Several residents at Stryker Homes in Auburn showed up to meet Candy Lucas last fall when she volunteered to come speak and also share several pieces of her collage montages. Many who attended admitted they were not familiar with what collage was and were curious to see examples of her work.

Webster's dictionary defines collage as “a work of art produced by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another, as newspaper clippings, theatre tickets, fragments of an envelope, etc.”

Candy has lived most of her life in Auburn and after earning her arts degree at Cayuga Community College in 1988, she attended Wells College and majored in art. Over the years, her art pieces have been exhibited around the area, including a solo exhibit of her work at the Schweinfurth Art Center in 2003. At the present time her art work is on display at the Finger Lakes Art Shop on Genesee Street. (Candy has worked for the past eight years in the assessor's office in city hall.)

Since Stryker Homes receives no money for activities from the city — although the other senior housing facilities do — it was a surprise to the residents when Candy said she was “also willing to volunteer her time to do a workshop.” Of course, everyone who attended signed up! (Her workshops continued periodically throughout the winter and spring months.)

A few participants in the collage workshop are shown in the first photo with this column.

The workshop not only boosted the spirits of many in the group to continue doing collage but a few others became interested in exploring interests in other artisan areas.

At one of the collage workshops, one of the residents — Brenda Hill — brought some of her unusual cardboard creations for the group to see. Because of the interest expressed by some of the residents in attendance, she has continued to meet with them on a regular basis, showing them how to recreate what she's able to do.

One of the residents who also attended the collage workshop was Sue Greene. She shared with the group several examples of what she has been doing with solar lights over the past four years. The results of her efforts shows that she is both creative and gifted. The end results of a few of her pieces also indicate they are also time consuming to do!

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“Depending on the light's use, it affects how it's to be decorated,” Sue said.

The photo shown is of her with a few of her creations, including two that will be placed on the grave of a loved one. The most popular request is a decoration for someone's front porch. A decorated solar light for someone's flower garden is also a common request.

“I've spent extra hours on those that require printing on them or any enhancements that needed to be added. The layers of painting required for some take time and then there's also the waiting for them to dry before another is added,” she said.

Sue has lived at Stryker Homes for three years. She grew up in Auburn and her maiden name was Wilkenson. Her four children are grown and also live in the area. She is a widow.

No doubt it's because seniors usually have time on their hands that there's recently been a surge of interest in these easy-to-do arts and crafts projects over the past several months and so the idea for a talent show has been decided.

The Talent Show is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14, here in the Community Room of Stryker Homes from 1 to 4 p.m. The other residents in the building are being invited to see what some residents have done and/or are still doing. We're calling it a talent show because some of the residents who are participating will also demonstrate.

Although there's no parking for the public, we'd really like to see folks in the community come see what we're doing also. We'd also love to see parents bring their children. (There's plenty of parking in the immediate area, as well as on the side streets adjacent to the building.)

We're also hoping there are others  like Candy Lucas, who might consider coming to donate their time to teach, share or give a talk ... whatever! Any outsiders who are willing to do this for the residents here would be so appreciated.

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The Rev. Joyce Hackett Smith, N.D., is an ordained minister who also believes in natural healing and holds a doctorate degree in naturopathy.