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Noted: A Memorial for Mental Health

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chaps676

Serious mental illness is often a family matter discussed behind closed doors. Yet with nearly half of all U.S. adults diagnosed with a lifelong mental disorder, this repressed issue affects all of us in some way. So when artist Anna Schuleit was asked to create an installation for the soon-to-be-demolished Massachusetts Mental Health Center, she embraced the task of addressing such a difficult subject. After three months of planning, Schuleit filled nearly every square foot of the health center with 28,000 potted flowers in an installation called Bloom. “I was hoping to create a work that would bring aspects of play into the seriousness of the institution, an element of the absurd,” said Schuleit in an interview with Colossal.

During the four-day installation, visitors quietly roamed the halls and peeked around corners, overwhelmed and surprised by the sight of lavender, tulips and daisies. During its run, Bloom also attracted former patients of the health center. For those who knew the halls all too well, Schuleit’s installation was cathartic. “My mother told me, 36 years ago, ‘Hang on. They’ll find a cure,’” wrote one former patient in the guestbook for Bloom. “I was suffering alone until I came to MMHC. And today… oh so grateful…beyond any words, so grateful. Lives and sufferings have been redeemed here… Today, we flourish.” After the installation came to an end, Schuleit delivered the flowers to shelters and psychiatric hospitals throughout New England where they continued to blossom. While photographs may be all that remains of Bloom, they reveal a quietly optimistic meditation on mental health, bringing color, life and hope to those who suffer.

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Chappell Ellison is a designer, writer and design writer. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she serves as a contributor for The Etsy Blog and design columnist for GOOD.

4 Featured Comments

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  • pedazos

    Melissa from pedazos says: Featured

    With tears in my eyes I scrolled through this wonderful story and the beautiful photos. Just a few months ago mental illness hit close to home (Mom). It struck without warning and with a vengeance. The process of just educating myself has been life changing for me. Thank you for bringing this subject of mental illness to light. And for the beautiful photos.

    2 years ago

  • oddlobster

    Leah Waig from OfDreamsandDaring says: Featured

    Beautiful on so many levels... as someone who's been diagnosed with a mental illness (depression), this really strikes a chord with me. It just goes to show that beauty and splendor can be found in the most unlikely places... that there are quiet yet elegant ways of focusing on such issues, and perhaps they are, in some ways, what we as a society make of them. Thank you for this piece.

    2 years ago

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations says: Featured

    There are so many eloquent comments already - I'm always impressed by that on Etsy! This is a beautiful piece inspired by the hope of a good heart. It makes me happy to know that the artist felt a calling to this place and what it represents, and all the lives affected by it. Mental illness is one of the most difficult issues to cope with in a family, with friends, or in oneself, and it can manifest itself in so many ways. I have a special place in my heart for all who suffer.

    2 years ago

  • odelay03

    odelay03 says: Featured

    I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor living in Brooklyn and have worked in various settings with a range of people with mental illness. One of my favorite aspects of counseling is seeing a person go from darkness into the light, gaining better quality of life and independence. This exhibit, in my opinion, celebrates this. Also, environment is so important for the mind, body and soul. Some mental health environs are very institutional, ugly and falling apart. The beauty of flowers makes a difference in this type of setting. Beautification of mental health treatment centers will only lead to better energy and treatment.

    2 years ago

  • ThePolkadotMagpie

    Polkadot Magpie from ThePolkadotMagpie says:

    Fantastic piece as always, Chappell.

    2 years ago

  • riverluna

    Marisa Redondo from RiverLuna says:

    Wow, what a beautiful piece. Love this.

    2 years ago

  • laurenrosedesign
  • VoleedeMoineaux

    Hillary De Moineaux from VoleedeMoineaux says:

    I just love the picture!

    2 years ago

  • stepbackink

    Sam from stepbackink says:

    beautiful pictures :)

    2 years ago

  • HOomen

    H. Oomen from HOomen says:

    "...bringing color, life and hope to those who suffer" What could be more beautiful.

    2 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    So beautiful!!!

    2 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    Kathleen from myvintagecrush says:

    Wow.. beautiful :)

    2 years ago

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl says:

    That is so cool!

    2 years ago

  • muffintopdesigns

    cylene from TheLovelySmith says:

    mental health never receives the attention that it should - so many people live with mental illness and that needs to be brought to the forefront so that proper treatment and programs can happen. what a beautiful way to bring attention to an area of healthcare that is severely overlooked. kudos to anna and chappell!

    2 years ago

  • kh1467

    Kelly from KikuPaper says:

    The beautiful vibrant flowers humanize the spaces. But there is a feeling in the spaces that scream "institution" (in the bad way). The mint green paint, cold tiles up the walls and that long hallway with all those doors still give off a frightening feeling. Thankfully new treatment centres don't look like.

    2 years ago

  • AlternativeBlooms

    Alternative Blooms from AlternativeBlooms says:

    Ohh this is soo lovely. Mental illness touches everyone at some point or another. Our Father was diagnosed at age 60 with Alzheimer's disease. Though not a life long illness it will take his life and there is no cure. His mind has gone into retirement well before his body has. We mourn his loss even though he still walks with us and we try to find joy in each day we can spend with him. We take comfort in the fact that (for now) he loves to play with our children, he finds peace with the children who expect little from him .. just playing blocks or airplanes, shooting around elastics at each other or holding each others hands as they walk the airplane museum. It is wonderful to see someone find a place of peace when they spend much of their life being taunted by mental illness. We are thankful for these safe places of rest. Wonderful Post :) Aim & Mel We curated this for our daddy ;) cuz we love him sooooo much. http://www.etsy.com/treasury/MjAxNDY0MzJ8MjU2Mjc0NDI4NQ/we-will-help-you-remember-the-little-boy?ref=pr_treasury

    2 years ago

  • lenalimestudio

    dana from lenalimestudio says:

    Amazing! A truly great piece of art.

    2 years ago

  • aymujer
  • VintageMarketPlace

    VintageMarketPlace from VintageMarketPlace says:

    this is amazing therapy

    2 years ago

  • LAccentNou

    Anastasia from LAccentNou says:

    Great idea! Thank you for this article!

    2 years ago

  • Zaheroux

    Megan Weber from Zaheroux says:

    Such a beautiful message. Thank you for sharing!

    2 years ago

  • thestapeliacompany

    Jessica Beebe from thestapeliacompany says:

    Wow. A great idea and a great message. Visually, it's top notch as well. ;)

    2 years ago

  • littlepancakes

    Melissa Pancakes from littlepancakes says:

    I've seen this before, it's gorgeous

    2 years ago

  • marmiejotter

    Marmie from marmiejotter says:

    Absolutely wonderful~ thank you for sharing this article!

    2 years ago

  • pedazos

    Melissa from pedazos says: Featured

    With tears in my eyes I scrolled through this wonderful story and the beautiful photos. Just a few months ago mental illness hit close to home (Mom). It struck without warning and with a vengeance. The process of just educating myself has been life changing for me. Thank you for bringing this subject of mental illness to light. And for the beautiful photos.

    2 years ago

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mr. Sal Phan, Bichon Frise from Mclovebuddy says:

    beautiful installation. i've seen munchausen by proxy syndrome to the extreme so it's nice to see something that is positive and genuine meaning legitimate diagnoses and therapies.

    2 years ago

  • FeatheredSparrow

    FeatheredSparrow from FeatheredSparrow says:

    what a meaningful and beautiful expression! really breath taking, thank you.

    2 years ago

  • imthequeenbee

    imthequeenbee says:

    bittersweet. really beautiful, amazing job,

    2 years ago

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering says:

    What a unique story!

    2 years ago

  • thehouseofhemp

    sarah parker from thehouseofhemp says:

    this is beautiful.

    2 years ago

  • taraldavies

    Tara Davies from ElisabethStreet says:

    This is so touching - I love that you shared it here.

    2 years ago

  • Elanor1420

    Emily Lunsford says:

    This is an absolutely breathtaking exhibit. Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • Zalavintage

    Zane Saracene from Zalavintage says:

    Brings tears, remembering my dear friend Vala, a beautiful blues woman who sang with John Lee Hooker for decades and who suffered from bi-polar disorder, a disorder for which they still seek a cure. She would have loved walking through these halls...

    2 years ago

  • kristincoffin

    Kristin Coffin from kristincoffin says:

    a beautiful, flourishing installation. I just shared this story with many friends.

    2 years ago

  • savannahcat

    Lisa Jeffrey from savannahcat says:

    What a great idea :) love this story and pics!

    2 years ago

  • savannahcat

    Lisa Jeffrey from savannahcat says:

    What a lovely story, I love the photos and concept!

    2 years ago

  • professorwoodruff

    professorwoodruff from ProfessorWoodruff says:

    All of the work and planning that had to go into that is very inspiring to me. Love the idea, love the pictures and love the story behind it!

    2 years ago

  • TabbiesandTrains

    TabbiesandTrains from TabbiesandTrains says:

    I'm bipolar and ADD, so thank you so much for this! Fabulous, as even in the workplace we face discrimination and a stigma, and I'm in healthcare - so you'd assumed we'd be more enlightened.

    2 years ago

  • LCooperDesigns

    LC Cooper from LeMaisonBelle says:

    Beautiful story! The use of vibrant, blooming flora in such an austere environment is poetic and thought provoking - great job!!!

    2 years ago

  • SusanLeeStudios

    Susan Lee Stephen from SusanLeeStudios says:

    Truly awe-some. Wish I could see it in person. Beautiful.

    2 years ago

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny says:

    What an amazing story. I love the idea of bringing lively beauty to a place often considered taboo.

    2 years ago

  • tararie

    Tara from tararie says:

    A beautiful way to remember a building that must've helped a lot of people.

    2 years ago

  • ForElephant

    Tami from ForElephant says:

    Severe mental health disorders run in our family, and we have been very acquainted with the hospitalization. We rally around each other as a family and we spend long hours holding hands and supporting our loved ones. We often get to know other patients who are there, most of whom have no visitors. We adopt them and connect with them and share life with them. Thank you for sharing this story. I am sure you touched many hearts, as you have touched mine.

    2 years ago

  • PhunkyJunket

    Melissa from PhunkyJunket says:

    Just amazing. My breath was truly taken away from the pure beauty of this wonderful exhibit of blooming hallways. I am a manic bipolar & thankfully it's not too often but when I crash into a deep depression I go down hard & almost always have to be hospitalized. I've had a hard time excepting this diagnosis for over 13 years now but for some reason it made sense to me in a tiny moment of reading this article & browsing through the flowered halls. A place decorated, with so much time & effort & appreciation only to be demolished. A place where hurt arrives but may be discharged with a little peace of mind. I live near Mass & I wish I could have gone, but this will suffice, thank you for my little peace of mind & understanding in that moment. It meant more than you could know. <3

    2 years ago

  • MelissaKojima

    Melissa Kojima from ArtistInLALALand says:

    Wow. That is so touching and amazing. Thanks for blogging about her amazing installations.

    2 years ago

  • evoreedae

    Virginia Huitron from evoreedae says:

    It's like seeing love.

    2 years ago

  • HansHolzkopf

    Nataliya from HansHolzkopf says:

    wow! beautifuuuuuul!!

    2 years ago

  • janicewd

    janicewd from janicewd says:

    What a wonderful and very special story. The photos are amazing, beautiful, powerful and strong. Touching to say the least.

    2 years ago

  • HelloMountains

    Audrey from HelloMountains says:

    so beautiful!!!!!!!

    2 years ago

  • TresChicNmodern

    TresChicNmodern from TresChicNmodern says:

    I JUST LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEE THE GORGEOUSSSS FLOWERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLLLL ARTICLE :-)

    2 years ago

  • gossamer531

    Gossamer Tearoom from TheGossamerTearoom says:

    I read this with tears in my eyes. Today, I was so missing a friend I lost to mental illness (OCD and panic disorders) 11 years ago this May. Severe mental illness can be as much a terminal illness as cancer or heart disease and so I am grateful for the lives that have been saved due to treatment. It is possible my friend was in this facility (I think he even lost track). It made my heart sing to see this place filled with beautiful flowers and to know they have gone on to bring a moment of happiness to many other places. Thank you, thank you Ms. Schuleit.

    2 years ago

  • rtothesecondpower

    Rachel Fitzgerald from rtothesecondpower says:

    So gorgeous and moving. I'm in school for art therapy and I'm going to share this with our class. So beautiful.

    2 years ago

  • RandomSacksOfKindnes
  • JoyousCrafts

    Heather Salzman from JoyousCrafts says:

    Beautiful. I gives me happy chills all over. :)

    2 years ago

  • moonandcheese

    Vanny De Los Santos says:

    This is just a beautiful piece you wrote.

    2 years ago

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 from Parachute425 says:

    Interesting, as always, Chappell.

    2 years ago

  • whatemilymakes

    Emily E. from ZiggyAndZoop says:

    Very touching. Mental illness is (in my opinion) constantly being misdiagnosed, wrongly treated, and not taken seriously enough. Society is truly failing the mentally ill with our general lack of education, understanding, and proactivity. Those photographs capture the beauty of all who choose to help, support, and love unconditionally.

    2 years ago

  • oddlobster

    Leah Waig from OfDreamsandDaring says: Featured

    Beautiful on so many levels... as someone who's been diagnosed with a mental illness (depression), this really strikes a chord with me. It just goes to show that beauty and splendor can be found in the most unlikely places... that there are quiet yet elegant ways of focusing on such issues, and perhaps they are, in some ways, what we as a society make of them. Thank you for this piece.

    2 years ago

  • sarahfburns

    Sarah F Burns from SarahFBurns says:

    So beautiful, made me tear up. Sometimes it's easy to think of art as not that important (maybe it's just my own issues that causes me to think this - I know it's important, I'm an artist, but still - it's not growing food or caring for children etc..) anyway, this piece hit me as so obviously important for me and for our broader culture and gives me a concrete reminder that art is powerful and can be used for good! Thanks so much for sharing this.

    2 years ago

  • tenderbeasts

    Cassie Mitchell from HouseofTenderBeasts says:

    Touched & thankful to see this beautiful article, when mental illness is still such a taboo subject among many.

    2 years ago

  • EndQuotes

    Emily from EndQuotes says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful article. -Such an important topic, and a touching installation.

    2 years ago

  • melissilverkat88

    Melissa Silver says:

    Thank you...thank you. I'm thankful to you for presenting this piece and to the artist for her creation.

    2 years ago

  • auntjanecan

    Jane Priser from JanePriserArts says:

    Wonderful!

    2 years ago

  • Bearpit

    Alicia Rodriguez from NostalgicBabyCouture says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful, touching article. I long for the day when a cure for mental illness is as simple as taking an aspirin . . .

    2 years ago

  • haubenmeise

    Katrin from haubenmeise says:

    One way of coping with some kinds of (minor) mental disorder is to create and to express or symbolise feelings through e.g. painting a picture. These flower pictures contain so much energy from the past and from the present ...

    2 years ago

  • TheInvintage

    Molly Green from TheInvintage says:

    I love the juxtaposition of the beauty and simplicity of the flowers with halls that are frequently (and problematically) represented in the media as cages for the tortured and twisted souls. I hope these images bring awareness to the problems associated with those mainstream readings we have of mental health centers and their patients and make people aware that, for some, a mental health center can be a serene and centering place.

    2 years ago

  • paramountvintage

    kristin from blackmoonsky says:

    what an interesting concept. makes me wonder why more hospitals and institutions don't rely on growing, live plants to bring life to it's rooms and ultimately to it's patients.

    2 years ago

  • uniquefabricgifts

    Unique Fabric Gifts from uniquefabricgifts says:

    Love the article. Beautiful message! Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • VintageChinchilla

    Emily Jones from VintageChinchilla says:

    This is so beautiful I can't even believe it. Definitely going to share with some loved ones. Thank you.

    2 years ago

  • iammieCLAYshop

    iammieCLAYshop from iammieCLAYshop says:

    Flowers power! Love them

    2 years ago

  • uswatsons

    Sylvie Liv from SylvieLiv says:

    I am not an emotional person, but this brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful work. I would have loved to see it in person. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    2 years ago

  • terrihvaught

    Terri H. Vaught from terrihvaught says:

    What a beautiful story and pictures. Reminding us that beauty is always there if we look for it!

    2 years ago

  • PottyMouthGems

    Janet from PottyMouthGems says:

    These images are stunning to me as we nearly lost two of our children to mental illness. The contrast of these images with all the flowers and the halls we saw when we went to visit our own kids is almost overwhelming to me. I have to keep going back to look again and again at the images here, a reminder that both of our children have managed to come through and are indeed blooming. They are no longer in the halls I remember them in, talking to things the rest of us could not see. So while I am now a big puddle, I'm really grateful that this artist did the work that she did and that I have found it here. It is altering and I now have a vision of blooms left in the halls that our family walked through as well. Thank you.

    2 years ago

  • andichrisman

    Andi Chrisman from acpaintedpages says:

    I am all too familiar with mental illness--I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. I've been in psychiatric wing of our local hospital more times than I want to remember. Its nice to see artists trying to tie these two niches together.

    2 years ago

  • DGEnterprises

    Therese Magnani from DGEnterprises says:

    I've had some personal experience with people affected by mental illness. One in particular would have loved to have seen this. Beautiful installation. Thanks for sharing this!

    2 years ago

  • LaMeowVintage

    Regan from LaMeowVintage says:

    Fantastic! such a great idea.

    2 years ago

  • ThatOldBlueHouse2

    Lisa S from ThatOldBlueHouse2 says:

    What a lovely Memorial to Mental Illness. My mother had two stints in the hospital, first in a state hospital, the second on a floor for mental illness at a local hospital. She suffered all her life with Paranoia. Such a stigma for those who suffer & family...hopefully mental illness will come out of the shadows and not be so misunderstood.

    2 years ago

  • SSSJ

    Michele from SSSJ says:

    Beautiful! Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • cherylsorg

    Cheryl Sorg from cherylsorg says:

    This is so lovely. As an artist, a person who has lived with major depressive disorder my entire life, and a former Bostonian, this touches me on many levels. So glad to see it shared here. Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • 63artlove

    Diane from LaughingWaveDesigns says:

    Very touching story..thank you.

    2 years ago

  • 63artlove

    Diane from LaughingWaveDesigns says:

    Awesome and beautiful flowers - thoughtful and creative.

    2 years ago

  • grandpacharlieswkshp

    Chuck Harpham from grandpacharlieswkshp says:

    People like Anna are amazing -- who would have thought???

    2 years ago

  • DownEastAttic

    Adria from DownEastAttic says:

    Sadly still a taboo subject, even after all these years. Thank you for writing about this, I hadn't yet seen it reported elsewhere.

    2 years ago

  • noodleandlouvintage

    jenn from noodleandlouvintage says:

    wow. this is so beautiful. thank you so much for sharing!!

    2 years ago

  • tasherajean

    Tashera Jean from tasherajean says:

    this is a beautiful story. i am so grateful someone was able to make a symbol of hope for all those who suffer from some sort of mental disorder.

    2 years ago

  • flourishingagain

    Lacey from FlourishingAgain says:

    Such a beautiful installation! As someone who struggles with mental illness and watched my father struggle when I was a teenager(as if high school wasn't hard enough!), this piece touches a special place in my heart. I sought treatment but so many don't. Most feel ostracized, sadly. Thanks for bringing hope and healing to those couragous enough to admit they need it.

    2 years ago

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations says: Featured

    There are so many eloquent comments already - I'm always impressed by that on Etsy! This is a beautiful piece inspired by the hope of a good heart. It makes me happy to know that the artist felt a calling to this place and what it represents, and all the lives affected by it. Mental illness is one of the most difficult issues to cope with in a family, with friends, or in oneself, and it can manifest itself in so many ways. I have a special place in my heart for all who suffer.

    2 years ago

  • KKSimpleRegalJewelry

    Krista from TheBeadtriss says:

    WOW!! ~KK~

    2 years ago

  • SacredCake

    Jennifer Valentine from SacredCake says:

    This brought tears to my eyes...for very personal reasons... what an amazing,extraordinary and beautiful, thought provoking installation.

    2 years ago

  • sarahkaydesign

    Sarah Lucero from sarahkaydesign says:

    That is a truely touching piece of art! Wow, thanks for sharing.

    2 years ago

  • ARTSTUDIO51

    ARTSTUDIO51 from ARTSTUDIO51 says:

    Beautiful !!

    2 years ago

  • iloveludwig

    Astrid R. from AnAstridEndeavor says:

    lovely and thoughtful.

    2 years ago

  • IvyTurtle

    Rose Marion from HeroineDesigns says:

    How lovely.

    2 years ago

  • akealoha

    Anela says:

    Wonderfully touching! Thank you for the wonderful article! :)

    2 years ago

  • Attractive1

    Elena Fom from Attractive1 says:

    Goverments put the care of mental health on a family. Pharmaceutical companies makes profits on expensive drags. Not all families can afford them. And patients are left without medical care. Last years the western approach to psychiatry implemented in our country too. Pity for these poor and their family!

    2 years ago

  • freesoul

    Semira from freesoul says:

    Thank you!! what a healing project.. It is hard to talk about this subject

    2 years ago

  • airdreknox

    Airdre Knox from UnityBlue says:

    Wonderful wonderful wonderful - I have suffered with mental illness for much of my life, it’s such a joy to see a place of such loneliness and pain to be turned into a celebration of life. Thank you for sharing this and for warming my heart <3

    2 years ago

  • LouFrancis

    Lou Francis from LouFrancis says:

    This is incredible.

    2 years ago

  • six0six

    Vanessa from six0six says:

    Thanks for sharing chappell. A beautiful way to bring the issue to public attention.

    2 years ago

  • ADKaromatherapy

    Gretchen and Thomas from ADKaromatherapy says:

    so touching, and aroma-therapeutic as well! Thanks for the beautiful post.

    2 years ago

  • stanislawakodman

    stanislawa kodman says:

    beautiful & powerful.

    2 years ago

  • AutumnLeavesJewelry

    Carolyn S. Miller from AutumnLeavesJewelry says:

    wow, truly touching. wish they would keep their records for more than the allotted time...what a great way to remember the silent illnesses so many suffer.

    2 years ago

  • blueeyeddragonfly

    Heather Reichard from blueeyeddragonfly says:

    This was absolutely beautiful!!! It saddens me to think there is still such a stigma around mental illness. Maybe it’s because we can’t see it and it is not as acceptable as heart disease or any other physical illness. Maybe it’s because it’s a lot easier to blame the patient, the one suffering with the disease than accept they are really sick and they are not doing it to their self. I have suffered with major depression since I was a teenager. Living in a dark place is not something I would have ever chosen for myself and unlike what most believe we cannot just shake it off or deal with it. You would never say that to a person who is bleeding in front of you screaming in pain why would you say it to someone who is suffering that much internally. Maybe one day we will look at mental illness as just that an illness, mental illness like any disease is not something anyone wants and they can’t just get over it. Anna took a place and a subject that is uncomfortable and made it soothing and hopeful!!! Thank you for sharing it.

    2 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery says:

    Sounds like such a beautiful installation, we all grow and develop as people flowers are a great reminder of that

    2 years ago

  • aGhoulsNightOut

    Lisa Lange from LangeDollCouture says:

    incredibly touching.... thank you for sharing this.

    2 years ago

  • TheBeautyofBoredom

    Gracie from TheBeautyofBoredom says:

    Nice article! I had know idea that there were so many lifelong mental disorders. Flowers are nice, and I like the idea behind Bloom.

    2 years ago

  • KINGxACE

    Vejas from KINGxACE says:

    What a wonderful post! The execution and concept of this installation is splendid.

    2 years ago

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy says:

    wonderful article...thank you!!!

    2 years ago

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth says:

    ♥ wonderful message. ♥♥♥

    2 years ago

  • dottywalker

    Dotty Walker from SewThoughtfulBlanket says:

    I wish I could smell those flowers. Beautiful article!

    2 years ago

  • HeartfeltYarnWreaths

    Katie from HeartfeltYarnWreaths says:

    Wonderful piece.

    2 years ago

  • CandidaEtc

    candida pagan from CandidaEtc says:

    A very nice article on a truly touching installation piece.

    2 years ago

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    What an inspiring story! Those halls looked so beautiful! I'm glad it was able to bring joy to former patients :)

    2 years ago

  • pouch

    pouch from pouch says:

    I found this really moving, such a positive spin on something that is so hard for people to be positive about...

    2 years ago

  • ClaireofKLARITY

    Claire Kellerman from ClaireofKLARITY says:

    What is mental illness but a flower of an emotion waiting to bloom. We bloom when we are heard. This is the Perfect Art installation, reminding us to listen to the beauty in every person's Soul so they may bloom instead of being blocked and shut down and introverted and labeled mentally ill. Blessings, Claire of KLARITY.org

    2 years ago

  • debbyhillberg

    Debby from DebbysHandmadeGoods says:

    The flowers speak volumes.

    2 years ago

  • TheSunshineGrove

    Natalie and Jeremy from TheSunshineGrove says:

    What a beautiful art installation.

    2 years ago

  • chaps676 Admin

    Chappell Ellison says:

    So glad you guys are enjoying this one. Certainly a topic near and dear to my heart!

    2 years ago

  • HighTideDesigns

    Stacey from HighTideDesigns says:

    As a Psychologist that works with mental illness, I immediately saw the metaphor that beauty can be found in any dark place... including the mind. Beautiful, uplifting, and worthy project! Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • sandstormcreations

    sandstormcreations from sandstormcreations says:

    What a touching piece. Truely wonderful.

    2 years ago

  • odelay03

    odelay03 says: Featured

    I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor living in Brooklyn and have worked in various settings with a range of people with mental illness. One of my favorite aspects of counseling is seeing a person go from darkness into the light, gaining better quality of life and independence. This exhibit, in my opinion, celebrates this. Also, environment is so important for the mind, body and soul. Some mental health environs are very institutional, ugly and falling apart. The beauty of flowers makes a difference in this type of setting. Beautification of mental health treatment centers will only lead to better energy and treatment.

    2 years ago

  • kasawonderful

    Jeri Kim Lowe from kimpopshop says:

    Touching article; kudos to the artist for donating the flowers to shelters and hospitals, where their beauty surely brought comfort to many...

    2 years ago

  • blmcdaniel

    Blake McDaniel from blmcdaniel says:

    I like all the picture displayed in the article. They are very beautiful. Based on my observation, It looks like she planned the flowers accordingly to mood of the room: “I was hoping to create a work that would bring aspects of play into the seriousness of the institution, an element of the absurd,” I wish we as a society would follow this theme as portrayed in the pictures and article. Maybe, people could be less serious and more playful doing tough times.

    2 years ago

  • MullaneInk

    Molly Shannon from MullaneInk says:

    Love these images! So thoughtful.

    2 years ago

  • rushgirl2112

    rushgirl2112 says:

    FYI, "lifetime prevalence" does not mean a lifelong disorder. It simply means the percentage of people who will be diagnosed with a mental illness at ANY point in their lives. Not all will have it for their entire lives. For example, many women are diagnosed with postpartum depression, which is a temporary condition. According to the NIMH stats, about a quarter of adults have a mental disorder in any given year, and only about 6% are debilitating. Those numbers are still too high, of course.

    2 years ago

  • rootedphoenix

    Windy Johansen from rootedphoenix says:

    This is a nice art installation.

    2 years ago

  • blackfoxgems

    Lorna from ZombiePaws says:

    Lovely blog! :D My mental illness is not a flower, it's an angry cactus with a vendetta.

    2 years ago

  • MotherRoad

    Toni Swats says:

    I have a mental illness. It has nothing to do with emotion at all. Emotional disorders are only a PART of the various possible mental disorders. Ever heard of the DSM-IV? Yeah that's not all roses. My mental illness is organizational and practical and would look a hell of a lot more like the 3rd season of Hoarders than a room full of flowers if I tried to make an art installation of it.

    2 years ago

  • rushgirl2112

    rushgirl2112 says:

    Claire, my mental illness is a medical condition with which I was DIAGNOSED, not "labeled," and it isn't there because I'm not being "heard." You don't prevent - or cure - a disease like cancer or diabetes by listening to someone's feelings. Mental illness is no different. It's always nice to be listened to and understood when you're dealing with an illness, and it may help people to feel emotionally better to some degree, but let's not trivialize some very serious illnesses by suggesting that all we need to do is just listen to each other more and give each other hugs or whatever and everything would all be just peachy.

    2 years ago

  • CrystallineDreams

    Brandi W from CrystallineDreams says:

    The only part of a flower my mental illness is, is a thorn in my side.

    2 years ago

  • fairywithfangs

    Alyson Trent from desolationallie says:

    Claire - you comment was What is mental illness but a flower of an emotion waiting to bloom." It can also be like a vine slowly creeping up a strangling you while you are helpless to stop it. You statement makes it seem as though those with mental illness are simply waiting for some artistic expression to wake up inside them so they can be free...it is nothing like that...it can be scary and nightmarish and can torture you alive. Just ask anyone who has lived though deep depression or suicidal thoughts, or had a loved one struggle with cutting themselves. I myself have several issues I deal with and I am sure I am not the only one who just wishes this "flower of emotion" had died in a drought.

    2 years ago

  • Flyingace

    Ashley from FlyingAce says:

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for taking the time and space here on Etsy to highlight this issue and the tribute made to a place that has brought hope to so many people. I am someone who has suffered with mental illness (OCD, depression and anxiety), and I do get frustrated that mental health is so stigmatized and rarely talked about and frequently misunderstood. It is encouraging to see it shared about openly. Thank you.

    2 years ago

  • Sarrastri

    Taylor from Sarrastri says:

    I do like the pictures. They are very surreal. That being said i've watched my aunt, mother, grandfather all struggle with a depression that took them in the end. I struggle with it too. It is not a flower, mental illness is ugly. To make it pretty just doesn't work. How about instead of blogging about it you go out into the real world and volunteer. I don't need or w

    2 years ago

  • Sarrastri

    Taylor from Sarrastri says:

    I don't need or want pity.

    2 years ago

  • RJGOriginals

    Robert from RJGOriginals says:

    I'm sorry. The most disturbing part about this post is finding out that people have had comments removed by moderators for pointing out that there are blatant factual errors in it. We're supposed to sit down and allow horrible misinformation to be spread about the conditions people live with just in the name of being Etsy friendly? Correcting an author is not calling out. Frankly, this might be what makes me leave Etsy. This kind of poorly researched writing creates a hostile environment for people like me who suffer from mental health problems, which is certainly more damaging to a community than a blogger's sore feelings over receiving corrections.

    2 years ago

  • violetsommer

    Jen Silverman from violetsommervintage says:

    It's so not okay to remove comments.

    2 years ago

  • tiedyejedi

    Denise from tiedyejedi says:

    I can't help but be a little bothered by the tone of the article and many of the comments here. It's a little patronizing to people who do suffer with mental illness to simplify it so much, or pity them for it. Those of us who have our various problems don't want pity or special treatment. We aren't waiting to bloom, or anything like that. We're trying to lead normal lives and find hope wherever we can. I'm also very bothered at the apparent censorship on the article; I understand Etsy tries so very hard to be cheerful and upbeat, but when you tackle a very serious subject like this in what seems to be a flippant matter - whether it's as an article or as a commenter - people who are actually dealing with said problem have every right to express dissent.

    2 years ago

  • blackfoxgems

    Lorna from ZombiePaws says:

    Mental Illness is a degrading and crippling thing. While I am sure some thought was put into this blog, more research into those who suffer from these diseases is needed. People are suffering from these diseases, they are DYING. It's not something deep, or mystical, it's medical conditions that should be taken seriously.

    2 years ago

  • whohasseenthewind

    Chelsea Duncan says:

    I find this article highly offensive. I personally do not like Chapelle's work. It seems half-arsed and she obviously does not know how to research. That's my opinion, and I usually keep it to myself, but this is the last straw. While the art exhibit discussed is a nice work with lots of meaning, Chapelle's attempt to romanticize mental illness is disgusting. Not only are there many factual errors, which others have addressed above, but Chapelle paints mental illness as just a little bump in the road of life. For some it is, but for most it is most definitely the opposite of that. While I do not personally let my mental illness dictate what I do in life, it does affect my decisions and my quality of life. I am appalled that anyone would write such inane articles, much less consider them publishable. Not everything in life is romantic and whimsical, Chapelle. Certainly not mental illness. If Etsy wants to portray life as such, perhaps you should stick to more fluffy pieces and not try to tackle an issue you obviously aren't prepared for.

    2 years ago

  • dragonmum2

    dragonmum2 says:

    As a psychiatrist as well as a member of the etsy community, I feel a responsibility to speak up. Chappell, I appreciate the effort you put into your work. Unfortunately, some misinformation about mental illness is contained in the post. 50% of Americans may be diagnosed with a mental illness during their lifetime, but that doesn't mean it's life-long. Most people get better. That's a good thing. Mental illness isn't cute, or artistic or romantic. It sucks - As, I'm sure, many of you know. Because I'm both a psychiatrist and someone who has mental illness (they aren't mutually exclusive, y'all), I probably see it in a different way. They will soon tear down that institution that has seen decades of horror, pain and insanity. (and that's just the staff...). Flooding it with living flowers doesn't negate the severity of mental illness or gloss it over. I see hope, but also an almost funeral-like atmosphere... is it RIP for the building or the hundreds of patients who probably died there? I spent a lot of time working at one of our state mental hospitals, Dorthea Dix. Weekends when I worked, I was the only Dr on the entire campus. For me, the halls echoed with responsibility but also with "For but the grace of god, here go you too". There is an atmosphere and a smell that pervades the buildings... and, I believe, many restless spirits who still are not at peace. My point? The art made a statement that is important to many people, especially ones with connection to those particular buildings. You must look beyond the surface beauty of the flowers to experience the emotional impact of this exhibit. It's not a fluffy, lovey huggy place, and those flowers mean much more than anyone who hasn't walked that walk can imagine.

    2 years ago

  • blackfoxgems

    Lorna from ZombiePaws says:

    "While photographs may be all that remains of Bloom, they reveal a quietly optimistic meditation on mental health, bringing color, life and hope to those who suffer." Is probably the most irritating and insulting thing I have read in a long time.

    2 years ago

  • yqsl66

    Ada Ada from idajewelry66 says:

    Wow, beautiful piece.Thank you for the wonderful article! :)

    2 years ago

  • KaraMel2014

    KaraMel2014 says:

    There's nothing I can say that hasn't been stated more eloquently by others, but I do not think it is okay that comments were removed, I dislike this article, and I think Chapelle should look up some facts that can be found with a really simple google search. I think these blogs should stick to crafts and handmade or vintage items. Perhaps one defining steampunk would be a great installation in the future?

    2 years ago

  • PheatherPhuzzFoto

    Alice Adams from PheatherPhuzzFoto says:

    I think this whole thing has demolished the last little bit of hope I was clinging to. It’s bad enough that doctors, friends, and family all just expect me to snap out of it. This piece seems to be telling society that if I look at some pretty flowers it will erase the years of abuse that caused the years of depression and anxiety. To add insult to injury, my mental illness causes me to interpret this art in a way that I don’t think was intended. The use of potted plants tells me that you do not want me to branch out, to grow, or to thrive. It tells me that while I am an individual, I will always be seen as one of many. It tells me I am replaceable and dispensable. I am indistinguishable from others. It tells me that you think we can all be treated the same way and, as long as we have our daily water and sunlight, we can be ignored like most potted plants. You cannot preach optimism to the perpetually pessimistic.

    2 years ago

  • jenwebbdvm

    Jen Webb says:

    Who among us does not deal with a disease personally, or have a family member or close friend who struggles. I wonder....if one-tenth of those blooms had been there when the patients were, how different things might have been. History is recorded so we do not repeat the parts we come to find were either harmful or did not help. Anyone who observes the contrast between the institutional walls and the vibrant, colorful flowers so bursting with intensity that the walls can barely contain their energy.....then you see Chapelle is speaking for you as best she can. My whole family has had diagnoses,horrific stuff. Don't stifle an artist's attempt to DO something, anything, on our behalf. I think it is beautiful and don't ever discourage reasonable exchange of opinion. Then we do NOT make progress....the common goal, I truly believe. Etsy is limitless in its potential. If you disagree, certainly, let it be known, if you wish, but how many young people do you think even knew what the early years of the field of psychiatry were really like? Beautiful piece

    2 years ago