creative Therapy

Catalyst Twenty-Seven
September 14, 2008, 11:40 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 twenty-seven:


Tell us about a painful memory.


We’re very excited to have Nathalie Kalbach as this week’s Guest Artist.


Nathalie’s style is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s eclectic, it’s colorful, it’s happy and always interesting to look at. She uses a lot of techniques and always manages to inspire me all over again. I find her art to be unique and stunning.


Nathalie lives in Germany but designs for companies and kit clubs all over the world. She is on the design teams for Sweet Twee Laboratories, Rose Moka, Kits&Pieces, ScrapArtZine, and Scrapping the Music. She’s also been published too many times to count.


If you haven’t seen her art before, you must check out her blog. We are so so thrilled to have her here.




Nathalie’s art with this catalyst is below and you can click it to see a bigger version and some more detail.




Nathalie Says:

One of my most painful memories is when my beloved stepfather died. Even though he and my mother got divorced I saw him as the only and best father I ever had and when I moved to Hamburg I visited him at least once a month and stayed in my old room. We would talk and cook and have a good time – often having my friends and his friends over and having a good time. Ten years passed by since he died and since I saw my “Home” -the last time. It still hurts to think about him and to think of all the memories connected to him and to my home. The photo on the layout shows the entry to the little 300 year old half timbered house grown over by vine.


Journaling Reads:

My stepfather died in Italy – while I was in Venice – not too far away. We had talked on the phone and I told him that I would come and visit him in a couple weeks. When I came home my Mom called me – he had a stroke and fell off his bikes in the mountains. I was so sad – even after my parents got divorced I vistited him every month staying in my old room. After the funeral I went to our “Home”. I loved this old little house with the vine all over. It hurt so much to open the door knowing that I would never come back. He had my room prepared for my next visit – new bedsheets and my big teddy bear sitting n the bed. I cried the whole time saying good bye to him and my home. I miss you so much, Dad! 10 years later- still!!!


Technique Highlight:

I stamped with acrylic paints on the background paper and attached the papers on top. I journaled on top of the transparency and used a grungeboard key as a symbol for the house. I painted the grungeboard with several acrylic paints and then put crackle accents on top and let it dry over night. I painted the insides of the chipboard letters with a black pen. The overall look is pretty busy and cloudy – but is exactly reflecting my emotional feelings when I created this layout thinking about my memories. All blurred up – a clean and simple layout would have never fit for me.


Scrapbooking is a creative and therapeutic outlet for me – so I was really honored to be asked by this amazing group to be part of it this week. Thank you so much.



Thank you so much Nathalie; we’re so delighted.



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


Journaling Reads::

The day I became a teenager was the most unlucky day of my life. The scars that I carry from my thirteenth birthday are still with me – physically and in heart.


My parents planned a get-together with our family at Mission Bay that day. Unfortunately, my birthday was on one of the weekends during spring break that year which meant that the beaches would be crowded. Our family was late in getting to the beachside park where the party was to be held. Our car was packed with all the food for the party including a thermos filled with hot water that sat near my feet. This was a carafe which had a button on top that could be pressed down in order to dispense the hot water. Unfortunately for me, the carafe was unlocked so that when my father broke hard to stop the car, it fell against my legs and the hot water spilled, scalding my legs.


I cried out in pain and let my parents know what had happened, but my parents, already frustrated by their tardiness and unable to find a parking space, just told me to be quiet. I tried, but the pain was excruciating! I pleaded with them to take me to the hospital., but they told me that it was already too late and their guests were already at the park wondering where we were.


I still cannot express how deeply it hurt to hear them say that! Didn’t they care about what happened to me? Was the party more important the my welfare?


After we arrived at the park, I sat in constant pain, unable to enjoy my own birthday because I was trying desperately not to cry as my skin continued to burn underneath my wet clothes. They never did take me to see a doctor and have my wounds treated.


For weeks following my birthday I remember reading first aid books in order to treat myself. I changed the dressings, cleaned my wounds, and went to school in crutches while wearing flip flops because I couldn’t cover up my healing wounds with shoes. Thankfully, the wounds were healing well and I didn’t develop any infections. However, during that time, bitterness and resentment increased in my heart.


Although I was left with unsightly scars on my left foot and my right calf, the experience also left scars upon my heart that only God could heal many years later.


In time, and by God’s grace, my scarred heart has been healed by His example of forgiveness towards me. The accident was indeed painful physically, but holding onto the bitterness and resentment I had towards my parents was even more painful. After surrendering it to the Lord and forgiving my parents, I now have peace. I thank God for His mercy and understanding! He has given me the peace that my heart needed to take away the deepest pain left in my heart by this experience.


Technique Highlight:

I used a piece of torn cardboard to symbolize my scarred heart and the 13 is a reminder of my thirteenth birthday. Although this project contains no photos, the memories of that day are remembered in my journaling. The journaling is written on two tags that are enclosed within the gate-fold cardstock and held together with the burgundy band and cardboard heart.




Severine Says::

For me it’s the accidental death of a person whom I love, in a car accident





Kris Says:

Working on this catalyst, was a bit difficult. I don’t talk about personal/painful things with many people, some my closest allies may not even be aware of. But I think of them often. This catalyst reminded me that is okay to have painful memories. It’s how we react, change and grow through them that makes all the difference. They define the person we become. I find that a memory is painful when it involves love. Love for family, kids, parents, what coulda/shoulda been. If they didn’t involve love, we wouldn’t care as much and thus, they wouldn’t be painful. Sometimes I think, do I love too much, care too much? Should I buffer my feelings up against the rocks and act like everything is okay? I’m not very good at that. I have to continue to love. I tried to make a piece that involved baring my soul but some things are best just left unshared. I wrote my memories on little slips of paper and slipped them into the heart’s tubes. They’re there for me to remember, share with a loved one if I want to, or to put away and move forward. Whatever I choose.


Technique Highlight:

Canvas has been covered in modeling paste, with various shapes pushed into it while wet to leave impressions. I covered it in a crimson paint, and rubbed brown and copper paints into the crevices and over the piece for definition. The ‘LOVE’ is handpainted. The heart is made of magazine pages, rolled up and glued. I cut them to size and glued together in the shape of a heart (painting & stamping each ‘tube’ before i glued it into the heart.)





Journaling Reads:

This one is really painful. Maybe my most painful memory ever.


Years ago, I was fourteen, or maybe a little younger. In the summer, we lived on this island and there were two groups of kids my age. The group I belonged to and the other one. One day, we were upstairs in the club house and the guy from my group was talking to a guy from the other group and he said, “Well the only ugly girl in our group is Karen. All the girls in your group are ugly.”


That’s it. That’s all it is. That tiny moment that the guy probably doesn’t even remember. I’m sure he doesn’t remember. Why would he? It was nothing to him. A few cruel words. Maybe not even cruel to him. Maybe it was his honest opinion. He didn’t know I was there. He wasn’t trying to hurt me.


But it did.


I was there. I heard it. It broke me. Permanently. Twenty years later, I still feel like the ugliest girl. The only ugly girl in a group. In every group. I look at myself and I am incapable of seeing anything else. It’s the reason I’m always the girl who’s behind the camera and not in front of it. It’s the reason I don’t dance. It scarred me then. It scars me now. Just writing this down brings tears to my eyes, all these years later.


It’s amazing how a teeny tiny moment has completely changed my life. My personality. My self-confidence. The way I look at myself. The way I carry myself. The way I think of myself. The way I see myself. Looking at it now, it seems silly that I should have let it ruin how I see myself. But I don’t know how to stop it. I don’t know how to actually let it go. It’s such a core part of who I am. It has become a fact such a long time ago that I don’t know how to relearn. How to reform my opinions of myself. It’s like redefining who I am.


It’s amazing how an ephemeral moment can leave such permanent scars.


Technique Highlight:

Writing this one brought back a lot of sad memories for me and a lot of anger. So once I printed out my journaling, I decided to burn the paper. I burned enough of it that each time I pick this page up, I can still smell the burn. I also just tore and roughed up the paper at will.





Vivian Says:

For this catalyst I knew straight away what I needed to get out of my system. Sometimes painful things happen in our lives and we just deal with it right? At that particular painful moment or even later on, situations get dealt with and no traces stay behind. And other times hurt stays behind in our systems because we choose not to deal with it or because the experience of facing it all is simply too painful. It lingers and hangs around and comes to the fore front every now and again, determining or influencing how we feel, even changing our perception of the world and other people.


For my page I wrote down every feeling I had about a particular painful memory in my life and at the end I came to the conclusion forgiveness is the only key for me to be able to move on without hurt. I then ripped up this piece of paper and stuck all the bits into a file folder which I machine stitched together. I could have thrown them away but I choose to keep them sealed in instead, pierced through and losing their grip on me. The butterflies are glue transfers, you can find the “how to” on my blog.





Fran Says:

I think we all have a catalog of painful memories. They can either define us or we can define them. For me, they helped to create the person I am today, but I don’t like to dwell on them. Instead, I prefer to look to the future and to let the past be the past. My mantra is, “That was then, this is now”. That’s why I created this journal page. Reminding myself of past hurts is not useful, not healthy, and not something I want to do. Celebrating today, living my life in a positive way, and being happy are the things that are important and useful. It requires courage to move forward and to imagine the beautiful life I have created for myself and my husband. I choose to be brave and focus on the future, rather than focus on a painful memory.


Journaling Reads:

Don’t dwell on the past or let the bad memories take hold of you and seep into your current life. Remember: That was then and this is now. It is a future and a present that you have created by looking forward and finding love and support while letting go of the past.


You hold the power in your hands. Grasp it!


“I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou


Technique Highlight:

Collage on hot press watercolor paper. Color, writing and doodling added with Pigma Micron, Permapaque, Gelly Roll Glaze and Souffle pens.





Amélie Says:

This is a representation of paradise because my memories are the painful disappearances of people that I loved and which I hope to find with the angels.


In French:

Ce tableau est une représentation du paradis car mes souvenirs douloureux sont les disparitions des personnes que j’aime et qui j’espère ont retrouvé les anges.




Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “tell us about a painful 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 art by Sunday night, September 21st, midnight PST to qualify for this week’s RAK. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.


There’s a recent change in RAK rules: to qualify for our weekly RAK drawing, all you have to do is do art around ANY of our catalysts. It doesn’t have to be the one from this week. We believe in the healing power of art and we want you to pick whichever catalyst inspires you the most.


For our RAK for this week, we are thrilled to be giving away these amazing Cray-Pas(R) Expressionist(R) 50 piece (48 colors) oil pastels from sponsor Sakura of America. You can read in more detail about these amazing pastels here.




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.




8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

[…] week’s CreativeTherapy Catalyst #27 is up! Head over to CreativeTherapy to see what the rest of the design team […]

Pingback by CreativeTherapy Catalyst 27 : artsyfran

Great prompt. Time to pull out the tissues!

Comment by Tara Van Moorsel

Thank you for this wonderful journey- it was painful and freeing at the same time. I’m blown away by your journaling and layouts!!!

Comment by Nat

[…] als ich vor ein paar Monaten gefragte wurde, ob ich zu einem bestimmten Thema Gastdesigner bei Creative Therapy sein möchte. Ich bin ein großer Fan der dortigen Themen und Designer. Ausgewählt habe ich das […]

Pingback by Scrapbook-Trends

oh my…these experiences just tugged at my heart! I so relate to both Karen’s and Christine’s experiences! I’m am going though “dark times” presently…I wonder if I can do this.

Comment by Julia

It’s been awhile, but I did four prompts tonight and here’s the post for this catylst!!


Comment by Mother Henna

6th Grade was AWFUL!

Sixth Grade

Comment by Abby Lanes

I honestly didn’t think I’d get to this, but I did and am glad I did.
Thanks to all the team for sharing such painful, personal memories.

Comment by Tara Van Moorsel

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