This year has been a season of beautiful and profound growth for me, both personally and artistically.
Today I want to pause for a moment to look back, and celebrate.
Here's what happened:
FREE ART CLASSES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
I've started this Art Program in July 2021, and been carrying it on throughout the whole 2022 - these days are no doubt among the most precious memories of my 2022 (and my life).
The idea is to bring the community together, creating joyful moments for individuals and families, through art making. Simple, yet so special.
I've been developing creative projects and crafting original content around themes, then, once a week, I showed up in a local park with my portable Art Room and lots of art materials, inviting everyone to join the activities for free.
No reservation is needed, I love that people can stop by and participate in the workshops as they like.
Over time, these art dates with Flora & Ms. G have become popular in the neighborhood (and beyond), known for being a special occasion for kids and parents to get together weekly, meet new friends, share experiences, while of course having fun making art!
(If you live in the South Bay Area, CA, and would like to attend these pop-ups, join our private Facebook group here)
THE BIRTH OF THE PENCIL CIRCLE, LLC.
I spent most of my childhood drawing and devouring coloring books, I literally could have kept doing it all day. All days. Then on and off throughout my entire life, knowing that my imagination would always be the happiest place to land.
So, I feel like I’ve been preparing myself for this day since forever…
At the beginning of July 2022 I brought that place to life. A space where I belong, where so many pieces of me come together, where a pencil and a smile are the same.
The concept of 'living life in pencil' means to be open, curious, and free to experiment, making room for 'mistakes' as learning opportunities. Pencil is for writing, and drawing, a basic tool to capture thoughts and express creativity. 'Circle' is to reflect the idea of Community and Togetherness, Hug and Protection, but also a symbol of the Self as a Whole.
The Pencil Circle is an independent Publishing House and Art Studio that focuses on the creation of Inspirational, Innovative, Educational, and Entertaining contents in the field of Art.
The mission is to help young and adults cultivate curiosity, creativity, and positivity, exploring and expressing themselves through Art. My Activity Book and Art&Craft Workshops are designed to stimulate imagination and self-discovery, creative thinking and positive mindset.
(If you'd like to know more, visit www.thepencilcircle.com).
THE RELEASE OF 'THINK, SKETCH, AND SMILE WITH FLORA' (September 21, 2022).
This book is a result of over two years of daily drawings, and countless hours of studies, research, experiments. It contains all I am.
I strongly believe that knowing yourself lays the foundation for self-acceptance and self-love.
And I also believe that self-love is essential for loving others, for making healthy choices and having healthy relationships, for developing loving-kindness and carrying positive energy.
This is the why behind the book.
'Think, Sketch, and Smile with Flora' is more than an art activity book: it's a fun and creative way to invite children and grown-ups to be curious about themselves and investigate their own world.
If used in a group, family, or community, it might also become a tool to get to know one another better.
(You can find all the details here: www.thepencilcircle.com/books)
...AND THE BOOK LAUNCH PARTY! WOW!
October 1, 2022 - Bowers Park, Santa Clara, CA.
The most joyous event you can imagine, full of art activities, immersed in nature, and surrounded by the sweetest friends… this is what I envisioned for Flora Book Launch Party.
The reality has been way beyond that dream.
I picked my favorite local park and set up tables with three different art activities - all book related: people got to decorate a pencil case, make bookmarks, and design a notebook cover.
I also treated all guests with snacks, fruit juices, and rainbow goodie bags. ;-D
After signing and selling copies of my book, I watched - with awe - the spectacle of almost a hundred smiling people gathered around Flora and my work, cheering me on and congratulating me for this milestone.
I feel blessed, my heart is full of gratitude. Thank you to those who were there - and to those who wish they could have been there - your love, support, and appreciation make a difference. Always.
FLORA MAKES ME SMILE PATTERN DESIGNS AND MERCHANDISE.
As you know, none of my Flora illustrations has ever been for sale.
I guess it's because I consider my drawings some sort of personal diary, pages that tell my story and capture my thoughts, moods, ideas, imagination. Flora is my happy habit, that practice able to turn every day into a sunny one. Still now, 2 and a half years later.
At the same time though, I've been searching for different ways to spread Flora's messages around the world and, after publishing the book, I decided to start creating pattern designs and merchandise.
LEARNING FROM MR. ROGERS.
I am truly honored to have joined a fabulous worldwide community of educators this school year, as part of the Educators' Neighborhood cohort 2022-23.
It’s a year-long program where educators learn from Mr. Rogers’ life and work, reflecting together on how to apply his principles to their work with children.
Thanks to the Fred Rogers Institute for this unique opportunity and all the exclusive content: every single session is a deeply enriching, meaningful, and inspiring experience.
I welcome the new year with enthusiasm and excitement,
keeping dreaming big, and working hard.
Thank you for being here, friends, you're a very important part of my journey.
I hope your 2022 has been a great year, feel free to connect with me and share reflections, if you like.
You can always write me at firstname.lastname@example.org