Looking Forward to Residency and Expressive Arts

For me, a magical aspect of residency is getting ready: making airline reservations, planning the seminar I will teach, hearing from students about the artwork they will exhibit and present, and looking forward to conversations with students and faculty colleagues on campus.

Here is a “sneak preview” of the seminar I will lead this upcoming residency (April 5-12, 2013). This seminar combines two of my favorite activities, handwork and storytelling & folktales:

In many cultures, artists as well as traditional craftspeople work together in a shared space, or even collaboratively on projects. Examples are contemporary “guilds” of knitters, quilters, weavers, and glassblowers in the United States and the artists who make hand-make paper in the San Augustin Etla cooperative in Oaxaca, Mexico. Historically in the U.S., enslaved Africans created utilitarian pottery in plantation cooperatives in Edgefield, South Carolina. In traditional indigenous African societies, life has been organized around craft guilds where particular craft practitioners worship the same deity. In some West African cultures, blacksmiths are believed to be particularly close to God.

An aspect of collective work may be experienced as a container in which an individual receives social and emotional support from the other members of the group as well as a place to do Expressive Arts work. In our seminar, we will join together to do handwork in the style of the traditional guilds. As we work, we will also participate in storytelling, the mechanism by which humans have historically received counsel for psychological problems via symbol and metaphor in narrative form.

I will offer stories from the book Women Who Run with the Wolves and other folktales from varied cultural traditions. I will also lead us in Depth Psychology and Jungian-based interpretations of these stories.

Please bring your favorite folktale or story to share. Also bring your handwork: knitting or crochet, needlepoint, cross stitch, hand weaving, whittling, or macramé. If you don’t have a way of doing handwork, I will bring a simple project for you.

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