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PeaceLove & Creativity

By Jennafer Martin

PeaceLove Studios’ co-founder Jeffrey Sparr will be the keynote speaker at the Annual Banquet on Friday, May 15, 2015 at the SDP 43rd Annual Conference & Expo. Read this sneak peek of Jeffrey’s inspirational story about how his discovery of painting changed the course of his life.

PL founder JeffA Quest for Peace
It was almost an accident. Jeffrey Sparr, a self-proclaimed “regular guy” who also suffers from a mental illness called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), picked up a paintbrush one day. He quickly discovered that creating art gave him a sense of control and peace of mind that his illness often disrupted. Jeff realized that if it worked for him, maybe it would work for others affected by mental illness, and the beginnings of PeaceLove Studios were hatched.

Spreading Peace through Art
What began as one man’s experience with creativity has been spread to thousands of people through PeaceLove Studios, an organization that has provided more than 15,000 art programs to schools, senior care centers, hospitals and more since 2009. What started out as an experience of peace through creativity has expanded to helping create a positive symbol of hope and acceptance for mental health overall. “Mental illness is both invisible and misunderstood,” Jeff says, “One in four people in the United States has a diagnosable mental illness, and two thirds of us won’t get the help we need or deserve due to stigma.” PeaceLove Studios sets out to create more understanding and kindness for these illnesses as well as bring peace and meaningful creative experiences to those affected by them.

The symbol for PeaceLovPL_logo_rede Studios – a combined peace sign and heart – is something founder Jeff created as a unifying symbol that has no stigma and promotes understanding. This symbol is a big part of the approach PeaceLove Studios takes to meet its mission, as participants wear, share and experience it.

While PeaceLove Studios has many partners in its efforts, its main funding comes from the sale of merchandise at PeaceLoveStudios.com. Purchasing tees, jewelry, prints, journals, stationery and more allows PeaceLove Studios to continue spreading creativity, peace and understanding.

Join us at the Annual Banquet and visit PeaceLoveStudios.com to be a part this amazing movement.

This story originally appeared in Craft Industry Today.

“Meet the Teachers” Blog Series: Meet Judy Ribitch

meet-the-teachers-1200x907-2Judy Ribitch
Joined SDP: 1985
Started Teaching: 1986

Judy Ribitch is the next teacher in our “Meet the Teachers” series. Judy’s parents discouraged her interest in art when she was a child. Yet, she never lost sight of her interest. After she gave birth to her second child, she took a painting class on a night out with one of her girlfriends. She has been painting ever since!

What do you love most about painting?
The thing I love about painting is the creating; I am able to bring my wildest imaginations to life. Also, I find it very relaxing; painting has helped me get through some very difficult days.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love the people who I have met through teaching. Everyone is warm, inviting and eager to learn something. I love seeing their enthusiasm for art.

What value would you place on attending classes offered at live conferences such as the SDP Conference?
I believe everyone should take one of these painting classes, no matter how skilled they are. You will always learn something new. These classes expand your knowledge, especially of products and techniques you have never tried.

For example, I’ve been teaching since 1981. I recently took a simple class with a friend. I just wanted to sit with friends and not really have to think too much. The class was wonderful; I learned several shortcuts and tidbits of information for products I had never tried. I have never taken a class where I didn’t learn something.

What are the top takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
I try to make my classes relaxing. I strive to have all students finish their project or finish at least 99% of it. I remember what it was like to take a class and leave with one leaf and one flower petal finished; it’s difficult, so I want to make sure my students know I am there to guide them through the end. Also, I like to combine different background techniques and textures that students haven’t tried before; this way, I can guarantee they’ll learn something new.

Judy will be teaching the following classes at the SDP Conference & Expo taking place in St. Charles, Illinois from May 11-16, 2015. Online registration closes on April 24, 2015. REGISTER TODAY to secure your spot!

SUNFLOWER TIN- ACRYLIC & CHALKY PAINT

NOSTALGIC LILY – ACRYLIC

Coming up next week on “Meet the Teachers”…meet Cheri Rol MDA: Looking to achieve realism in your painting? Cheri can help you achieve your goal in the classes she is teaching at Conference!

“Meet the Teachers” Blog Series: Meet Margit Hartl

Margit Hartl
Joined SDP: 1992
Started Teaching: 1992

margithartlMargit Hartl is the next teacher in our “Meet the Teachers” series. Margit grew up in a small town in Germany where great value was placed on a child’s need to receive a well-rounded education. Margit and her fellow students enjoyed monthly field trips to the nearby city. The field trips acquainted Margit with an abundance of art, including ballets, concerts, operas and museums. She was fascinated by the artwork she saw, and took notes throughout each trip to help her complete the homework assignment about her experience. Margit’s teacher took an interest in her notes: specifically, her sketches of the artwork. Margit’s teacher asked her to start drawing pictures on the blackboard for student lessons; Margit agreed. Even though it was double the work for her, Margit loved every moment of it and attributes it to the start of her art career.

What do you love most about painting?
Painting helps me treasure life’s best moments. Painting enables me to recreate these special moments on canvas so they can live forever. The power of that realism is the most rewarding.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love to see the delight in someone else’s eyes when they learn a new painting technique. My home studio is a place of learning, laughing and sharing; put simply, it’s a place of good fellowship to many students and friends over the year.

What value would you place on attending classes offered at live conferences such as the SDP Conference?
For me, conferences provide an inside view of the art form of decorative painting. Students of all skill levels can learn the fine art through a conference teacher’s live step-by-step instructions. I followed my favorite teachers from conference to conference for 10 years to learn as much as possible before I was comfortable to teach others. Also, like many art teachers, I am always on the lookout for something new; I will never NOT enjoy being a student.

What are the top takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
I try hard to design ideas that students will understand and be able to paint on canvas. Also, I try to incorporate many different facets of decorative painting so students can learn the variety of the art form. My goal is to help students unlock their unique interests and mysteries of painting techniques.

When you’re not painting or teaching, what can we find you doing?
My husband and I enjoy long nature walks. In the spring, summer and autumn, I enjoy a daily dip into the Atlantic Ocean. Also, I enjoy sunbathing, shopping, entertaining, cooking, knitting sweaters and scarfs for my grandchildren, traveling, writing, reading, admiring boats and the sea, and even helping my husband catch fish for dinner.

Margit will be teaching the following classes at the SDP Conference & Expo taking place in St. Charles, Illinois from May 11-16, 2015. Online registration closes on April 24, 2015. REGISTER TODAY to secure your spot!

ROSES IN MINIATURE – GLASS PAINT

CLIMBING CLEMATIS – FABRIC PAINT/INK EFFECTS

Coming up next week on “Meet the Teachers”…meet Judy Ribitch: Judy’s parents discouraged her interest in art when she was a child. Yet, she never lost sight of her interest and finally explored it when she became a mother.