Katie Jo had always loved art.
But when she found sand painting, she came home. At an interfaith festival in her hometown of Rochester, NY, she was mesmerized as she watched a Tibetan Lama create a large, colorful sand mandala, and then brush it away. As with many life-changing moments, she didn’t know its significance until months later when a personal tragedy left her thinking about the monk and the message of his mandala- Nothing is Permanent. What started as a form of self-administered art therapy eventually became a form of public healing too. She taught herself the technique using tools she made from oil funnels and cake-decorating tips. After several years of only YouTube videos as her guide, she got the opportunity to study briefly with several lamas visiting Rochester, NY.
It has been over a decade. Katie Jo has traveled to Nepal to learn from monks at a mountain monastery. She has studied the techniques and philosophies of sand arts from Tibet, China, Japan, India, and several Native American tribes. For Katie Jo, sand painting has become a way of being. Her art has been displayed at the World Parliament of Religions, on various American television channels, and at festivals throughout the United States. Rev. Katie Jo Suddaby is also an ordained pastor in the American Baptist Churches, USA. She is a sought-after public speaker and consultant. Recently, her work has begun to help the many families who lost loved ones in the pandemic. The art that helped her cope with unexpected change now helps others process the emotions surrounding loss and impermanence. Workshops, retreats, speaking engagements, and funeral consultations can be arranged through the contact form.