Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Flags fly in rain, shine, sleet, snow and wind

The Solstice is almost upon us. This seasonal transition from darkness to light honors that life is always moving, always in transition. What is now light will be dark and what is now dark will return to light. Without darkness we would not know light. As the Woven Voices prayer flags go out into the world, I know that they will fly on sunny days as well as days with no hope for sun. Today here in Maine we are experiencing a Nor'easter with a veritable mixed bag of precipitation.

The little prayer flags here in my yard are weathering this storm with ease and grace. This is what I strive for in my life ~ a grace in understanding that all things pass. I strive to fly my own spiritual flag in all kinds of weather.

The Woven Voices project continues to grow and blossom. To date I have collected over 1600 messages
of hope and peace. We have woven and sent out to the world over 300 flags. I continue to receive messages and invite weavers to join me in my studio.

My biggest challenge is to gather photos of the installed flags. For a variety of reasons, documenting where the prayer flags hang is often difficult, tricky or impossible. This letter from a friend who works for the Slum Doctor program illustrates ~

"The prayer flags were a very touching gift to the girls and staff at the Ombogo Girls Academy. We presented them at a final assembly for our group in the evening without an external lighting source, other than kerosene lamps and flashlights, not conducive to photography. We left early the next day to head back to Nairobi.

To make a long story short I asked the school to take photos of the prayer flags and email them to me, but so far that hasn't happened, even after two reminders. What would be a simple request here, isn't so easy over there, mostly due to lack of energy sources."

At the same time, my friend who lives in Bali sent me a painting of her prayer flags hanging. Another friend in Washington has posted images on her blog. Enjoy these new images as well as those in the on-line gallery.

Namaste, light and love ~ Sarah

Prayer flags at a Traditional Hindu Temple in Pennsylvania.

NEWS FLASH~ Local newspaper article about my art work in the community. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Power Of Peace ~ radio interview Nov 2nd, 6 PM PST

Greetings from gloriously beautiful New England !

This time of year is a visual feast for those of us lucky enough to live here and for those who visit us in the fall. As I was driving to teach yesterday morning I looked over my left shoulder to see the sun rising over the marshes of southern NH. I also noticed a flock of starlings (black birds) swirling as one mass, moving like a black speckled river.

Over a period of seconds, this mass of twirling birds moved and shifted as if guided by a single conductor. There must have been over 2000 birds. From one horizon to the other, all I could see was a swirling dance of black specks. Magnificence in motion and a physical reminder of how precious life is in each moment.

Now for the BIG news ~

Monday November 2nd, 2009, 6 PM PST (That's 9 PM EST), you can listen to an interview between me and Gabriele Bartholomew, host of the radio show called The Power of Peace on KSER Independent Public radio out of Snohomish County Washington.

Gabriele has been following the Woven Voices project for almost about a year, has been a wonderful supporter by sending messages of peace and now has offered me this unique opportunity to tell my story over the air waves.

I hope that you will be able to tune in and listen! You can access the show easily over the Internet. Just click on the link above.

Come weave if you are nearby, send messages of hope and peace where ever you are.

Photos here are from a Middle School in Kansas! Thanks for the messages students!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Peace Flag hung on International Day of Peace!

Yesterday, nearly one month to the day of receiving it, the PEACE flag has been installed on our house. This seemed like a fitting way to honor The International day of Peace, September 21st.

With the help of dear husband Ben, I hung it high up on the garage. Today, as I came back from my final swim (I think) of the season,, I as greeted by a brilliant ray of sun hitting the flag, illuminating the word PEACE.

Also yesterday, I had an hour long interview with a colleague from Everett, Washington. Gabriele has a talk show that airs once a month on a community radio station, KSER . I will send out news when I know that the interview will be broadcast.

Until then, please consider coming to weave if you are near by. As always, your messages of peace and hope are welcome.

Namaste, Sarah

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Voices in the Square

September 11th 2009.

Many thanks to the ten folks who joined me yesterday to read about 200 messages of hope, peace and goodwill. I am very grateful for your support to sustain this project and keep peace alive.

Each time I show up to read in Market Square in Portsmouth, I uncover new truths about myself and the world in which I live. Yesterday, the simple truth that revealed herself was the importance of reflection. After each message that was read, we paused and savored the words as well as the intent of the writer.

Some of the messages were as simple a three year old child saying"I want everyone to have cake". While others held loftier visions of all national leaders speaking truth.

With each message reading and reflection, I felt a deep sense of honor being offered to that voice.

Blessings and gratitude to those friends who read, laughed and paused yesterday to honor these wise and heartfelt messages.

My studio door is open to weavers, and messages are always welcome. Keep peace alive through your daily actions.

Namaste, Sarah

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sarah Farmer Peace Award

On Saturday August 22nd, I was presented with the Sarah Farmer Peace Award at Green Acre Baha'i School in Eliot, Maine. "The Woven Voices: Messages from the Heart" project was especially honored, and the audience was diverse, including two Swamis from the Vedanta Society of Boston.

Randy Armstrong performed an original sitar piece, and Lee Hosack sang her original composition, "Raise the Flag, Sarah", remembering peacemaker and Green Acre founder Sarah Jane Farmer. There were two looms set up for folks to weave more prayer flags and the hall was decorated with over 30 handwoven prayer flags. We also gathered over 50 more messages of peace and hope.

I am deeply honored and lifted up by this recognition. Many thanks and blessings to all who attended and participated in this event and award. Images here capture the event.

Please join me on September 11th, Market Square, Portsmouth, NH at noon. I will be reading messages that have be collected since June. I welcome listeners as well as readers. I hope to see you there, rain or shine!

In peace and gratitude,

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Let's celebrate again!

Just a brief news flash here:

There is an article about the Woven Voices project in a local paper.

And the BIG news is that I will be awarded the 2009 Sarah Farmer Peace Award on August, 22, 2009. The Sarah Farmer Peace Award is presented annually by the Baha’i
Community of the Greater Seacoast Region to recognize the
contributions of area individuals and groups who take effective local action to promote world peace and understanding among nations and members of the human family.

The award is named after Sarah Jane Farmer, a turn-of-the century peace heroine who was born in Dover, N.H., in 1847. She founded the Green Acre Conferences in Eliot where the first peace flag in the world was hoisted in 1894, and where a peace flag has been flown every year since then.

The Aug. 22nd event marks the fifth Sarah Farmer Peace Award. This year the celebration will be held on Saturday, August 22nd, 7:30pm, at Reimer Hall at Green Acre Baha'i School in Eliot, with the public warmly invited. There will be a display of some of my work in the hall, and slides of my work as part of the program.

More information, including a flyer and press release, will be out soon. If you are local, or in the area, please come celebrate!!

Thanks to all for your support.
Peace, Sarah

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Once again

Once again , the simple power of this project has lifted my heart. On June 11th, 2009 I showed up at Market Sq. Portsmouth to read over 250 messages. Like most of the past month it was a grey drizzly day. My dear son Robin came to shoot a short video.

By 12:45, the rain really settled in. So we packed up the flags and other stuff. I had almost completed reading all the messages that I collected to date. Then, to my surprise in that day's mail delivery....about 40 new messages from a young woman in Everett, Washington. Thanks Gabriele!!

And then an invitation to send flags along with a group called Slum Doctor. Slum Doctor Programme is a grassroots organization of concerned individuals that began in 2000 as a small voice, a cry for help and hope, for the 22 million Africans who live mostly in silence with AIDS. Early next week, I will get a set of flags out for delivery to Omobogo Girls' Academy in Kenya.

Photos of installed prayer flags arrive now and then too. Here are two images~ a rug hookers group from Corea, in Down East ME and three lovely German women holding the prayer flags in front of the cathedral in Paderborn, Germany (the home town of my artist friend Brigitte). Thanks to all !!

Simple gestures made bold by the energy and effort of many.
Namaste ~

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ripple Effect

Joy for June! Just when I think that the "waters" of the Woven Voices project are calming down, a new wave washes to shore.

This past week I received images from Africa. Ian was a student at Bowdoin College in Maine when he sent me dozens of messages of hope and peace from his fellow students. Now he is a Peace Corps volunteer in Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa. The photos here taken were taken on Muslim New Years in front of his school, Suduwol Upper Basic School. I sent these flags to him in the fall/2008 with the hope of receiving a photo someday. I learned from Ian's mother that it takes him 7 hours in a bus with many river/ferry crossings to get to Banjul where he has slow Internet access!

Here's what Ian says: "Thanks for the flags. They are standing up well to the African sun and wind, and the rains will be coming soon. The students are the 7th and 8th graders in my school who are in the Library Club."

Heartfelt thanks to Ian for going the extra miles to get these images to me! I am VERY grateful.

I also have images of the prayer flags in Germany which I will post soon. The ripple effect of the Woven Voices project is still in motion!

Speaking of continuity, I will be back in Market Square, Portsmouth, NH on Thursday June 11th, at noon. I have about 100 messages to read which should take about 45 minutes. I hope you will join me to read and honor these words of peace and hope gathered from as far as Nepal and as close as home.

As always, continue to send me messages and please consider coming to my studio to weave prayer flags (York is a lovely destination in the summer!).

Namaste, Sarah

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring is busting out!~

Happy Spring to all~

I am knee deep in projects here in the studio. I have weavers coming about every week to help weave prayer flags, I have two commissions as well as a project for a local historical house. I am an artist in residence at Milford Elementary School in NH.

The Macomber Looms blog has taken off, and I am fielding emails from all over the US to help weavers with their Macomber equipment. Then there are the gardens. The peas, spinach and lettuce are planted. The rhubarb has been harvested once and the flower beds are almost all mulched. Phew!

All of this is to say, Spring is a busy time here in Maine! I have decided to postpone the May message reading that I had planned for May 11th in Market Square. Hopefully June will offer a better window of opportunity.

The top photo here is of an Italian book group enjoying their prayer flags. The lower photos are from an artist in residence project I did with a school in MA. The students are weaving a giant globe, that has now been installed in the school. This project feels very aligned with Woven Voices project. It was a community wide art project that was driven by a vision of unity, integrity and cooperation.

Please keep in touch. Messages and weavers always welcome!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Two hundred prayer flags!

Last week, my friend Mary came over and wove prayer flags. She finished the warp on one of the floor looms and so we removed the woven flags. Lo and behold, after a quick tally, I realized that during the last year, we have woven over two hundred prayer flags.

Here is a photo of Mary in my studio door, sun shining on these beautiful flags. I have already sent bunches of them out the door. Some have gone to a school in NH, some to a soldier/artist traveling to Morocco, some to folks in California, N. Carolina, New York and New Hampshire. I hope to receive photos of these flags as they are installed out in the world.

Spring has finally come to Maine. My daffodils are in full bloom, the buds are plump on the lilacs and the peas are planted. There is promise of bounty in this season. I wish the same for all.

Peace, Sarah
P.S. Messages and weavers always welcome.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Prayer Flags and true friends in the rain !

Yesterday, April 11th, I showed up in Market Square at 2PM to read messages and hang a set of hand woven prayer flags. And a few dear stalwart friends even showed up to support this project. The temperature was about 39 degrees, there was a steady rain and a slight breeze. It was cold!

We hung the two dozen prayer flags from the trees and lamp posts and read over 200 messages. And in spite pf the weather, several passers-by stopped to talk to us about the project.

My friend Jayne, a first grade teacher, shared her class paper weaving which we briefly displayed on this park bench.

May 11th, Monday, at noon, I plan to return to Market Square to read more messages, hopefully under blue skies. Please continue to send messages and join me to weave here in my York studio, all are welcome!

Namaste, Sarah

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Woven Voices Prayer Flags in Nepal

I couldn't wait to share these wonderful photos of the Woven Voices Prayer Flags in Nepal. My friend Candy traveled there this winter to do service with remote village schools. I sent her with four flags to pass out. As you can see these flags traveled around before they were installed at the school. At the mountain temple, the resident monk accepted the flags, but mentioned that it was not an auspicious time to hang them.

I am grateful for these friends who took the effort to carrying this project to a new height!

Please join me Saturday April 11th, Market Square, Portsmouth, NH at 2PM to read and listen to over 450 new messages of peace and hope, including some from Nepal. The studio is open for weavers to help with prayer flags, and messages are always welcome.

Namaste, Sarah

Monday, March 30, 2009

Prayer flags travel ~ messages to be read out loud

March 30, 2009
Winter has almost broken here. There are still a few small patches of snow that linger in my yard, but more evident are the purple crocuses, the green shoots of daffodils and the verdant moss draped over the rocks. I am a life long New Englander, and I never cease to be in awe of the cycle of nature.

The Woven Voices project continues to grow and reach new corners of the earth. I have photos here with flags hanging in locations from as far as India and as close as Massachusetts. I have sent flags to Nepal, Africa, Germany, Haiti, Indiana and Maine this winter (still awaiting photos :). This photo is of Brother Martin from the Saccidananda Ashram
in Tamil Nadu (southern India) holding a prayer flag. I traveled there last year and my husband went there this year on a pilgrimage.

On April 11th at 2 PM in Market Square, Portsmouth NH, I will read the messages that have been gathering since last fall. I have close to 300! Please join me to help read or simply listen to these powerful messages of hope, dreams and peace. This batch of messages hail from as far as Washington state and as close as Maine.

Volunteer weavers are always welcome. Here are some of my weavers celebrating a long string of completed flags! And check out these creatively woven prayer flags still on the loom!

If you live nearby, please join me and weave, or to participate in the message reading on April 11th at 2 PM market Sq. Portsmouth NH. If you live afar, please send messages of hope and peace soon, so that we can include then in this first public reading of 2009. This project stays alive because of the commitment and support of many people. My heartfelt thanks to all, Sarah

PS. Any and all donations of threads, ribbons and sewing trims are welcome. You can ship these to my mailing address.

Monday, March 9, 2009

There is something about prayer flags in the snow

March 9th, It snowed 7 inches, Phew!
Today I sent four prayer flags to a friend who is heading off to Nepal to work with school age children in two remote villages. I sent her off with four prayer flags to hang in the schools. My fingers are crossed that we will get some great photos! But meanwhile, here in Maine, we have prayer flags in the snow. Here are photos from the Prospect Harbor Library and a friend's porch in Minot Maine. And still more flags will go out to folks here in the USA this week.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Piles of snow and piles of prayer flags

Today we were hit with another major snow storm, a nor'easter, in fact. So my teaching gig in MA was canceled and I had time to unroll the dozens of prayer flags that have been woven over the past month. Here is a photo of the pile of flags and the piles of snow outside my studio door.

This means that as soon as I can get them all sewn, I will be sending out a batch to my message writers. Thank you everyone for your faith and your patience!

The messages continue to arrive in my mail box. I have collected about 250 that need to be read. It appears that this might wait until the weather is warmer. I have some feelers out for inside reading locations, but no luck yet.

Stay tuned! Thanks to everyone for all your support. Special thanks to all the weavers!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why I didn't read messages today...

We had 8" of beautiful new snow delivered this AM. At ten o'clock it was still snowing and nothing was plowed. So I was unable to get to Portsmouth to read the latest batch of messages of hope and peace.

My plan is to find a location in Manchester to read next month on February 11th. There is a small park near where I teach on Wednesdays, and it seems like a perfect location.

As always, thanks to all for your support, kind words of encouragement and most of all your messages of peace, goodwill and hope.

Enjoy these photos of the prayer flags in the snow!

Peace, Sarah

Friday, January 2, 2009

Let's celebrate !

Today is January 2nd 2009. I began "Woven Voices: Messages from the Heart" a year ago with the intention of completing the whole project by early summer. Much to my delight and surprise, this project demonstrated that there is a long term need for community art that can foster peace and international good will.

I have received over 1300 messages from as far as India, Italy, Iraq, Spain, Washington and California. 110 prayer flags have been woven by 18 volunteers. All of these flags have been sent out to locations as far away as Africa and Italy and as close as York Maine. I have several photos of the flags installed, sending peace and positive energy back to the planet.

One of my visions of this project is to have it accessible to anyone, anywhere without cost. However, it is clear that I must seek funding to support basic overhead, the purchase of materials and the costs to send the flags back out the the world. I appreciate very much those individuals that have made financial donations. Any suggestions for funding support is welcome!

I continue to work on the photo gallery of flags installed in a wide variety of locations. These images are from the CA desert and the Pantheon in Rome. If you have prayer flags, please send me your photos or short videos!

If you are one of the generous folks that sent me messages, I continue to weave and send out flags as I am able. Thanks for your patience!

Positive messages are always welcome! This is a perfect time of year to put words of hope, peace and prosperity in make hope concrete and to share it with the world.

Thank you to all for your support and sharing my vision of art as a transformational vehicle for global peace. Many thanks to the 18 weavers who traveled to my studio to create prayer flags for others. Please join this effort if you are inclined and able.

Namaste, Sarah