Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Rhythym of Life

messages of peace and hope

Autumn has settled into coastal Maine. Like the squirrels and chipmunks outside my studio window, I am industrious and busy. The four seasons of New England are so distinct and unique, that even a life-long resident of this area notices the rhythm and return of each season.

Akin to the pattern of seasons, the Woven Voices project has a distinct rhythm and sequence. First come all your amazing and heartfelt messages. Each one is written or drawn with love, compassion and care. Since December 20007, over 1700 messages have been received.
Over the summer, several bundles of messages arrived from a variety of organizations and individuals. I have about 250 messages that have been gathered since this past May.

reading messages in Market Square
The next step in the project is to read these messages out loud in a public location. On November 11th at noon in Market Square in Portsmouth, NH I will be reading these messages. Please join me on the 11th to read, listen and witness the affirmation of positive intention.  
volunteers weave the flags
After the messages have been read, I bring them home to my studio. They are cut into strips that are appropriate for weaving. Then they are woven by volunteers into small prayer flags. So far the project has had over 60 volunteers in almost three years.

sewing the edges of the prayer flags
The flags are woven in a long continuous strip on the loom. After several are woven, we cut them off the loom and sew the top and bottom edges. Then they are ready to be given away. Over 400 prayer flags have been woven and given away.
Sante Fe New Mexico
Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa
I send them to the folks who have sent me messages. I give them to friends who are traveling. 

Mothers' Day Gathering for Peace, Sohomish, Washington, sent by colleague Gabriele Bartholomew.

 I give them to the volunteers who come weave. I give them to people who visit my studio. I take them with me when I travel. For example, this fall in Oakland CA I took a graduate course that was about 2 miles from the hotel where I stayed. Every morning on my way to class, I would walk along the edge of Lake Merritt.
Oakland CA September 2010
Each morning I would see a homeless man sleeping under this tree.
Lake Merritt, Oakland CA
On my afternoon walk back, I would see this man and several other gathered along the edge of the park in the shade. On the last day of class, I had one flag left to disperse (others had been given as gifts to faculty, friends, classmates).  Suddenly remembering this homeless man, I walked across the lake and found him sitting with friends. I inquired if it would be all right to hang the flag in his tree, to decorate his home. He said "Yes, please. God Bless you." 

This is the last step in the cycle of the Woven Voices project. This gift of offering hope, love, honor, recognition and homage from one human to another. In the simple gift of a small woven flag, we can create connections, foster hope and thread by thread build a better world. So, once again, thanks to each of you have have supported, contributed and honored this project.

In celebration of that effort, I want to shine a light on a recently published novel by a friend ~ "A Slender Thread" by Katherine Davis.  This novel explores the relationships and life of a weaver, Lacey, who has recently discovered that she has lost her ability to speak. As her family and more specifically her sister struggle to help her, Lacey uses her weaving to find a new voice and to uncover the threads that bind us in love.  Katherine consulted with me while researching weaving techniques and came to weave prayer flags last summer. The book, A Slender Thread" gives a gracious nod to the Woven Voices Project. Thanks Kitty!!

Malibu, CA
Please remember, this is a community global art project. Your messages, your voice reading the messages, your weaving of the prayer flags, your hanging the flags in public and giving the away...all of this builds community, fostering hope and peace.  

Thank you many times over for all this ~ Sarah

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