creative Therapy


A Few More Announcements
May 31, 2008, 3:22 pm
Filed under: other

Well, it’s time for another team announcement.

 

Like last time, I’ll start with the sad news: The inspiring and uplifting Angela Hoffman decided that her busy schedule meant she could no longer be a part of our team. Angela was a constant joy to have on our team and she will be missed dearly and we hope very much that she will choose to participate in future catalysts as she has time. Thank you for your art and inspiration, Angela.

 

As you might already know, I make a point to couple sad news with happy news so, of course, I have some wonderful news. We are thrilled to have two new members on our team. Amélie(Maylie) de Raphélis Soissan and Severine Sorbier have both agreed to join us. As you will soon see, their art is amazing and perfectly in line with the essence of creative Therapy.

 

With Severine and Maylie, our team has become even more international. Both of them are from France. Leena lives in Singapore and Vivian in Australia. I am so excited about the diversity of our team. It’s always been paramount to me that this site represent all forms of art and now we get to have an array of different cultural representations as well. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

 

But, of course, the best part of this place is all the art you share with us each week. Seeing a piece of each person’s past, hopes, future, and thoughts is the best part of my day. I hope we can inspire you as much as you continue inspire us.

&nsbp;

Thank you.



RAK recipient for Catalyst Ten
May 28, 2008, 7:49 pm
Filed under: catalyst

 

catalyst_rak_winner

 

The little boy picked your name Mia. Congratulations!! I will email you with directions on how to receive your RAK.

 

As always, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for your ongoing support, generosity of spirit, and for sharing your own journeys with us. It is so inspiring and therapeutic to me.

 

Thank you.

 



Catalyst Eleven
May 25, 2008, 12:29 pm
Filed under: catalyst

 

As always, thank you to all of our visitors and all the encouraging comments you left for us. For those of you who did, thank you for playing along with us. We will do a drawing for the RAK and announce the name mid-week. And if you didn’t join us before, we hope you do this time.

 

Ok! Here’s catalyst number eleven:

 

What is your first memory?

 

We’re very excited to have Loretta Marvel as this week’s Guest Artist.

 

If you look at Loretta’s art from this week and read her words, you will see that she is exactly what creative Therapy stands for and that she doesn’t need an introduction. I was lucky enough to hear about Loretta thanks to Kris and I cannot be more honored that she agreed to be guest artist for us. You can find out so much more about Loretta at her blog, pomegranatesandpaper. You can also read her regular column “The Artist’s Journey” in every issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. And, this fall, she will be teaching at Art Is where you can see her and learn from her in person.

 

 

 

Loretta’s art with this catalyst is below and you can click it to see the larger version. I urge you to read the whole story of her art; it brought tears to my eyes.

 

 

 

Loretta Says:

Recently, there’s been stories in the news about a man and a woman who can remember every single moment of their lives from a very early age. They are not related to one another and I presume their publicity is serendipitous or perhaps they’ve both written books. Each of them is blessed or burdened with the ability to recall every day, minute by minute of their long lives and they can bring up the events, conversations, food, dress, and feelings of any date that they are asked. Neither one has any other savant attributes and there is ostensibly no scientific explanation other than some evidence that certain parts of their brains are larger than the average person’s.

 

When I first watched Diane Sawyer throw dates at the woman and hear her quick, calm replies of what was on TV the night of say, August 3, 1964, complete with snatches of theme songs to sitcoms long dead and buried, I was awestruck. As the interview progressed, the memory woman was able to pinpoint dates and times of events that even corrected the information printed in the reference book that the newscaster held in her lap. The carny act aspect of the interview, however, was soon overshadowed by the woman’s depression as she explained what a great burden it was to constantly live with a “fresh” memory of every argument, caustic words, hurt feelings, and sadness that she had ever experienced in her life. Imagine, she said, if you had to sit at someone’s deathbed 30 years ago and be able to recall moment to moment every thought and feeling you had during it as if it had happened just a few hours ago.

 

I have no savant abilities when it comes to memory. In fact, I am often accused by certain family members of only remembering what I wish to and embroidering the memories I do have with the facile quality of hindsight. I cannot really pinpoint my “earliest” memory. I have a general murky swirl of impressions of myself at an early age that may or may not be actual memories or may be just snatches of remembrance etched over with snapshots and family tales. I am generally very happy that my memory is an indistinct as the woman on TV’s memory is clear. As it is, I remember too well moments I’d rather forget. We all carry this Proustian longing to recapture the past with the aroma of a pot of tomato sauce on the stove or the flowering of the lilacs by the front porch. Sometimes the smell of the hot sun through the window glass on the rug in my living room floods me with memories of summers spent in my grandmother’s house, face on the scratchy wall to wall carpeting, reading my uncle’s collection of comic books, musty with age and waiting to hear the bells of the Good Humor Man.

 

The clearest memory I have of a very young age is waiting for my father to come home from work. I am probably between 2 and 4 years of age and we still live on the second floor of my grandmother’s house. It was a large, old, Victorian with a magnificent oak center staircase that led from their center hall up to the second and third floors. Our apartment was carved out of the second floor bedrooms and opened right onto the second floor landing. The hallway led to the kitchen where my mother would be cooking dinner. I was allowed to wait for my father to come up the stairs, but I was not allowed to go further than the doorjamb that separated our hallway from the center hall.

 

I’m sure my mother was concerned with two things:

 

1) I might decide to wander down the big stairs and fall, and

2) if I didn’t fall, I would end up in my grandmother’s kitchen where I would eat dinner and then come upstairs and eat dinner again.

 

So each evening, I would wait by the door, sticking my body as far around the door frame and I could without letting my shoes go past the little rise of the doorsill. I could extend myself quite a ways around the door-frame, looking directly down the stairs and even see a tiny bit of my grandmother’s bedroom door. If I was good, I was rewarded with my father picking me up and carrying me on his shoulders into the kitchen. If I was bad and he found me on the stairs, I was scolded and spent the rest of the evening in a snit.

 

My mother was the daily disciplinarian in our family of 5 girls. My father was called in for extreme punishment for infractions of the type that would last in memory well into lives. It was a different time, when Dads weren’t really involved in the day to day life of their families the way my own husband is now. My father worked and came home, mowed the grass, smoked a pipe, and read the newspaper. Occasionally he yelled, drove us on rides on Sunday, told us to get off the phone, and bought us buns and comic books on Sunday. He was hard-working, grouchy at times, a great card player, and had a belly laugh you couldn’t beat. He really didn’t “do” anything with us girls, but few fathers did back then. Other than driving me to school some morning, I cannot recall one single activity that my father and I did together without the rest of the family.

 

I wanted so much to see a smile on my father’s face each night when he came home from work and have him carry me down the hall to my mother’s waiting arms. More times than not, I’m sure I did. I learned a lot about rules and expectations from waiting by that door. It may even explain the dichotomy in me that has lasted my whole life of trying to go as far as I can beyond the rules without actually breaking them, and of trying to please my parents while getting away with murder. With most of that emotional sturm and drang behind me now, I’ve come to realize that what that memory also represents is the essence of the reliability of my upbringing: that there would be rules and order that both parents would enforce, that there would be a dad who came home every night and a mom who was waiting; that parents were there to comfort and to discipline; and that as long as I could stay with one foot in their world, I could both keep their approval and sneak a peek around the next door.

 

After my Dad died, we found in the top drawer of his dresser his most private papers: a stack of index cards on which he’d kept track of all his sales commissions month by month for all the years of his career, birthday cards we’d given him over the years, and all of our report cards. Tucked in with the cards, was a folded sheet of typewriter paper. It was a little note I had typed to him on the typewriter that they had given me as a gift for graduating college. It said, “Dear Dad, thank you for my typewriter. I love you very much” . Such is the stuff of memories made.

 

 

Thank you so much Loretta; we’re truly honored.

 


Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team. Click on the photos to see the bigger versions.

Leena:

Leena Says:

Everytime I look at this picture it warmed my heart to see how close my cousins and I were when we were young. We are still as close as ever now that we’re all grown up. I still remember clearly that when this picture were taken I was only about 4, my cousin Anna was 5 and cousin Angelyn was only 3. We are only a year apart from each other and we are as close as any sisters would be. We were always seen together, day and night as we live close to each other. We would sleep, eat, bathe, play and being punished together as well! LOL! I always laugh out loud when I think about how we would pretend we were princesses and we dressed up looking ridiculously funny which would make everyone laugh! How I love those time when we would beg our parents to treat us to ice balls covered with syrup and we would slurp them until the last drop of ice are left, it was a rare treat we always cherished. We quarrelled, we made up, we cry and we laugh all the time and I think these made us love each other ever more. I’ll always cherish this memory of my childhood with my 2 most loved cousins in my life, forever.

 


Anita:

 

Anita Says:

When I seen this catalyst I was drawn to these pictures of my sweet pup Oscar. It seems like just yesterday he was a puppy and now he is 3 1/2 years old. We have had many pets but it wasn’t until we got Oscar that I truly learned to love a pet. He is just the sweetest dog. He’s so loveable. I don’t know what we’d do without him. My mother just recently had to put one of her pups to sleep and it just made me appreciate Oscar even more.


 

KL:

KL Says:

when i was thinking about this catalyst, our first memories, i kept thinking of being young & playing in the backyard. spending time with my grandparents on the weekends. my mom and i singing at the top of our lungs horse with no name as we travleed in the car with the windows rolled down when i was 7. living on a ranch and spending endless days outside.

 

but there was this shadow in the back of my mind as i was remebering all of these blissful times. i kept thinking os all of the missing memories with my father, whom i don’t speak with anymore. all of the memories that he never got to experience with me, even during the times when he was present in my youth, it was as a shadow, present in body but not interacting, not “experiencing” these memories with me, because he was always emotionally absent.

Journaling Reads:

there are so many good memories to dwell on and yet the only ones i focus on are all of the times you were never there.


Karen:

 

Journaling Reads:

You gave me the love of words.

 

My first memory ever is of you sitting on our parents’ bed and reading the newspaper. I was so envious, I asked you to teach me to read, too. And you did. One letter at a time.

 

Yona, you may not know this, but you gave me the biggest present anyone ever gave me. You gave me the love of words. Over the years, through sad, boring, and even happy times, I always had books. It didn’t matter where I was, with whom I was, or what I did. As long as I had a book or two, life was swell.

 

Those few hours we spent together opened up an entire world for me. It became my best escape. My way of falling into other people’s lives. My way of living, loving, learning. My favorite thing in the whole world.

 

I went through a tough childhood and didn’t have a lot of good friends. But I always had books. I lived vicariously through so many of them. I still remember how you drove me to bookstores far away just so I could pick my favorite books. I remember how much you supported my love of the written word. From that first memory and onward.

 

Over the years, many things about me changed. But not my love of reading. I still read two books a week, most weeks. I still crave the words, the stories, the lives that I get to experience. I still carry a book with me everywhere I go. It’s still my very favorite way to relax, escape, and to feel happy.

 

I want you to know, Yona, that I owe it all to you. To that moment when you didn’t tell me to leave you alone. That moment when you let me lie there, next to you, on Mom and Dad’s bed, and showed me how to read each letter.

 

You gave me the love of words, my sister. The best present I’ve ever received in my whole life.

 


 

Karan:

 

Karan Says:

The earliest memory I have is when I was about 18 months old. I had a doll that had a tongue. If you squeezed the belly, a little red balloon would poke out of the mouth. I thought it was the funniest thing, and I would squeeze the belly, and then poke my tongue out at it… We fed a whole box of Milk Bone dog biscuts to the puppy and ate the green ones for ourselves. I put the doll in the warming oven on top of the barbeque for a nap. It was a weird grill that had this door on top where you could store the meat as you cooked it. I had to go take a nap, and when I woke up, my dad was barbequing. I ran up to him screaming hysterically that I wanted my baby. Just a baby myself, he thought I was hurt. I kept screaming “baby my baby” and when he listened to what I was saying, and saw me reaching for the barbeque… he opened the door, and there was my poor doll, charred black from the smoke. I didn’t care, I hugged her and cooed to her, and felt bad that she had been barbequed. They tried to throw her away many times, but I would throw a fit. I don’t know what happened to the doll. I am sure my mom probably threw it away when I became interested in a different doll. I just remember that I loved her, and I didn’t care if she was a little burnt. I drug her around everywhere with me.

 


Kris:

Kris Says:

I think the first memories I have are from when I was about 2 or 3. I remember holding my mom’s hand and walking up a hill lined with flowers. Mom tells me its the street our apartment was on in San Clemente, California. I remember lots of sun. we were probably heading to the beach. At the time I was an only child, my dad was stationed at the Marine Corps. base and we frequented the beach. I don’t have many pics of my dad from that time because he was always behind the camera. He took the gorgeous photos used in this piece. I’m almost positive that those early memories fostered in me my overwhelming love of the beach. Oh, I don’t like the heat, and I don’t like to swim in the ocean. But I could sit on the beach all day and dunk my toes in the sandy water. And there is nothing like a sunset on a beach. Once you’ve seen one, I can’t imagine how you would want to be anywhere else. I’m not really sure why I live in the middle of the country except to be near family. The beach is always calling to me. Someday I will answer the call and go live by the ocean.


Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “your first memory.” I urge you to give it a try. Embrace the healing power of art. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you. Leave us comments with your work and we will send a RAK to a random participant. You’ll have to link your work by Sunday night, June 1st, midnight PST to qualify for the RAK.

For our RAK for catalyst #11, we are thrilled to be giving away papers, transparencies and rubons from our sponsor: Hambly Studios.

 

 

 

Remember, this is not a competition. If your art makes you feel even a bit better at the end, you’ve won.

 

Until next week, enjoy each and every moment.

 

 



RAK recipient for Catalyst Nine
May 21, 2008, 10:35 am
Filed under: catalyst

 

catalyst_rak_winner

 

The little boy picked your name Marie. Congratulations!! I will email you with directions on how to receive your RAK.

 

A big thank you again to our generous sponsor:  Cafe Prima; we are so very grateful.

 

As always, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for your ongoing support, generosity of spirit, and for sharing your own journeys with us. It is so inspiring and therapeutic to me.

 

I know this week was a hard one for everyone and we understand that some weeks are just more hectic than others, but I would strongly encourage you to push yourself and create art around catalysts that are exceptionally challenging for you. That’s when truly therapeutic art happens.

 

Thank you.

 



Catalyst Ten
May 18, 2008, 5:46 pm
Filed under: catalyst

 

As always, thank you to all of our visitors and all the encouraging comments you left for us. For those of you who did, thank you for playing along with us. We will do a drawing for the RAK and announce the name mid-week. And if you didn’t join us before, we hope you do this time.

 

Ok! I Here’s catalyst number ten:

 

Tell us about someone you miss.

 

We’re very excited to have Becky Fleck as this week’s Guest Artist.

 

If you’re into sketches at all, it’s not possible that you haven’t heard of Becky Fleck. She’s the artist behind the amazing sketch site Pagemaps. I had never used sketches until I bought her new book Scrapbook PageMaps: Sketches for Creative Layouts and I immediately got hooked. If you’ve never used a sketch or haven’t seen Becky’s amazing site, I would highly recommend you visit her site and, as if you needed more incentive, there’s a special second anniversary sketch contest going on right now. When you see Becky’s catalyst art for this week and read her journaling, you will see that she embodies all of what creative Therapy is about. Her art moved me to tears.

 

 

 

Becky’s exclusive creativeTherapy sketch and her art with this catalyst is below and you can click it to see the larger versions.

 

 

 

 

Journaling Reads:

My husband and I were not able to have children, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. When we realized we’d reached the end of the road in the kid-making department, we put all of our energy into starting a furry family instead. We started off with littermate yellow labs, Jackson and Hannah, then added Darby, a golden retriever, five years later. Any of you who have large breed dogs know that’s a lot of dogs running around! When Creative Therapy asked me to guest design this week’s catalyst, at the time I was contacted, we had just lost Darby to a tragic accident on our ranch. She was only 15 months old. I felt so cheated and robbed, angrily thinking to myself, “I wasn’t finished with her yet!” Naturally, I gravitated to the “I Miss You” catalyst and had every intention of creating a page about this crazy, red-as-a-copper-penny golden who had infused our lives with such love and joy.

 

I’m a firm believer that nothing in life is random. Everything happens for a reason and in time, the rationale is revealed to us. Just two weeks ago, we had to put our seven-year-old lab Hannah to sleep. Now if you had told me that I would lose two of my precious pups (my version of kids) in just two short months, I’d have bought a lottery ticket and told you to pack sand. Is this fair? No. Am I hurting and angry? I can’t even begin to describe this profound grief. But at the end of the day, I would not have traded those 15 months with Darby and seven years with Hannah for anything in the world. While our pets cannot “say” how much they love us, it is abundantly evident that they do. And that love is immeasurable above all else.

 

When it came time to create this layout, I found myself struggling with an internal debate. Do I honor Darby like I had intended, or do I create a page about Hannah? Then I saw these photos I had taken during Hannah’s last day with us. I had avoided looking at them until now. The moment I saw the one of my husband Chris saying good bye to his little girl, the deal was sealed. Whether your loved ones have four legs and fur or stand upright, capture every photo. Record every memory, both good and bad. Document every little detail. Life is precious and you’ll never regret all that you remember about the ones you love, especially when the time comes to miss them.

 

Thank you so much Becky; we’re truly honored.

 


Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team. Click on the photos to see the bigger versions.

Karan:

Karan Says:

I miss my Grandma Marie… or Grammaree as I called her. She was my hero. She had the biggest heart and a wonderful, bawdy sense of humor. She was the oldest of seven kids. She had six children of her own. One baby died shortly after birth of what is now known as SIDS. I was her favorite grandchild and She loved me unconditionally. She called me doll, or dolly… She taught me to sing and dance the Charleston and how to recite poetry. She taught me to cook and clean and sew. I learned to babysit and take care of little kids from her. We had tea parties with her leaky teapot and fancy teacups, and sometimes we would have 7up in champagne glasses she got as a wedding present. She always had a purse full of coins for me. She loved the color orange. She was very smart and self taught. She quit school after 8th grade and got a job working as a nanny for a rich family to help her parents during the depression. She said they didn’t really mind being poor, because everyone they knew was poor too. She said she may have been poor in the wallet, but she never had poverty in her heart. As a child of the depression, she saved everything. I remember many times going down to her house and looking through her cedar chest for something to make a craft project.

 

She was a very large woman, what you would call morbidly obese now. This was back in the day when the world was not made to accommodate fat people. I never saw her as fat, I just saw her love for me. Her body became her prison. She rarely went anywhere, and when she did, we had to make sure it was a car she could get into, with no stairs to go up and down into the house or building. She had a chair we brought for her everywhere. It was her “throne” she called it. She had us bring it because she was never sure the place would have a chair strong enough to hold her without breaking. Once we went to dinner, and she sat in a booth seat. After dinner, she couldn’t get out. She was humiliated when the manager of the restaurant had to come and climb under the table with tools to unbolt the table from the floor. I remember sitting there, feeling so sad for her. She had her hands across her face and she was crying. I remember thinking to myself how hard it must be for her, to be trapped like a prisoner in her body and her house. She was so lively and funny. Her radio and her phone were her connection to the world. She would call me and tell me about her program she was listening to, or about something she heard on the talk radio show. I miss her funny jokes, and her big squishy hugs. I miss the way she would say SH%# for everything. I miss her old lady red lipstick, and her muu muu dresses, and helping her tug on her girdle. I miss her stories of the old days. She comes to me in my dreams a lot. The other nite she came and sat beside the bed, and stroked my hair and told me she loves me. Those are the times I miss her most. Those quiet times when I am between sleep and waking, when she comes and reminds me she is still here with me, loving me, and watching over me.

 

I made this assemblage piece to remind me of her. When I look at it, it makes me think of all the things I loved about her. It makes me feel closer to her, and I can just hear her saying “How appropriate that you took a bunch of crap and hung it on the wall to remind you of me.”

 


Vivian:

 

Vivian Says:

My journey with this weeks’ catalyst was a very interesting one and took quite an unexpected turn. As I live far (very far) away from my closest family and long time friends it was quite obvious to me my journal page would be about either my mum, my dad, my brother or my best friends because I miss them all dearly. But as I was working within my journal and thinking back of the times I used to spend with them, some other feeling kept popping up. After being still for a while I realized it was really important to actually listen to this feeling who kept telling me “I miss my centered self.”


 

Christine:

Christine Says:

This page is dedicated to the memory of my “Lola” (which is the Filipino word for grandmother). She lived a long and memorable life and passed away shortly after our fifth child, whom she never saw in person, was born. She was 93 years old.

 

The journaling for the page is hidden in the pocket behind the photo and says:

 

When you left for the Philippines many years ago, your last words to me were that you feared that it would be the last time we would see each other. I said, “I hope not,” and in my heart I truly wished that I would have another chance to see you again…to go to the Philippines and enjoy your company once more.

 

When I was a teenager, you came to live with us in America. I never fully appreciated your presence with us because I was away at school most of the time. However, I will always remember your devotion to your family and your faith and how it made a great impression on me.

 

I miss you so much now, Lola, and I wish that I could hear more stories of our family that only you could share with us. However, my greatest hope now is that we really will see one another again in eternity, when we can be reunited in the presence of the Lord, because then my tears will not be ones of sadness for missing you, but tears of joy for the blessing of being with you again…I love you, Lola! 


Karen:

 

Journaling Reads:

You were the only one who really understood me. The one who truly supported me. The one who made me feel less alone in the world. I love you each and every single day and miss you with all my heart.

 


 

Lori:

 

Journaling Reads:

It’s hasn’t been easy with you gone. I have never really gotten over losing you to cancer so quickly. I didn’t believe it would take your life, and as a result I didn’t spend enough time with you. I miss you. We all miss you. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do. The family is slowly bouncing back and I know how happy that would make you. I hope you know how much you are loved.

 


Angela:

Journaling Reads:

I feel that in life many people touch our lives in their own special way! Sometimes a small and simple piece that has meaningful embellishments is all that is needed. I created this mini shadow box of my Oma Anna (Oma is German for grandma). She passed away when i was pregnant with my oldest daughter who’s middle name is after her. Oma Taught me so many crafts and how to sew when we would have to chance to fly over to Germany to visit all of my family there. She meant so much to me. As i was looking through my stash of pictures of her, it brought back so many fond memories and tears to my eyes. Memories of sitting in her living room, at the table, with her teaching my brothers and me various crafts and projects. She would always have some sort of sweet treat for us, too..and sometimes would even let us taste her schnapps…We thought that was the coolest! Ha ha~ and She always gave the most wonderful Oma hugs~ I think of her often and i know she would be so proud of my accomplishments and the art I create. I really do miss her and wish that she could have gotten to see all of my 6 children. She would have loved them so much.


Brenda:

Brenda Says:

I miss my Nonie! My Grandmother was the most constant, most loving person in my life. I miss her tickling my back and telling me stories before we went to sleep. I miss her running down the street with me to catch the ice cream man. I miss her t-bone steaks. And cutting flowers from her garden and wrapping them in wet paper towel and foil and taking them to my teacher..and walking to Compton’s to get Pepsi!


Becky:

 

Journaling Reads:

I miss my grandparents so much! I miss
my grandma’s soup and her constant asking if I’m hungry. I miss sitting on the porch and listening to their stories. I miss playing cards and how grandma always had to play for money. I really loved them and miss them so much!

 


Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “someone you miss.” I urge you to give it a try. Embrace the healing power of art. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you. Leave us comments with your work and we will send a RAK to a random participant. You’ll have to link your work by Sunday night, May 25th, midnight PST to qualify for the RAK.

For our RAK for catalyst #10, we thought it’s only fitting that we give away a copy of Becky’s amazing book:

 

 

 

Remember, this is not a competition. If your art makes you feel even a bit better at the end, you’ve won.

 

Until next week, enjoy each and every moment.

 

 



RAK recipient for Catalyst Eight
May 14, 2008, 7:50 pm
Filed under: catalyst

 

catalyst_rak_winner

 

 

The little boy picked your name Casey. Congratulations!! I will email you with directions on how to receive your RAK.

 

A big thank you again to our generous sponsor:  My Scrapbook Nook; we are so very grateful.

 

As always, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for your ongoing support, generosity of spirit, and for sharing your own journeys with us. It is so inspiring and therapeutic to me.

 

Thank you.

 



Catalyst Nine
May 11, 2008, 3:45 pm
Filed under: catalyst

 

As always, thank you to all of our visitors and all the encouraging comments you left for us. For those of you who did, thank you for playing along with us. We will do a drawing for the RAK and announce the name mid-week. And if you didn’t join us before, we hope you do this time.

 

Ok! I Here’s catalyst number nine:

 

What is something you’re pessimistic about?

 

We’re very excited to have Deryn Mentock as this week’s Guest Designer.

 

I found out about Deryn through one of our team members, Kris. When I went to see her art, I fell in love immediately. She makes some of the most beautiful jewelry I’ve ever seen. My three recent favorites are: “Pompeii-Bars and Rods”, “Music Love”, and “Vines and Nests.” If you’ve never been to Deryn’s blog you must go check it out, I have no doubt you will immediately fall in love. Normally, you’d be lucky enough to be able to purchase a few of her pieces at etsy shop but she’s preparing for a show so there’s nothing there until July. The good news is that, it’s only a few months away.

 

 

 

Deryn’s art with this catalyst is below and you can click it to see the larger version.

 

 

 

Deryn Says:

This piece is called “Asleep.” Most of the work I do, whether it’s jewelry, assemblage or collage contains spiritual themes. It’s what fuels me as an artist and what gives my artwork meaning.

 

This piece was created using a transfer of one of my cemetery photos as the focal. I over-painted the angel transfer and collaged ephemera onto the background using layers of paint, a penscore stamp of my own making and a few rubber stamps to build depth.

 

The vintage text I used in the background is from a section of the Bible that has the disciples questioning “is this then the Christ?” As I was building the piece my thoughts were focused on how we often fail to relate to God in a meaningful way. I guess that’s where the theme for this challenge, “pessimism”, comes into play. I’m a bit doubtful about our ability to stay awake and watchful in a world of temptation. We often don’t recognize God at work in our lives. The flip side of this is that God always is at work in our lives whether we see Him or not!

 

Thank you so much Deryn; we’re truly honored.

 


Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team. Click on the photos to see the bigger versions.

Fran:

Fran Says:

The journaling I did on the opposite page reads: I am pessimistic about people’s ability for TRUE transformation. Transformation on the outside – like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly – can look great. But in reality, a monarch butterfly is just as poisonous in its caterpillar phase as it is in the butterfly phase; there is no change on the inside. In dealing with people, if things don’t change on the inside, but just change on the outside, the transformation is not complete.

 

In my life, I’ve seen many people change on the outside to make themselves look more inviting, beautiful, or charismatic. However, I have seen very few people able to change who they are on the inside to truly and complete that transformation. This has led to my pessimism about this.

 


Lori:

 

Journaling Reads:

I’m pessimistic about pessimistic people. I once heard a speaker declare she was going on a “negativity fast” and it inspired me so much I decided to join her. The idea is to keep only the positive in your life. It’s not easy to do, but it’s worth it in the end. I’ve been doing as much as I can to grow in that direction. I tend to be negative and I know that attracts negative to me, so to keep myself focused on the positive I spend at least 30 minutes each day reading or listening to self-help literature. It’s important to me that my children grow up in a positive household; one where “I can” and “I believe in me” are the common phrases. I have already made a big difference in myself. I have lot more to do, but I look forward to achieving my goal.


 

Brenda:

Brenda Says:

My art- there…. it’s out–I’ve said it-I’m shy about my art–is it good enough? Why is my etsy site still blank? and my website..? Today I was on the phone talking to a very wise and talented artist friend of mine about some ideas that I have brewing in my mind–and what she said that touched my heart was ” What I really want to see is BRENDA’S ART!” I had given her one of my healing sticks about a year ago–and today she reminded me how much she loves it — Thank you Bernie for this love and wisdom! I promise that I will make my art-and make my creations available on my sites! I would love nothing more than to get my healing art into the hands and homes where it belongs. 


Karen:

 

Journaling Reads:

I used to get pessimistic about everything. I felt that if things could go wrong, they would. Then, I realized that with time things started to get better and look less scary. So I learned to tell myself that if I feel down, I just have to wait a little longer and, with time, all of it passes.

 


 

Karan:

 

Karan Says:

I signed up for this catalyst because I thought there were a lot of things I am pessimistic about. But I struggled to find something I that I could create art about. I even looked up the definition…

 

pes·si·mism n.: a. A tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view: b. The doctrine or belief that this is the worst of all possible worlds and that all things ultimately tend toward evil. c. The doctrine or belief that the evil in the world outweighs the good.

 

After speaking with several people I have known all my life, I have come to a conclusion… I am not pessimistic! Hey, that is something in itself, because I AM so many other negative things…. To be able to honestly and unequivocally say that I am not a pessimistic person makes me feel really good. I can feel my grandma behind me, smiling with pride over the fact that I have inherited, or learned at her knee, the ability to look on the bright side. Even the awful things in my life have good in them. Every negative situation has great beauty in it if you choose to focus on the gift and the positive message you receive with the bad.

 

I remember as a kid, we were talking once, Mom, Grandma, and me, about a cousin that had stolen money from my grandma, and forged checks from her checkbook and really screwed up her finances.. I was so mad at him and grandma was defending him. “Well, you know, I always felt bad for him because his dad was never around..” like that excused his stealing from her to buy drugs? I got disgusted with her and said “Oh Grandma, you would say something nice about Jack The Ripper, like he made nice clean cuts or something..” She laughed at me and said, “Well Kari, when you have been through as many hard times as I have in my life, sometimes all you have to look forward to is the bright side. Many times in life, my ability to look on the bright side, and turn a sows ear into a silk purse was all I had to hold on to. A positive attitude will always make your life easier to bear in the hard times” Then she told me this story, which I have always loved.

 

Back in the old days when psychology was in its infancy stages, there was a mother with a pair of 3 year old identical twins. One child was very pessimistic, and the other optimistic. The pediatrician asked the mother is she would like to have her children participate in a psychology study, and the mother agreed. The goal was to see if environment would improve or diminish the children’s basic natures. They took the pessimistic child into a room completely filled with toys, there was everything a kid could ever want to play with, shelves filled with every thing imaginable. They left him in the room by himself, with an observer looking in through a window. They took the optimistic child down the hall into a room full of horse manure. Piles and piles of manure 5 feet tall. The mother and doctor left him in the room with an observer watching, and went to have a cup of coffee. After they finished their coffee, they went to check on the pessimistic child. He was sitting in the middle of the room, no toy had been touched. He was crying his eyes out. The mother ran to him and asked him what was wrong, sobbing he said, “all these beautiful toys, there isn’t any reason to play with them, they are just going to take them all away from me anyway. I can’t keep any of them, so why bother to even play with them.” Just then, the observer from the other room came running and said to the Doctor, “You better come look, the kid’s gone crazy in there, he is flinging manure everywhere.” The doctor looked excited, “maybe we have a breakthrough!” They ran to the window of the other room, and saw the optimistic child waist deep in manure. He was covered head to toe in it. He was digging his arms, elbow deep, into the manure and throwing it over his shoulder, over and over again. Thinking he had gone crazy, the doctor ran in and asked him “Son, what are you doing?” The little boy wiped some manure off his face and said “With all this horse crap, there has GOT to be a pony in here SOMEWHERE!”

 

That is what I do, it is how I try to live life… I look for the pony.

 


Leena:

Journaling Reads:

I know I should stop feeling this way about myself but I couldn’t help it! I keep asking myself again & again, what can I do to be a better person? I have no answer to it at times. Sometimes it’s tearing me apart & I cried my heart out! I wish this feeling would go away and stop haunting me. Maybe one day………….. 


Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “what’s something you’re pessimistic about?” This week’s topic is a hard one. We all struggled with it but I urge you to give it a try. Embrace the healing power of art. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you. Leave us comments with your work and we will send a RAK to a random participant. You’ll have to link your work by Sunday night, May 18th, midnight PST to qualify for the RAK.

For our RAK for catalyst #9, Cafe Prima is very generously donating a May kit to one participant. This kit is full of beautiful Prima flowers and here is a photo of some of the flowers you will receive:

 

 

 

Remember, this is not a competition. If your art makes you feel even a bit better at the end, you’ve won.

 

Until next week, enjoy each and every moment.

 

 




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