Like many, I once moved about in such a hurried way that touching the current of life was out of reach. Five years ago, I experienced a bereavement that brought me to my knees. A transformation followed, sharpening my vision and influencing how I interacted with material objects. I focused on the tiniest of items. I gathered these items and arranged them in patterns that mirrored my inner world, simultaneously releasing the need to categorize them or my life experiences. My art recognizes a tension in the value our collective places on discarded objects.
Each piece tells a part of my story which has aspects that others consider harrowing. Blessed with resilience, what brings meaning to me is sharing with others. Why is the question that plagues those that have experienced trauma. Despite not knowing why, I chose to communicate the idea that beauty permeates all we experience. When we experience the art together, we rest in the moment of present shared experience.
Joy Redstone’s work has been influenced by her lifelong fascination with creativity. She has no formal training in art, and in fact, having spent a majority of her life announcing that she was “not an artist”. But, when she experienced a sudden bereavement 5 years ago, she began to make art. Stubbornly, she resisted even then. The fragmentation that she experienced as a result of her husband’s suicide resisted definition or organization, but her intuition compelled her to start creating mosaics that in their patterning gave her back to herself.
Joy Redstone is a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed addiction counselor. Joy received her MSW from Boston College in 1995 and completed post graduate certificates in addiction counseling and clinical supervision. She contributes regularly to the Daily Camera.
Her clinical work has focused on the intersection of mental health struggles, addiction, and oppression and has been characterized by a commitment to advocacy and social justice. She served as the Executive Director of Bridge House for 7 years. Joy became Clinical Director of Naropa Community Counseling in 2015. Joy also serves as a Board President for the Grief Support Network and vice chair of the Hope Coalition of Boulder County.
She began by showing her work at coffee shops and restaurants in Boulder and surrounding towns, but has had work shown in a variety of regional and national venues and juried shows. Recently, she had a solo show at the Muriel Sibel Wolfe Gallery and a joint show with Sue Wallingford at the Bricolage Gallery, as well as having exhibited at the Dairy Center for the Arts in a joint show celebrating those who have experienced personal recovery through the arts. Joy looks for objects in our daily world that we have cast aside and deemed worthless, such as broken glass, old toys, old jewelry and invites us to see their intrinsic beauty. Just as we might call some hard experiences “worthless”, their worth is arbitrarily determined culturally. If one holds a bullet casing in the hand, it is small, harmless and glittering. One way to reclaim meaning from hard events is to examine them closely and from a far distance. Joy’s work invites us to do both.