Exercise Your Creative Muscle and Build Herstory

“I love what I do. The art of adornment has a rich and ancient ‘herstory’ if you will, and in my mind, it is an extremely empowering artform for women. Learning to create beautiful things is freeing and exhilarating; it allows us to take time for ourselves and at the same time, gift the products of our creative efforts to others. Learning to express one’s own inner beauty in the world strengthens all the rest of us. Seeing beauty in ourselves and others has the power to change the world for the better.” –Laura Gasparrini, Om Tara

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Mary Ellen models her triple wrap Snake Knot Bracelet with Instructor Laura Gasparrini

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Mary Ellen models her triple wrap Snake Knot Bracelet with Instructor Laura Gasparrini

Readers of this blog may remember my positive rave about Laura’s 2014 class. This year’s presentation of the somewhat tricky and beautiful Snake Knot Double Wrap Bracelet was stellar.

A group of fifteen women completed the project within the allotted three hour time period at Tucson’s “To Bead True Blue.” What’s more important, to me is the instruction took. I replicated my project in the studio earlier this week.

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, double wrap Snake Knot Bracelet

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, double wrap Snake Knot Bracelet

Once experiences Laura’s thoughtful view of creativity in her instructional presentation. As I talked with her, I realized her generous intentions permeate every part of life. She truly walks her talk:

ME: What does creativity mean to you?

“When I am creating something, I am in the flow of something wonderful, where I have the opportunity to get out of my own way, to stop thinking so much and to see what might want to emerge. It’s as if I am a witness and an active participant all at once. It is the place where I have learned to trust myself, though that wasn’t always the case.”

“For me creativity and playing go hand in hand, and it has taken practice over the years to let myself play. I encourage myself (and my students) to follow through with a project even if I don’t like how it is turning out. The creative process can be messy, so I’ve made the decision to skip the criticism that can show up when things are in process. I also give myself permission to not like something when it’s finished and to take it apart without criticizing myself.”

(NOTE to self: Re-read that last sentence.)

ME: What impact do you want to have with your art and on whom?

“It has been my intention in all that I do, whether it be teaching, coaching, creating art, practicing energetic bodywork, reading tarot…, that we each recognize and celebrate our unique beauty and purpose. My intention is both to educate and to empower. As a teacher, I understand that imitation is a large part of learning a new skill. We imitate those from whom we learn while we get the skills down. My hope is that each person I touch is strengthened in their skills and also in the courage needed to explore their own self-expression.”

This energetic inventor (the Om Tara crimping pliers), entrepreneur and artist is working on a book about leather and pearls. She shared with us that last year’s class project will be featured in an upcoming publication from Interweave.

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, leather link necklace with chain and pearl mandrel

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, leather link necklace with chain and pearl mandrel

ME: How would you sum up, Laura?

“I make jewelry, write, create curriculum, teach, because it is what I wake up every day and do in some part. The varied business I call Om Tara has become my life’s work. Along the way, teaching jewelry design and creating inspired adornment have become my calling; somehow my long ago commitment to being a healing agent in this world led me to express that commitment in terms of adornment. I’m so grateful. My hope is that I can serve as an example to others who want to live a creative life that reflects their unique expression. Because, yes, it is possible for you, too.

How will you express herstory your story?