creative Therapy

Catalyst Thirty-Two
October 19, 2008, 8:01 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 thirty-two:


What’s your most prized possession?


We’re overjoyed to have Melody Ross as this week’s Guest Artist.


Ordinarily I like to write these bio sections because I don’t want them to read like a magazine byline. I want them to sound authentic and I want it to be about why that particular artist was asked to be on our site and why she’s a perfect fit. But Melody’s words are so eloquent and so touching that I want to give them to you untouched. The only thing I will add is that after you read her words and see her art, you will easily realize that Melody is the essence of what creative therapy is all about. Her words, her art, and her authenticity brought tears to my eyes. I cannot tell you what an honor it is to have her here. And now in her own words:


I am just a girl who loves art. Art has completely saved my whole entire life, and I don’t mean that in some annoying cliché way. When I have no words, I can dig all of my feelings out in a painting or a collage or even a doodle. When I am searching far and wide for answers, or for comfort, or for understanding, they often come out in my journal, through a pen…through some creative combination of words or maybe a little picture that’s been in my mind, swirling around in confusion. Art helps me make sense of everything, and the art of others helps me make sense of everything, it helps us see into each other’s souls, it helps us connect on a deep level that neither requires nor contains any explanation. I love that there are no rules, each of us get to make our very own rules when we are doing our art.


I am starting a whole new, really raw and authentic and still in baby-steps chapter of my life, so it feels strange to write a bio. But, in the days before today, I have loved deeply and I have watched my dreams come true, felt deeply of joy and friendship and the loves of my life, as well as feeling lots of pain, confusion, exhaustion, devastation. Those are all fruits of a life lived BIG, and I have always believed in doing that. I was a little girl, then I fell in love, my love Marq and I have a family…5 children…we have been married for almost 19 years and we’ve seen and experienced lots and lots together. I planted a seed and grew a huge international business, called Chatterbox, following a dream to share my art all over the world. I have been on T.V. and in magazines and put together lots of kajillion dollar deals, I have led an organization and traveled all over the world….now it’s time to mark some other stuff off of my checklist! Life is just a bundle of dreams and they are always beginning and ending, and today, I am ready to look in my bag and start on some new ones.


I still design all of the products and lead the vision at Chatterbox though I do not own or run the company. I would LOVE to have you come visit me on my blog and at my Etsy shop that I will be opening soon. I would LOVE for you to come be a student at one of my classes and I would REALLY love even more to learn from you.




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




Melody Says:

My favorite possession turns out to be a simple lightbulb.


I was thrilled to get this assignment and there wasn’t a question in my mind about what my favorite possession was….my precious i-Pod….it was filled with music that got me through every sort of day, and permanently imprinted scads of good times and hard times and all different moods and relationships and lessons through the decades of my life. It was my constant companion, it helped me run faster, paint better and love deeper.


Then my i-pod broke, just like the last 3 i-Pods I have had, about a week after I accepted this assignment. Maybe I over-use them…I don’t know, maybe it’s my over abundant energy field that shorts them out, like my friend told me it was, I certainly don’t have an answer and my love for i-Pods has not waned because of it. But I’ve found myself i-Pod-less again, without the extra funds to replace it yet another time. And, I’ve found myself really exploring my relationship with material possessions.


Over the last nearly 20 years since I have been a bona-fide adult, I have lived a wildly contradictory life, on many sides of the fence when it comes to “stuff”. I married dangerously young and passionate, to the love of my life, and we had nothing but a little old trailer house behind his parent’s place and big dreams and individual ideas. We shopped at thrift stores and made our own curtains and crafted the life we wanted out of almost nothing. We were extraordinarily happy. I started to paint then, due to his sincere encouragement, and we both worked really hard to save enough money to buy a real house, and then, I painted more, and he worked more, and we saved more money and got a bigger house, and then we put some of our collaborative ideas to use and started our own business and became millionaires in our twenties. THAT’S when things took a turn that only now am I beginning to see was not quite right for us.


I look back on those 10 years of “prosperity” and we had everything we ever thought we wanted in terms of material possessions. We had cars and toys and beautiful furniture and amazing vacations and our dream house, a 100 year old stone house that we restored together. We had the best gadgets and the most innovative technology and the most beautiful clothes.. We had exciting friends and fancy parties. My children had incredible nannies and we had fabulous housekeepers. What were we thinking?


We did not need to be resourceful any longer, we were not desperate and hungry and looking for answers. We hired people to make our art and we stopped talking about big ideas. We were quite comfortable.


Then my husband had an accident and traumatically injured his brain. That was 4 years ago. It turned our life and our reality and our piggy bank upside down and shook it…it shattered things, it burned things, it blew things into oblivion.


I spent the next four years having to make a choice of which glass orbs I could juggle. I made mistakes a lot, but I almost always chose my husband. His care and rehabilitation was intense and way too much for most people to handle. I knew him, I loved him, and I fought for him. Most days he was all I could handle. Our life, our love, our family, our 5 children, was the crystal orb that I held on tightly to. Most other things fell to the floor and shattered into nondescript, sometimes sharp and cutting pieces.


My husband has made a 100% recovery and I will never regret doing my best to hold on to him and letting everything else go.


But, we lost the cars and the house and the boats and the toys and the comfortable-ness. So much of what we traded our time and life and soul for has rusted or disintegrated or has been taken. We lost the business that we worked so hard to build together. We clean our own house and we shop at thrift stores and we drive our children to school and we help them with their homework. We are back to crafting the life that we want together out of almost nothing.


We are talking big ideas.
We are looking for answers.


So if I am very truthful with myself, my favorite possession is my mind, the light-bulb above my head that’s filled with ideas and experiences and memories and endless possibility. Everything else rusts, decays, goes out of style and stops satisfying us, everything else can be taken.


Our ideas can never be taken from us. Our thoughts and our perceptions and the way we see things are ours alone. (that’s why it’s so important that we document them) Our ideas will get us through the rough patches and pave the way for the next journey. Each of our individual ideas, since the beginning of humanity, are truly where the credit goes for every great discovery, invention and relationship in history.


I wanted to portray this in my painting/collage. It is called “Her Ideas Light Her Way” and it symbolizes my yearning to not only embrace the truth that everything you need is already inside of you, but to lead my daughters towards their own individual light and power. There are always other “birds” in life who will fly beside you. The pile of stringy rubble in the corner is all of the trappings in life that eventually end up as a pile of rusted metal, outdated microchips, last year’s fabric…


Art always takes on its own life, this painting/collage was no different.. When I was finished, I looked to see that it’s not apparent whether my daughters are leading me, like I am a kite in the sky, or whether I am leading them. I could not have explained my every day wonder of being a mother better.


Hooray for the lightbulb above our head. I am so glad mine has been switched back on.


Technique Highlight:

I did do one new thing here…I used embroidery floss…it worked really great for the look I wanted. I simply used some Gloss acrylic glazing liquid (and because the power was out…and it was so cold in my can see that it did not completely dry and harden….but it will be transparent and shiny when it does) anyway…I just used that with embroidery floss…used it for the kite strings, the butterfly bodies and for the pile of trappings….



Thank you so much Melody; we’re so so thrilled.



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



Fran Says::

This catalyst brought up some interesting things for me. When I went away to college, I only had the clothes and some bedding that I could ship. While I was away at college, my parents moved out of our house and put everything in storage, where all was lost to a fire. For much of my life, I’ve had few possessions that mean much and I’m ok with that. I learned a long time that most important are the relationships. You can’t possess relationships, but you can own them by actively participating in them. For me, the most important relationship I have is with my husband. His love and our friendship are the most important things in my life.


I created this abstract painting as a representation of our love and closeness.





Christine Says:

Many people realize exactly what something means to them when they are threatened with its loss. I’ve come to that realization at one event when the likelihood of losing my life occurred. I found out that the most precious thing I possessed is my life, and it happened on a night two days before Christmas.


After experiencing severe chest pains that morning, I was taken to the emergency room. I was pregnant with our fifth child, and Ron had left with our children to get something to eat for dinner. After finding out that my blood pressure was found to be extremely high, I was admitted to the hospital and taken to the maternity ward. During the time my family was away, they didn’t know that I was being prepped for an emergency cesarean section, and my doctor was called in to be prepared to deliver our baby.


I was told that my life, and the life of our unborn son, was in danger. Did I worry about what was happening? Surprisingly, no, I wasn’t worried. For a few moments I thought about what life would be like for Ron and our children if something happened to me. I wondered whether they would be able to go on without me, and the thought saddened me…not because I cared what happened to me, but because of the thought of them mourning over the loss of my life. Then I remembered that I had a merciful God taking care of me, and if anything did happen to me, He would take care of my family as well. Knowing in my heart that if I should die that night, I would be in God’s presence gave me so much comfort, and an overwhelming sense of peace flooded my heart.


The nurse who prepared me for surgery wondered at why I was so calm. With tears in her eyes, she asked whether I understood the gravity of my situation, and I smiled at her and said, “Yes.” However, I could not express to her at that moment the peace I felt knowing that I would be all right whether I woke up in a hospital recovery room or in the arms of God. The next day, I woke up to see my dear husband’s face and to hear the news that our baby was delivered the night before and was being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital. When he was asked what he would like to name our son, Ron said Christian Emmanuel. What a fitting name for him because we desired that our child would be a follower of Christ (a Christian not only in name but at heart), and on the night of his birth God was truly with us (which is the meaning of the name Emmanuel)!.


I share this story because on that night, almost eight years ago, I found out the most precious possession I have today. It isn’t something that I’ve bought or earned in order to possess. It’s a gift that has been given to me by the love and grace of God, and each day that I possess it, I am all the more thankful to Him for it. It is life…mine and my son’s lives. But it is not just the life that I live each day on this earth. It includes all the days that I will live with God even after I take my last breath here. God has graciously given me eternal life through faith in the sacrificial and redeeming work of His son, Jesus Christ. That night I experienced the peace of knowing that I no longer had to fear death because I truly possess eternal life with Him. Knowing that is the most precious possession that I could ever have today!


Technique Highlight:

To create the background of this project, I used a large die to cut the piece of cardboard into a scalloped circle. The patterned paper was cut using the same die, distressed and inked around the edges, and then adhered onto the cardboard piece. On the right half of the cardboard, I peeled away portions of the top layer of cardboard to expose the corrugated section of cardboard and then painted it with white acrylic paint.




Vivian Says::

this catalyst was a bit hard for me as i don’t really feel like i have any prized possessions.. certainly not any material stuff i could not be without.. possessions don’t really mean all that much to me. and of course i could think of the most loved things and people in my life or precious stuff like my life itself but they are not possessions at all… so instead of focusing on my most prized possession i wrote down the stuff in life i am grateful for and thoughts on how i really don’t ‘own’ very much at all in the larger picture..





Anita Says:

When I seen this catalyst, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I would HAVE to say my camera is my most prized possession. I love it so much. I love photography and everything having to do with it. I hope to some day do my camera justice.


Journaling Reads:

I love my camera. Totally smitten. I want to learn more and more! I guess it is a good thing. My family will benefit from it.





Karen Says:

When I read this catalyst, the first thing that came to my mind were my diaries. From nine to nineteen I wrote diaries every day. And I mean every single day. I was the girl who never shared her secrets with anyone but the dairies. I took them everywhere with me and all my friends joked about reading them. But nothing deterred me. I never shared my secrets and I loved having my diaries, knowing they never betrayed me or shared my secrets with anyone.


After a while, I just stopped. I am not sure what did it but I didn’t have the need or the will to write anymore. Maybe I finally started to trust people or maybe I realized I like to share, I’m not sure. But I haven’t successfully kept a diary since my Freshman year in college and I don’t really miss it anymore. But I still cherish my diaries from those years. The memories of the girl I was. The girl with the diaries.





Lori says:

This was really obvious to me. My wedding rings are my most prized possession. I’m not a collector and have never had family heirlooms passed down to me. My wedding rings signify my faith and love of my husband. Our love is the foundation of our family and those rings remind me of this every day. It’s a foundation worth nurturing and solidifying daily.




Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What’s your most prized posession?” 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, October 26th, 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.


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 delighted to be giving away a beautiful Metallic Gel pen collection from Sakura of America:




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.



5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wow – what an awesome guest artist with a very inspiring story. Beautiful work of art.

I’m really going to try this one, if my kids would only just give me two minutes to create!!! LOL


Comment by Francesca Di Leo

OK, first time I’ve ever done this. Here is mine:

This was truly beautiful!

Comment by Michelle Quinn

WOW!!! I am just blown away at how amazing these heart-felt expressions of art are! I have to say that I am so blessed to see such a wonderful representation of each artist through their work! Well done, ladies!

Comment by Christine

I just have to say that these Catalysts are incredible. They really make me think and i am loving doing them. I just found this blog and have decided to start with Catalyst One – I have completed the first six now and they are all posted on my blog. Thanks so much for doing these.

Comment by sandra collins

it was such an honor to be part of this! Thank you SO MUCH for suc an incredible experience!

Comment by melody

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