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April 4, 2013

Hearts of hope crafted to help people cope

(Continued)

Pedersen had been working with the bereaved in 1998 at Lourdes Hospice in New York. After the attacks on 9/11, Pedersen says, she felt she needed to find a way for the community to express gratitude to the responders — as well as a shared sympathy and horror for what the country endured in the days after the attack.

“This idea came out of that,” Pedersen said. “There was a feeling of wanting to do something. In the space of four hours, 700 people came out and painted a heart for 9/11.”

Pedersen manages most of the business of creating, organizing and sending the hearts to recipients in her Cooperstown home. She begins with a 25-pound block of clay. After using a wire to slice off a slab about a half an inch thick, she sends it through a roller and then smooths the surface of the clay with a squeegee. Using a standard, heart-shaped cookie cutter, she cuts the hearts and moves them to a sunny window. After drying for a day the hearts will be fired.

“And then we have to assemble them into kits,” Pedersen said. “You can see there is a lot for our volunteers to do.”

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