creative Therapy

Catalyst Fifty-Three
March 15, 2009, 8:05 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 fifty-three:


Create a piece of art around a memory or occasion that has no photos.


We’re so excited to have Jennifer McGuire as this week’s Guest Artist.


Jennifer McGuire whote the first scrapbooking book I read that was not only inspiring but incredibly practical and useful. I still remember buying and reading 101 Things You Can Do With Your Scrapbook Supplies. I bent the corners of each page where I saw something that I wanted to try. By the end of the book, More than half the pages were bent. So it should be no surprise that Jennifer was on my list of people to ask, not to mention she was also one of the first requested guests in our flickr group.


Jennifer has been published in all your favorite scrapbooking magazines, she was a 2002 CK Hall of Famer, and she’s been in multiple the Autumn Leaves “Designing With…” books. She’s also on multiple design teams including being a Garden Girl for Two Peas in a Bucket and a Hero Artist.


I can’t really believe that you’ve never seen Jennifer’s work but in the small chance you haven’t, make sure to check out her blog.





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




Jennifer Says:

I have been a bit down lately. I think a HUGE part of it is the weather. It just seems like it has been bitter cold forever – it feels like a long winter. And this makes me think about my favorite memory… being in the islands with my family. We go there often and really feel at home and happiest there. So I decided to bring a little sunshine in my day by making cards for my husband and two step-daughters that were inspired by the colors of the islands. I can’t tell you how good it felt to create these. My soul felt lifted and it felt so much better right away. It is amazing how being creative and thinking of a favorite memory can make you smile. 🙂


Technique Highlight:

I wanted to capture the colors and textures of the island. I layered lots of papers on front of a card. I then sewed around the edges and went back and tucked pop dots under some of the edges for dimension. I dabbed ink here and there to blend the layers. Glitter glue was perfect for adding sparkle to the “water.” For the sky, I smeared white liquid pearls over the sky and smeared them, adding a pearly look. A bit of sparkle embossing powder added to the shine of the sun.



Thank you so much Jennifer; we’re so very honored.



Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team. We have a lot of art this week for your enjoyment.



Lucy Says:

One of my dearest friends is getting married next week and I wanted to celebrate our friendship by making her a gift to let her know how much she means to me. I cannot wait to see her expression when she receives it!


Technique Highlight:

I have been so inspired lately by Kelly Rae Roberts and worked with some of the techniques that she uses to make my wooded mixed media wall art. I began with a wooden board and collaged patterned papers onto it, then built up layers with paint, charcoal pencil and stamping. I sketched the girls first in pencil and then painted them with acrylic paints. After adding some additional stamps and phrases, I coated the piece with melted bees wax and etched into it while it was still warm, then rubbed burnt umber oil paint into the cracks to distress. A little hand buffing and it was complete!




Karen Says:

When we were planning our wedding, the one thing we spent the most amount of money on was our photographer. We figured the photos were the best way to preserve our memories of the special day. We found this person who looked really professional, had great albums, etc and decided to go with him. He did show up and take a bunch of photos and he even delivered us our proofs and album. The deal was that a year later he would give us the negatives. Except that when the year passed, he went completely awol. We couldn’t get him to answer the phone or email. We were never able to get in touch with him again and, to the day, don’t have one negative from our wedding day. We still have the album we bought but if you come to our house, you won’t see any wedding photos on our tables because we have none.


Why is this in a binder?




Journaling Reads:

We passed notes in the hall between classes…. We talked about everything from boyfriends to what we wanted to do in our lives….We lifted each other up….When we were not at school or with family we were hanging out….You started every note and yearbook entry with “Hey Woman!”….We were the best of friends….We talked about going to the same college, our plan was to be life-long best friends….I will never forget that night in May….You were days from graduation and I was staying over at your house….the accident happened….I wish you would have come with me instead….A piece of me died with you that night….My best friend gone in an instant….I often wonder about the amazing woman you would have become….I will always cherish your notes! – 3.2009


Dedra Says:

This catalyst really hit home for me….My best friend from High School was tragically killed in an accident right before graduation….I have kept some of the notes she had written to me right before her death….


The journaling talks about our friendship….To be honest creating this layout brought many emotions, some happy and some very sad….I have not created any piece of art for Brantley and it felt good to document what she meant to me….


I wanted to create a layout that had a place for her notes and that I could untie to read them anytime I wanted too….So, the ribbons untie and I’m able to take the notes directly out of the layout….




Katie Says::

When I was a little girl, kindergarten to be exact, I made a tiny patchwork quilt for my teacher. Well, not exactly a quilt…it ended up being so little that I made it into a pillow. Back when I was a kid some company used to send fabric samples to my Mom. Just little tiny squares, probably about 2×2. Anyway, she would give me what she didn’t want and I would use them as Barbie blankets or whatever else I could come up with. Well, my kindergarten teacher became pregnant and was going to have a baby. I decided that I would make her a patchwork quilt for the baby. So, I sewed and sewed for what seemed like forever…I remember sitting in front of the TV watching Little House On The Prairie and sewing my little heart out. When it was done it was so small and I was so disappointed. So my Mom sent me up the street to a ladies house that sewed and had me ask for a piece of fabric big enough to sew to the back. The lady gave me a piece of fabric (I think it was satiny) and some stuffing for it. I finished the pillow and was so excited to give it to my teacher. I remember being really embarrassed about it and having to present it to her during carpet time. I wish I had a picture of that little pillow but at least I have the memory of my first craft project and my first turn something into something else project.


Technique Highlight::

So, I knew that I wanted to do something patchwork for this project…and that I wanted to turn something not quite good enough into something else. I found this tin at the Goodwill and covered the front to make it into something that I love. Now I just have to wait for Fall to really enjoy it!





Kimmi Says:

One of the greatest memories that I have since my husband and I were together was my 21st birthday. We had only been dating about two and a half months and I wasn’t used to having things greatly given to me on my birthdays. He had an entire weekend planned ahead of time. My actual birthday fell on a Saturday that year. Friday night, he took me out to eat at Mansur’s on the Boulevard. We had a full meal, dessert and wine (We’ll just say we’ve only been able to afford to go back there once since!). On Saturday, we woke up pretty early and headed out to Baton Rouge. We saw a movie, had lunch at my favorite mexican restaurant, he took me clothes shopping at the mall, then we had drinks at an upscale wine bar, then out to the river to the casino and dinner at Shuck’s on the levee. I’m not sure why I didn’t have my camera on me that day, but it is definitely one of the greatest memories and best birthdays I’d ever had.





Journaling Reads:

Now 15 months into a world-wide recession, there is no sight of the end. Indicators suggest another long year before we reach bottom. There is pain and fear, loss of jobs, homes and health care. I pray the end is near. I pray for healing.


Lori Says:

I wanted to document what is happening with the economy. I plan to make several pages about the recession. It’s a difficult time for many and my heart aches.





Larissa Says:

Unfortunately, I almost don’t have photos of my childhood, but I remember how I used to play with paper dolls at my granny’s house, having a great time with all her boxes. She used to have boxes for everything: buttons, sewing, laces and knitting. She also had a closet full of special drawers filled with colored pencils, brushes and oil paints. It was amazing to explore her stuff. My mother also had a big box with card games, a collection of 1000 games, which was filled with dominoes, stones, cards, dices and a lot of small pieces. I can’t estimate the time I spent exploring and playing with these treasures boxes.


So, I made myself a memory box that celebrates this time and all my childhood playtimes memories.



Technique Highlight:

I altered a chocolate candy paper box. After painting it, I prepared a collage background and filled everything with Graphic 45 papers and something else from old books and coloring books. I also added some cards, embellishments and memorabilia.





Opal Says:

My memory for this prompt is fairly recent, as memories go, and is one I hope to remember for years to come, and is not recorded by a photo. It was a moment, one of many in a week, when a charming and precocious little boy, a friend’s son, asked me to play a game of Sorry. In feigning ignorance of the game rules, I was delighted to learn the rules through the words of a five year old. Our game was interrupted by this and that, but it continued over the course of a few days. Our play brought squeals of laughter, and delight in sweet revenge, as the game is so named. The game went beyond the mechanics of moving around the board. It was a time to be charmed and a time to share.


My piece for this prompt shows the essentials of the game Sorry. The layers are quilted by machine, the game pieces are fused on, and the cards are resized photo copies. The orange striped fabric offset on the black with white wonky dot fabric has the feel of a memory…timeless, floating, askew a bit, and somewhat larger than life.





Amy Says:

The memory that came to mind is one that often comes to mind even though the details remain vague. The moment centers around me as a girl making of a pair of shorts. (How old was I? I don’t know.) To complicate matters, I’d decided to make them patchwork, combining green and polka-dot fabrics. (Was it my first sewing project? I’m not sure.) Something went awry, however. To this day, I have a habit of assembling things backwards and/or inside out. Whatever happened that day must have been similar. I got frustrated and threw the shorts in the trash. (Did I actually do this? Or just want to? I’m not sure.) My grandmother retrieved them, fixed the problem, and went on. (Did I wear those shorts? I don’t know.)


When I decided to put this memory into fabric, representing the shorts seemed easy enough, but I envisioned a small sewing machine in the frame as well. Quickly it became clear that the machine was the focus of the collaged piece and the hinge upon which the memory builds. The shorts, rendered small, are left hanging just off the bottom tail, a thread of memory, a stepping stone in a creative journey.




Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “Create a piece of art around a memory or occasion that has no photos.” I urge you to give it a try. This was a particularly healing catalyst for our team, I hope it will prove to be that way for you, too. Embrace the healing power of art. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you.

One of our recurring sponsors, Coordinates Collections, is giving away a $20 gift certificate this week.



Leave us comments with your work and you will qualify for the RAK we offer to a random participant. 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 week, enjoy each and every moment.



15 Comments so far
Leave a comment

WOW these are so awesome!!

Comment by Diana

I can’t wait to get started on this! I do not have any pictures of my 1st college graduation, so I want to explore how to develop that into a project!

Comment by Amanda N.

I just found your site through Two Peas and love all the art and catalyst. Wow, what a wonderful site! I’ll be sure to visit here again.

Comment by Wendy

The creativity here is amazing. I have never scrapped the passing of the woman who was more like a mother to me than my own. This challenge is just what I need. Thank you.

Comment by Lenethren

These are lovely pages – and sweet, tender stories. Thank you all for sharing. I’m not sure how I found this site, but I watch it now with Google Reader. This prompt is a soul whisperer – I’m going to think about it and how it fits into what I’ve been doing in my mixed media artwork since my Mom died 2 years ago…thanks! Deb

Comment by Deb Wheeler

Thank you for such a great prompt. It has encouraged me to do page that I have been meaning to do for a very long time!

See it here at two peas:

thank you for looking,

Comment by Francesca Di Leo

Great projects everyone!! I love the theme of using no photos!! 🙂

Comment by lucy edson

I came over via Jennifer McGuire’s blog… Oh my gosh!!!! Amazing… each piece is a journal!!

Dedra… I cried when I read yours! I can’t image… Big hugs to you…

Awesome place… great art…

Comment by Andi Sexton (rrlscrapgal)

Thanks for the hugs Andi. That’s what I love about this site and the challenges here.
They really do erge me to dig deeper with my journaling and the memories of my life.

I can’t wait to see more of everyones art!

Comment by Dedra Long

Hi sorry, something happened to my last post at two peas, and had to redo it.

You can find my piece at this link:


Comment by Francesca Di Leo

There are some amazing pieces here. The idea of scrapping without photos is something I’ve been experimenting with recently. I’d like to share this one – it’s about scrapbooking itself, and what it means to me now that I’ve been doing it for a year.

Comment by Anne

I just stumbled onto this site from Jennifer’s page and I have to say I’m blown away. I love the idea of scrapping without a picture because it is so challenging. These catalysts have also pushed me to think a bit deeper when I journal and it’s almost cathartic when you finally get to talk about it.

Here’s my page:

Comment by Christine

Here is mine…

I love this catalysts and all of your artwork so very much! I have made a goal to myself to do these.

Comment by Melanie K.

[…] so last weeks Creative Therapy Project was to create something around a memory with no photos. Many possibilities there…but as […]

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