Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November News

Prayer flag hangs in downtown Providence RI
Gil and his peace flag in France
Here we are, one third of the way through the month of November. Mother Nature has delivered a few surprises in the past week plus including snow and now unseasonably high temperatures. The leaves on the trees outside my studio are a honey color dappled with brown and burnt orange.

Fall is characteristically a bitter sweet time for me. This fall notwithstanding, I approach the conclusion of "Woven Voices: Messages from the Heart" a project which I launched in December 2007. Over the past 4 years, we have gathered over 2,200 messages of peace and hope that have been read out loud in Market Square Portsmouth, NH. We have woven over 1200 prayer flags total with over 650 of those for the Kickstarter goal. These prayer flags fly worldwide and close to home.

prayer flag with portrait of son
prayer flags in Hiroshima Japan at the World Friendship Center
Glacier Park, Two Medicine Lake, Montana
There is much to celebrate and much to feel proud of. Thanks to each of you for your encouragement, support and effort to build and sustain this project.

The prayer flags are being sent to people and organizations from Africa, to Norway, to New Zealand, to France, to Japan and to folks close at hand that need to feel our support and love. I plan to fulfill the commitment to deliver some to Ground Zero in the late winter/early spring. I have sent some to the folks in NYC at Occupy Wall Street. The work goes on even as we draw this project to an honorable conclusion.

There are a few hundred messages still to be woven. If you are moved to come to the studio to weave, please let me know. There will not be a designated time/day for weaving, so just let me know what/when is best for you. New weavers are welcome.

Thank you for all your love and support. Blessings and Peace ~ Sarah

Friday, September 30, 2011

Language of the Love

The language of love written in threads

Mom hangs a prayer flag in her crab apple tree.
Woven words of love.
Prayer flag greetings on a porch
Prayer flag in Searsport Campground Gardens

On the shores of Searsport Campground 
For the first time in many posts, I feel at a loss for words. This community art project has inspired, challenged and informed much of my creative work for the past 3 plus years. Right now, however, I feel empty of text. I am keenly aware that it is all too easy to name and quantify this feeling, but right now, I simply want to just reside here in this space of lack of words. So this posting will be primarily a photo album. 
Reading messages 9/11/11
Prayer flags at my brother's accident site

Market Square reading messages

writing peace messages 9/11/11

Me and the "Be Kind" guy with his bouquet of flowers

Market Square reading

Market Square Portsmouth NH

Prayer flags in town

NYC Community art project volunteer with prayer flag
On the headstone of a loved and lost son.

Peace in many languages.
"Flags on the 48" on 9/11/11

Four friends who came to weave! 

The Carter Burden Center Day Of Peace Luncheon, NYC
This is what the language of love looks like.
 This has been an month filled with much love as well as grief and reflection. I am honored to be a witness as well as a participant in creating this visual language of love and peace.

Heartfelt gratitude to each of you for all your words and gestures of peace and love. The world is better for all your efforts.
~ Sarah

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From the beginning

Summer flowers welcoming weavers to the studio
From the very beginning this project, Woven Voices: Messages from the Heart, has been about the big lesson of life ~ letting go. My original vision was that this would be a 6- 8 month project. Well, as you know it is now almost 4 years since the first messages of Peace and Hope were solicited. This repeated lesson of letting go has confronted me time and time again.

What I am learning over and over again, is that my job is to create a vision and move towards it. My job is to accept whatever show up along this path. My job is to keep this vision pure and grounded in love, peace and hope for all beings on this planet. My job is to "keep on keeping on".

As Peter Russell says, letting go is really about accepting what is.

What is ~ 
Wes weaves and Sue counts flags!
  • Amazing wonderful volunteers weavers show up and weave beautiful, love-filled prayer flags.
  • Sewers collect the rolls of woven flags, hem the edges and gently separate the flags.
  • Prayer flags are going out the door almost as fast as we make them ~
  • A dozen flags to  the World Friendship Center, Hiroshima, Japan
  • Three flags will be carried up a NH Mt peak as part of The "Flags on the 48" which began as act of remembrance and a demonstration of patriotism in response to the horrific terrorist attacks that took place in the United States on September 11, 2001.
  • A dozen flags will go via Soldiers Helpers to Army Chaplains to distribute to soldiers in Afghanistan.
  • 40 flags sent to Carter Burden Center for Aging for a 9/11 Memorial luncheon and later to be distributed around NYC.
  • Ten flags traveling to Colorado with a young woman heading back to college. These flags will be distributed along her route as she sees fit and hopefully documented with photos.
  • One flag heading to a school in Saipan with an American woman who is a teacher at the school.
  • Six flags at a Shelter for Women in NH
  • A dozen flags sent to Oslo, Norway to honor the victims of this summer tragic massacre.
  • Dozens more flags going to Spain, Washington state, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
    Anne weaves !
The events of September 11, 2001 transformed my life, as it did our nation and the world. What transformed for me was my awareness of the power of art to transform and heal. For nine months following the events of 9/11/01 I created a large woven art work called "Each One: The Button Project, a 9/11 Memorial".

Creating this work illustrated to me the act of making art in community offers individuals and communities an opportunity to grieve as well as celebrate, honor and heal. Now, ten years later, this art work is being offered to the city of Portsmouth NH as a gift from a private donor. Tonight, September 6th at 7 PM in Portsmouth City Hall the 9/11 Memorial will be presented to the City Council for acceptance. This is event is open to the public, so if you are moved and available, please come!
"Each One: The Button Project"

On Sunday 9/11/11, the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I will be in Market Square, Portsmouth, NH at noon to read over 250 messages that have been gathering all summer. I will be there rain or shine. As I move towards closure of this public art project, my intention is that this will be last public reading of these messages. I hope that you will join me to give voice to and listen to these beautiful and heartfelt words and drawings that represent the hopes and dreams of many people from many nations.

This summer swimmer Diane Nyad  attempted a 103 mile swim from Cuba to Florida. This was her second attempt at this feat. Half way into her swim, Diana had to abandon her attempt. Please follow the link Diana's post swim blog to her own reflections on this journey.  In this achievement oriented culture, I find it inspiring to witness someone create a vision or goal and then have the grace and humility to let go. Life really is the journey, not the destination.
In my own realm, I have had to abandon my vision of going to NYC on 9/11/11. As most of you know, unexpected life events stepped in and there has been a change of course. As I wrote at the beginning of this post, I have let go of the destination and take hold of the journey. Like Diana, I am disappointed. And like Diana, I am moving on with commitment and faith. Thank you to everyone for your continued support for my vision and this journey.

After 9/1/11 I will concentrate my efforts on fulfilling Kickstarter rewards and continuing to send prayer flags to places and people in this world that need a symbol of love, peace and hope.

Prayer flags say it all~love, peace, hope, faith
In closing here is a recent email I received from a Kickstarter backer who re-gifted her flag to a young woman. This is written by her mother who drove her daughter to her first apartment. Mom writes: "I could not drive home last night, especially when I was so tired and then came the tears. "I am not ready to be all on my own...I feel so stupid.!" We went to get dinner, came back and FIRST THING we did was hang up the prayer flag. It is now above her bedroom door so she can see it every day. She is going to blow it a kiss each day before she heads out. Mary, that was possibly the best gift she has received ~ it meant so much to her that you thought to give it to her."

With love and gratitude for all the support for this journey ~ Sarah

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


My beloved brother Wes
Yes, all of life is impermanent. This is a lesson that is sometimes is simple, as in the impermanence of a lovely cut flower, or a summer day that ends at sunset, or a prayer flag that deteriorates over a period of months in the weather.

About ten days ago I had the biggest lesson I hope I ever get about the laws of impermanence. My beloved brother Weston, who was my companion on the trans-Atlantic crossing last winter, was killed on August 18th. in Searsport, Maine. He was 58.  He was an amazing man, brother, son, father and uncle, who was in the happiest chapter of his life.

As you can imagine our family has been devastated by a tornado of shock, disbelief, and deep, deep grief. Following this turbulent storm has been a tsunami of love and support.

Emily and Grandma Betty
Within this surge of complete love has been the community weavers. Weavers with experience have stepped in to teach those inexperienced who want to come and weave.I have surrendered to the love and healing that has flowed like a steady river.

We are sending out prayer flags weekly. Dozens have gone to Norway, to India, to Portland Oregon.

Prayer flag flies over Puget Sound

Corner of Kidder Pt. Rd. and Rte1 Searsport, Maine. Prayer flag on left.
Dozens more prayer flags are hand delivered to those who help weave and those who are in pain, suffering or grief. Some people have even sent some back to me! One such prayer flag arrived back to me in the mail on the day my family visited the site where my brother was killed. We made a little shrine with flowers and I hung this prayer flag on the telephone pole. I will be back up in Searsport next week teaching at Fiber College, and plan to bring more prayer flags.

My intention to hand deliver hundreds of prayer flags to NYC and Ground Zero has changed due to this traumatic turn of events. My efforts will be closer to home.

Prayer flags entwined with flowers in NH private garden
On Sunday, September 11th at noon I will be reading about 250 messages of hope and peace that have been accumulating all summer. Please join me for this event in honor of those who lost their lives ten years ago on 9/11/01. You are welcome to send messages to be read on this day until 9/10/11.

I will be shipping prayer flags to NYC to at least one site, The Carter Burden Center that has welcomed them with open arms. If you have contact information for additional sites, I am still seeking locations.

Wes adjust Mom's helmet. July 9th, 2011
Prayer flags will continue to be woven until we have fulfilled all Kickstarter goals. Flags will be flying in locations world wide, from the humble to the lofty, from the quiet of a private garden, to a busy roadside intersection. All flags bring peace and goodwill. All flags woven with love. 

Here is one last photo of my brother, as he adjusts a helmet so he can take our 90 year old mother for a ride on his antique Triumph. Ride on Wes...we love you!!

Thank you to all who have sent love and prayers. We are surrounded by your healing love.

In Peace, in love ~ Sarah

Sunday, July 31, 2011

News interview

This is the way the prayer flags come off the loom~ one long strip
About two or three years ago (specifics elude me) I was interviewed by Gabriele Bartholomew from Everett, Washington who has a show called "The Power of Peace" on WKSER.  She just emailed that my interview, with a brief update and invitation to participate in the grand finale, will be re-airing on Monday, August 1st at 6:00 Pacific Daylight Time, which you can hear streaming live on the web at  (also at 90.7 FM in Washington state). Check it out!! Listen live! Set your alarm...that's 9 PM east coast folks!

The prayer flags get zig-zagged and cut apart.    

Here in the studio, the weaving proceeds with love, prayer and beauty. Thanks to all the amazing weavers who give of their time and effort to bring these small works of art and love to life.
Joanne's waste basket is filled with a riot of threaded colors.

Julie helps her grand daughter weave.
Joanne is one of my sewers. She takes a roll of flags and sews at home. The odd threads and bits of yarns that came off the flags as she trimmed them created a beautiful Jackson Pollock thrum-painting!

Thanks to everyone for all the support, the encouragement and the donations to help fund this project through the summer. I will be sending out more flags to donors this your mail box...and PLEASE send me photos of where you hang them!!

Peace and Love ~ Sarah
P.S. Remember to listen ~ Monday, August 1st at 6:00 Pacific Daylight Time, streaming live on the web at 

St Helena, Mid-Atlantic Pilling School

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Conversation over threads

Stephen rode his bike over to weave!
Almost every day now, I have weavers (more truthfully folks who come are not weavers but willing to give it a try!) come to the studio to help create prayer flags for hope, goodwill and peace for all beings.

Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, said that  "the antidote to violence is conversation". I also recall Pete Seeger said something similar (to paraphrase)"when people have conversations, they break down barriers and create community".

A genuine message of love from a young weaver!
Sometimes I think that my community art work is simply to offer opportunities for people to talk with each other.

The simple act of sharing words, of speaking from one's heart, listening to the thoughts and concerns of another, slowly, thoughtfully, word by word....this makes a better world for us all.

Thus I witness the time spent here in the studio, weaving, chatting, listening, builds a healthier planet for all beings.
Reading messages in Market Square, Portsmouth is another opportunity for conversation, for touching to lives of others, for engagement between people and for creating healthy connections. I will be reading this last batch of peaceful messages sometime in late August. Stay tuned for the date and time.

As this message here suggests "Do what you can". What I can do is create opportunities for conversation, for one person to listen and another to speak.

I believe that this world will be a better place when we talk and when we listen. Woven voices become one voice, one heart.

Thank you to everyone for your generosity in supporting this project and your kind words to encourage this work.  In closing here is a link to an old video I just rediscovered that tells about the project. Enjoy!

Peace and Love ~ Sarah
Old friends ~ weaving and sharing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Roll Call

Lauren and Dallas aboard their boat in South Africa
Here it list of sweet amazing, beautiful glorious backers for the Woven Voices Grand Finale ! Love love love you all!

Elizabeth Carroll-Horrocks, Kay Crouch, Linda George, Julie Steedman, Argy Nestor, Clare Rogers, Paula Nordwell, Deborah DeCicco, Brad Sherman, Barbara Patton, Carla Kaatz, Janet Langlois, Mary Krempels, Helen Reid, The Island Women 2011, Cynthia and Robert Cobb, Cheryl Emery, Kitty Davis, Pauli Rines, Gretchen Hunsberger, Arlene Brewster, Antoinette, Critser, Christina Ouimet, Kimberly Cloutier-Green, Nancy Webb, Elaine Krasker, Steve Barndollar, Nancy Winterbottom

Peace Weavers
Julie Townsend, Patricia Lennon, Christina Sabella, Angie Arndt, Susan Tesar, Katherine Walker, Peter Vandermark, Chris Nolan, Tim Gadreau, Lisa Buell, Sherrill Fawcett, Helen Weigel, Lisa Rockenmacher, Elizabeth Knowlton, Al Bragalone, Susan Hoff, Diane Brandon, Holly Zurer, Jan Hubbell, Chris Kelly, Joanne Holman, Jane Malik, Karen Traversy, Teresa Penbrooke, Sally Fleming, Jewel Beth Davis, Cindy Luce, Anne Knight, Ashley Bush, Tricia Frey, Barbara Mcintyre, Catherine Grace, JoAnn Souza

Messages and flags in Market Square, Portsmouth, NH

Rosanne Adams, Gini Fitzgerald, Mary Louise Haskell, Susan Treleaven, Sally McCue, Susan Morris, Carter Siegel, Darcy Scott, Paula Roy, Phyllis Detwiler, Margaret Carol Dreyfus, Kate Kirkwood, Sally Jones, Anne Cram, Francesca Loren, Katie Moody, Janet Prince, Dawn Pepe, Laurel Stutsman, Sandra Bisset, Mara Khavari, Nancy Frederick, Julianna Donofrio, Kate, Agnes Charlesworth, Cynthia Limauro, Janice Tooker, Joan Dougherty, Daria Tansey, Monica Stone, Sue Pollock, Leslie Aisner Novak, Nancy Hiatt,

Messages of love and peace come from all over the globe.
Jessica Garfield-Kabbara, Jayne Winsor, Andrea Ouellette, Lee Roberts, Steven A. Holt, Leaf Seligman, Pobble, Kate Clark, Pam Bourgeois, Mary Bencks, Anne Fowler, Elizabeth Shapiro, Anne Bencks, Andrea Fox, Myra Weiss, Gil Williams, Lucia McBee, Berri Kramer, Sally Allen, John Wilson,  Peter Leibert, Cindy Heath, Adair Rowland,  Jennifer Stevens, Kate Zamarchi,  Thomas Bilodeau,  Susan Kaufmann
Prayer flags add grace and beauty ~ Emily agrees!

Grace Lessner, Jennifer Lawson, Magi Leland, Becky May, Lois Howlett, Tannye Wold, Jane Bernhardt, Nathaniel Warren-White, Jane Morris, Maura Khan, Bonnie Jo Radasch, Martha W. Nichols, KelLee Larson, Gabriele Bartholomew, Earlene,  Elizabeth Dennison, Rosemary T Clough, Mary Lou Bagley, Jill Peek, Pete Greider, Bill Lord, Nancy, Mary Krause 

I thank you and bow to you.  Love, Sarah