Film, art show, discussion explore connections between “Birth, Art and Alchemy”

Pittsfield, Mass. — In honor of National Midwifery week, a quartet of organizations will collaborate to present “Birth, Art, and Alchemy,” through a film screening, art show and panel discussion. The four local organizations are Alchemy Initiative, Berkshire Birth Professionals, Pittsfield Birth Circle, and Storefront Artist Project.

The work of Diane Firtell will be shown. Here is one of her commissioned works, "Rt 20 Sky," using photographs, watercolor, pastel

Events kick off on Saturday, Oct. 9, when Storefront Artist Project holds its fall Open Studios from 1 to 4 p.m. Alchemy Initiative will open its studio doors, at 40 Melville St. (the former Notre Dame Church), presenting the work of local artists Crispina ffrench and Diane Firtell. Berkshire Birth Professionals and Pittsfield Birth Circle will present an art show of birth-inspired work (including photography, sculpture, belly casts and more).

Birth, Art, Alchemy, all creative acts.

“Birth, Art, and Alchemy” will continue at 4:30 pm with a screening of the film ‘The Timeless Way: A History of Birth from Ancient to Modern Times.’

The Timeless Way uses birth art from prehistory to the present — combined with live video of contemporary births — to provide a cross-cultural perspective on how women from around the world have given birth through the ages.

Vivid images of birth in ancient sculpture and art, collected by author Janet Ashford, show how most traditional births have taken place with the mother in an upright posture, assisted by a midwife and other women helpers.

From the birth goddesses of ancient people, through the birth chairs of the Renaissance midwives, to the forceps and anesthesia of the 20th century, we see how birth practices have changed while women’s bodies, hearts and minds have stayed the same.

A panel discussion led by birth professionals will follow the film.

Alchemy Initiative is an urban model of sustainability and community. An intentional community, Alchemy Initiative uses food and farming, health and healing, art and music, and sustainability and community as catalysts for social change.

A suggested donation of $5 will support the presenting organizations. Refreshments will be served. For more information call 413-236-9600, or go to

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