Nest: I find sanctuary in the outdoors, a place to rest my busy mind and be more present. I imagine this nest served as a sanctuary for some other delicate beings.
Long Shadows: I never realize how much I miss the sun until I feel its warmth again after many dark days. The return of the sunshine seems to lift everyone’s spirits and brighten our whole community from the outside in.
Carlie is a mental health clinician at South Peninsula Behavioral Health Services and this piece is inspired by the masks we wear that cover our real emotions.
I don’t consider myself an artist, but I love to dance, especially in the form of creative movement, in that it’s based on feeling, and I love to spend time with horses, which is also based on feeling. This project gave me the chance to experience exactly this, which in itself was healing for me in a big way. There were challenges I needed to work through to be able to do this, and which weren’t always easy, but it turned out it was well worth it. Sweetheart is blind from having been beaten when he was a young horse. He now accepts loving people around him, and I get to be one of those people. I couldn’t have known ahead of time how my trying to dance with the horses was going to turn out, how they’d respond, and I couldn’t have even predicted my own response to things ahead of time. So, on the spot, Sweetheart responded to me in the way he did, and we had the interaction we did and the kind of communication we did, which I think I could only have experienced with a blind horse, and in particular, by the name of Sweetheart, and it felt beautiful to me.
It’s now several weeks later, and I’ve had a chance to reflect on this experience. I do believe that having this opportunity to dance with Sweetheart (Devony Lehner’s blind horse, one horse in the herd of four total), and to experiment, through dance, which is what works for me, with trust and with letting go of anxiety and unnecessary tension, while feeling safe with Sweetheart, is something that will help me to be more resilient when challenges come up in the future. I’ve been doing EGE (Equine Guided Education) for a number of years with Devony’s horses, and there have been challenges and lots of growth opportunities.
I want to thank Homer Council on the Arts for opening the window for me to do this project and to Devony Lehner for letting me dance with her horse, Sweetheart, and for videographing it.
I refer to this as my bone year. This year I was in a bicycle accident where I broke several bones in my wrist. During my healing process, I sustained myself mostly on bone broth soup, hungry for its deep and rich fulfillment. Similarly, I have experienced an intense introspective period, going beyond the tissue into the marrow of what had been hidden silently and broken for so long.
This piece is about the experience of sexual assault. It’s about being indoctrinated for so much of my life to remain silent, to view what I experienced as something wrong with myself rather than the society that perpetuates rape culture. It’s an acknowledgement of myself as a victim and perpetrator of this culture. It’s a recognition that the people who have hurt me the most are also broken. It’s the realization of how my personal experience has informed the strength of my resolve, a long journey toward self-worth that has not come simply or quickly. It’s a living document, a process. It’s the sum of the varied pieces integrally strong and beautifully connecting like a quilt.
I’ve written about my experiences extensively throughout the last year. For the first time I have been able to vocalize some of them. The writings about the subject and all the ways it has altered my views of self, others and my sexuality were torn apart, reconstituted into pulp and then used create handmade paper. This quilt is made from that paper and other batches. I utilized handpapermaking as a response, reaction and relief from some of the mental anguish I was experiencing. The work is not done. There’s still a lot of pieces I am trying to stitch together.
The impact of trauma is found to affect one’s genetic code such that behaviors influenced by a traumatic event or process become imprinted, recessive genes become active and are inherited through generations. Behavioral proclivities thus are embedded in the genetic makeup inherited. With dedicated effort such genetic proclivities CAN BE REVERSED.
There are times when we must remove ourselves from our body’s defenses to heal and achieve Wholeness!
Spending time out in nature has a healing effect for the soul. Elements from the natural world carry intentions that speak to the heart. With this assemblage I hope to convey some of those transforming intentions that are a gift from nature’s garden.
Sadie Mae Millard
My name is Sadie Mae Millard, a local artist from Homer, AK. The theme of this year’s art show: recovering from trauma through art, resonated to me regarding my own wellness. My art work speaks volumes to my own personal journey from abuse, how I saw myself then and now, and how art has shown me no matter what I will thrive and not just survive.
Realizations hit- sometimes like lightning. Experiences condense into poetry, pictures into words. A double rainbow, a word-clustering exercise in Beth Graber’s class, a moment under a warm shower, snippets of life.