Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Diabetes Art Day!

Today is a day that many of us in the Diabetes Online Community have been anticipating for several weeks.  It is Diabetes Art Day.  I wrote about it here and many have been tweeting about it since it was announced by Lee Ann on her blog, The Butter Compartment.

I’m pretty excited about this.  Not just because I get to post art work by my two amazing kids, but because I adore art of all kinds.  I’m not one of those people who looks at a piece of art that challenges our preconceived notions about what qualifies as art and says “Well, anyone can do that!” Art is limitless in the many forms it can take.  And not all art has to be aesthetically pleasing!  Art is a form of expression and not all things worth expressing are happy, beautiful, comforting, pleasing to the eye, perfectly proportioned or warm and fuzzy.  Whether it’s of an uplifting nature or a means to express rage, frustration, sadness or loneliness, it is the message that is important (unless, of course, all you care about is filling that wall space above the couch with something that coordinates with your decor) and I have a feeling we all have a message of one kind or another to share with regards to diabetes — call me crazy...

A few weeks ago when this idea was in it’s infancy I began setting aside all the diabetes trash that is generated from the day to day management of Jenna’s diabetes — cartridges, spent insulin vials, used tubing and insertion devices, etc.  I told J when he asked about the growing pile of stuff that I was planning a diabetes art project with the girls.  I wasn’t sure yet what I was going to do with all of it but I wanted to save it nevertheless in hopes that some kick-ass inspiration would pop into my head.

Jazmine, my oldest daughter, overheard this discussion.

“I have an idea!” she exclaimed with confidence and excitement.

“Lay it on me” I replied, intrigued by her enthusiasm.

“What if we used the site change thingy to stamp paint on paper?  We could dip it in the paint, pull back the doo-hicky, place it on the paper and press it to make it click!”

How clever is that?! I was speechless.

Sometimes the artistic process is just as significant as the finished work of art.  As the parent of a diabetic child who found infusion site changes quite stressful, I believe this fun technique could be utilized to help children fearful of site changes.  The incentive to have another used insertion device with which to create art could assist a child in finding his or her bravery during routine site changes.  The message? To every cloud there is a silver lining, if one chooses to see it. 

To finish their pieces they channeled Jackson Pollock himself and splattered silver glitter paint as a top layer.  Jenna took it one step further and grabbed some seed pods from some spent flowers in the garden as well as a dried cherry tree leaf and added them as a finishing touch.  What can I say — she’s very avant-garde.

Here are the finished pieces after they were allowed to dry.

My own contribution to Diabetes Art Day, titled “Parenting On The Glycemic Tightrope”, can be found below or on the side bar of this blog.  It’s message is only too obvious to anyone with type 1 diabetes and to D-parents in particular.


Crystal said...

I am speechless.

Love it!!!!!!!!

Cherise said...

I'm going to need tissue. Beautiful artwork and the detail is fabulous:) your daughters rock!

Anonymous said...

What a way to bring your children together for their project. And your own art brings tears to my eyes.

Kim said...

Love, love, love this.

Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

Love em all! Great job!

Mike Hoskins said...

Wow.. Not only is this cool and colorful and awesome creative artwork, but it's a teaching tool. Now that is truly awesome! And that drawing... Saw it and said to myself, "That's EXACTLY how I feel." Thank you for the great fun and artwork!

Anonymous said...

I love your drawing so much I want to save it to my computer, take it to Walgreens and have a print made. WOuld you be cool with that? Let me know, via twitter or email (sajabla at gmail). Thanks! Oh and the kid's paintings are FANTASTIC!

The Chocolate Cheerio said...

Your picture is definitely enough to make me pick up the phone, call my mom, and thank her for the years of support and love she has given to care for me.

The artwork by the girls is such a cool idea! Who new pump supplies were such great stamps :)

shannon said...

DUDE! AMAZING! Props to Jazmine for the idea and more props to you for seeing the potential in using that as a motivator for kids who are reluctant to have site changes. Are those the Mio inserters? That's what we use! Now my kid and I totally want to make our own art with those things. AWESOME!!

Anonymous said...

The paintings are precious! And yours is stunning. I love them!

Karen said...

Oh my, I'm crying again. I love the "stamp art" the girls made and your message of how it could help a scared child through a site change. And the glitter? Well, glitter kicks anything up a notch!!

And your drawing is amazing. Beautiful and haunting. Thank you.

Lee Ann Thill said...

How beautiful!! The art is so vibrant, filled with energy, and I love how they used color, but hearing about the genesis of the idea, your thoughts on how that could be meaningful for a child, and seeing them at work... I'm welling up. I love that they had so much fun, and got so inventive throughout the process.

Such stunning paintings! Give them hugs on my behalf as thanks for making such lovely, and valuable contributions to Diabetes Art Day. it wouldn't have been such a fantastic community project without the community, and oh, how I love the kids' work! It makes me so happy :)

Jen said...

I love your drawing..it is amazing! We also used our infusion sets to stamp in paint!!