage of many things. She is a medical student (nearly finished), devoted to fitness and maybe a little adventure, and she is an artist. There are countless more ways to describe Hannah, but we will settle here for now. Her friend, Connie suggests that Hannah never does anything half way. She is “all in”.

That is clear with this exhibit. There are dozens of bowls carefully and pristinely crafted waiting to go home with the right person. Hannah’s workmanship is incredible. Her vision goes far beyond a block of wood. She is careful in her selections and sometimes even gets multiple pieces out of one block. As someone who has turned, this is not an easy thing to do! What Hannah turns into another vessel, would be woodchips on the studio floor for me. 

I have spent quite a bit of time with Hannah’s work this month. I am fascinated by the textures and colors that I witness. I am enchanted by the multiple shapes and sizes.  I began thinking about the fact that these are not only art but art that could have a purpose other than appreciation. 

Hannah’s title, “To Celebrate the Void” also inspired me. It has been a challenging month with a great loss of my “other” mother, Ginny Duffy. If I could ever name a time where I felt completely empty and useless it is during the time I have lost my own parents and now my other mom too. I felt powerless. I wanted to help, heal, anything! Prayer became a constant for me. 

One of the frustrations I have about merely praying silently is it does not seem to be proactive enough. I suppose because I like to write, am an artist as well as visual and tactile in general, I want there to be more. I have used prayer beads when words fail me, I have a prayer journal to remember all those who are in need. There is something sacred about a more physical opportunity for prayer. It seems to have a power that I cannot explain. 

Back to Hannah’s bowls. For me, the fact that they have come from the earth already makes them a sacred vessel. How much more so to use them as a prayer or intention bowl? I certainly do not wish to push my belief system on you, however, I see these pieces of art as not just beautiful, but also as an opportunity for utility. Like a prayer journal, her bowls could hold the most sacred and urgent of intentions, her efforts lifting the hearts deepest desires. 

I hope that you will make time to stop in and see these beautiful pieces. Hannah has gone above and beyond to create the perfect piece for you to celebrate your own journey. 

blessings, 

Susan

Hannah Hamad’s To Celebrate the Void will be up through May 27th, 2019. Hours are Wednesday 10 am – 2 pm, Thursday 3-7pm, Friday 2-5 pm, and Saturday 10 am -3 pm. Hours are also available by chance or appointment. Susan@CreateArt4Good.org

With Gratitude

Sometimes, the busy of owning a small business seems to get in the way. I spend a great deal of time “working this” business. I do everything from bookkeeping to mopping floors, making art for cards and other fun, to PR. There always seems to be a minimum of 45 things on the to-do list. Sometimes I get weary. 

Today, there were about 145 things on the to-do list. Each one led to about 34 more tasks. It seemed to be unending. However, I did manage to get a few things done, and I even prepared dinner for my husband and me.

But it was frustrating. For a time I concentrated on the frustration part Things were not working the way I had become accustomed, while more and more demands were made on my time. Technology was wonky, time was passing too quickly without accomplishing much, and distractions seemed to be winning over work. 

But the gratitude thing. This way of life I have chosen seems to always be sitting in the passenger seat of my world. Even though I was frustrated, tired, and yes (ask my husband) grumpy, I am grateful. While finishing up my taxes, I realized that my hard work has been paying off and I didn’t even realize it. 

But numbers don’t lie. 

I have spoken a great deal of late about how I don’t view success in dollar signs. While that is absolutely true, dollars do help keep your doors open. What I witnessed as I finished up is that it has been my most financially successful year yet. Once that realization sunk in a bit, all I could feel was grateful. 

So thank you. You who read my blog, support my art, support the work of my guest artists and those who buy cards. Thank you for holding your celebrations in my studio, for attending workshops, for coming to First Friday or a random Wednesday afternoon. Thank you for participating in challenges, and calls for art. Thank you for stopping in to say hello, for encouraging words, and for your kindness. You are the reason that this is growing. You are the reason for my efforts. You are literally helping me make my dream come true. 

Thank you. I am so grateful. 

Peace & love, 

Susan

Welcome March

Well… it has been a heck of a winter. Personally there have been challenges and professionally I have not been painting nearly as much as I hoped. BUT! Spring is coming! As I write this, the sun is shining and all seems to be moving in the right direction. 

Tonight opens Andrew Dumar’s “Layers of Illusion”. I honestly cannot wait for you to witness this exhibit. It is truly amazing. Please be sure to make time to see it this month. 

The exhibit will be open for the month of March and after tonight you may make an appointment to see it, come to an event at the studio or stop in Wednesdays 10 am – 2 pm, Thursdays 3-7 pm, Fridays 2-5 pm and Saturdays 10 am – 3pm. Do make time to see this. It is incredible!

Create Art 4 Good and Greetings 4 Good just sponsored a month long inspiration called, “the month of love”. It seems silly to dedicate all that love to one day, so we spread it out. We sent notes and letters all month long using daily prompts. You can see what we were up to here: The Thoughtfulness Project. 

Speaking of which- at the top of that page there is a little inspiration for March. It is definitely a feel good project- give it a shot. 

So how are you doing with incorporating creativity in your life? I don’t know if you have heard, but creativity improves your health. Don’t believe me? Check this article out! In all seriousness, creativity helps to reduce stress, is an active mediation and frankly it is so many good things! I offer private workshops as well as group workshops. Take a chance on  you, no experience is required, only an open heart. Here are the current offerings, more to come!

I want to thank you- thank you for your support of Create Art 4 Good, for Greetings 4 Good. These are lifelong dreams come true. I simply cannot express the depth of my gratitude. 

I hope your day is beautiful. Take time for yourself. Breathe a little. Smile intentionally and love so big. 

Love & Peace to you always, 

Susan

checking in

When I began the process to form Create Art 4 Good over eight years ago, I had no idea where I would be standing today. As I write this, the snow is falling gently outside, the hum of the heat is clanking in the building I rent, and yet it is otherwise quiet. Most of the other humans who create in this building have yet to arrive. This moment feels so peaceful and so intoxicating I wanted to take a moment to notice it. 

When I quit my job in June to give all of my energy to this gallery, the artists I am honored to represent and the vision I have had in some form since I was seven years old, I had no clue how magnificent this would all be. For me, this is not about selling art. While that is a lovely byproduct of what I do here and also a rather necessary one, it is about the energy, the encouragement, and the beauty.

It is about a new artist thrilled that she got into a juried exhibition. It is about the look on her face that suggests dreams DO come true. 

It is about First Friday when the public makes their way through our studios, walking through doorways, appreciating art, enjoying conversations with the artists, and supporting their endeavors. 

It is about moments of creative facilitation, possibility, and joy. Watercolor on tables (and maybe hands), scraps of collage paper here and there and messy hands. It sounds silly, but it evokes such joy for me. 

It is about pushing through the dark moments of doubt to stay true to the path, the mission, and my heart. 

At this moment, I don’t think I could be more grateful. I am so incredibly excited about the next steps, the infinite possibilities and even the unknown. (this, by the way, is a HUGE accomplishment for me. I ALWAYS want to know what comes next, but I have learned that this process is not linear and that is okay- sometimes even great!)

This month has been all about gratitude for me, and for a few others who have decided to tag along. I wanted to thank you for your love, your support, every piece of art you have purchased here, every card, every encouraging word. 

I am off to begin the flip of the studio. In the next week, we shall go from a lovely small gallery to WOW, glittery and beautiful holiday boutique! 

See you soon?

Big huge love and gratitude, 

Susan

 

Gratitude.

So… today, if you listened to the news, you heard that there was yet another shooting. This comes the day after someone was arrested for sending pipe bombs to prominent political figures. As an artist that lives in Rochester, New York; a place where I don’t feel particularly powerful I don’t know how to fight this kind of horror. To purposely want to murder someone because of their political beliefs or their faith astounds me. 

I am a wife, a mother, an aunt, godmother, grandmother, sister, friend and well… you get the idea. I want to shield my loved ones from horror. Truth be told, I want to sort of live in a bubble and not attach to any of it as well.  Over a year ago, I consciously made the choice to stop listening to NPR. I honestly couldn’t take it. The horrors, the rhetoric, violence put me in a bad mood and kept me there most of the day. I couldn’t sleep at night. I HAD to let go for a while. 

A few months ago, I started listening again. You cannot make changes unless you understand what needs to change.  I wish to be an informed participant of our country. I wish to have a clue about what is going on in our world, even if it is hard to listen to.  I have tried to not let it take over my day, my ability to function, some days I find it more difficult than others. 

So today, listening to the fact that people gathered to worship and were gunned down, saddens me to the deepest level. I don’t know how to make it stop. As a person of faith, someone who believes in prayer, I pray. I pray for not only those close but also the country, our leaders, the world, peace….. well, you get the idea. But praying doesn’t seem to be enough. Today these people who were senselessly gunned down WERE PRAYING! They were bothering no one. They were murdered in one of the most vulnerable places one could be. 

I believe in the power of prayer. But I need to do more than that. It’s not enough. I believe in the power of knowledge. I am proud to say that I am an informed voter. Again, not enough. 

So here I sit, the world seems so dark and yet I have faith in the light. It would be easy to allow fear to take over, it’s human nature. It seems everywhere we turn there is another tragedy. 

Darkness will not drive our Darkness – only light will do that.  MLKing, Jr. 

I know I have written about it in the past,  today is no different. When it is the darkest dark, all I know to do is to take inventory of what is right in the world, in my life and celebrate it. If gratitude is the whispering light in the darkness and love defeats hate, then we need to gather together to fill the world with hope. I don’t know how to fight this hatred, this bigotry, and this complete discord. I only know that I have to love bigger, be more grateful, and be more proactive. 

This is where you come in… I invite you to join me. This month (November) we will explore gratitude. I promise if you dive in with me, you will see a new perspective. You will hopefully feel move love and more love. Each day you will receive a prompt. It is up to you what happens next. 
I hope you will join me. I hope you will find bountiful reasons to be grateful. I know that you will share your light. 

To join, just email me: Susan@CreateArt4Good.org – I will fix you right up. 

Until then- I am grateful for you! 

Blessings and love, 

Susan