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Death and Art Therapy

I am much in need of some art therapy this week. The unexpected death of my deranged yet beloved cat has left me reeling, and I fled to the coast for healing.

It’s not a story I want to hash out in my art blog,  but it is a huge event in my life and has colored this past week, as it will for weeks to come. It’s unavoidable and I am just surfing on the pain and sadness, as life goes on, and joy slowly trickles back in. Art helps.

I spent a few hours at Alder House Glassblowing this morning just watching the glass move and flow. Glass always makes me feel better, it is such a wonder to watch what it can become. Pressure, heat, fire, stress… all shape it, the way life shapes us. All I know is it helped a bit. I am grateful to the art space  found at Alder House to watch… and feel.

This place has been in business for decades,  I think it is the oldest glassblowing shop on the coast. The years of work hang deep and rich in this place, and you can see it even in the tools. The edge of the bench, with the metal worn away from years and years of work… you can’t get to this shape without time, and mountains of work, which brings this bench, to me, to a state of beauty visible in the proof of years of creation.

I was the only one there for the first hour, and a few others trickled in over time.  It felt like time for me to leave at that point. Grief can be private or public, and while no one could look at me and know,  I was indeed grieving, even in the soothing happiness that glass gives me as I watch. It felt good. It felt like forward motion, but it wasn’t something I could continue to experience with a small crowd, but I also do so love watching people be amazed by glass. That part was good too, watching those less familiar with the medium be mesmerized by the material I love so much myself.

I bought a small piece when I left, that I hope to hang in the garden as a memory for my cat. It’s beautiful and will catch the light in a lovely way, but also is a sad piece, with a dollop of glass on the bottom that looks like a tear drop. There’s nothing else I can do but remember and love, and be gentle with myself as best I can. I have no alternative route around this.

Thank you, Alder House. You gave more than you were expecting to this morning. Art helps heal.