HSDJ in the News

Prayer flags sending wishes on the wind

JUDY BUSWICK, Sun correspondent
Saturday, October 16, 2004
- If you could send the world a love note, would you?

Chelmsford artist Heidi Jackson has an on-going art project open to "folks of all ages" for just that purpose. She encourages children and adults to draw pictures, write poetry, jot down good wishes, or even record dreams, on 12-inch squares of canvas that she provides. These personal works of art symbolize prayers and good wishes for the world. They are strung on a line outdoors and "the breeze circulates all the good thoughts and makes the world better," she says. A friend of Jackson's once gave her some sheer Tibetan prayer flags. She hung them in her front yard during the Art in the Yard event she organized in Chelmsford in the spring of 2003. As the months wore on, though, she realized she hated to see those gauzy fabrics fade and disintegrate. She "wanted them to hold up (and) pass along the tradition" of peaceful unity, she said. The mother of two sons, Jackson decided to create a project for children to make their own long-lasting prayer flags, but she found adults enjoyed the process as well. She has displayed 80 flags, created on sturdy fabrics, at workshops during a bluegrass festival in Brunswick, Maine; on Martha's Vineyard; and on the Town Common in Chelmsford during this past summer's 4th of July festival. She attended a meeting and spoke to the Masons at the Andover Lodge recently, where guests were visiting from Andover, England. The wives painted flags with Jackson, while the men were in meetings. Several women who had never painted before found they enjoyed the experience. "They had a good time, were giggling, and didn't realize they were so creative," she reports, adding their husbands were "blown away with the flags created by their wives." At the upcoming Artist Open Studios sponsored by the Middlesex Beat on Oct. 23 and 24, the public is invited to contribute to this ongoing art event. Jackson has space for a workshop at Jay Hungate's studio at 99 Willie St. in Lowell's Acre. His sculpture, Jackson's art, and paintings by Jody Hayes will be on exhibit as well. Adults and children may paint or print their own special good wishes for the world that weekend. These newly-made prayer flags will hang inside that day, but are expected to catch the breeze in the garden at the Revolving Museum in Lowell during the Festival of Lights on Nov. 28, and in the courtyard at the Holiday Market at Brush Gallery on Dec. 12. Jackson feels this traveling art exhibit is like "installation art," a concept new for her. She sees it as "connecting us all into the web of life, spirit and energy." Her hope, she described in this way: "Ultimately, with all of these good wishes blowing about, the world will be an even lovelier place." Jackson envisions participation by schools, other museums and community events throughout the region. For more information, e-mail Jackson at hsdj@comcast.net or visit her Web site at www.heidijackson.com She is currently Artist in Residence at Brush Gallery. The upcoming Artist Open Studios are all free; call 978 425-9292 for more information or locations of participating studios.

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