Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Power of Words, Trillium Project

We are on a mission to make our world more accepting, inclusive, and respectful for all people, particularly those with developmental disabilities. On 3.31.09 we will participate in a national call to action with the Spread the Word Campaign. Words have power. In this case, the r-word has the power to hurt, to devalue, to discriminate. It's a tall order, but one that we WILL get done.

I had the privilege of participating in another activity recently. A very small group of incredibly strong, beautiful, and smart women gathered together over food, wine, whine, conversation, laughter and tears. Before the evening, I knew just one of the women. By the end I had 4 new friends.

Our small group is participating in a fundraiser for Larkin's Place, a multi-generational all-inclusive play & community center-open to all members of our community which has been dreamed up by my friend Amy. The fundraiser is the Trillium Project created by artist Suzanne Keith Loechl. Trillium is dedicated to raising awareness and empowering those facing extraordinary life challenges by expressing their words and stories through the creation of inspired art.

The link between the women there that night was that we are artists and mothers of daughters with special needs. Each need is different, but we share a common bond. After introductions and food we sat around the table, where many powerful things happen amongst women, to share our stories. Suzanne's was of her journey to create this project after her dear friend began battling breast cancer. We shared, we understood, we connected. I'm still processing it all.

This fundraiser for LP is about creative expression through the positive power and flow of words into art. Suzanne takes small tiles and paints them. Words are then written over the painted surface. They can be poems, one line repeated, or anything to tell our stories. After Suzanne protects the words with gloss, they are cut into small pendants and turned into necklaces. (click here) Each pendant carries a small portion of our story that can be shared by many and I promise you, they are beautiful.

The pendants are made from slate. It is a metamorphic rock which is the result of the transformation of an existing rock in a process called metamorphism, which means "change in form." It is cool on your skin despite being born of volcanic lava or clay mixed with ash. The substance is strong, has some weight to it, and reminds me of chalk boards of my childhood where so much learning took place. These touchstones are worn in solidarity as we carry a small part of each other's journey.

By evening's end I felt blessed and recharged in a way I've not felt for a long time. We took our tiles home and my mind began churning. On the 1st tile I chose to write a poem by Lord Byron. Typically it conjures up romantic love, but I've reclaimed it for my daughter. It speaks to me of finding beauty in places you might not think of, such as in darkness or night. Beauty, starry skies, eyes (the windows to our soul), soft, calm, eloquent, smiles, goodness, a mind at peace, heart, love, innocent. All positive words of power. On the 2nd tile I told Sophie's story through the repeated use of I am. On the 3rd tile are lyrics from the Natalie Merchant song, Wonder which has touched and comforted me greatly. I could have filled a thousand tiles and still had more to say. By Mother's Day they should be available. 100% of proceeds go to Larkin's Place.
(click to enlarge my uncut, unglossed tiles)

1 comment:

Katie said...

Hey Jen, I think those neacklaces are awesome! I would like the black leather string or the beads, but I am not to sure on the silver, kinda thick. But what is the difference in pricing?
Love, Kate