Let’s get real. As artists we can tend to let our love for creating take over and thus results in our bodies being neglected. Typically, we think about this neglect in terms of our bodies anatomical structure: aches, pains and strains. But, have you ever considered neurological and nervous system affects?
Abby Mechanic thankfully reached out about collaborating with Wellness for Makers in order to share her personal story. We met over smoothies to talk about how wood making has shaped her life. She began wood-making as a freshman in High School and went on to receive her BFA from the Maine College of Art with a concentration in Woodworking and Furniture Design. She now acts as the Manager of the Making Center at Parsons School of Design. In this role, she works closely with leadership to implement administrative support to align the Making Center objectives across all shops, labs and facilities. Outside of Parsons, Abby currently leads spoon carving workshops across the country.
Abby’s woodworking journey was shifted about 5 years ago when particulate, dust and exposure to chemicals in her job’s workshop affected her neurologically. Her nervous system responded in a surprising way, forcing her to re-focus on her wellness. Abby, an advocate for workshop safety, was always aware of the respiratory dangers and anatomical discomforts she could encounter but did not foresee the trauma it could unleash. Abby teaches makers to strive to maintain comfort in their body while still being able to make the work they love. She says that sometimes our most important tools are not in expensive workshops, but instead in us and the ability to adapt or change workflow to prevent our body’s from being unhappy.
Abby Mechanic’s Website: https://www.abbymechanic.com
Parsons Art and Design School: https://www.newschool.edu/parsons/
Parsons Making Center Resources: http://resources.parsons.edu