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Art Saves • by Bari J. Ackerman

When asked by CRESCENDOh to write about how art saves, I didn’t need to think too hard or look too far. I don’t talk much about it publicly, but people who know me know that art really did save me.

Something Awry
I started sewing about seven years ago. I was a wife and a mom with 5- and 7-year-old daughters. I was across the country from the rest of my family, and though I didn’t have words for it at the time, I was deeply depressed — so much so that there were days I simply did not want to get out of bed. I did. But only because I had to ... for my kids. The final straw was one day when I was at my wits end, angry at the world for no particular reason and so, so impatient. I’d been grumpy and edgy all day, but then later that night I snapped at my 5 year old. I believe she had gotten out of bed for the 15th time, and I yelled at her. I know this girl. She was probably getting out of bed because she sensed something was awry. She was and still is the kind of kid who soaks up all the energy in the house, be that good or bad energy. So when I yelled, she looked up at me with her sweet little face, and said, “Mommy. When you are angry my heart doesn’t know who you are.” What 5 year old says that? Clearly, all bets were off. I had to get help.

Back to What I Love
The next morning, I called the doctor and dragged — and I mean dragged — myself there. Within a week, I was taking an anti-depressant, which pulled me out my haze, and then about a month later, when I finally had the energy, I got back to something I loved. Art. This time though, I decided to learn to sew.

The rest of the story is pure magic. Sewing and creating pulled me out of a funk that was so funky the world seemed gray. Art gave me focus and purpose. It gave me confidence. It made the world have color again. Nothing since has been the same. I know in my heart that I am the person I was meant to be. I’m doing the thing that makes me most happy.

Although it’s not something I regularly talk about, asked to write about it, the truth is that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that art has the power to heal. I know because art saved me.

To learn more about Bari J. Ackerman, visit her blog at


Wow! What wisdom your 5 year old had! Really makes you think! Thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad that Art saved you as I love your fabrics!

What a touching story...Art is so powerful and I am glad it has brought good to so many people like you! Thanks for sharing.

xo sweet barij!

Such an important story! So happy that you found who you are supposed to be! (What a wise girl at just 5!)

wow Bari. No wonder I like you so much. That was me just 2 years ago this July. Sewing saved me. Creating things saved me. Keep up the great work. your talent is unwavering. xoxo

I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know you. I'm so glad you found your path back to your artistic side. Your fabrics and creativity are truly special and unique.

Hi you all. I just thought I'd add that when Emily said that at five years old it was truly a stop in your tracks moment. It certainly wasn't anything like the way she normally spoke, and really almost odd coming from a five year old. So, yes, then, and even more so in retrospect, it makes me wonder just where those wise and completely truthful words came from.
Thanks for reading my story.

So open and honest. Thanks for sharing even more of your journey with us Bari, you are an absolute inspiration.

Oh Bari! That is so beautiful and I remember having one of those "aha!" moments while in a depression too (and it lead to all this)! Being able to express my art brought me back to life (and designers like you give me the medium to express that art).

My eyes are all misty from the pure innocent sweetness that propelled you to take the path you are on today.

Be blessed.

Bari, thank you for allowing us in. Know what you went through as I too have suffered severly from depression (post-partum launched it). Depression is the worst and best thing to go through because after getting through it, you know you want to do everything in your power to never get there again! I am working hard getting ready for The Creative Connection Event where I will be a vendor at The Handmade Market. Doing this because I lost my mom unexpectedly last Fall and wanted to direct my energies in a positive direction. Art certainly DOES save, doesn't it?!!! Keep coming with your beautiful art!

It does seem color truly can release the grayness from our soul!
I had this type of thing, happen to me. I am a WIP; YOU are
so talented, it is hard to believe you have been sewing for such a short time. It is a gift, so happy your heART knows who you are and your daughter gave you the key to get help. This helped you back on the path to finding YOU! Thanks for sharing! You have inspired many~

Bari, you are so beyond loving and kind. I love your story, and I love more than that, that your experience has brought you to the place you are today, sweet friend. Your talent is beyond compare, so is your excitement about what you create. I am looking forward to what else is in store for you. You go, girl!! xo Lidy

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