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 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. 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, 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. Suddenly, nine more drawings appeared. These moments remains difficult to 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. The therapist’s earlier question was answered.
Within only a few months, Sheri “received” nearly one hundred drawings. Her therapist told other therapists about the images who told other therapists, the word of mouth began.
A friend who was witnessed 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, out of the block appeared the Fear Sculpture.
Another 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 many months, handing it to others to get their opinion and finding it difficult to getting it back. From this experience she learned how quickly a person would attach to the piece even though it was fostering the externalization of difficult feelings. There was 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. This exposure launched a national awareness of the artworks and stimulated invitations to show at other conferences and events. Sheri 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. Clinical Tests were undertaken to legitimize their value and establish their universal qualities.. Sheri’s imagination for transforming the images into products was endless. With the help of treating professionals, she added several new product lines and co-created an accredited experiential workshops presented at conference as a personal healing experience through the use of “The Little Guys.”
The wondrous birth and journey that ensued seemed to end in 2002 when Sheri had to close her company. However, new never ceased to “arrive”. Eye Am Experience, Sheri’s new company, returned “The Little Guys” to market early in 2015 and is a testament to her acceptance that she is their instrument.