creative Therapy


Catalyst One Hundred and Thirty-Two
June 15, 2011, 8:00 am
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.

 

Ok! Here’s catalyst number one hundred and thirty-two:

 

What’s one lesson you would give a married couple? Or if you’re not married, what’s an advice someone gave you?

 

We’re thrilled to have Suzy Plantamura as this week’s Guest Artist.

 

Here’s a quickie self-bio for Suzy:

 

Suzy Plantamura is a scrapbooking and photography addict. She has been on the Creating Keepsakes Dream Team for the past three years which gives her the opportunity to complete lots of challenging assignments, write some articles, and do video tutorials. She also designs for American Crafts and MAMBI. She loves to take photos of her two girls who are 9 and 11 and her cockapoo puppy. Suzy lives close to the beach and spends much of her free time hanging out there with the kids. Her blog is titled LIVING MY DREAM as she is truly living her dream by being a full time mommy and a part time scrapper!

 

Make sure to check out Suzy’s blog.

 

 

 

Here is Suzy’s art with this week’s catalyst. You can click on it to see a larger version and a lot more detail.

 

 

 

Journaling Reads:

“Love” is a DECISION. A marriage counselor told me this while I was married to Thane’s dad and I didn’t believe him. I figured if I was no longer feeling it, the relationship was over – that you couldn’t make yourself love someone. But after two divorces and thirteen years of marriage to Tom, I have learned a few things about the feeling of love! All marriages are going to have happy times and hard times. All men will disappoint you at some point. No one is perfect. And love may ebb and flow. If you are truly committed to your relationship, you will learn to love “the one you’re with”. Because loving someone with all their imperfections in an unconditional way IS a decision.! You have to be 100% committed. You have to embrace and appreciate your differences. You have to work on improving yourself, not your partner. You have to realize love is not a fairy tale and no man is going to be your perfect prince charming. If you are in love at one time, you can usually feel that emotion again if you allow yourself. But you have to decide to and focus on the good in the other – the things you fell in love with. If you want to have one of those wonderful relationships you believe exist in your heart, it takes work. And when you give your heart and let disappointments go and love your spouse for who they are, you will find the “true love” you are looking or. It starts within YOU! And it can last a life time and beyond. Make the decision to love!.

 

Suzy Says:

I wanted to document the things I have learned about love over the past 30 years! As a teenager, I believed that I would meet the perfect man, know he was my soul mate and we would live happily ever after! I had NO idea that relationships were hard and that I would get hurt and disappointed. I ended up going through two divorces by the age of 30! But I turned my mistakes into wisdom and knowledge and vowed I would learn how to have a successful relationship. And I do. Because I have changed. Not because I found the perfect person (although he is pretty close)!!!

 

Technique Highlight:

For my title I wanted the word LOVE to really stand out. I used the biggest chipboard letters I have and outlined them with baker’s twine. I layered paper and stickers along the top and bottom of the layout and stitched some in place to “frame” the page.I used a piece of patterned paper that resembled notebook paper and used a Fiskars border punch along the edge so it appeared to be torn from a notebook. I wanted the journaling to be the focus of the layout, so I kept the photos small.

 

 


Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team.

 

Amy:

 

Amy Says:

Make time. Be careful.

 

 


Carole:

 

Carole Says:

The most important thing I can pass onto my daughter and son would be to trust your future partner, and to love and respect them, for me this is something that is so important to Mike and I in our marriage together, 24 years in October.

 

 


Fran:

 

Fran Says:

My husband and I have been happily married for 19 years this month. We attribute it to having a true partnership based on friendship and respect. The most important and smartest thing I ever did was to marry my best friend. There is no one in the world I”d rather tell news to, talk to, sit quietly with, and share life experiences with. We encourage each other to reach for our dreams and to be the best we can be.

 

 


Julie:

 

Julie Says:

My sweet husband and I have been together since 1996 when we met in college. Fourteen years together and I think our relationship is stronger than it has ever been. Someone once told me: Be kinder than you feel. And it has really worked for us!

 

Like any two people we have bad days that follow us home. But being kind and being met with kindness ensures that no bad mood lingers. And even a simple trip to the grocery store can be made sweeter with kindess. For instance, John always carries the heavy grocery bags home and allows me to simply stroll beside him. Or I know that he hates cleaning up after he cooks, so I’ll offer to wash the dishes, even though it’s certainly not my favorite thing either. And in the end, we usually end up doing them together!

 

Every time your partner meets you with kindness, you remember exactly why you fell in love with that person in the first place! It’s so nice to know that someone cares enough about you to take the time to be kind. So that’s my message in a nutshell: be kind.

 

 


Karen:

 

Karen Says:

Many people I’ve met over the years have given me relationship and marriage advice but I think it too often depends on the dynamics of each couple. The one thing I’ve learned from my personal experience is that it’s never about 50/50. Sometimes one person needs more help or attention and sometimes it’s the other. you go with the flow and always give 100% without keeping score. If each of you do that, it’s a good path for happiness.

 

 


Opal:

 

Opal Says:

My advice would be to “Bloom where(ever) you are planted” – a quote made famous by Mary Engelbreit. As I shared with others my response to this catalyst, I was amazed at the different interpretations of that quote. And so I leave it open to you …and let my artwork speak for itself. My piece is a tiny quilt, stripped pieced around the unfolding petals of a flower…tendrils of gold loops and swirls twist and turn upwards as the flower is connected, yet free to bloom in its space.

 

 


Wendela:

 

Wendela Says:

Listen to each other, and you become closer at heart …

 

 


Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What’s one lesson you would give a married couple? Or if you’re not married, what’s an advice someone gave you?” I urge you to give it a try. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you.

 

Leave us comments with your work so we can share in your creative therapy, too. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.

 

 

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

 

Until next month, enjoy each and every moment.

 

 



May Giveaway Recipient
June 14, 2011, 6:22 pm
Filed under: other

 

Thank you so much for all the comments you left on our May giveaway. I apologize profusely for the delay in announcing the recipient.

 

Our recipient is Stephanie Zito.

 

I will email you with further details. And once again a big thank you to all of you who visit us regularly and to Sakura of America for their generosity. We’ll be back with another giveaway next month.



Catalyst One Hundred and Thirty-One
May 18, 2011, 4:00 am
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.

 

Ok! Here’s catalyst number one hundred and thirty-one:

 

Describe or show yourself at this point in your life.

 

We’re thrilled to have Susannah Conway as this week’s Guest Artist.

 

Here’s a quickie self-bio for Susannah:

 

Susannah Conway is a photographer, writer and the creator of the Unravelling e-courses. A Polaroid addict and very proud aunt, she is currently hard at work on her first book, to be published in the spring of 2012.

 

Make sure to check out Susannah’s blog and her twitter Registration for the most recent Unravelling class was on May 7th and the next one opens in August.

 

 

 

Here is Susannah’s art with this week’s catalyst. You can click on it to see a larger version and a lot more detail.

 

 

 

Susannah Says:

Spring has arrived here in the UK and it’s not a moment too soon. I’ve just spent the last five months writing my first book, and sent the completed manuscript to my editor on April 1st. Even though I have a whole stack of projects that are needing my attention I feel strangely adrift, as if the book anchored me in my days and now it’s gone I have nothing to hold on to.

 

Right now I am existing in the in-between space, like the blue sky between the blossoms I shot on Polaroid three days after my deadline. I’m wide-open and free, yet also expectant and full of nerves. Will my editor like the book? What’s going to happen in the editing process, when we work together to polish the words? Spring is the perfect metaphor for this process — how the blossom is so full of life and promise (the first draft), to be followed by the ripening in the summer sunshine (the editing), then the harvesting in the autumn (the final book). There is so much to play for, so much good stuff to come, I will take my cue from nature and let everything unfold in its own time.

 

 


Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team.

 

Amy:

 

Amy Says:

I had my son take a number of photos as I considered this catalyst. I wanted to do something totally different, in fabric, and there is a half-started self-portrait on my design wall with a “pirate’s eye” in place. But, in the end, this drawing summarizes the “now” of me. It’s not a totally relaxed moment. It’s subtle, but the pose captures the waiting, the watching, and the sense of being alert and a bit on the edge. At the same time, I see in it the desire and gradual move toward acceptance, grace, and peace.

 

 


Anna:

 

Anna Says:

Who am I now? A Woman – wife and daughter in one, someone who (I hope) found her own path and tries to follow it. My parents are surprised by decisions I made and goals I found for myself, but I feel it is right. So here I am: independent spirit, addicted to creating and finding pleasure in expressing hereself in paper art.

 

 


Fran:

 

Fran Says:

This is a close-up of a silk scarf I painted. It really depicts me as I am right now: brightly colored, cheerful, confident, flexible and loose with my boundaries.

 

 


Julie:

 

Julie Says:

This is a quilt that I call “Possibilities.” I wove strips of fabric together and added lots of hand stitching and beading to represent the journey I’ve taken so far. The large yellow square represents something new on the horizon — a door or a portal to a new adventure! I am in the midst of making some changes to my life. Lots of changes! And exciting new possibilities lurk on the horizon!

 

 


Karen:

 

Karen Says:

It might not be sexy but what I feel more than anything at this moment is so very content. I feel like I am full of peace and joy but I also feel calm. I feel my career, my family, my art, and life in general are exactly where I wish them to be at this moment. And I do not take that for granted for a second. I work out daily. I spend time with my kids. I do all my work and fulfill my obligations. But I also know I am so lucky. And things will change. Tougher times will come. So I celebrate this moment of contentment.

 

 


Larissa:

 

Larissa Says:

I painted a canvas sheet as part of an inspiration journal in which you can see myself locked in the highest tower of the castle I built watching time goes by while not being able to escape. To create it I transferred a my picture onto canvas and painted my background using stencils, glimmer mists and distress ink. After that I aded some embellishments as paper cutouts, bling and flowers.

 

 


Opal:

 

Opal Says:

It came to me in a giddy moment. I saw myself as a “fish out of water,” looking beyond the familiar to what might be: the who’s, what’s, and where’s…if only in sporadic deep breaths of curiosity and courage. She is dressed in her shiny best, reflecting the light above, with a bit of seaweed wrapped around her body… ‘Fish’ is quilted with gold thread. Her body was created with fused bits of ‘prom’ fabrics from my stash. Torn strips of cotton, aptly named In The Beginning, create the water. Hand and machine quilted. 18″ x 18″

 

 


Shelley:

 

Shelley Says:

My life right now is consumed with my family, home, and crafting. I love where I am right now in life. I have embraced the ebb and flow of life and it’s ups and downs. I concentrate my energy on my family and my love to create. These things make me happy! I love to use second hand items in my projects. Here I used a vintage frame and removed the glass. I covered the back piece with canvas and then added other second hand items and some lovely scrapbooking items as well. I wanted to combine my love for family and creating in this piece.

 

 


Wendela:

 

Wendela Says:

How describe myself at this time of my life…: A mommy… A wife…An artist…A teacher…

 

 


Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “Describe or show yourself at this point in your life.” I urge you to give it a try. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you.

 

Leave us comments with your work so we can share in your creative therapy, too. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.

 

 

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

 

Until next month, enjoy each and every moment.

 

 



May Giveaway
May 1, 2011, 5:00 am
Filed under: other

Our very generous donor Sakura of America is giving away a fantastic prize to one creative therapy reader.

 

You can win this amazing set of Pigma Micron 4 piece Sepia pens.

 

 

All you have to do is leave us a comment here and we will pick a winner. I apologize for the inconvenience but this particular giveaway is open to only United States and Canada residents. We will pick the recipient on June 1.

 

Thank you so much to Sakura of America and if you’ve never visited their site, you really should, they make the most amazing pens.

 

 



Catalyst One Hundred and Thirty
April 13, 2011, 5:00 am
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.

 

Ok! Here’s catalyst number one hundred and thirty:

 

Tell us about a favorite or special piece of clothing.

 

We’re thrilled to have Stacy Cohen as this week’s Guest Artist.

 

Here’s a quickie self-bio for Stacy:

 

I live in Los Angeles, California with my loving husband and our two wonderful little daughters. My girls are the inspiration for all my creative projects . . . I call them my little muses. I work part-time as a health insurance agent. It’s the perfect part-time career because my hours are flexible and I have plenty of time to spend with my family with enough extra time for scrapping.

 

I started scrapbooking in September of 2004 and I have been hooked ever since. Scrapbooking is my hobby, passion and creative outlet. I always say, “It’s cheaper than therapy!” I’m a very slow scrapper, often spending several nights on one layout. I love to fuss over all the little details and get everything just right. I would define my scrapping style as romantic with a touch of shabby chic, and my pages just don’t feel complete without a flower (or two, or three or four). My work has been published in Creating Keepsakes, Scrapbooks Etc., Scrapbook Trends, Memory Makers, Somerset Memories, Cards, Simply Handmade, Scrapbook Inspirations, and Scrapbooking m.m. I am currently on the design teams for Creating Keepsakes Magazine, Prima and Shimmerz.

 

Make sure to check out Stacy’s her blog.

 

 

 

Here is Stacy’s art with this week’s catalyst. You can click on it to see a larger version and a lot more detail.

 

 

 

Stacy’s Journaling Says:

Nothing signifies comfort to me more than my soft and cozy Dearfoams slippers. I wear them at all times when I’m at home. The first thing I do when I walk in the house is take off my shoes and put on my slippers. They are the last thing I take off when I go to bed at night and the first thing I put on when I wake up in the morning. I’ve been wearing this same style and color of Dearfoams slippers for almost a decade, and I’ve worn out quite a few pairs over the years. I usually buy two pairs at a time so that I’ll always have an extra pair should one pair wear out. Combined with a thick pair of white socks, my feet are very happy inside these cushiony slippers, even in the hot summer months. They are on me all the time — while preparing meals for my family, while talking to clients on the phone, while cleaning the house, and of course while I’m scrapbooking. I never thought about it until now, but they are like a trusty old friend, always providing me comfort. I’d wear them everywhere if I could, even out to public places (and I’ve actually done that a couple times by accident). If you’re listening, Dearfoams Corporation, thank you for making such comfortable slippers. Please don’t ever stop making style number DF672, color black. They are my hands down favorite thing to wear.

 

Technique Highlight:

One simple technique I can share is my process for carving out a spot in a journaling block for a photo or other object. Many people probably already know how to do this, but some others might not. It took me a long time to figure it out! To carve out a spot in the journaling block for my photo, I first cut my photo into a circle and matted it. Then I typed my journaling in a straight column. After I finished typing, I made sure my screen view was set to 100%. I placed the photo circle on my computer screen exactly where I wanted it to overlap the journaling column. Using the space and enter bars, I manually adjusted the margins so that the words fit around my circle. Voila! A perfect fit!

 

 


Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team.

 

Amy:

 

Amy Says:

I considered doing a drawing that shows a piece of clothing that fits what I “wish” was my reality and embodies the softness I hope to someday settle into. But in the end, I stuck with reality, which means “basic,” “classic,” “everyday,” and “functional.” It’s pretty easy to describe what I wear day in and day out, and there are several “staple” items in my wardrobe, items that I have in many colors. For example, I have the same button-up cardigan in several colors. I also have the same down vest in several colors, but the black one, shown here, is the one I wear most often

 

 


Anna:

 

Anna Says:

My favorite piece of clothing are my shoes… maybe it is funny but almost all of my shoes are one brand: El Naturalista. After I bought my first pair – I fell in love: they are very comfortable, made with natural skin – and all the designs are just simply cool. The second important thing is they really care both for customers and their workers… well, the unly bad side is the price, which is relativley high – but on the other hand they are really durable and well made :) I’ve got 7 pairs of them now. I wear them everyday… they are just perfect for me:).

 

 


Carole:

 

Carole Says:

These booties are so very special, these were the very first purchase I made once I had found out that I was pregnant with my first Child Sarah. I have kept them all these years. I remember the day I bought them, I was so excited to find them and I thought they were so adorable, at the time I didn’t know if I was having a boy or girl, but it didn’t matter I had to have them and now I have created this 8 x 8 layout which I will frame.

 

 


Fran:

 

Fran Says:

My most prized possession are my comfortable jeans – Lucky Brand jeans. I have two pair and I wash them and wear one pair almost every day. One of the best things is that I bought them at a second-hand store! They’re comfortable, worn in, and they’re the smallest size I’ve been since I was in college!

 

 


Julie:

 

Julie Says:

Three Muses: These are the three aprons that I wear when creating. You can find me in them most hours of most days. They are my uniform. I made all three of them, so when painting them I was very aware of the unique shape and details of each. I had a lot of fun re-creating the patterned fabric of each apron. I showed the painting to my Mother who immediately said, “It’s your aprons!” I love that this painting is now sitting in my studio and my three muses are watching over me!

 

 


Karen:

 

Karen Says:

I have saved this pair of jeans for 21 years. They traveled with me from Turkey to Pittsburgh to New York to San Diego and to the Bay Area. People told me to throw them out several times. “You can never fit the jeans you wore at 17.” I heard again and again. But I couldn’t bear to give up. And now that I am finally losing all this weight, I can finally fit into them once again (they don’t close just yet but still.) miracles do happen.

 

 


Larissa:

 

Larissa Says:

I wanted to create art inspired by Pierrot collars. I created a canvas as part of an inspiration journal thinking that, no matter what I wear, I always look like the sad clown. Unmasked. To create it I transfered a vintage image onto my canvas and painted my background using stencils, glimmermists and distress ink. After that I aded some embellishments as chipboards, blings and flowers.

 

 


Opal:

 

Opal Says:

My favorite thing to wear?….my Lucky jeans, of course! The piece is built around the back label and loosely woven with bits of my favorite color I wear with my favorite jeans. “Lucky You” is the label from the fly, The strips of Lucky are stitched with little X’s in orange thread.

 

 


Shelley:

 

Shelley Says:

My piece of favorite clothing would have to be my slippers. I can not endure having cold feet. So I did a quick layout featuring them. The title is “there’s nothing like a good pair of slippers”! And the journaling reads “Here in the Midwest the Winter seems to last forever! Even though I have lived here most of my life I still am not use to the cold! That being said, I LOVE my cozy slippers! They are my go-to footwear when the temps begin to drop. And if I have to run errands that don’t require me to get out of my car…you can find them on me! They stay with me From September until April. During that time you can always find me in my favorite slippers.” I actually have them on as I am typing this and my feet are nice and cozy and warm! :)

 

 


Wendela:

 

Wendela Says:

Here’s my fav piece of clothing. It’s my apron! Made this specially for crafting and/or housekeeping. I love to wear a beautiful handmade and romantic apron instead of a boring ugly one. I does the laundry with a big smile…lol…!

 

 


Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “Tell us about a favorite or special piece of clothing.” I urge you to give it a try. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you.

 

Leave us comments with your work so we can share in your creative therapy, too. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.

 

 

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

 

Until next month, enjoy each and every moment.

 

 



March Giveaway Recipient
April 1, 2011, 9:41 pm
Filed under: other

 

Thank you so much for all the comments you left on our March giveaway.

 

Our recipient is Lynda.

 

I just emailed you with further details. And once again a big thank you to all of you who visit us regularly and to Sakura of America for their generosity. We’ll be back with another giveaway next month.



Catalyst One Hundred and Twenty-Nine
March 16, 2011, 4:00 am
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.

 

Ok! Here’s catalyst number one hundred and twenty-nine:

 

What is a family keepsake you have or hope to have?

 

We’re thrilled to have Melissa Manley as this week’s Guest Artist.

 

Here’s a quickie self-bio for Melissa:

 

Melissa Manley has worked in whatever medium was available since childhood. She has a BA in Studio Art from UNC Wilmington and recieved her Masters of Fine Arts in Metal Design at East Carolina University in 2006. While at ECU, Melissa studied under nationally recognized enamellist Linda Darty as well as Robert Ebendorf, one of the godfathers of found object jewelry in the United States. Melissa specializes in jewelry and small vessels in silver, copper and enamel and sometimes incorporating natural objects gleaned from her kayak adventures in the waters around her coastal home. Melissa has taught workshops in collage, watercolor, book altering and jewelry classes at art retreats for the past nine years. She currently teaches metalsmithing at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC. Her work has appeared in Somerset Studio magazine, Crafting Personal Shrines by Carol Owen, The Fine Art of Enameling by Linda Darty, Making Connections by Susan Lenart Kazmer, Collage Lab by Bee Shay and 500 Enameled Objects by Lark Books. And Melissa is the featured artist in the year’s Winter edition of Belle Armoire Jewelry. Look for her book “Jewelry Lab: 52 Experiments, Investigations and Explorations in Metal” by Quarry Press coming in 2011.

 

Make sure to check out Melissa’s site and make sure to visit her blog, and her etsy shop.

 

 

 

Here is Melissa’s art with this week’s catalyst. You can click on it to see a larger version and a lot more detail.

 

 

 

Melissa Says:

My family has passed to me the love of artifact. We are a tribe of collectors, lovers of history, and treasure. I also grew up with rich story telling around the table and a deep respect for ancestry which heirlooms reinforced. My mother displays our collections all over the house from her own collections to the natural treasures my brothers and I gleaned in our rampaging through woods and along creek banks. We are of Miami descent. Francis La Fontaine, or Topeah the last principle chief of the Myaamia (Miami) People of the Crane, was one of my grandfathers. There is a peace pipe that was passed to my father and when I saw this catalyst, I thought instantly that the pipe would be my inspiration for a piece of art or jewelry. I asked my father about it and he brought it out. I learned that it is surrounded by mystery and has nothing to do with my Miami heritage at all! The pipe is a “calumet” or red stone peace pipe. It is two long carved pieces held together by a short hollow piece of turkey bone. The legend is that my father had an uncle who was a traveling salesman. On a trip out west he bought the pipe in 1936 for the princely sum of $100 to add to his collection of pipes. The seller told him that the pipe was found in a burned Spanish fort on the Red River, east of Wichita Falls, Texas in the 1850’s. The pipe is indeed discolored all down one side, as if it had been buried during a fire, with one side protected. I love history, I love the old west and I do love a mystery. Here was all three!

 

Calumets or peace pipes were often carved of a dull red, mottled stone named by the white men, catlinite after George Catlin an artist and writer who lived among the Native Americans. Pipestone is found mainly in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and in Canada. It is easily carved and is the rich red color of the Coteau des Prairies, west of the Big Stone Lake in South Dakota. Traditionally, the pipestone quarries were neutral ground among warring peoples as multiple nations often journeyed to this quarry to obtain the sacred pipestone. Calumet were communally smoked in formal situations to give sacred depth to the encounter, such as an important trade event or when entering into a covenant or treaty. When the ceremonial pipes were first encountered by European settlers, who traded among the eastern tribes, they gave them the name “calumet”. The word’s origins are in the French “chalumet” which traces back to the Latin “calamus”, and the Greek “kalamos,” both of which mean “reed” or “pen.”

 

The legend of our pipe refers to a Spanish fort on the Red River. When doing a piece of artwork with meaning, I love researching and reading first. In a search of “Spanish fort” on the Red River, I found Spanish Fort, TX now mostly a ghost town situated on the Red River near Wichita Falls, Texas! Eureka! In the 18th century the Taovaya were the indigenous peoples living there. In 1759, Spanish troops under Diego Ortiz Parilla tried to claim the territory after a Taovaya and Comanche raid on the San Saba mission. Expecting this retaliation, the Taovaya had built a large fort with a moat. The Taovaya also managed to capture a Spanish cannon and successfully repelled the Spanish. But fate will have its way and due to the contact with the Spanish, the Taovaya contracted small pox. Their population decimated, their remaining people left and merged with the Wichita tribe to the north, in Oklahoma. In the 1830s, American settlers found the remains of the fort in the fertile Red River valley. Since they thought it belonged to the Spanish, possibly because of the cannon, they named the “new” town Spanish Fort. The Chisholm Trail eventually cut its way to Spanish Fort, which then had a population of about 1,000. The crossing there at the river signaled the end of “civilized” territory and the beginning of untamed Indian lands. The town became the last stop on the trail for wine, women and song. Once the railroad came through it made the delights of Spanish Fort obsolete and the town dried up. So where did this pipe turn up? How did my uncle buy it? Spanish Fort was said to have rebounded in the 20’s with the discovery of oil. Whatever its story the pipe remains under glass, in a box at my parent’s house. Only to be taken out at special occasions gazed at, discussed and then put away.

 

I love the mottled surface of the stone, its patina, the tiny scratches of wear, its rich color. So fitting to me that it was found on the Red River. One could imagine the dark places this pipe was shared. I might envision its presentation, the silence as the skins that wrap it are unwound, the preparation of the tobacco. The smoke itself encircling the heads of the participants, weighing even the very air with the importance of the scene. When I hold it, it is heavy. How must its owner have felt its weight? Did he carry it in a bag on his side as his people followed a herd, or retreated from the edge of winter and its snow. Did he walk? Did its weight make a rhythm on his thigh in time with his step, reminding him of his role as its keeper? Or was it lashed to a travois with other sacred belongings? Did this travois leave a grooved trail through red dust, mud, or snow? Who gave it to him and how was it presented to him? Was it at the death of its prior keeper? What stories were told, by what fire about its origins? And how did he cease to be its keeper? How was it found in a burned fort, left behind, lost? Or even yet, who carved it? Was the maker young and talented, or old and seasoned? Was it carved as a gift? And was it carved by firelight, or by sunlight? How was the long tube through its middle carved? With two leather straps and a flint drill? The straps being worked back and forth, how many hours, days, would it have taken to drill such a stone? And what did the maker feel when the tip of the point broke through the last remaining bit of stone to reveal the inner soul of this pipe, its hollow spine? As a maker of things, I marvel at this sacred object and its manufacture. All created by hands alone, passed by hands to each keeper, polished by the oils of our skin. Do we leave something of ourselves on an object, some residue that we as simple, crude humans are blind to? Does some part of us see and know this past? Some deep part of me nods in the knowing of this carving, this making, then the smoking and using of it, and then passing it on as it lives past wars, peace treaties and burning of forts, past births, hunts and finally graves. How can one hold a weighty thing like this, with the sunlight filtering through the glass windows, and not dream of campfires and faintly hear the howl of wolves?

 

Here is an excerpt from the first section of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha”:

 

“From the river came the warriors,

Clean and washed from all their war-paint;

On the banks their clubs they buried,

Buried all their warlike weapons.

Gitche Manito, the mighty,

The Great Spirit, the creator,

Smiled upon his helpless children!

And in silence all the warriors

Broke the red stone of the quarry,

Smoothed and formed it into Peace-Pipes,

Broke the long reeds by the river,

Decked them with their brightest feathers,

And departed each one homeward,

While the Master of Life, ascending,

Through the opening of cloud-curtains,

Through the doorways of the heaven,

Vanished from before their faces,

In the smoke that rolled around him,

The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe!”

 

About the necklace:

 

After toying with the thought of doing a mixed media piece, I decided I really wanted to make a necklace. The pipe’s segments were calling out to become beads. I would love to have purchased some pipestone and carved it myself, but once I made my decision it was too late for that. So I opted to make my beads out of polymer clay. I spent an afternoon working the clay and mixing in colors in an attempt to suggest the mottled colors of the stone. I searched the web for Native American music to play as I worked to get me in the mood. Themed music always helps! I chose to join the pieces with leather rather than chain. It seemed more appropriate and I love working with leather these days.

 

Technique Highlight:

As I designed the necklace I felt like the beads themselves needed a transition from the flat end to the leather strip. I decided they needed “endcaps” and made them out of silver sheet. I also liked the visual reference to Spanish silver and tying in the visual vocabulary of the old west. I first centerpunched a divot and drilled a hole in the sheet. I then used a circle template and scribed (scratched) a faint line around where the bead would get punched out, so that I could see where my design should go. I then stamped a radial design around my drilled hole and punched the circle out using a disc cutter for metal. I annealed the discs with heat so they’d be softer and domed the discs in a dapping block. You can find these dapping sets at Harbor Freight tools for about $30. Disc cutters unfortunately are more expensive around $100. The cheap ones just don’t work and are a waste. I know from having learned the hard way!

 

 


Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team.

 

Amy:

 

Amy Says:

There are not many “things” waiting to be passed down in my family. The things I might wish I had for sentimental reasons are things that were given away long ago. A family member recently, however, gave my mother a tea set that had been my grandmother’s. This drawing combines that tea set and the bloom of yellow roses, a symbol that will always be something my mother and I associate with my grandmother.

 

 


Anna:

 

Anna Says:

The most valuable keepsakes I know are old photos of my family, which I keep collecting, scanning and then I incorporate into scrapbook pages. I love looking into young faces of my grandparents, aunts and uncles, it is magical to see my parents as small children, dressed up for family celebrations or gathered somewhere near the house, posing for a “special photo”. I’ve always wanted to have my own album with those family photos… and this project is a kind of realistion of this idea. Not so long ago I started doing small layouts on brown paper bags, including my favorite old photos. Now I made a cover and binded it all toghether, hoping for more pages to come. This album is my treasure, memories from the past which I can take in my hand. Priceless.

 

 


Carole:

 

Carole Says:

This photo of this special Ballerina was passed down to me from my loving Nan, this is a very special keepsake as it is not about the money value, more about who it has come from and how much it means to me. My Nan was the most wonderful lady that I loved being around and was always so kind and loving towards me growing up, I remember going to her home and I always enjoy being there.

 

I remember looking and loving this delicate Ballerina and thinking how beautiful she was, and maybe one day I could be like her. Well that did not eventuate, as we grow older things in our lives change, but to receive this from my Nan just before she passed away, will always be a special and wonderful Keepsake, and one I will treasure always, my Nan was a very special lady and I will always have her in my thoughts.

 

 


Fran:

 

Fran Says:

One of my fondest memories of my Grandma Betty is when she took me to her ceramics class at her condo. I don’t know what happened to the owl I painted, but I do remember Grandma painting a ceramic rabbi. I was so amazed by the gold paint she used and the face of the rabbi, deeply focused on his prayer book. When my Grandfather passed, I was given the ceramic rabbi. He has maintained a prominent spot in my home ever since. This drawing is of that statue. I used my iPad to draw, using the “harmonious” app.

 

 


Julie:

 

Julie Says:

I couldn’t think of a physical thing that I really wanted and that stood head-and-shoulders above anything else. But I am very clear on an emotional gift from my family that I hope I carry with me every day
and pass on to my future children: be unique. In a way, I do carry it with me every day because my middle name (Fei-Fan) means unique in Chinese. Being unique is about being authentic and true to yourself and it isn’t always easy. This painting is a good reminder to me to walk to the beat of my own drummer.

 

 


Karen:

 

Karen Says:

I am not one of those people who collects things to leave to my kids. I have the scrap albums which they may or may not want one day. The only thing I hope they will cherish and want to keep are the gratitude journals we’re keeping. I already cherish them deeply. Even keeping the practice of gratitude will be enough for me. I am so thankful we have these to look back upon.

 

 


Larissa:

 

Larissa Says:

Family keepsake? I don´t know… the farm was sold, jewelry stolen… but there´s something I want to keep: the artistic heritage I’ve got from my maternal grandmother, my aunt Ligia and my mother. Ever since I was little I saw them making art crafts, painting canvas and testing every new technique. And the message they transmitted me was that everything they expressed on their artistic works had the power of setting them free and bringing magic to their lives! I want my daughter to have these amazing colors in her life too!

 

Technique Highlight:

For this catalyst, I created a scrapbook layout which tittle was created with some ripped canvas peaces. I painted each one and them took photos of colored pencils and watercolors in the palette chosen to illustrate the happy colors I want my family to keep in their lives.

 

 


Opal:

 

Opal Says:

My piece this month renders a family heirloom and keepsake that has come home to me just weeks ago. This is the essence of my mom’s chair, a chair that I knew well growing up. It is where she read the morning paper, sipped her coffee, knitted, quilted, and crocheted, wrote letters, paid the bills, watched television and sometimes dozed. There were ‘antimacasars’ on the back and arms. It was always there..moved from house to home, from here and there, to rest home, passed on, loaned and stored, and as things go sometimes, returned to me by a chain of events. The chair now sits in the corner of my studio, bathed by the light from windows behind, and the warmth of memories. Except for a bit of fading on the deep maroon upholstery, it belies its age…I photographed the chair for a pattern, painted the homespun fabric, cut out the parts, and reassembled them with a bit of space in between to show the settling of time.

 

 


Shelley:

 

Shelley Says:

The family keepsake that I hope to have some day is my mom and dad’s collection of photo albums. Since I was a child they have taken photos and documented our lives in these albums. For every event in my children’s lives they have been there taking pictures and documenting it all. I can’t think of anything else more I would love to have than those albums and to pass them onto my children. Photography is a big part of my life and that of my family and I want to pass that on. I created this pillow using a photo I took of a vintage camera. I printed it on fabric and machined stitched it to upholstery fabric. I used some vintage lace and button and more of the upholstery fabric to make this little pillow.

 

 


Wendela:

 

Wendela Says:

I think it’s nesting! Love to be together with my family…a warm nest…. I made a nest form iron wire and pearl beads.

 

 


Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What is a family keepsake you have or hope to have?” I urge you to give it a try. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you.

 

Leave us comments with your work so we can share in your creative therapy, too. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.

 

 

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

 

Until next month, enjoy each and every moment.

 

 




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