Weaving to Heal
BY Annie Waterman | January 26, 2012
Cynthia Alberto’s Weaving Hand
In 2007, Cynthia Alberto followed what she says “was a whisper in her ear,” telling her it was time for a life change. This voice led to the opening up of Weaving Hand, an organization that embraces global weaving traditions and art therapy. Over the years, it has evolved into an international community of weavers, offering classes in healing, textile, fiber and cultural arts. The goal is to "bring people together, creating a new meditative language to communicate- based on humanity, humility, and creativity.”
This venture was quite fitting, as Cynthia has always loved and admired textiles from around the globe. She not only enjoys the art herself, but sees textiles as something that "serves as our connection to the past.” She has also always been moved by weaving’s therapeutic effects, inspiring her to create “Weaving to Heal,” an art therapy program where she works with adults and children with disabilities. A collective consciousness is its foundation, aspiring to be a series of creative projects that focuses on enhancing and improving meditative and healing states of being.” She says, “These classes allow one to simply sit down in front of their loom and let go of their heaviness. It’s like crying or running… Sometimes, we just need to do something in order not to focus so much with the pain that we are feeling inside.” Cynthia sees weaving as both physical and emotional therapy. She adds, "It has a very calming and therapeutic feeling to it, due to the repetitive movement that comes with it. It calms your mind."
Cynthia’s passion and drive continues to lead her to work both in and out of the studio. Several times a week, she participates in the AHRC, an unorthodox workshop for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is a unique blend of textile arts, physical therapy, and emotional healing. This program was based on the belief that artistic expression can help people cope with stress and trauma. It also helps the students develop confidence, fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. It was no surprise that Cynthia took this relationship to another level, forming partnerships with fashion designers who now commission fabrics through the AHRC. One of the weavers was recently asked by a local Brooklyn company called Arte Puro to weave some fabric for their new line. They see it as a way to use fashion as a means to increase community awareness as well as stressing the importance of supporting locally crafted textiles.
On a weekly basis, Cynthia also visits The Land Gallery of the League Treatment Center, a non-profit featuring the works of artists living with disabilities. This program inspired her and a colleague to design what is called the “healing loom,” which acts as a traveling tool and helps provide healing messages. It is a beautiful upright tapestry loom crafted out of maple wood, and stands as high as ten feet tall. Cynthia says, “This loom invites the community to weave what is most relevant and precious to their current distressing state.” A touching event occurred this past fall, where The Pratt campus invited the boys at Kappa Sigma to help weave a large American flag. Each boy added a strip of fabric in appreciation of the soldiers, creating a woven American flag which was then donated to the Fisher House in DC."
For Cynthia, weaving has a humbling meaning. She says, “It is for everyone and we need to reconnect and just take a minute to think about where our clothing and cloth comes from, to go back to the basics, to reflect and appreciate where it all came from.”
For more information please visit http://www.weavinghand.com or email email@example.com.