Teaching artist Stephanie Wernet tells us about the workshops at House of the Good Shepherd
“We kicked off the start of our 20 Neighborhoods project at the House of the Good Shepherd last Thursday. Our community read “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyons. After sharing this poem together, everyone had a chance to write their own version. By sharing our own words and stories, our new community began to connect and create. Throughout the 5 week project, participants are introduced to new techniques and have a chance to try them out on what we are calling our “memory boxes”; a special place to keep items we have collected, found or created in class. Each week our community will take home our boxes to show off our newly learned skill and household items that will be used for our 20 Neighborhood assemblage sculpture. This week we got our hands dirty by familiarizing ourselves with acrylic paint and paint brushes. As we wrapped up our time together, it felt as if we all had started a journey together, for some back in time and for others, a glimpse into what was to come. Either way, no one wanted to leave – which was clear as we extended our time together a bit. Looking forward to jumping into our topic next week – self!”
“Today our community came together to talk about the first theme of the 20 Neighborhoods project: self. We started out by sharing stories of the special objects we collected and brought in. Some were quite personal and struck a cord with many of us. In the words of one of our participants, “I was looking forward to today because I am able to connect with others who know what it is like to feel the way I do – it’s helping me heal”. We also spent time talking about pattern, and using pattern to communicate, in an interesting way, images or things that have meaning to us. Check out some of the thoughtful patterns that came out of our time together. I think they reflect the rich, connected experience we all are enjoying.”
After spending 4 weeks with our participants, a paper artist emerged! These images reflect the hand made paper designs she has been creating for years.
We all thought they were beautiful and quickly asked her to teach us! I think the most moving part of her sharing time came when she told us that it has always been her wish to pass this craft on to other women, and how good it felt to be able to do that.
In our last week, we will each be crafting one of these special designs and taking it home with us as a special reminder of the time we spent together. I can’t think of a better way to honor our last workshop and represent the 20 Neighborhood themes of self, home, neighborhood, city; than to send the 8 of us off, into our own communities, with a piece of art that uniquely ties all of us together.