Over the last month, I have twice gone to the local domestic violence shelter to do a small bit of programming. Five years ago, my mother, who has been a volunteer with the shelter for 9 years now, came up with an idea to make paper dolls with the residents. With my work teaching creative journaling, it seemed a natural extension of what I did to take on facilitating this group. The idea is based on a book Soul Mate Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay. The book describes how to make paper figures to personify grief, remove stumbling blocks, and celebrate joys. The women in our group, most of whom are in transitional housing, made two-sided dolls. One side represented her life in the past in which she experienced abuse, and when she flipped the doll over, she worked on personifying the person she wants to be in the future. For someone observing the creation of these dolls, the process is pretty inspirational. I have roadblocks in my own life, but nothing like these women face, so to see them making a physical representation of their journey is awe-inspiring.
Before this month, I had not done the paper doll workshop for some time. I got a push to do them again because of the upcoming art exhibit at the Lancaster YWCA. The theme for the exhibit is Hope, Creativity, and Healing: Reconstructing Your Life After Sexual Assault. The show will be on display from April 4th (for First Friday Lancaster events) through the Annual Take Back the Night Event on April 10th. The paper dolls will be on display at the exhibit. I will have some pieces of my artwork, relating to female empowerment, on display as well.
I hope that people will take time to come to the YWCA, 110 N. Lime Street, Lancaster PA, to see the exhibit. It is quite powerful to take in the works that these brave women have created. I invite everyone who can, to join us. Make a night of it on Friday, April 4th. Visit the YWCA with reception from 5-9PM. (Besides my work and the paper dolls, there will be pieces by Mimi Shapiro and Mary Lou Weaver--exceptional artists, both of them) and then head to gallery row for other First Friday exhibits.