Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

Creativity Unleashed | Vèvè Painting with Mahalia Stines – by Jessica Tong, Communications and Outreach Intern


This second session of Creativity Unleashed featured Brooklyn-based artist Mahalia Stines. Stines taught us techniques for channeling our inner creativity and how to paint with our heart and soul while giving a brief history of Vodou, the significance of vèvès, and what they symbolize.

Mahalia explained that for centuries, Vodou has been maligned and misrepresented by Western culture and media.  In reality, vodou is a peaceful belief tied to ideas of nature. Deeply rooted in the relationship of Man and Creation, Vodou is commonly referred to as a religion.  Practitioners however, prefer to refer to Vodou as a way of life; a belief that all forces in the Universe are interconnected.

Vèvès are symbolic diagrams used before and during ceremonies.  They represent astral forces that are used to compel the lwas (spiritual entities) to manifest themselves during ceremonies.  By paying respect to lwas by offering them their favorite foods or wearing their colors during a Vodou ceremony, the lwas give blessings, physical well being, protection, abundance, and other gifts, depending on what they represent.  While some lwas have many vèvès, others have none or are assumed under another vèvè.  Some vèvès are figurative, whereas others are symbolic and almost abstract.

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Participants were able to learn about the different vèvès, pick their favorite, and paint their own interpretations. Some participants used their own interests to add emphasis to their selected lwa, others used nontraditional colors creating beautiful original pieces.

We thank Mahalia and all of the workshop participants for sharing their Saturday with HCX!  Stay tuned for more Creativity Unleashed in the months to come!

This Creativity Unleashed Adult Workshop took place on March 8th, 2014 at the HCX Office.

Posted in Archive, Arts, Crafts, HCX Programs, Visual Art, Weekend | No Comments »

Archive: Creativity Unleashed | Bookbinding with Rejin Leys


The first ever Creativity Unleashed workshop on February 8th featured a collection of bookbinding tutorials with Queens-based book artist Rejin Leys. Citing a history of books as one that predates literacy, Leys described the evolution of early book forms such as the scroll to the codex, pioneered by Gnostic Christians in Egypt, and the success and pitfalls of today’s no-stitch factory-manufactured books.

Leys also provided different examples of bookbinding techniques to get juices flowing and expose us to different decorating techniques such as screen printing, deckle edge, and cohesion; innovative ways to connect book signatures; and how to identify signs of quality bookbinding.

Rejin instructed the class in 4 types of books which ranged from a simple 3 page poster book made out of a single sheet of paper to a geometric diamond book that does this…

diamond book

Participants also decorated their books with special handmade paper covers and collage techniques which added a lot of depth and unique flair to everyone’s projects.

Here’s a picture of all our completed books!

CU w. Leys : All our books

The next Creativity Unleashed workshop will be on March 8 featuring designer Mahalia Stines who will lead participants in decorating totes & t-shirts with vèvès.

Posted in Archive, Arts, Crafts, Events, HCX Programs, Visual Art, Weekend | No Comments »

February 23: 3rd Annual Festival of Haitian Art and Culture at Ramapo College of New Jersey’s Berrie Center


haiti day 14 postcard300 

You are cordially invited to the 3rd Annual Festival of Haitian Art and Culture at Ramapo College of New Jersey’s Berrie Center.

This year the festival features the film Stones in the Sun (2012) 95 minutes directed by Patricia Benoit and starring Edwidge Danticat.  This is a beautifully told story full of poignancy, intrigue, drama, and suspense following the lives of Haitian immigrants living in NYC.  Stones in the Sun was the winner of the best diaspora film award at the 2013 African Academy Film Awards.

Food will be provided by Chef Pierre Romain.

Arts, crafts, and books about Haiti will also be available to purchase. 100% of the profits made will be going to the Haiti Relief Scholarship Fund at Ramapo College.

Join us and help support Haitian culture, art, and education.

DATE/TIME: Sunday, February 23rd /2:00-6:00pm
LOCATION: Ramapo College 505 Ramapo Valley Rd, Mahwah, NJ

Posted in Arts, Crafts, Donations/Drives, Events, Exhibitions, Film, Photography, Visual Art, Weekend | No Comments »

Creole-Speaking Volunteer needed for Free Arts NYC program in Flatbush!


Free Arts NYC is a non-profit organization that provides underserved youth and families with a unique combination of arts education and mentoring programs in order to help them reach their fullest potential.

One of our core programs, Parents and Children Together with Art (PACT), is a theme based art experience for families designed to increase parental involvement and encourage positive forms of family communication. Led by a professional facilitator, every session begins with an inspiration image and discussion of the week’s project. Program participants begin by making individual projects, but as the program progresses the projects graduate in both complexity of concept and materials until the whole family is working on one project together. Volunteer coaches encourage families to communicate, compromise, and work together to accomplish their goal.

Free Arts recently launched a new partnership at the CAMBA Beacon Center in Flatbush and will be holding PACT sessions for the families there this fall. Because many of the families speak Haitian Creole in their homes, we will be facilitating these session bilingually in both English and Creole in order to fully engage all family members in the program. To make programs as successful as possible, we’re recruiting bilingual volunteers to serve as PACT coaches.

Commitment: Tuesdays from October-December, 6:30-9:00pm

Want to learn more?
Register for a New Volunteer Orientation at!
Contact us: or 212-974-9092

Posted in Arts, Crafts, Visual Art, Youth Programs | No Comments »

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