The Human as "Artist"

Last weekend I was one of the lucky ones. I got to attend the Northern California, USA Artists and Creativity Work(play)shop led by John Fehringer. I had the most exuberant RC experience of my life!

The workshop was a revolutionary model of living outside of our distresses and keeping our thinking flexible. It was safe enough for the first-timers and challenging enough for old-timers.

Those of us who take total delight in working with paper-such as making marks and then tearing up the result and bending and twisting and gluing and intertwining those pieces with other materials-worked side by side with clients who were supported by their counselors as they sobbed while making their first, hesitant chalk trails in twenty years.

We spent lots of time in the music room, jamming on instruments we hadn't even thought about playing in public, trying out arrangements with our beloved counselors cheering us on, crying as we tried to recapture our lost voices, then breaking into a fantastic rendition of "Amazing Grace" accompanied by cello, flute, drums, and guitars.

Exquisite water colors, sculptures, and ceramics emerged from the serenity offered by the "clay room."

The safety that John provided allowed us to begin to peek at some of the deeply buried hurts we have learned to live with and then pass on-hurts that make us forget that we, too, were once that talented, that able to sing, to dance, to draw, to paint, to enjoy life to its fullest!

Instead of support groups, we were asked to form teams in which we spent hours being creative without limits, and the results were phenomenal! Imagine a one-minute paper symphony, or a passionate poem created only from words found on a certain page in a certain book, or a new mode of communication made only from blueberries, strawberries, and bananas!

I suggest that there be a "creativity corner" at each RC workshop, so that those parts of us that represent our most human side have a chance to emerge.

Judi Hirsch
Lake Merritt, Oakland, California, USA

(Present Time No. 110, January 1998)


Last modified: 2016-08-22 02:11:22-07