ORINDA -- As a Rosen Method bodywork practitioner for several years, Sandra Wooten has utilized this mind-body practice that uses touch and responsive words to help people heal from physical and emotional discomfort and pain.

She's been able to incorporate the meditative quality of her practice into beading, a hobby Wooten first took up as a child -- which she continues these days with more insight and purpose.

"The Rosen Method bodywork I've done for many years has influenced my ability to relax, be patient and to pay attention, and this has really come through in my bead work," the Orinda resident said.

Wooten's small bead baskets, measuring from 3/4-inch in diameter to 1 3/4 inches, and " and from a half-inch to 2 inches in height, will be on display for the entire month of July at the Orinda Library gallery.

This collection has been 12 years in the making, and it's the first time they have been shown other than a small part of the collection at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, NM.

She chooses colors that appeal to her in the moment from a large array of seed beads.

"The colors have to resonate with me. It is not just simply a visual choice but a choice that feels right," she said. "For me, my art is a body-based experience, as it is for most artists. I spend a lot of time choosing colors and deciding where or when to add a color, one bead at a time."

A self-taught beading artist, Wooten said she doesn't use patterns -- the bead baskets design themselves.

"This is definitely where my training in Rosen Method shows up in my art," she said. "I sense what touches, resonates with me, what has meaning and feels right. Rosen Method develops patience and presence -- actually working with the nervous system through gentle touch -- and these qualities are requirements for doing my intricate, time-consuming bead work."

People who own one of her pieces said they hold them sacred, and place them on altars or in a favorite room or work space.

"The word 'bead' originally meant 'prayer' and indeed, the baskets have been used to hold prayers/wishes written on a small piece of paper," Wooten said. "They are used to hold special jewelry, and they have been used to hold pills. I love having them in my home as they bring great beauty in such a small package."

Wooten's colleague Alan Fogel said Wooten has been a major influence on his life for the past 15 years. She was his Rosen Method bodywork teacher when he began his training as a bodywork practitioner in 1998, his supervisor when he was a bodywork intern from 2001 to 2004 and his mentor during his training to become a Rosen bodywork teacher from 2009 to 2012. It was during one of those bodywork intensives that Wooten brought one of her small bead baskets to offer as a gift for a scholarship raffle.

"Each one was intricate, delicate and strong, a reflection of Sandra's magic hands and spirit, and each one was unique and beautiful," Fogel said. "I was never lucky enough to win one of her baskets in the raffle."

But three years ago, for his 65th birthday, Fogel's wife Jacqueline, a Rosen Method Movement teacher, secretly commissioned Wooten to make one of her baskets for him.

"It contains all the primal shapes and a wealth of deep, intense colors," he said. "This basket sits in my Rosen treatment room, right next to the eagle fetish offering bowl, carved by a Native American artist and gifted to me by Sandra on the day I completed my Rosen bodywork teacher training. I feel blessed to have had Sandra's spirit, energy, joy and her magic hands, in my life for all these years."

Jacqueline Fogel said Wooten captured her husband's essence in the unique, personalized basket -- a complex arrangement of the universal symbols including a circle, square, triangle, equilateral cross and spiral. There are deep rich hues that resonate with the depth, gentleness and spirit of her husband.

"Every basket that Sandra makes is a unique treasure -- a true jewel to behold," she said. "As a textile person myself, I knew how much work and love goes into the creation of a beautiful object. Each piece is a prayer and meditation of color, design, meaning, relationships and much more that I am sure Sandra would hold sacred and holy. I feel blessed that we have a piece of hers in our home."

Sandra Wooten's bead baskets display
WHEN: July 1-31
WHERE: Orinda Library gallery, 26 Orinda Way, Orinda
INFORMATION: Contact breathe1051@comcast.net