Thursday, November 10, 2016

Creativity Through Adversity

Hi there, Crafty Neighbors!  I’m sure some of you are probably wondering what happened to me, and why there have been so few updates to my blog over the last few months.  Well, let me tell you…earlier this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  To be specific, Tubular carcinoma, a form of invasive ductal carcinoma.  It’s meant a total upheaval of my daily routine, and I’ve just simply had to let a few things slide.  It’s even dampened my creativity, because I don’t have as much time to create, and because I’m often tired or just feeling blah and not in the mood.  But in the process of my treatments, I ran across something really crafty and inspiring that I wanted to share with you all.
What I’m about to share with you are some of the lovely therapeutic art projects done by cancer patients at the oncology center where I receive my daily radiation treatments.  I was awed by these pieces from the moment I saw them, and I wanted to share them with as many people as I could because I think they are a wonderful way to express some very mixed up, over the top emotions from both ends of the spectrum, and I think they could be a great idea for anyone going through something stressful or traumatic.
Here is the piece that started it all:

And here is the artist’s explanation for the piece:
“Through my breast cancer journey I prayed, journaled, exercised, and had an amazing support group that all helped get me through it.  From the very beginning, I had an idea to transfer my thoughts into a visual piece of artwork.  Initially, I had wanted to do a big canvas, but I just didn’t have the energy to paint on a large canvas, and when I felt good, I wanted to get out of the house.  My sister suggested that I fit each expression into it’s own individual painting, so that I would be able to draw it in small scale while I was horizontal on the sofa.
My ideas were sketched to scale into squares along with beautiful support cards that inspired the color scheme and the message.  The location of each image does not have any specific sequence,[sic] they are placed by color and design.  The words however do.  On top, they are what I was feeling when I started this whole process and through cancer I changed.  Yes, cancer changed me for the better!  The bottom words are what supported me and got me finally to a place of being grateful for cancer.  It taught me how to be still, appreciate what I have, love those around me, be patient, and be present for others.  Survivors have so much to share – struggles, triumphs and hopes – in all avenues of life.  This painting was a healing process for me – to cry, to laugh, to hope, to face challenges and see accomplishments.  “[It’s] all good.”  I also wanted to leave this painting to my daughters (Natalie 21, Darcy 15) as a legacy of my journey through breast cancer.
There are now other pieces in the collection, including one that surprised me.  As I was perusing the art one morning while I waited for my turn in radiation, I noticed a familiar face.  On closer inspection, I identified a travel agent friend of mine, whose wife had created one of the pieces while going through treatment for breast cancer in 2009. 

I hope these pieces bring as much joy and inspiration to you as they have to me.  I’m tempted to make a canvas of my own, but even more than that, I see many techniques that I want to bring to my art journal, my bible journal, and even my scrapbooks.  It just goes to show that there is inspiration and beauty to be found everywhere, even in adversity…and mostly when you least expect it!
Click on each picture to see a larger image.