Guest Blogger Amanda C. Nachman on Agate Art

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Amanda C. Nachman shared on this blog before to introduce us to her memoir, poetry, and blogging. This is such a different post because it isn’t so much about her brain injury and experiences directly around the injury. This one is about her newest artistic passion. And while you can see how her brain injury impairments color what she does, how, and why, here you learn about another side to Amanda. I feel really honored she wanted to do this guest post and talk about art, some family history, and bittersweetness.

“As a person with a MTBI, I have grown to appreciate the quiet times in my life, as well as the days without time constraints due to doctor appointments, or other obligations.

When I was a little girl, my father used to take me agate hunting wherever we could find dirt. Forty something years later, I am still looking in the dirt for agates. Why? I find it completely soothing and peaceful, without the need to talk, listen, or really focus on just one thing.

In moving to the Oregon Coast from Minnesota this fall, I have discovered the Oregon Coast agate. My favorite times are the moments when I can walk along the ocean and find the treasures hidden in the sand. I used to collect and polish my rocks, and then hide them away in a box. The agates here are just too beautiful for that! My husband, who is also an artist, began using some of my Oregon Coast agates in his jewelry work. It got me thinking about how much I enjoy looking at these beautiful stones.

Six rings made of small beach glass pieces are visible, making up a mandala. Each ring is one color family, and the rings are pinks, greens, whites, and reds. In the center is a larger piece of beach glasses. The rings are on rich brown, textured paper.[Image description: Six rings made of small stones are visible, making up a mandala. Each ring is one color family, and the rings are pinks, greens, whites, and reds. In the center is a larger piece of stone. The rings are on rich brown, textured paper.]

I sat down one day and made some circles with designs based on doodles I’ve created in the past, mandala’s that I have seen, and whatever came to mind. I chose circles at first because I find them calming and pleasing to look at. Don’t ask me why:)

After completing my first circle, I admired the beauty and the texture beneath my hands, and from there I kept making circles until I joined them together and framed them. Once I started I didn’t want to stop. My dining room table is usually filled with circles, bowls of agates, and sketches. I branched out a bit and explored some other shapes and backgrounds. Although each piece takes me about a month or so, the final product is so satisfying to me. I love a finished product. What is so satisfying and amazing about this process is that you can work on your own time table without there being a right or wrong way to do it. I decided to put myself out there for the world, and I put some of my artwork up on Etsy, even thought it gives me great joy to walk by my work each day.

A shadow box with black frame on a dark wood table. Inside the box is an intricate, geometrical design with tiny, densely packed pieces of beach glass. Colors include blues, browns, whites, and yellows. Designs include circles, bars, lines, and stripes.I made my first sale today, and it was bittersweet packing it up, and sending it off. So, as I explained to someone the other day, I have been given the challenges of a brain injury, but in return, I received the gift of my inner artist. How blessed am I.”

[Image description: A shadow box with black frame on a dark wood table. Inside the box is an intricate, geometrical design with tiny, densely packed pieces of stone. Colors include blues, browns, whites, and yellows. Designs include circles, bars, lines, and stripes.]

Amanda was an elementary school teacher pre-TBI. Following her brain injury she is a published author, blogger, volunteer, and now proudly calls herself an artist as well.