Salt & Light The art workshops at the Lighthouse are a challenge for Theresa. Art doesn’t come naturally to her which often leads to frustration and a lack of confidence. She’s not necessarily alone so we purposefully offer a variety of art experiences for the ladies who are part of a year-long, faith-based residential treatment program for women recovering from substance abuse.

Returning after the holiday hiatus, we came prepared with a writing work sheet on being salt and light in the world and…an adult version of a coloring page – an outline of a lighthouse with radiating rays of light against a cloudy sky and waves breaking on the lighthouse’s rocky foundation. Even before seeing what the activity was, Theresa began to express her anxiety about art making. I reassured her that I planned this activity with her in mind.

The ladies outlined the picture’s details with Elmer’s glue and then liberally covered the glue with table salt. After shaking off the excess salt, they lightly touched the salted glue with watercolors. The salt being absorbent, the watercolors spread easily. There were oohs and aahs around the room. Soon the ladies were individualizing their own lighthouses. Although the beginning image was the same, now no two pictures were alike. Truly an easy art activity with a lot of bang for the buck. Theresa was hooked.

At one point Blanca asked, “What does this have to do with being salt and light?” No sooner were the words out of her mouth and she’d gotten the metaphor embedded in the activity. The Lighthouse has been a beacon of hope for these women, built on a solid foundation of faith in the One who is the Light of the world. Like the watercolors, as they absorb the truth of the Word as the heart of their recovery, their light shines piercing the darkness around them.

While this is a fun art activity, it doesn’t produce a work of lasting quality. The salt easily falls off the dried glue when the card stock support structure is flexed. While I cautioned them about that, I also suggested that’s a good metaphor of how we’re to be the “salt of the earth” leaving little bits of our “saltiness” here and there through love and service to others.

One of the things I like best about this easy art activity is the eagerness with which others want to share it with friends and family. Eventually, a master copy was made by the program coordinator Jen because so many of the women asked for copies of the coloring page. They were eager to do the salt and light art activity with their children. Even Theresa wanted to do it with her grandchildren! Glue, salt and watercolors – 10 Anxiety – 0! Wahoo!!!

Enjoy the uniqueness of each lighthouse.

If you were to draw a coloring book image for this art activity, what would it look like? If you were going to share this with others, who would they be? What other metaphors of salt and light, rocks and waves, etc come to mind with this image?

I’m eager to hear your comments so that this art activity might be expanded in other directions.

3 comments to Salt

  • Luisa Johnson

    How about a flock of sheep looking for a shepherd?
    Or a prodigal child returning home to a loving father?
    My heart, Christ’s home?
    A path going up a mountain?
    A ship seeking safe harbor in a storm?
    Love the project! Beautiful work, ladies!

  • Judy Siudara

    Wow! You need to hire Luisa! I love this kind of activity and it is right up my alley, as far as a terrific thing I can use w/ kids. And use all Luisa’s suggestions too! I even like that it is difficult forth the salt to always remain on the page. Thanks,Lynn et al. Terrific work. J.

  • Helen

    Love this post and the activity Lynne – thank you – and thank you to the lighthouse ladies whose bravery is so often a source of inspiration to me as I journey with them.

    It reminded me of a poem I wrote several years ago now – it’s still relevant to my journey but maybe I’m able to turn to Jesus more quickly now! Perhaps it will speak to them as their stories speak to me x

    Which way to go?
    I ask the sailors
    Which way to go?
    I ask the stars
    Which way to go?
    I ask the wind
    But they make no reply
    Frantically I spin and turn
    Looking for the answer
    Yet missing your light
    As it flashes
    Upon the waves

    Behind me
    With measured beat
    Your light
    Signals the way home
    Turning at last
    I fix my eyes on Jesus
    As I grow still and quiet
    My eye catches your light
    Flashing upon the waves
    The narrow beam
    Marking the path
    Drawing me safely home to you

    HW 24-2-08

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