Braiding has always been a social art. During braiding of each others’ hair, women came together to socialize and bond. The tradition was passed down from elders braiding younger children’s hair to older children watching and learning the tradition to practice on younger children. In this sense the act of braiding served as a means to weave the past, present, and future together through this generational bonding.
The Cushing House women at Medicine Wheel Studio have engaged in this women’s way of knowing, working mindfully over the past month on the Braid Wave Project. They worked side-by-side, weaving long colorful strips of fabric together to form strong colorful braids. During this activity the studio was at times a place of quiet and mindfulness. At other times, a place of sharing thoughts of the moment, stories of the past, and dreams of the future.
The side-by-side configuration of their braids simultaneously flowing on a common path, symbolize a collective journey through recovery. They also act as a metaphor for the transformative power of human connection and a catalyst for strength in unity. Meditation during the act of braiding with the three strands of fabric woven together was an invitation to contemplate the significance of the mind, body, and spirit coming together to make one whole. The robust current of braids flowing around the carved clay plate portraits of each woman serve to protect, strengthen and unite on their path to recovery.
View the Braid Project at the Amazing Arts Center in Framingham from Tuesday, November 22 through Saturday, December 31. Click here for more details.