my cancer + my art

If you follow me on social media, you know about my cancer. If you don’t, here’s whats going on. In mid April I was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It was a shock. I’d not been feeling well for a couple of months but I never imagined it was so serious. It was just a jumble of non-descript symptoms that I could manage with over the counter medication. 

I’m now receiving chemo. Have had four rounds and have a couple more to do. We are all optimistic that I will see remission at the end of my treatments.

But this is truly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. I’ll spare you the details because they aren’t pleasant. In addition to the physical trials, I find myself constantly looking for solace. It was no surprise that I found it in art making. 

But I have to admit that I find it curious that people are surprised to find I’m still making things. I think the thing to keep in mind is that what I’m doing now are what I affectionately refer to as Sofa Art. Meaning I can sit on my bum with the TV on and slowly make things. None of it is strenuous but very much needed.

Here’s what I have going on right now.

I made a square bowl out of a piece of thick felt and I’ve been adding hand stitched details to a pile of little felt balls that will fill it up (eventually). 

Plus it gives me a use for ends of threads that are too short to wind onto cards but too big to toss. 

And of course I’m still plugging away at my series of 52 collages. I’m up to #33. I need to get a flatbed scanner so I can actually get good images of all of them but for now, here’s a bird’s eye view of some of them.

Some of them are silly. Some are serious. But they are all quirky little snapshots of oddity that I love. They are 4″x6″ cards which makes them the ideal Sofa Art to make. Although Carter does have complaints when they take over and he has no where to lay. Normally he just plops down right on top of them and it’s a gamble as to whether or not I have everything glued down.

I’ve always known that art holds a very central special place in my heart. But this particular time in my life has shown me how necessary it is. I’m not making anything earth shattering and it’s all quite simple (I get tired extremely easily so I work in super short sessions) but it is helping keep me calm and a wee bit less stressed.

Art really does save!

26 thoughts on “my cancer + my art

  1. Leigh Medeiros says:

    Beautiful stuff! So glad art is there for you when you need it, Lynn. (And Carter too!) Speedy healing, and much love to you.

    • Lynne Sward says:

      Hi Lynn,
      Here’s what I know— Art saves lives!!!!!! It has done that for me more times than I can remember.
      I just turned 80 in June,,,Back in 1984,,,I had a mastectomy, and then a few years later had a second one, because I felt it was the right thing to do for my desire to live longer. You are so lucky that though the years there have been so many improvements and medical discoveries. My advice is to “do what you love and love what you do”. Managing stress is key to great health, as well as healthy food and exercise. Please keep posting about how you are improving , keep the faith, and post your awesome art. (I have and love your books),,,,

  2. wendy richardson says:

    yes! making is healing. it’s hopeful. it’s a little escape and a little contentment, even if for just a few moments. that’s how to make it through – sometimes just moment by moment. ❤️ you!

  3. Nancy Johnston says:

    Aww, sweetie. I had no idea what you were going through. I hope you are truly on the downside and will soon be over the top toward healing. I don’t know where I’d be without my art. I spent too many weeks in a hospital bed a few years ago for 3 different surgeries and complications, and the art managed to help me get beyond the pain often. At one point, all I could do was simple coloring, but it soothed me when things weren’t going well. WIthin 20 minutes, my blood pressure lowered a lot. I’ll send a prayer up for you.
    Nancy in Lansing

  4. Ellen Lindner says:

    Oh, I love the little felt balls and I TOTALLY understand the need to do something soothing. As part of my husband’s cancer treatment we had to move to another city and state for 4 months. That was hard. But, I asked God to reveal blessings to me and He was SO generous! Of course I had my “I’m looking for blessings” glasses on, so that helped me to identify them. Everything from the beauty of an acorn (which I seldom see in my Florida home) to new friendships. You’re exactly right to look for comfort and blessings and to define them on your own terms. Praying that you completely beat this.

  5. Roberta says:

    All the best in your cancer journey. My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and after several rounds of chemotherapy was in remission. Sending healing thoughts your way. Enjoy your art as you heal your body.
    Roberta from Ontario Canada

  6. Rosalyn Schultze says:

    Many blessings…may your health improve quickly! No doubt your art will help you heal–it heals the soul and, in turn, your body. I love the little felt balls. Are they all felted wool? It looks like you may have also wound them with thread like one would do with temari.

    • Lynn Krawczyk says:

      Yes, they are all felted wool. Picked them up on Amazon for a pretty good price, didn’t have the energy to make them myself. The one that looks like a temari is actually a thread rose. Just hard to tell from the angle of the photo. 🙂

  7. Susan Dunne-Lederhaas says:

    So very pleased you have an art form in “sofa art”!! Tactile sensation is always soothing to me, even if it just means petting fabric or fiber for spinning.. Many blessings to start down the other side in your healing process.. Hugs…

  8. Gillian Moss says:

    Thank you for sharing what’s going on with you through what must be the most difficult part of your life. Reading the comments from your amazing followers can surely show you you are not alone. I have a husband in late stage cancer, making my art has been saving me. I don’t get much done but when I do it really lifts me.
    Stay on your sofa studio and keep sharing these wonderful projects that are helping you, because they help us too.

  9. Kay Lister says:

    How generous of you to spend some of your energy sharing your art with us. I love you for that.

  10. Sandy says:

    They’re wonderful and of course you need to make art. It’s what makes getting up in the morning possible. I wish you well and hold you in my thoughts.

  11. Gini B. says:

    Sending healing energy and hugs Lynn! I took one of your classes at Craft Napa & loved it! Not surprised that you are making art! You are an artist! Find solace everywhere you can. Take care. 😘

  12. Beth says:

    I am so glad you are able to continue to “make” during this trial. I know many people who lose their desire (ability, need, etc.) to create when they are sick, in mourning, or stressed. Art truly can save. I’m happy to see your little pieces of art. They are happy pieces and a tribute to how you are defiantly fighting this “invader.” Good luck and peace on your journey.

  13. Jeannie says:

    How does Carter feel about those cute little balls just begging to be stolen? As my nephew told me when he was on your journey, “it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through, but in the end it was the most eye opening and life affirming thing, too”. He said it really made him reevaluate priorities and to savor each and every day. Sending love and hopes for better days ahead. You’ve got more people cheering you on and pulling for you than you’ll ever know. xoxo

  14. Beverly Threadgill says:

    Art is indeed a healing thing, dear Lynn. I am wishing you well and praying for your good health. Sending love.

  15. Nanci Hersh says:

    Lynn,
    Thank you for sharing what you have been going through. As I can see from all the comments you have many through out the world who are holding you in their hearts. Myself, among them. And, you have ART and that is a God Send. I am a two time bc survivor and lots and lots of art came out of that experience and probably shapes who I am and what I do every day. It is a roller coaster. You will have good days and not so good days and all the emotions along the way. Be kind to yourself.
    Sending you love and light.

  16. susan kelly says:

    Such color and imagination in all that you do! Thank you so much for sharing in this exhausting time. Glad to think it boosts your spirits. I know it does mine.

  17. Barbara Fox says:

    Thank you for updating on your diagnosis and treatments. The stitching seems to be just the right thing–fitting with what drives your amazing talent and at the same time, also allows you to go slowly as you heal. Blessings and encouragement as you proceed with healing.

  18. Jane Haworth says:

    Sorry to hear you are going through this. Taking the time to heal and make art seems like the best medicine. Best wishes to you i was another of your Craft Napa students

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