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Community Flour (Drawing) Power

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

Recently BREAD Encounters was invited by the lovely Beryl Forman, community placemaker and bread baker, to collaborate on the startup of a local Bread Bakers Market in the "backyard" of Mujeres Brew House in Barrio Logan. The initial marketeers also included Amanda Estrella, owner of Pan del Barrio and Elisa Sabatini, President of the Nonprofit Via International, which promotes sustainable community development through cross-border initiatives.

Flour canvas

We had our 2nd bread market event the evening before Thanksgiving. BREAD Encounters had the opportunity to invite market goers to take part in a community flour drawing. Flour drawings are an integral part of the innovative form of bread puppet theater called “Theater of Crumbs” which was developed by Dr. Nadezhda Savova, Founder of the BREAD Houses Network in Sofia, Bulgaria. Our setup was simple: two adjoining tables covered with black butcher paper provided the base for a blank canvas which was created by sifting flour onto the prepared surface. A flour canvas is a medium which captures fleeting images, a metaphor for the fleeting moments in our lives. A gentle reminder that we should live in the moment and be fully present to enjoy it! Our theme for the night was "Gratitude"and our misson was to invite people to express their thoughts on gratitude in flour.

Cody Aguilar, certified bread therapist of the BREAD House Network and also the co-founder of BREAD Encounters, provided our market goers with simple instructions: Grab one of the wheat stalks in the basket and draw whatever comes to mind while reflecting on gratitude.

We had many comments by different people, and ALL of them were positive. Inititally some people were hesitant to participate but once they realized nothing was expected of them other than expressing themselves in flour, attitudes quickly changed. In fact, many people commented on "what a great idea" this was.

The joy of drawing in flour!

What I observed with every person who took part in this community art project was the delight on their faces while participating in this activity, almost as if they had been given permission to be children again. Drawing in flour is such a simple yet powerful tool to nurture that inner child in us! There was no sense of competition, no sense of failure, nothing which would impede the pure delight of creating. And it showed in the faces of our flour artists.

This gentleman had been watching others before he decided to leave his mark in the flour. Note how he is fully in the moment, focusing on what he is doing. Already he has written the world "Follow"and I wonder what it is that he followed which impressed him so much that he felt the need to express his gratitude for it? I reviewed the entire canvas later to satisfy my (and most likely your) curiosity. "Follow Destiny" he wrote in fine penmanship and all capital letters. I am intrigued and now wish I would have been able to inquire about his story.

This truly is one of my favore pictures of the evening because it captures so perfectly the crux of everything which is important in life: I see collaboration, thoughtfulness, kindness, love and family.

The young boy who (I assume) was the son of one of our Bread Market vendors had been eyeing our flour table. I was planning to approach him personally and invite him to draw, but before I could do so, his mother and sister joined him at the table. Together they admired the drawings and writings in the flour left by others before them. I am not sure what their contribution was in the end although I did find a set of children's hand prints later. Note the beautiful mural in the background!

This lovely lady is a 3rd Grade Teacher with a very sunny disposition. Although she is definitey enjoying her current activity, her smile was already in full bloom before she approached the table. She was gratetful for sunshine (which she herself embodied I dare say) and drew a lovely symbol for this star around which our planet and hence our lives rotate.

At the end of the evening both tables were covered with representations of gratitude either in word or picture. In reviewing our community flour drawing a common theme emerged, possibly influenced by the global pandemic which certainly has touched the lives of many of us. What are we most grateful for? According to our community flour drawing it is HEALTH and FAMILY. Let this be a gentle reminder to be good to ourselves and recognize what is truly important at every station of our lives.

We would like to thank all of those who participated in our community flour drawing as well as Carlos Solori who took most of these pictures and participated in our flour art.

Over and Out.

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