Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Birth of A Dream: The Healing House Art Studio

This post is going to be picture driven. There is just too much to tell in words after an entire month of giving birth to a dream. 

This dream began nearly a decade ago and has been burning in my heart ever since; 
The one that was of me having a studio that was large enough to teach in and included enough space for other artists to work in too. 
The one that opened it's doors to the community around it and brought people together. 
The one that encouraged others to find out more about themselves through art the way I have.  
The one that would use art for healing, and hope, and love, and joy, and reach far beyond what I was capable of doing on my own.

Yeah that dream...the one I sometimes lost track of and stored in the back of the closet, but never gave up on, or maybe it never gave up on me.

If you were to stop by to see me anytime this month, this is pretty much what you'd find. Replace that paintbrush with a scrub brush, or a mop, or a broom, but that smile and those spatters of paint have been pretty consistent. 

This little unassuming cottage house may not have caught your attention, were you to be driving by, but this is the place where the dream is taking shape. So much has happened inside these walls in the past month. How could I even begin to tell you?
There I am the first week, after the carpet had been removed. Scrubbing. Every. Inch. Walls, floors, ceilings, inside closets, toilets, sinks. Countless hours of scrubbing. Numerous gallons of water and odor removing cleaning products and elbow grease. And yes, maybe a few tears.
Just about every type of wall paneling and finish you could imagine had been nailed to these walls. At one time, just a little vacation cottage across the street from the lake, who needed cohesive decor when you were spending all of your time outdoors?
Layer upon layer of old flooring. Scraping and popping old floor tiles harks back to my junior high school summertime days, when dad would take us to work to keep us out of trouble, and mom's hair. 
And the community I dreamed the place would be serving, kept showing up to serve me.
Getting in on the carpet pulling action...
Painstakingly taking the time to pull staples and clean up old messes. Just when I would start to despair the work would never end, a neighbor or friend would show up at the door.
And because the details matter, everything gets a fresh coat of paint...
And did I mention all the cleaning?
Seemed like everyone got in on the painting action.
 Even now, tears spring to my eyes and spill down my face, thinking of the love that has been poured in to this dream. This house. This healing house. 
If pictures paint a thousand words, perhaps I don't have to tell you the things found lurking behind that washer and dryer. 
Doors being removed to let in the light and open the space between private studio spaces.
The front steps got a makeover too, but that's nothing compared to what happened to our hearts as we worked side by side.
There is still some painting to do, but the important stuff got done just in the nick of time, my first workshops were held, back to back weekends of Joy in the new space. 
It's amazing what a little paint and elbow grease and love can do to transform a room. 
Doors are all chalkboarded up. And Supplies are at the ready. 
And speaking of supplies, the lovely and thoughtful Jean brought along a housewarming gift on the first day of class. 
And then we dove right in making a mess with our mark-making exercises. Some done to music, and some just listening to our insides. 

Lovely designs in ink expressing what words can't always say.

One of my favoritest collages made from mark-making papers by the very talented Re
Plenty of pasting and sharing of ideas happened.
And new friendships developed along with the collage making.
And plenty of talking, but often there were outbursts of silent, contemplative, concentration.

We broke each day for a delicious catered lunch by the ever gracious and talented Tessa.
And after lunch, more art-making.
And after the art-making, exclamations of delighted "Look what I made!"
And then show and tell time, or was that the paparazzi?
Some of the first students to enjoy The Healing House Art Studio. Lots of smiles!
And notes exclaiming "too much fun!" were written on the tables.
And more notes were written on the floor. 
Because once you come to The Healing House Art Studio, you will always be a part of this little community.
Oh and I had to sneak a few new works of my own in there, because in all the hustle and bustle I nearly forgot I had an article due for Somerset Memories.
And this, this is just to show you I don't always look like the paint spattered, high on fumes, version of myself I showed you above. The hubby and I were taking a break at a family reunion the other day, because this month really was full to the overflowing with good stuff. 

Once all the work is finished and the steady rhythm of the place begins, I plan to start a blog dedicated to just The Healing House Art Studio. Meanwhile, like my page on facebook here if you want to keep up on the progress. I've already got a stellar line-up of guest artists scheduled for 2015 and I promise you will not want to miss a thing! 

And speaking of workshops, if you liked what you saw in the pictures above, I've got several more dates scheduled this year. Check out my workshop page here for details. 


  1. many blessings to you Crystal as your dream becomes a reality! Exciting times ahead as you share your creative spirit with the students at the Healing House art studio.

    1. Linda thanks so much for the blessings and stopping by to leave your comment!

  2. Well dognabbit, I went and accidentally deleted this comment by a kind reader, so I'm pasting it here:

    wanda miller has left a new comment on your post "The Birth of A Dream: The Healing House Art Studio...":

    MARVELOUS LOVE, COMMUNITY, and TEACHING DREAMS come true. thank you for sharing! ox

  3. This is only the beginning of many blessings to be bestowed upon you and The Healing House Art Studio. I am sooooooo very grateful to have met you just in the nick of time to be there from the beginning.

    1. Teresa I am so grateful you were part of the inaugural workshops as well! Thanks so much for sharing your vision with me and for stopping by the blog today!

  4. Well, that is a great synopsis, even though we have read about it while it was happening... live. There is Nothing like seeing a dream come true. Owning a mountain home to share... was ours, and we were able to see that happen, just last year. Even as I am writing this, I may be getting a bit more understanding of how overwhelmingly emotional I was last week, when my son and family left me alone from their first visit. I was Surprised by my reaction...deep feelings, but I think it is because of the magnitude of the dream having come true for me. Thanks for sharing your dream with us...Laura

    1. Oh Laura I feel what you're talking about, with the dream and being able to share it with your son and his family, and I can only imagine how amazing that must have been, but even more so if it was something you had longed for for a long time! Thanks for sharing that glimpse with me. I am so excited that I'll be coming to teach in your lovely Texas home next year!

  5. So glad you didn't give up on your dream, Crystal! I'm feeling excited for you. Wishing you and all your students many happy hours creating art in Healing House Art Studio.

    1. Awww thanks so much for stopping in and leaving your well wishes Robyn!

  6. Love! So happy for you! And the community at large. I actually live close enough I could make the 1 1/2 hr. trip for a workshop! Which I would love to do. I will have to keep my eyes peeled for more workshops at your lovely cottage. Congrats to you and your generous sweat peeps who helped you make this dream a reality.

    1. Oh that would be so awesome to be able to meet you at the new studio! I'm getting set for my third workshop in the new space and am so excited about having even more of the studio finished then there was for the first two classes! Thanks for stopping by to leave your congratulations!

  7. The joy that you feel from this radiates from every word and picture in this post. What a transformation and what an incredible accomplishment. With you at the helm, there is no doubt that many, many people will experience the joy that only art can bring. Congratulations on making your dream a reality!!

  8. So so happy for you, Crystal! All your waiting and hard work has paid off, and you have made it happen at last! I know this place will bring you and your students many years of fulfillment and joy!

  9. Dearest Crystal, it finally happened! After all these years on eBay and ETSY and talking with you (you probably have forgotten) but I have followed you and your journey. Some say, "Sucess is a Journey not a Destination" what do you think about that? LOL I'm just so happy for you and your future with all the blessings.