PAF Workshop with Helen Seebold and the ToC Specialized Rec Dept.
In mid-October, a group of a dozen people from the Town of Cary’s Specialized Recreation Department gathered at the Cary Senior Center for the most recent Public Art In Focus (PAF) Educational Workshop. Local artist Helen Seebold, along with her husband and her sister Erin Lawler, brought along several cases of bottles, paintbrushes, and acrylic paints for the latest installment of her ongoing project “Message in a Bottle”. Since acquiring the small, glass pharmaceutical bottles, Helen has worked across the Triangle to bring our community the opportunity to sit with friends and family, and relax while making art. To date, she has over 800 finished pieces in her collection.
This isn’t Helen’s first time partnering with CVA for her project. In the past, she has held workshops at the Sunrise Senior Center, Pathways for People, and set up a pop-up shop at the CVA booth on Final Friday. Every time she does a workshop, the joy it brings fills the room. While everyone painted, they reflected on what their work. There were bottles with pictures of pets, stars and moons, and college sports logos. One particularly elaborate piece was a landscape of a farm, complete with colored dots representing eggplants, corn, carrots, and tomatoes. They are then encouraged to leave a message in the bottle.
The beauty of Message in a Bottle is that anyone can do it—the young, the elderly, people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, regardless of socio-economic status or other circumstances.
While no bottle is ever the same, you can’t help but notice the patterns and methods of working that emerge in any group. Some people paint their bottles meticulously, with careful attention to detail and deliberate application of paint. Others are expressive- drawn to color, movement, and experimentation with the materials. The result is an astounding representation of community and creativity.
For this workshop, everyone was invited to paint three bottles a piece- two they could take home, and one which would be become a part of the “Message in a Bottle” community project. The ones that were incorporated in to the project are currently on display at the Cary Senior Center. Helen stacks the bottles in pyramid formations, almost like a symbolic representation of the importance of community. The workshop could not have taken place without the collaboration between CVA, the ToC Specialized Recreation department, Helen, and, of course, the participants.