The Birth of “The Little Guys”
One of the discoveries that came to light during Sheri Herr’s therapeutic process was how she had become a workaholic to override unprocessed difficult feelings throughout her life. This awareness brought her to a decision to take up a hobby, watercolor painting, when she completed therapy. Having shared her decision with family and a few friends, Christmas arrived as did gifts of art supplies. Thus, taking up a hobby became a MUST!
After a difficult holiday season due to being a new widow, she sat at her dining room table on New Year’s Day, 1992, with sketch pad and pencil in hand. She gazed out her glass door thinking that she might try painting flowers or trees. Suddenly her hand began to draw and almost instantly the first of the feeling figures appeared. Completely stunned and perplexed, looking at the image titled Lost Self (shown here on this page), she wondered briefly if it was a picture of her own state within before her healing in therapy – nearly drowning in the tears she hadn’t cried. After a few minutes she said to herself, well I learned a lot about the real me in therapy, I wonder what else might be within? Suddenly, nine more drawings appeared. These moments remains difficult to fully explain but eventually became the moment “The Little Guys” were born.
A few days later, Sheri took the drawings to her therapist to seek an understanding of what might be happening. Holding them gently and in tears, he asked Sheri if she knew how valuable they would be to facilitate the therapeutic process. She responded, “I don’t even know where they are coming from let alone what they are here for!” He suggested they take the drawings into the therapy group of which Sheri was a member and she watched as each members began to use the images to divulge difficult emotions. In more than one case the words, “I’ve never told anyone this” emerged. The therapist’s earlier question was answered.
Within only a few months, Sheri experienced “receiving” nearly one hundred drawings through her hand. Her therapist told other therapists about the images who told other therapists, the word of mouth began.
A friend who was witnessing the unfolding art and journey suggested to Sheri that she sculpt the images. Sheri responded, “But….I don’t know how to sculpt.” The friend responded, “You didn’t know how to draw either.” Sheri purchased a box of self-drying clay, and with amazing ease, watched as out of the block of clay appeared the Fear Sculpture.
Another close friend, privy to the ongoing arrival of the images, inquired each time they met, “How are the little guys going?” Thus their name was given.
Sheri carried the first sculpture in her purse for nearly a year, handing it to others to get their opinion. Quickly the person who was holding the piece began to share intimately and in the end it was difficult for Sheri to get the piece back. Many ask if they could purchase and keep it. From this experience Sheri learned how quickly a person would attach to the piece even though it was fostering the externalization of difficult feelings. There appeared to be an added power when the images were coupled with a tactile, three dimensional quality. Eight more pieces were completed and “The Little Guys” Sculpture Series was born in 1993.
At the suggestion of several clinical professional Sheri first presented the images as art prints and the sculptures at the National Association of Drug and Alcohol Counselor in Chicago, 1993. This exposure launched a national awareness of the artworks and stimulated invitations to show at other conferences and events. Sheri, still having difficulty saying she was an artist because of how the images were arriving, founded The Fine Art of Feelings in 1994 as an avenue through which to fulfill the growing demand. Over a ten-year period, hundreds of images “arrived” and “The Little Guys” became known as powerful experiential tools within the therapeutic process. Professionals working with a multitude of populations helped to champion the artworks and three Clinical Studies were undertaken to legitimize their value and establish their universal qualities. With the suggestions of many treating professionals, she added several new product lines and co-created an accredited experiential workshops presented at conference as a training with the art and a personal healing experience with “The Little Guys.”
People often asked Sheri how she came up with the idea of creating the artworks. She can only answer that they happened to her and that they ever teach HER about their inherent power and purpose. She just follows!
The wondrous birth and journey that ensued spread “The Little Guys” across the US and to seven other countries. It all seemed to end in 2002 when Sheri had to close her company unable to raise sufficient capital to expand operations coupled with the retirement of the man who had been producing the sculptures. Walking away from what she now felt to be her given purpose in this lifetime was devastating and yet Sheri knew if it was meant to continue somehow it would.
Despite the company closing for over ten years, new images never ceased to “arrive” through Sheri’s hand nor did the requests for her art products. Eye Am Experience, Sheri’s new company, returned “The Little Guys” sculptures to market early in 2015 and is a testament to her acceptance that she is indeed their instrument.