creative Therapy

Catalyst Eighteen
July 13, 2008, 9:34 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. 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 eighteen:


What’s your favorite place in your house, and why?


We’re very excited to have Amy Cowen as this week’s Guest Artist.


I first found Amy’s podcast through Ali Edwards. As soon as I listened to her podcast, I knew I wanted to hear more so I went back and downloaded all the older ones. She’s now a staple of my morning commute. I love listening to her talk about art and life on my way to and from work. Just like this site, the show isn’t specific to one form of art. It covers many aspects of creativity, including sketching, quilting, and knitting.


Her thoughts and comments always make me think and make me want to be at home, creating. She has a monthly ATC exchange, some really wonderful music, and even reviews books from time to time. Amy’s voice is always very calm and soothing to me. Her podcasts are interesting and well organized so each episode is like a wonderful story I get to hear that week.


If you haven’t ever heard an episode of the Creative Mom Podcast, I cannot recommend it enough. The CMP is in its third year of production and it’s about art and creativity and it’s so rich in content that you will be hooked in no time. Amy also blogs (a bit sporadically) at Threaded Thoughts. We are thrilled to have her here.




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




Amy Says:

From the moment I saw this catalyst, my response was “my poppy chair.” In truth, there are two “poppy chairs” in our living room. A matching pair. In truth, I doubt anyone other than me understands that one of them, the one by the window on the right side of the small end table, is mine… “my chair.” And yet, it is… one of them is “my chair” in my head. Quilts that are special to me hang on the back. A patchwork pillow I made last month that is symbolic of my recent birthday sits in the corner of the chair. The chair is in the colors that define the feel of our house. The soft gold tones and all-over poppy pattern are comforting for me.


Over the last year or so, my creative patterns and habits have evolved into set patterns that help structure and define my days and give me a sense of balance. On regular days, I try to get up an hour or so before my house wakes so that I can have a cup of coffee in quiet, can do my daily sketch, and can see the transition and progression of morning light. I sit in my poppy chair.


In the Bay Area, space is at a premium, and we don’t have a large house. I don’t have a separate room or space in which I do all the creative things I do… no studio… no spare room… no art closet. At times, I work in the kitchen, my paints and projects all spread out over the stove. In the last year, I’ve also begun working a good bit in the dining room, fabric spread all around me. But, “my poppy chair” is a center of my creative work. My morning time is there. My laptop is on the small table there, so I write there on and off throughout the day, every day. I work on pulling together the Creative Mom Podcast there each week. I paint there in the evenings as I work on my monthly ATCs for the CMP exchange. I knit there. I work in my journal sketchbooks there. I draw my shipping tags there. I study my bird books there. I sit there and sew up seams on quilted pillows and pen pouches that I sell. And, importantly, from “my poppy chair,” I can see out the window.


From “my poppy chair,” I can look out into the tall trees that stand on the hillside behind our backyard. In those trees, I have watched the birds this year. I am working on both a book manuscript about birds and a year-long series of shipping tags, a process which now revolves, in large part, around bird art and the drawing of birds. From my chair, I watch the birds. I write about the birds. I sketch the birds. I paint birds. I sew up pieces that involve birds.


In my heart, it is “my poppy chair.”


Although I knew from the beginning that my “chair” was my focus for this catalyst, I didn’t decide ahead of time what format my response was going to take. I’ve been on vacation, and when I got back and ready to begin my piece last week, I had an image in my head of my chair done in collage. I’ve been working with collaged birds done from catalog papers. But as I visualized my chair during the two weeks I was away on the Oregon coast, I wondered about doing my chair in fabric-based collage instead. The collage, however, was only to be a portion of my piece. I was thinking of my response as a combination of mediums and including pen and ink, which is my primary medium right now. I also wanted to include a set of graphic novel panels because that is a format I work with often right now. But, as the chair took shape in fabric, I started seeing the possibilities of focusing in and doing this piece completely fabric-based and trying to tie in the other elements and tell the story entirely in fabric. As I worked, I began tightening my response as it became clear to me that despite all the other things I do in “my poppy chair,” the birds and the bird art are most important right now.


I’ve just begun journal quilting this year, having been inspired immensely by the work of Gooma8x and then spending a lot of time looking at books on journal quilting and most recently becoming enamored with the work of Joan Colvin. This is a new medium for me. I’ve only done a couple of pieces. After I created the chair, I put it down on a piece of background fabric and started adding to the overall piece, bit by bit, and letting the fabric tell the story and create the mood. I integrated my love of pen and ink with the miniature fabric shipping tags which are reduced and printed copies of a few of the daily shipping tags I’ve drawn this year… in my morning time in “my poppy chair.”



Thank you so much Amy; 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.


KL Says::

i was thinking about this catalyst all week. trying to figure out which “room” or which “place” in our home was my favorite. is it my scrap table where i create? is it one of the children’s rooms, or the family room, where they spend so much time playing and laughing. is it the kitchen, where we eat and sit together for every meal?


but then i began thinking about my childhood and remembering where i always spent most of my time… outside. running and laughing and spending time with friends and family and soaking up the sun. and truly, it is my favorite place in my home. outside. our backyard. i haven’t been making being outside a priority lately, but this catalyst has brought to my attention again how much being outside is a part of me, and how it recharges my soul.


Technique Highlight::

my work for this week is basically a 2.5″ x 2.5″ chipboard piece that i layered with scraps of paper and rubons. the hanging butterfly with the word “outside” is the reverse of a butterfly punch that i put on transparency and hung from the back of the base piece, which helps it look like the butterfly is floating in air.





Fran Says:

My favorite room in my house is, hands down, my studio. I spend all my days in there and I miss it when I’m not in there. It’s where I create, where I make my messes, where I can be free to play with whatever strikes my fancy. The studio is filled with art I have created, art friends, family and other artists have created. It’s a place where I am always myself. And, no matter what my mood, no matter what else is going on, my studio is my sanctuary.


Technique Highlight:

This is a photograph my water canister, where I rinse my brushes. I used PhotoShop’s “photocopy” filter to create this image and then I altered it with colored pencils, Glaze Gelly Roll pens from Sakura, and journaled with Pigma Microns.





Severine Says:

I like to seat on deck in the sun on the terrace and listen to the pine apples packed with the sun.


In French:

J’aime me mettre sur le transat au soleil sur la terrasse et écouter les pignes craquer avec le soleil.


Technique Highlight:

Photos are printed at home and tasks was made by alcohols ink and liquid distress.





Christine Says:

Our formal dining room is a place that has become dear to my heart. It’s a place where our family and guests gather together during the holidays and on special occasions. On other days, it’s where I spend some of my time creating scrapbook pages and cards. It’s a room filled with lots of natural light, and it has the best views of the mountains and hills of the countryside surrounding our neighborhood. Being in it just makes me feel happy!


Technique Highlight:

Sometimes letter stickers are difficult to see against backgrounds such as the patterned paper that I used in this project. A simple way to make each letter easier to view is to ink the edges with a marker. Sponging on ink from an ink pad can also be done to add a distinguishing line around the letters.






Karen Says:

When I first thought of this catalyst, I was going to make it about our living room. It’s the room where I scrap, where David plays, and where the TV is. For me, that makes it the best room. Then I thought I might do it about the garden. I’ve never lived in a house that had a garden, so I think it’s so special and I thought it would be worthy of the catalyst. Then I realized that the thing I love the most is that we live in a house.


I grew up in a big city where there are no houses, only apartment buildings. So living in a house, having my own backyard, my own little space on the street, my own driveway: it all makes me so happy. It’s something I always wanted as a kid. And it’s something I love. I don’t even care that I don’t own it or that it’s falling apart a bit. I love living in it. I love my house. My yard. My driveway. All of it.


Technique Highlight:

I wanted to have fun with this one and make it look like a child’s drawing to represent how it was my childhood dream and something I could have done at the time. Instead of drawing it, I used patterned paper and chipboard to “draw” the scene. I put Stickles on the sun and birds’ wings to give the sense of them shimmering. I put some photos to show us living in the house. I then sewed all around to make it seem like it was a framed scene.





Leena Says:

This is the place where I spent most of my time, when I’m not with my family. I find solace in this corner of my study. This is the place where I have some peace and quiet when everyone’s asleep at night. This is my sanctuary. I could spend hours at a time reading, catching up with my friends online, working on my scrapbooking projects, listening to my favourite music, complete the datelines of my day job workload. This is the place I love to put my feet up and and just relax and think of happy thoughts. And this is the place I found myself.




Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What’s your favorite place in your house, and why?” 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, July 20th, midnight PST to qualify for the RAK. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.


For our RAK for catalyst #18, we are thrilled to be giving away a $25 gift certificate to sponsor: Hannah Grey:




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.



7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

[…] July , 2008 by Leena is up right now at Creative Therapy! Pop right in here to see the rest of the rest of the girls AMAZING […]

Pingback by Catalyst Eighteen «

WOW you guys these are amazing !!!!!!!!!! Absolutely gorgeous! I love all your stories too!

Comment by beckyh1

Fabulous work as usual, ladies! Truly love reading about everyone’s favorite places!

Comment by Christine

Here is mine. Of corse its no where near what everyones is here!

Comment by Jenni

Jenni, that’s absolutely beautiful!! thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

Comment by creativetherapy

Wow! Thank you so much!

Comment by Jenni

I have done mine…though this time its a bit plain….but it says what I want.and thats what matters I guess!!

Comment by Deb Godley

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