There’s no shortage of artists residing at the Friendship Manor in Goleta, and in two weeks they are putting their works together for the retirement community’s first ever arts and crafts show. While residents have displayed their works individually in the past, on December 8, nearly a dozen of its senior citizens will display and sell their art pieces to the public in the facility’s dining room in an event organized by relatively recent Friendship Manor resident Judith St. King.
A psychotherapist originally from Michigan, Dr. St. King was surprised to discover that so many of the community’s residents are artists when she arrived at the Friendship Manor this past spring. In an interview with the News-Press, she said she wanted to organize the art show because of the positive impact that art has on the lives of senior citizens.
“What I have found as a therapist is that art helps people get away from the stress and worry within their lives… And for older people, a sense of purpose,” she said.
From paintings, to sculptures, to beadwork and collages, the residents of Friendship Manor work in a wide array of artistic mediums. Show participant Bill Aikele builds assemblage sculptures built out of found objects and will be displaying his pieces “Joyride” and “Circularis,” named after the Latin word for “circles.” Built from stainless steel pieces Mr. Aikele acquired at second hand stores, both works strike a balance between hanging together as a cohesive whole and allowing viewers to see what its materials were used for before undergoing assemblage.
“I leave a trace of something that was what its use was before, but the only use now is to enjoy them as art pieces,” he said.
Though she’s lived at the Friendship Manor for eight years, resident Terri Emmett has never displayed her extensive collection of knitted works, which include bags, phone cases, flowers, and animals. When she first started knitting in the early ‘70s, Ms. Emmett was living in Washington State and knitted sweaters, jackets, shawls, and other warm clothing to wear in the cold Pacific Northwest weather. When she moved back to California, staying warm was no longer a problem so she branched out into knitting other objects like toys and bags.
“I got here and I think, ‘Well, it’s too warm. You don’t need all that stuff.’ So I started, you know, I fooled around with toys,” she said.
One artist who’s no stranger to displaying his pieces to the public is 16-year Friendship Manor resident John Grable. For the last decade, he has displayed his Native American beadwork twice a year in the retirement community’s lounge and also showcases it every year at the Chumash Pow-Wow. Mr. Grable makes a living from making and selling his beadwork, so he finishes his pieces fast and works at them every day. Now 75 years old, Mr. Grable started his craft at age 50 after he saw some Native American beadwork displayed at a pow-wow at Live Oak Campground. Thinking it was something he could become skilled at quickly, Mr. Grable began beading and has done it almost daily for a quarter century. When asked what the draw is for him, he had no shortage of reasons.
“It’s the whole package, Native American history, art, culture, I find it colorful, interesting, fascinating, and I’m just drawn to it. I’m attracted to it. It works for me,” he said.
The Residents of Friendship Manor Arts and Crafts Show & Sale will take place between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on December 8 in the dining room of the Friendship Manor. Concert pianist Patrick Wells Lindley will perform during the event and refreshments will be served to attendees. The Friendship Manor is located at 6647 El Colegio Rd. in Goleta.