I met Wesley Beaks as he was walking through our I am Wild Woman exhibit at the Art on Dean show in our Walt Shamel Community Garden & taking pictures. I asked him if he could take some pictures of the women’s wild art. He graciously obliged, then took some pictures of me & of the herbs in our healing garden. It was a magical day in the garden. The sun was shining as women connected with nature in the herb garden & created their own healing art. The diverse wild woman art inspired people to connect with their own wildness. Throughout the day people ate, drank up all the Cinnamint herbal tea I made, danced, painted, lounged & created in the wild woman station. We ended with an herbal shoots & ladders game where a squirrel made a mad dash through us, came to a screeching halt when it climbed the fence & encountered the art & deftly made its way over the fence & away from the other squirrel that it had run from. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect wild day.
Enjoy the following article Wesley wrote on his Elemental Wizdom blog about our wonderful day in the sun.
Nestled in the heart of historic Crow Hill section of New York, Brooklynites were giving praise and honor to their own artists and recreational horticulturalists. The gates were open welcoming those who shared a love of community, hearth, history and old fashion friendship. The Dean Community Garden has been a centerpiece of sisterhood and brotherhood supporting a diverse community of religions, cultures, languages and ethnicities all with a hearty embrace and smiling faces. This annual celebration featured open showcases of neighborhood visual artist, musicians and craftsman.
Warm and inviting you were treated to complimentary food that drenched the palate with invigorating slices of watermelon, refreshing gourmet cinnamon basil tea, plucked straight from the community garden, with succulent grilled chicken and corn on the cob. Hospitality like this is not just a southern tradition but debunks the stereotype that Northerners in Brooklyn can roll out the bountiful hospitality and gracious embrace that the south is known for. At this event there were no gaudy balloons of random colors shifting in the air, just the simple effervescence that makes one feel at home in the big city. Walking past the gates into the garden you were asked with the gentility of neighbors to sign the guest book and partake of their prosperous garden.
Despite the angry and unrelenting heat of this summer, city inhabitants with record breaking 90 degree plus weather , the garden was basking in floral glory. I would be remiss if I did not take a tour of this oasis smiling in between the historic brownstones that have been standing since the late 19th century. Some of these homes have been restored to their original glory while others take on a more contemporary façade.
Kiana Love brought such pride and commitment in showing me her garden plot. With a great affinity for herbs she led me to the lavender bordered by the stalwart trees. Not to be outdone, she shared her prized cinnamon basil plant which upon a cursory glance appeared familiar and shifted into a perfumed talisman. This cinnamon basil is not common and as you pluck its leaf the botanical oils from it exploded with a pungent and delicious cinnamon scent as the leaf turn a slight red in your hand.
She also expressed the diversity of culture when sharing that her organization Be Wild Woman celebrates their sisterhood in the garden with gatherings for women to empower, honor, and explore the feminine strength of resilience and creativity. Open to all, Wild Women integrates metaphysical principles with the influence of the female hierarchy honoring earth based sensibilities of Gaia (Earth Mother) and attuning themselves to the natural rhythm of nature.
Tie dyed shirts were sprawled across the table almost challenging the rainbow to take notice from Tiffany. She designs and manufactures tie dyed fabrics in shirts of all sizes and color. Exuberant and engaging, she works
with children and remains dedicated to opening their pathways for expression through the Arts and expression. Tiffany’s infectious smile and passion for her art brought a natural charm to this event.
Framed with unique and well thought out precision was photographer Chris A. Kelsaw whose passion for architecture stood out. Her presentation of four
, framed pieces connected to a large window frame brought out the depth of her vision. One image was taken in a defunct prison and her use of light and vision took you past the wire gates beyond to experience a trance effect.
Adorning a table with earrings featured the designs of Kendall using the intricate micro beads to flush the color from your skin to rest upon your nape. Lustrous copper earrings
, brilliant green and gold leaf sets to crocheted sets of orange and gold she set the tone for individuality. These pieces could easily flow from work to playful banter.
Kendall also exhibited her vocal talents with the Ashe Initiate, a performance group who sang with ancestral reverence and passionate voices. It was clear that some forethought went into their performance by the response from those who attended the event.
, Greg gave the journey of how he became a resident. Sharing the lore of Crow Hill, an area of Brooklyn in which affluent African Americans moved to during the period of segregation. It has since changed along with the decade to include other ethnicities and is experiencing another renaissance period.
Greg has planted squash in his garden along with basil and even added lavender as well. Greg pointed out the compost heap
, which attests to communal commitment to reuse this in the soil and replenish the land. There is a chicken coop as well with hens and a rooster roaming the garden. This may be Brooklyn but Nature is alive and well here. Greg and the other neighbors showed their pride in keeping the neighborhood thriving and fighting to keep its individual personality standing firm.
If you are looking for charm, history, unique building interiors and a neighborhood that shares values and commitment they still exist. You just have to take a walk and stroll into the valley of Brooklyn to find it. Home is where you make it to be and these residents have taken that to heart.