About Plain Alchemy
A new site for explorations in creative wellness. Launched in 2017 by artist and writer Emmalea Russo, Plain Alchemy is a project that explores healing as a creative and process-based experience. Plain Alchemy seeks to connect healing and creating, practices that are often relegated to different spheres, but are deeply intertwined.
I am an artist, writer, and creative wellness guide. While attending Sarah Lawrence College in 2007, my life changed suddenly when I had my first (of many) grand mal seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was incredibly frustrated with my attempts to find answers in conventional medicine and tired of my lifestyle habits at the time. I desired a monumental shift.
I gave up on art and writing, left college, and dedicated the next several years to navigating the natural health and wellness worlds searching for ways to unite body and mind and heal this mysterious disorder. This search led me to acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, raw veganism, juice cleanses, hypnotherapy, kundalini yoga and meditation, naturopathic doctors out in the woods, fasting — you name it. I was moving farther away from my identity as an artist and channeling most of my energies into experiments in healing myself. Eventually, I went back to school and received two MFA degrees, one in writing and one in visual art.
I have two books forthcoming in the next two years — both are poetry-prose hybrid texts which have something to do with my experience of epilepsy and the mind-body connection. However, maneuvering art and healing over the past ten years often left me feeling split and confused about where and how to focus my attentions.
Healing can be an artful process — one that accentuates those parts of you that you love most. The inverse is also true — art can be a healing process. Plain Alchemy was born after this question arose over and over again: “What tools would have streamlined my healing journey — the process of returning to myself?” The work (read: play) is never done.
We are all creative beings when we are at our most clear and my intention is to guide others in their own creative healing journeys. I feel indebted to those artists and healers I have learned from and continue to learn from. It’s with that gratitude and awe that I offer my knowledge and experiences. I look forward to connecting with you on this site through regular journal posts of the mind-body-art variety and individually over Plain Alchemy Plans.