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At our school we have a castle. It’s a beautiful corner of the playground with a low adobe wall, rocks, desert plants, trees, sticks, and children. It’s called Gwen’s Castle, named after one of our students who, at age four, unexpectedly passed away in her sleep at home. The castle was constructed as a memorial to Gwen and her creative, imaginative spirit. We dedicated the castle on Earth Day in 2011, about a month after my breast cancer diagnosis. My current relationship with art and Gwen’s Castle came into being around the same time.
Both my art and Gwen’s Castle have evolved over these past few years. In addition to it being a fantastic place for children to play, the castle is also a reminder that we must always maintain, and hold sacred, natural spaces in which children can relate to the earth. I like to go there often for inspiration. Gwen’s family also gives me inspiration and their annual fundraiser for the Giggling Gwen Foundation is a perfect opportunity to offer my art to benefit others. In fact, it’s been a model for helping a variety of causes over the past several years. It seems important that a portion of my art is used in this way.
This year’s contribution to the Giggling Gwen Foundation veered from my usual mixed media collage. I ended up making three don’t worry dolls, one an angel with a pink tutu, and the other two with similar characteristics but slightly different clothing. I named the piece “Three Sisters,” after Gwen and her identical twin sisters who were born on the one-year anniversary of the last day Gwen was alive. The intention behind my work is to create art that makes happy hearts. It’s an additional blessing when the art makes my own heart happy, too.
For more about Gwen and her sisters: