Community Meeting on Tuesday, October 20 featured a workshop taught by Tobi De’Ja Nicol Ewing of The Self Care Café.
Tobi De’Ja Nicol Ewing is a multi-disciplinary artist exploring visual art, sound, and storytelling as a tool for creative expression, liberation, and self discovery. Tobi’s artwork is described as colorful, fluid, pensive, and expressive. As a Black and queer artist and storyteller, Tobi’s work is centered in healing, pleasure, joy, connection, and creativity. Learn more about Tobi De’Ja Nicol Ewing here.
“The studio is a self-care practice and workshop for creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who want to cultivate more mindfulness into their work and partnerships. This demographic is dear to me because a lot of us have been consumed by ‘hustle culture,’ unfair relationships with our art, and an inability to support our bodies and minds sustainably. In this three-hour workshop, we start to release mental blockages attached to our work, bathe in magical sound meditations, and activate play to clarify and get specific about our collaborative desires,” Tobi explained. Community Manger Coco Gagnet ’18 arranged for Tobi to lead a one-hour version of the workshop for Community Meeting this week.
Following ruminations on the topic of “hustle culture” (i.e. the theory that busy = success = happiness), Tobi led Community Meeting attendees in a sound meditation practice during which students, staff, and faculty were able to take a moment to focus on breath and listen to the warm and relaxing sounds of a Tibetan singing bowl.
Community Meeting must still take place over Google Meet or Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions, so it is not uncommon for parallel conversations to happen in the video conference chat. A couple of minutes into the practice, Noah Greer ’22 added to the chat, “I’m vibing IDK about anyone else. This is like ASMR.”
Some sat with their eyes closed, and others focused their gaze on one point, as participants listened to the sine waves resonate from the Tibetan singing bowls–said to be one of the strongest musical instruments for healing with sound therapy and vibrations.
The remainder of the session focused on two guiding points: Small-group discussion on the process of creation (current and future) and how self-care/sustainability influences our work and community and creative play, a practice not absent from campus as Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Installation Michael Casselli ’89 mentioned in the chat that he uses it as a primary framing device within his course syllabi.
The workshop concluded with a creative play session during which participants were asked to draw a flower with five leaves. Each leaf was then labeled with a concept or element required for you to successfully create in collaboration with others. By returning to the drawing, we are able to remind ourselves of our desires and the steps needed to arrive at our goals.