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"Susan Wood Reider is a working professional artist and teacher, a wife and mom, a daughter and sister, a student of yoga and meditation, a friend and a seeker, and a breast cancer survivor. Her website, Strange Gifts: Honoring the Journey reflects one artist's response to the reality of cancer's "wake up call." This challenging shift in perspective set in motion a profound personal transformation, resulting in art made intentionally about healing, surviving and thriving."
"This project is dedicated to the memory of my Mom and in celebration of my sister. Margaret Ruth Clark Wood died from metastatic breast cancer in 1999. A woman of amazing grace, she was a strong and beautiful flower. Diagnosed at age 36, Ann Wood Shelor is a shining example of surviving and thriving."
Protocol (Sunsplash) reflects my preferred metaphor of transformation over battle for the treatment process, even in the difficult days of chemotherapy. A friend and yoga teacher suggested a "meditation of the golden chemo" during my treatments. Through meditation, I imagined the infusion of harsh drugs as a healing light, rather than a poison. (Although this helped me enormously during and between treatments, I did not escape nausea or low blood counts!) I had fun with the ironic images of growth and complexity that evolved in making this piece. I enjoy the helpful nurse administering the "sunsplash" of the golden chemo, the word "touch" divided into "t" and "ouch", and the way the spirals "curl your toes." The blossoming heart was a gift that could have only been received through the spontaneous medium of collage.
Head and Heart (Glowing Peace) is inspired by a dream which posed the question of which best to follow: One's head or one's heart? The text and images are from a meditation on this theme. The piece also contains personal associations of the number 5: star, sound, communication, transformation.
Majesty (Diana) was made in response to the name of the rose, Diana Princess of Wales. Prior to her untimely death, Lady Di was both a patron of the arts and supporter of cancer charities. But there is another lady commemorated in this piece, jazz artist Lady Day, the exceptional Billie Holiday, who died in tragedy at the age of 43. Handwritten text refers to Artemis, the patron goddess of sisterhood.
A Part (Dream Weaver) is an attempt to picture displacement, transition and movement. We are each a collection of body parts held together by something intangible, our inner Self. Difficult passages sometimes part the way for necessary growth and positive transformation. This piece is dedicated to my sister, Ann.
Over Me (Good Show) represents a tribute to the earthly and heavenly angels that watch over us, and a hopeful mantra about the process of making this project a reality!
With A Mission (Small Miracle) evokes the spiritual "Warrior," the divine spark within each of us, which we must access to achieve true healing.
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Last updated by
on 25 February 2019