By Joss Greene, BLC Intern
This past week I sat down with Tracy to talk about her involvement with the beaded jewelry class offered Tuesdays at 1pm at the BLC. This class is open 6 members, and you’d better sign up at the front desk in advance if you want to get in on the highly popular program! Tracy has been attending the class for one year and calls it one of her favorite aspects of the center.
J: You’ve made this class a key part of your weekly schedule and it’s obviously important to you. Why did you start coming and why do you keep coming back?
T: I look at it as therapy, stress and harm-reduction therapy. This is what helped me to come back out my door, what I needed for motivation to want to leave my house. I made a commitment to be here… to myself and to the people here.
J: What is it about the class that draws you in?
T: I got a lot of support in this class. When people found out about what happened to me, people were very loving, especially the instructor. If you don’t come to a class, the next time she sees you, she gives you crap, like “Where you been?” It’s more than she gives you a hard time, you know she cares. It’s very important when you feel like your independence has been stolen. Not only did I feel completely disrespected, but I felt my self worth was taken… When I come here, I know I’m supported no matter what I’m doing. There’s always someone to talk to and tell me I’m a good person.
J: The instructor sounds great. How does her presence affect the class environment?
T: She’s absolutely fabulous. If we didn’t have her I probably wouldn’t keep coming back.
J: Instructors can definitely set the tone for a class. Once you’re here, what is it like to create art?
T: It’s discovering my own unique talent that I never knew I had. My mother’s my muse. Pretty much any piece I create has my mother’s influence in it. I draw a lot out of our heritage and put it in my creation… I never have a plan for what I’m gonna make. It’s the energy from the stones that draws me to them. That’s the exciting part too, because I never know what’s going to be what.
J: Not everyone gets a chance to attend this class or any of our art classes. If someone wanted to know what you get from the class and why it’s important to you to have it offered, what would you say?
T: I feel like I’m a part of something special. It’s a sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride. The first piece I made was really ugly. If it wasn’t for one of the other members in this class encouraging me, I probably wouldn’t have come back. Someone else saw the specialness in it that I didn’t see. That was important… Family support is hard to come by. This is my second family.