It is a sacred delight to create art that makes space for others to join, reflect, and find meaning. Art can give our spirits voice in a visual language that goes beyond words. Here is a sampling.
Created for guests at a memorial service to sign, as a remembrance gift to the family.
Though there are tears of loss in the drips as they travel down the canvas, those same drips also become the stems of the flowers going up. The tiny crosses sewn into the centers of some of the flowers capture the centrality of Christ to the dynamo of a woman whose life we gathered to celebrate. Faith was not merely an exterior trapping trapping. It was sewn into the very fabric of how she lived and how she loved as well as in the legacy she has left in lives all over the world.
Her favorite colors were blue and beige.
24”x36”x1”, Acrylics, thread on canvas ©2019 Wendy Lew Toda
Participatory art for an interfaith prayer service for families separated at the border. The heart is cut out of a shipping box. It was painted red then torn in half, and mounted onto a chain link fence background. The shipping box symbolized travel, and the container of family torn apart.
People were asked to consider what action they could take to help, then to write them on a red post-it and stick it in the space between the hearts, embodying taking their place in building a bridge of reconnection. Media: shipping box, silver sharpie, foam core board, acrylic paint, post-its
Thanksgiving deserves more attention. What would the world be like if we were all more thankful? I took this wreath with me everywhere for about 6 months, asking people if they would like to help create the art by writing something they were thankful for on a ribbon and tying it on. Media: wire, ribbons
Images from two different retreats for the same group of therapists. Stations for reflection and also art-making together.
Art for a friend embarking on a whole new journey in his life, dancing freely perhaps for the very first time. Well wishes from friends line the bottom. Media: acrylic paint, paper, kleenex, ink, glass beads
People wrote their grief and suffering on ribbons and symbolically released them onto a messy (because life is messy) cross made of 400 chopsticks (Asian American faith-based audience). Over the course of the week, the ribbons became more numerous, blowing in the breezes of the outdoor meeting area.
Instead of an autograph book, at the end of a 3 year personal growth class, I invited each member to cut a thread on the art in some way to commemorate their growing freedom. We had all worked hard and been set free in different ways. Media: thread, ribbon, silk, kleenex
(Left) Each bead represents a person in the family of a friend who had cancer. Full sets were given to each family member; individual beads went to each person committed to continue praying for her husband and children through the many years still ahead. Media: Paper, thread, ribbon. (Right) At her memorial service, everyone was invited to write their favorite memory of her on a post-it and add it to the large mural after the service (she loved office supplies).
A wall quilt designed for The Refuge, a safe home for women. Each time they made a significant step forward in their lives, they could sew another stitch to mend a heart. 23”x47”, Media: Fabric, thread, needles
The skills and generosity of the Westgate quilters brought the design to life.