creative Therapy

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 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.




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 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. 



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 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.



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.




12 Comments so far
Leave a comment


Comment by Jenn

WOW! Look at you Deryn! As long as I’ve known and loved you, I never thought of you as a blond! Isn’t that funny? I had no idea! But I do want to take a minute to tell you how beautiful you are-your outside certainly matches your inside.

Congratulations on being the guest artist this week. I am so pleased for you and that perhaps some new folks will get to know the special and dear person that I know. You and your art are one of a kind!


Comment by Lelainia

Really great work everyone! I love that your catalysts make me think.

Comment by Greta

[…] stop by and see what we’ve all come up with in response to this week’s catalyst #9, “Something you’re pessimistic about”. It was a tough one for each of us, but I believe we got some great art from all the […]

Pingback by artsyfran

Amazing journaling. This was such a hard week and I’m just blown away by everyone’s work!

Deryn, thank you! Your take is absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

Comment by Lori Gentile

Sigh. Sometimes I just feel like I don’t fit into my own life. Here’s a layout I did about that feeling.

Comment by MarieP

loving all of your pages, thanks deryn for the inspiration!

Comment by vivian

A huge thank you to Karen and the rest of the creative team here. It’s such an honor to get to play with you! The responses to the challenge are wonderful!

Comment by Deryn Mentock

Ohhh, It’s Deryn week! I’m so glad you decided to do a catalyst with us. You’re work inspires me and I thought it would do the same for everyone else. I love all the pieces this week and they are tugging at my heart. Great job ladies!

Comment by Kris

OMGosh ladies, your art work is just amazing! This was a touch catalyst and you all did just beautiful work!

Comment by Becky

I really want to get to this one! I have ideas SWIRLING in my head!!

Comment by JoEllyn Steele

Thought I didn’t have anything for this one, and then I went to work!

Comment by Casey

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