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Real Moms, Real Talk: Peggy Sahmaunt

On using Creativity as a tool for transformation

We have all suffered in some way throughout our lives, but it’s how we choose to process the suffering that determines whether we survive it or not.  

For some, they stuff it inside or Self-destruct.  For others, they choose catharsis through Creativity.  

Peggy is a dear Soul friend and fellow Creative that I have known for many years.  Read on about her Journey towards healing, and how being Creative has impacted her Life.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

Today, March 23, 2016, I am a 66 year old woman, retired from working at a daily job outside of my home. That’s not what defines me. I’ll get there in a minute. 

I have a 31 year old son, one ex-husband who passed away about 10 years ago, and several exes of varying grades of relationship. At this moment, I am in a pretty tight relationship with myself. In the olden days, I used to think, “How am I going to fit into his life?” After about age 50, I began to say, “How is he going to fit into MY life?”

I do have one brother and his wife, and a maternal aunt, and a cousin or two in town, but we see each other once a year or so. Both of my parents are deceased, and though I miss them and think of them nearly every day, my understanding of the process of life and death is only beginning to make just a tiny bit of sense. I truly wonder what our lives would be like if we knew at 25 what we know at 65. Perhaps some do!

How long have you been Creatively loving yourSelf?

I've worked with fabrics since I was a child, trying to look like mom or grandma with their needles and threads always going. 

My first wall hanging in the current genre came about in 2007 after a lifetime of garment creation. I left the pursuit for a while one time, and the following happened:

In 1995, I found myself sitting on the floor with a pile of torn fabric beside me, and saw just how much I needed that stimulation -- I hadn’t worked with anything for a while, and didn’t realize that I was ignoring the most important part of who I was and who I was to be. I had gone to my fabric stash, put several pieces of fabric on the floor and sat down there tearing to my heart’s content. Might sound weird, but it worked. I needed that more than I knew. I don’t remember what I did with those pieces, but it doesn’t matter now!

The first hanging back in 2007 -- 2'x3'

What are your mediums of choice?

I work with fabrics and clay, separately, not together. I have approached countless other things such as knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning, that I still do from time to time. I use embroidery on nearly all of my pieces, and add lots of beads and other found objects wherever I can. I have planned, and will one day carry out the plan to do a wall hanging with examples of the kinds of work my grandmother and my mother did, and that I do -- all in one piece. The different types are really quite abundant and cross over a lot, too. It will happen.

Some of the pottery -- 20+ inches tall

What has your experience been with using Creative Self-care as part of your healing regimen?

Since some health issues came up in 2013 (bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and 2 surgeries in 6 months) my entire world has changed. I’ve gone from trying to sell my creations or get commissions, to actually gifting nearly every piece I’ve made to someone who has had an impact upon my life, from relatives in Oklahoma, California, Oregon and Hawaii, to friends in Europe and the U.S. 

Usually, they don’t know that I’m sending them anything until it arrives at their doorstep. I have derived great pleasure from those seemingly random acts. Every stitch, every brushstroke of glaze, every thought is of that person as I work on the piece.

There have been 40 fabric pieces and 20-30 clay pieces since March 2013 -- three years.

Did taking up Creativity impact you as a parent ?

It has allowed me to see my son in a different light -- without my own issues of anxiety clouding the picture. 

 He is a musician, as am I. And until a few years ago, did not have any other artistic bent, but he has now started an Etsy business where he creates video game sprites made out of perler beads! And he’s good, by heck! 

 He even told me not long ago that I seemed to have mellowed out in the past few years.

Fabrics in concentric circles, each attached with a bead, and all fabrics from the same designer -- 4'x4'

Please share anything else you’d like us to know about you, your craft, and/or your Creative Self-care towards recovery.

I have done art for many years, but did not identify it as ART until a good friend asked me one day, rather pointedly, if I considered myself to be an ARTIST. I shirked from the question. He then mentioned several amazing musicians who had no formal musical training, and asked whether I thought they should be called musicians. I said, “Of course.” He said that just because I had no formal art training, I should absolutely consider myself an artist. I had never thought of it that way before. I’m still not sure why that made so much impact on me, and now feel comfortable calling myself an ARTIST.

I am totally content within my medium and my life today, and who knows if it will be a lifetime pursuit. Considering the fact that I have lived in 35-40 different homes over the past 66 years, and now feel grounded, I have to attribute at least some of that to my art! 

 I think that settling into a routine since retirement has made a huge difference. While I was working on some fabric placement the other day, I sat back and said, "This is my Zenspot!" I knew I was in the right place.

first one -- the first hanging back in 2007 -- 2'x3'

second one -- some of the pottery -- 20+ inches tall

third one -- fabrics in concentric circles each attached with a bead and all fabrics from the same designer. 4'x4'

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