[Hooping.org columnist Bonnie MacDougall paints a portrait of our Hooper of the Week, Cally Chavez.]
Meet Cally Chavez. A single mother, hooper and healer from Cheyenne, Wyoming, who took a leap with full force in November 2010 and turned her many passions into her full time career. It was at this point, almost a year ago, that Cally says she found herself, “stepping out of a place of fear to follow my heart and dreams”. She opened Creative Healing Studios which encompasses a store front to sell Cally’s art, knitting, massage oils and sugar scrubs. There’s a middle office where she offers massage and sound therapy (using tibetan singing bowls), as well as a back studio where she creates her artwork. knitting, and makes her hoops. Cally has been hooping for three years and teaching hoop dance for two, but admits that she became very serious about her teaching in the past six months. All of these arts coalesce to fulfill Cally’s dream at Creative Healing, and this year she was even able to take her massage therapy to the Return to Roots Hoop Gathering. Cally says, “Merging massage with hooping at Return to Roots Festival was awesome, but it has really come full circle with merging hooping with my art.”
Vedauwoo is an area of rocky outcrops located in south-eastern Wyoming, between Cheyenne and Laramie. Its name is an anglicized version of the Arapaho Native American word “bito’o’wu” meaning “earth-born”. Known for it’s distinctive natural beauty and sacred mystery, with history literally stretching back thousands of years, Cally often used this landscape, brimming with natural divinity, as she worked with great intention on her first collection of artwork; a dozen paintings of hoopers. While Vedauwoo provided huge boulders, caves, and in the evenings the voices of Native Americans singing for added inspiration while she stenciled and painted, she would listen to her own music, hoop and become in tune with her surroundings as part of her creative process. Cally’s time painting at Vedauwoo as part of her creation of 12 paintings, resulted in these artistic expressions of her connection to the hooping community. “Hooping has inspired me and made me so much better. The connection to spirit and the therapy that happens through hooping… This is my way to put it down and let people know how much it means to me.”
While Cally has been creating art for as long as she can remember, her dozen hooper pantings are the first collection she has ever done in her portfolio. These stencil and graffiti style pieces have been surfacing and circulating throughout Facebook and are receiving high acclaim. In fact, to this date, Cally has already sold half her collection. “It’s really just a testament to how embracing and supportive the hoop community is,” she said in her continually gracious manner. Cally originally had been doing similar style painting for the local roller derby team, The Cheyenne Capibulls, when she thought, “Why am I not painting hoopers?” So she gathered some photographs and obtained permission from the hoopers in the images and went to work. You can view her full collection here.
Cally created a video before putting the finishing touches on these 12 paintings. In similar fashion to her approach on so much of life, Cally entitled the video “Gratitude”. She commented, “I put everything that I have gotten back from this community into these paintings.” And the lyrics of the song [Chico Gospel by MaMuse (on iTunes)] speak so strongly to Cally and her work when MaMuse sings, “I am walking on this earth stronger than ever.”
What is next for Cally of WYO Hoops For Life? She is clearly ready to start more paintings and continue on this path, always celebrating the hooping community along her way. “Hooping has enriched my life and made it possible to connect to people on such a large scale. I had no idea that going into this lifestyle that I would be so ‘rich’ as a result.”