About Lori Sweet: Lori was born in Western Pennsylvania and grew up playing in the woods and the gardens of her grandparent's little farm. She always asked for art supplies for Christmas and could be found drawing animals, trees, and cartoons. Lori naturally and intuitively used art as a method of self-expression and healing to deal with challenges in her own life as she grew up. She also enjoyed reading and writing. She was voted most artistic in her senior class in highschool and won her first art contest where she entered a pastel drawing of a tiger in 11th grade.
Lori obtained a degree in social work at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa and spent 20 years working in child welfare, hospital settings, and women's shelters. Lori often developed workshops and classes for organizations about using art for healing, wellness, and team building for both clients and service workers.
She worked with various organizations such as Hospice, Audubon, New York State Office of Mental Hygiene, Chautauqua Institution, Buffalo Children's Hospital, and various school districts.
She later obtained a certification in Non Profit Management and spent four years as office manager and art teacher for The ArtsCenter in Jamestown New York and then another four years as Executive Director for The Mandala Center, a spiritual retreat in Northeastern New Mexico.
When Lori married and returned to Pennsylvania she obtained a certification in Foot Reflexology and opened her own wellness businesses offering body work and Inner Fitness Coaching for stress reduction.
Over the years, Lori has continued to enjoy art and has increased her focus on creating her own art that invites us into stories about how our physical world interfaces with the spirit world and how art can help us to create healing and sacred spaces for rest, reflection, and renewal.
Lori is a self-taught artist but learns about techniques and mediums from other artists. As an artist, Lori is focused more on the energy and power of the creative process than the product and believes everyone, no matter the level of training, can benefit from art making and creative expression.
Lori and her husband, Tom, live in Harrisburg, Pa. Tom is a pastor, writer, and poet. They have three children - all creatives in their own right - Molly who creates community and events, Emily who creates in music and film, and Jaymes who is an illustrator and game designer. Another child, Katy, who is deceased, passed too soon but in her short time also offered the world her creative spirit through her writing and poetry.
No matter what she has done, Lori's focus has been to create safe spaces for those in need, to call out the strength and wisdom within each of us, and to remind us that we are not alone and are deeply loved.
"All art created with the intention to help and to heal, to inspire and to transform, is medicine to the mind, body, and spirit" - Lori Sweet
THE ART OF SPIRIT AND MATTER
The Power of Sanctuary
It is my intention, through image-making, to invoke and evoke the sacred and the power of love within us and all around us. I want to remind you of the vast resource, power, strength, and wisdom you carry within. The power of love is beyond measure. Unleash it in the world. Create sanctuaries of peace and healing in your life - and share them. May my art be like icons or portable shrines of love.
Since I was a child, I have used art and writing to help me to make sense of my inner and outer experiences. It was how I interacted with and processed the world around me. In many ways I created art to heal and survive. Today art is part of my joy and my spiritual practice.
As a child I had a vision for the world where all people feel safe and know how precious they are:
~A world where love abounds and the divine mysteries are part of our daily rounds. ~A sanctuary where we do not violate each other and where nature is honored in sacred partnership.
With all the challenges we face as human beings, I realize this might seem Pollyanna but isn't that what visions are for?
When we are able to live into our full and true nature (even in random moments) we can be a powerful and strong force of goodness and love In the world. I hope that my artwork reminds us of that.
1. Be a force for
LOVE in the world.
2. Inspire and empower others.
3. Make art.
The Art of Spirit and Matter is about using art (in its many forms) as a bridge or portal between the worlds. It is about balancing or bringing into union the seen and unseen elements, the masculine and feminine, the heavens and earth, the yin and yang.
I use symbols, images of the sacred feminine, animals, and elements of nature in my work to highlight particular aspects or qualities of experience.
I often combine elements from different religions, cultures, and times in history showing the common connections we share and once again finding union rather than division.
And I love to work in different mediums and explore the creative space wherever it leads me - even in unconventional ways.
Through art we can explore the inner and outer landscapes of our lives, open to deeper understanding and self-discovery, and find guidance in, perhaps, unexpected places.
Art is a portal into a sacred process - a spiritual practice that transports us to greater and universal truths.
I enter into art as a visual prayer, a meditation; a form of contemplation in both the creating of it and the viewing of it.
Creating and viewing art is an embodied experience that helps us to make meaning and to enter in the spaciousness of our hearts and souls.
Like Icons of old, the art invites us
into another aspect of time and space.
I enjoy creating images that invite the viewer into its world; into a story beyond language where the relational nature of our lives is illuminated.
While art usually produces a tangible product, I often am more interested in the intangible aspects of art-making: the energetic process that teaches, restores, and transforms. I see art as "visual energy medicine."
Intuitive and Visionary art offer us a universal language that is part of our "felt-sense" of being.
It accesses the worlds of the primordial, the mythological, the archetypal, the dream-scape, and the subconscious. It makes visible (brings to light) what normally cannot be seen (the power of the darkness) once again revealing the opposite sides of the same coin. We can overcome fear and befriend wisdom.
Through art we can be guided by
the mystical, the magical, and the mythical.
It unites us in the moment, here and now, as we navigate our lives, but it reminds us
that we are part of a bigger story. Art is where both the personal stories are told
and the collective story is shared. It is a sanctuary for the sacred.
Perhaps your story has led you here today. I am honored to walk for a while along the path with you where our stories meet. Lets chat, have some tea, and see what the next step will be! Enjoy the journey!
thank you ~ Lori Sweet