On this day we honor Heidi Boucher, Sacramento Waldorf School graduate, alumni parent of three and grandmother of three. Her Waldorf education began in England at Michael Hall when she was eight years old. As the eldest child of five, Heidi’s youth was filled with creativity, imagination and caring for her siblings, often in idyllic settings. Her parent’s dedication to Waldorf education and Anthroposophy led the family to several Waldorf schools, including Pine Hill in New Hampshire, Washington Waldorf School in DC and finally Sacramento Waldorf School, where she graduated in 1982.
She is indebted to the exceptionally fine caliber of teachers (Betty Staley, Keith McCrary, Stephen Sheen and many others) she had across the globe who instilled in her a deep love of art, music, drama and the humanities. Heidi met her future husband Robert (SWS class of 1981) in high school and they were the first SWS high school sweethearts to get married. They will celebrate 38 years of marriage this year. All three of their children attended SWS.
Heidi is a doer, never idle. For the past 30+ years Heidi has worked in the arts as an independent film production designer, art director and set decorator. She also designs exhibits and events for the City of Sacramento and is the production designer for the magical Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco. Much of her inspiration comes from books read as a child and her Waldorf education. She recalls roaming the hills in England for hours, imagining being in the Secret Garden or the Chronicles of Narnia. She recognizes the constant presence of her Waldorf education as nurturing her imaginative and willing capacities today in her work and likens it to pulling from a deep treasure chest of knowledge. The culmination of her childhood experiences living in several places and what her teachers have given her feed her creative pursuits on many levels.
What does a creative artist do amidst a global pandemic, when witnessing the needs of her daughter and her grandchildren? This talented woman saw the need for gentle Waldorf-inspired experiences that resemble the mood of a child’s day in a Waldorf school. Heidi recently came across an old file of early childhood poems given to her by Peggy Alessandri many years ago when Heidi was a kindergarten assistant at the Camellia Waldorf School. This led to the creation of two to three-minute short films called “Bramble Jam Tales” using handcrafted figures, silks, and wooden toys from her own children’s upbringing. Children and adults alike are mesmerized into a gentle and nurturing adventure guided by melodic music and breathtaking colors. The most recent episode can be found here: May Day
A favorite of many is her rendition of: The Gnomes.
The lighthearted images and sounds found in these videos meet us at such a profound depth not only because of Heidi’s sense of esthetic and creativity, but also because of her understanding of grief. In addition to Heidi’s work in film production and the arts, she is a leading pioneer in the home death care movement with over three decades guiding families in caring for their own dead, lecturing, travelling, and giving workshops. She wrote, directed and produced a documentary called In the Parlor: A Final Goodbye, which follows three families caring for loved ones, one of whom was a SWS student, Jarrad Cole.
She was recently featured in The New York Times for her instrumental role in bringing the home funeral movement into light: The Movement to Bring Death Closer.
In these days, the artistic nurturer must acknowledge the grief that exists in our current times and has a rare blend of abilities that imbue a beautiful and deep understanding of the human condition through all phases of life.
Without an acknowledgement of the grief that families are experiencing, the freshness of artistic life lacks sincerity. The viewing of Heidi’s work results in a sense of profoundly human satisfaction.
With great honor, Sacramento Waldorf School connects you to the work of Heidi Boucher in hopes that you will research its depth and breadth more fully on your own. Heidi believes the Waldorf pedagogy to be the “best education out there.”
Today as we contemplate her artistic action in nurturing the human experience from birth to death, we will continue to strive to reach toward the potential of this education through an understanding of the wisdom of the human being.