We've been reflecting on the history, applications, and questions about these ideas...
A recent social post from Ori Gallery in NE Portland about the origins of self-care reminded us to revisit the history of the concept, and Aisha Harris' article in Slate from 2017 proved particularly helpful. It's an important read, and covers the origins of the concept in medicine for patients and providers in high stress environments, its place in the political activism of the civil rights and women's movements, its attachment to the concept of wellness and away from political subversion, and then another shift after the US presidential election in 2016. We highly recommend reading her words directly and in their entirety. An article by Jordan Kisner on self-care also kept us intellectually chewing on the concept.
The questions related to the words wellness, health, and self-care that these authors address have always been at the forefront of how we consider our function in the world. As these articles demonstrate, self-care means something different to everyone, and it can also mean different things to the same person from day to day.
The fluidity and context of self-care, health, and wellness informs so much of how we think about our work. While we don't insist upon one interpretation of self-care, we do think that questioning how we embody the idea itself is an important process.
It is our feeling that making art can also provide a creative pathway to engaging in self-care and staying actively engaged with our external worlds. In the words of James Baldwin "the artist...must drive to the heart of every answer and expose the question the answer hides" (The Creative Process, 1962). Yes, we think everyone is an artist.
The thing is, we might not all stand with the exact same carpet of apparent answers before us. That's why art and creative process need room for individual, personal expression. And that's one thing we do insist on.
We do believe that everyone in our studio gets to make decisions for themselves (and themselves alone) about how they embody the twin forces of creative process and self-care. In our minds, that's what really makes them both sacred and effective. It's also how you activate your own creativity, empowerment, and meaning, and then carry them around with you wherever you go. That's why we're here to get you started, support you as much as you need, and encourage you to take creative freedoms and make choices for yourself.
What are your thoughts about creativity and self-care?