Art Journals with the Decatur See Beautiful Club

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Our first project with the See Beautiful club at the Decatur Housing Authority was nothing short of amazing! See Beautiful is a philanthropic company with a mission to provide inspiring, ethically-sourced products that create more beautiful in the process. See Beautiful creates more beautiful in the world through empowerment, education and strategic giving initiatives.

Dr. Lydia Criss Mays, the founder, hosts See Beautiful clubs all across Atlanta once a month. We were able to be a part of the Decatur See Beautiful club and make visual journals at our first meeting.

More than just a place to write, these journals are a place for the girls to sketch out the beautiful they see in the world and paint out the beautiful they want to create in the world.

Lydia kicked off the meeting with a book reading and discussion on what it means to see beautiful. Julie and I introduced the journals about half way. The girls were so excited! I showed the girls my first visual journal and we talked about the different things I made and why. After the girls picked out their journals, we began gluing the pages together to create sturdy pages that would be more accepting of paint and other mediums. We added to and decorated the covers. The girls saw the paper rose on Julie’s visual journal and a paper rose craze spread like wildfire. Pretty soon we were all laughing because we could not teach the technique fast enough!  

We had such a great time with these amazing girls! We're excited to share a few more of the projects we did with the girls. Stay tuned!


Altered Portraits at Woodruff's Teen Lounge

We were so excited to host an event at the Woodruff Art Center’s Teen Lounge. We got to share this project with over 50 teens from all over Atlanta. We had a large team of artists to brainstorm the project. Amy Myers, Ross Boone, Margaret Crane, and Caitlin Chase all gave of their immense talent to make this project possible. The theme was social justice in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We did what all busy artists with jobs do, we started an email chain to collaborate. This might be my favorite stage of any project. I love hearing ideas and seeing things come together.

We started talking about the way we see ourselves and the way others see us. We're all so different, but we are also very alike, for reasons that have nothing to do with the color of our skin. We started thinking about what your actions have to say about the way you fit into the world? When you alter your portrait, when you act at all, you have the opportunity to show your true character. If we judged people by character alone, what would that look like?

This quote stood out to us from the I Have a Dream speech:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

That was our prompt. We like to come up with really deep questions, but then wait to see what the group dynamic is like before diving in. We let the kids decide how deep they want to go when discussing a theme. It turned out that we had tons of great opportunities for discussion. We had four Paint Love artists and one stellar volunteer so there was a lot of room for hands on instruction and one on one conversation.

The first step in our project was to take photos against a plain wall and print on canvas paper. 

A little practice run on an old canvas! 

A little practice run on an old canvas! 

After that, students were able to add to and alter their portraits using embroidery, paint and other found objects. We were so enchanted with the results. I've posted a few here, but you can find the full galleries on our Facebook Page

Gallery I   Gallery II   Gallery III 

A big thank you to Woodruff’s Teen Lounge for hosting us and to our incredible artists and volunteers. Special thanks to Binders for donating canvas boards!


Collage and Word Art with Wellspring Living and Ashley Hizer

The beginning of the year is so full of ambition. I love it. To me, there’s nothing better than the joy of beginning. There is so much hope and possibility. However, I still find myself balancing the high expectations I have of myself and the reality of what my strengths are. The creative community is alight with this discussion right now. We know we can't be all things to all people, but we still find ourselves in the middle of the juggling act. The only remedy I can think of for this is to spend some time in positive self reflection. I love Ashley Hizer’s most recent Wellspring Living Project for exactly that reason. For this project, she took collage and word art to a new level:

I wanted to provide an opportunity for the girls to reflect on their individual God-given assets and the potential that each girl has to make a difference in the world. Their unique personalities, talents, character, and identities make up a unique mosaic that will allow them to achieve their dreams.

The girls thoughtfully contemplated their strengths and crafted their own take on the mosaic project, indeed showcasing their individuality! It was an honor to witness their artistry.
— Ashley Hizer, Abstract Artist

Doesn’t this sound so amazing? I really love this project. I think the worst part about trying to be all things to all people is that it leaves so little room for our uniqueness to shine through. What do you think? I hope wherever you are in your new year, you can take some time to notice and honor your unique strengths. I bet you have more than you realize! You can make a word mosaic or simply just take a moment to recognize how incredibly you were made! Here's to that!

Find the DIY for the word mosaic on the Me, With my Head in the Clouds blog.

Wellspring Living is an Atlanta based nonprofit helping domestic sex trafficking victims and the vulnerable develop the courage to move forward and the confidence to succeed. We have been so delighted to partner with them on several projects! You can view our stop motion short here and our jewelry workshop with Corrie Ladd here. Read about Ashley's first project with Wellspring Living here.