May 1, 2009

Daisy Mae

There are many wonderful things about leading a creative workshop, or taking part in one, for that matter. I like creative workshops because they nourish the individual soul and the collective soul as well. We leave feeling inspired and make connections with other creative-types, and their work and approach and technique and ideas spur us on to new things that fit our lives.
When Mark and I moved to Athens, I soon found Art of Ohio online. I contacted Paulette Halliday who I found to be a wonderful resource, and angel really, for artists in SE Ohio. Paulette, who works at ACEnet, the umbrella organization behind Art of Ohio, is one of those people I read about in The Tipping Point. You know: gifted with the ability to bring people together, to see the potential for networks and to encourage even the shy and hesitant among us to reach out beyond our comfortable walls.

Paulette opened the door, literally and figuratively, for me to give ATC (artist trading card) workshops in Athens and Art of Ohio provided space. Through these workshops I have met some wonderful women in Athens who are living lives of creativity, mindfulness, and intelligence. I hope that a few of these women will give me permission to profile their creative work in future postings. Today, I'd like to tip my crocheted hat to Florence Clark.

Flo does not live in Athens, but was visiting family here when she signed up for my Fall 2008 Artist Trading Card workshop. We met again for dinner with my husband, Mark, and sister, Joan, and soon discovered a mutual love of dogs. Her dog, Daisy Mae, was captured so delightfully in a small painting she did recently, that I asked her if I could post it on Appalachian Morning, and she said yes and sent me a second painting she'd done as well.

In my book, Open Your Heart with Pets, I shared the stories of many people whose lives have been rejuvenated, enhanced, redeemed, restored--really I can't think of strong enough words to express just what a pet can mean in the life of an open-hearted human, but I think you must know... Flo does. Daisy Mae does. They share a bond that time and separation couldn't alter and now they are together again and enjoying each new day. Here's what Flo wrote about Daisy Mae and the benefit of spending time creating:

"During my separation from my life as I knew it — including living without my Daisy — it was making art that saved my sanity; first it was the little ATC cards, then a step into art journaling, and finally painting with acrylics on ATC-size canvas. It is in this medium that I have been able to express my love of my Daisy Mae and of art.

"I must add that Daisy and I have been reunited because of the kind lady who rescued her from the kennel and kept her until I was able to take her to live with me again.

"Daisy has been my inspiration as far as recovering from my surgery — she keeps me exercising and she always makes me laugh. We do share a unique bond; she is a blessing to me, and every day we say grace before our meals (she's even learning to bow her head!)and thank God that we awoke that day, that we are together and that we have so many, many blessings. I AM truly blessed — with recovering health, with good friends, loving family, my Daisy and a creative outlet; God is so very good."

Hats off to Flo and Daisy Mae — and Flo, keep up the wonderful creative work — you have a gift of peace and mindfulness that this world needs more of.

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