Christien Polos
Mixed Media

Artist Statement:

I am a dancer, director, choreographer, set and costume designer, artist and retired  high school teacher, originally from the San Francisco, now living in West Roxbury,  Massachusetts. 

Before retiring from my thirty-year teaching career, I created a program at Brookline  High School called the Arts Infusion Lab. This program served three groups of students  that were not able to access an arts curriculum due to an alternative daily schedule.

The programs included Community-Based Classroom which served students on the  autism spectrum; ACE, a program for students who needed a focused and condensed  learning curriculum; and Winthrop House, a program for students with social emotional  challenges. 

In designing art-focused lessons for the students in these programs I also created the  roots of what would become Ariel Designs in my retirement. 

The Purses 

I began to crochet while working at Winthrop House where I was the art teacher. I  developed many projects allowing for a range of talents and interests. One of my  students loved to crochet. It calmed her to come in the mornings and sit crocheting  something while others painted, drew, sculpted, or played the guitar. I soon realized that  I too wanted to learn how to crochet. This student patiently taught me the basics. I  began making Granny Squares which eventually turned into small afghans. Four  afghans, many scarves, and lots of tangled yarn later, I started the purses.

The Mandalas 

My interest in mandalas began while teaching in the ACE program. I brought in a book  of You Color mandalas in an attempt to interest the students in something that would be  easy and soothing. But they wanted to be challenged more, so I researched and  developed a way of making individual mandalas based upon a student’s name or their  interests. 

I love creating a mandala, in part due to the calming impact it has on me. Many cultures  and religions incorporate mandala making in their prayer practices, including Tibetan  Buddhism, in the medicine wheels of the Lakota Tribe of North America, the rosette  windows in Christian churches, and the Celtic crosses of the ancient Druids. 

The process of drawing the original design, creating the mirror image, multiplying the  image to create the circular form, and the many hours of coloring and painting is often 

influenced by impressions from one or more of these cultures. These impressions  parallel my experience in yoga as I practice breath, focus, and patience.  

The Boxes 

My box-making venture began with an annual fundraising event for the Boston Dance  Alliance. As a member the Board of Directors, I was asked to make three boxes for  raffle tickets prizes. The first creations were made from old shoe boxes and dance  photos in my collection. The following year, I used heavier wooden boxes to support an  actual pointe shoe.  

During the Christmas holiday the following year, my spouse mentioned that he didn’t  own a nice jewelry box. I decided to make him a present using an old gift wine box and  my vast collection of National Geographic magazines. (You can find his box displayed  on the boxes page of this website.) This series of events became the genesis for my  box collection.

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