creative Therapy

Catalyst Fifty-Nine
April 25, 2009, 8:30 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-nine:


Apologize to someone.


We’re so thrilled to have Susan Dupre as this week’s Guest Artist.


I’ve known Susan from A Million Memories for a while now and she’s absolutely fantastic. She’s down to earth, funny, kind and generous. Not a very common combination and such a great one. Of course, she’s also an incredibly talented artist and, as you’ll see this week, her work is so meaningful that it’s a perfect fit for creative therapy.


As well as being on the A Million Memories design team, Susan also designs for multiple manufcaturers including Graphic 45 and the Paper Element. And she’s on the Dreamgirls Challenge Blog.


If you’ve never seen her beautiful art make sure to visit her blog.





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




Susan Says:

I thought long and hard about who needed an apology in my life. Truthfully, the one person who needed it most in my life is me. I decided to make a little box “of apologies”, but I have decided to continue the process. I now plan on adding some positive affirmations towards me and my life as well. My journaling strips read:


I apologize to myself for – never loving my self to make a difference in my life in the areas where needed.


I apologize to myself for – letting others in my past take advantage of me or abuse me.


I apologize to myself for – giving up and not pushing myself harder in areas I needed to work on.


I apologize to myself for – the times that I have been preoccupied and didn’t want to participate with others in my family. I have hurt not only them but myself as well.


I apologize to myself for – being critical or unbelieving of my self worth or talents.


I apologize to myself for – waiting so long to become a mother because I thought I would be the mother my own mother was. I was so wrong.


I apologize to myself for – keeping all the pain and hurt inside when I was younger. I should have shared it with someone.



Technique Highlight:


Other than photo and paper cutting, I decided to make my button flowers more playful and whimsy. I did by simply adding floss around them. It added texture and a bit more color to help make it all pop.



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



Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team.



Wendela Says:

My little one is always crying when he has to go out with me. Are you coming??? And he’s crying NO, I don’t want to go, I don’t want anything!!! And sometimes, I feel bad about this…my youngest one, his whole little life, he has to go with me…to school…shopping…visiting friends….going outside for a walk…the dentists.. the doctor..etc..


And sometimes his patience is up!!! And he cries out NO!! And when I look into my heart..I say…I’m so sorry to my little boy…forgive me


Technique Highlight:

I used cork ( background), and I stamped circles with paint. Also crochet leaves and stalks, and one flower.




Karen Says:

I try to live my life with as few regrets as possible and when I hurt someone or feel bad about something, I generally try to apologize immedaitely so that it’s not something that I drag out for a long time.


One of the rare exceptions is an old friend. Many many many years ago, this boy asked me out. He would have been my first boyfriend and for a plethora of reasons, I said no. I told him some of the reasons but the really big reason, the one I wasn’t so proud of even then, I didn’t tell him. He guessed it and knew it but I never admitted to it. We stayed friends on and off for a very long time and still talk today and I have always regretted having turned him down then but we never had the opportunity to date ever again.


A few years ago, I took this course that had me reevaluate my life and coincidentally, I was planning a trip back home after the course. So the first thing I did was call him up and apologize. I met with him and I told him the real reason I didn’t have the guts to go out with him then and how much and how deeply I regretted not telling him all these years even though he knew it and even worse how much I regretting missing our opportunity.


He was incredibly graceful. Not only did he forgive me but he told me that maybe things worked out much better this way. Had we dated, he said, we might have gone out for a while and then broken up and never talked again. Whereas this way, we got to stay friends for another twenty years and get to be in each others’ lives even now.


That apology and hearing his response was one of the most healing moments of my life and I wanted to commemorate it with this piece of art.


Why is this in a binder?





Amy Says:

An apology for a well-intended attempt to free a stuck penny that ended up with a broken gumball machine and gumballs falling to the floor around us while we looked on in confusion until we realized they had hit the glass hard enough from the inside to break through. It’s an apology for a simple and silly moment, but every time I thought of it, I thought of the William Carlos Williams’ poem, “This is just to say,” and I wanted to capture the same kind of moment, a simple moment with a slightly tongue-in-cheek apology. Medium: Watercolor and ink.





KL Says:

when i began thinking about this catalyst “apologize to someone” i realized that it was going to be a real soul searching experience. my thoughts kept coming back to things that i wish i had done differently all the times that someone tried to belittle me when i was a child. all of the times that i was bullied. all of the times i was told i was stupid. ugly. all of the times that i was told i wouldn’t amount to anything, that my life would be meaningless.


but, most importantly, i wanted to record these thoughts so that i could forgive myself for believing all of those hurtful, painful words. i wanted to forgive myself for all of the times that i walked out on myself in those moments, all of the times that i let someone else dictate how i would believe in myself.


so i wrote and wrote and i got it all out.


and i was relieved when i finished. relieved that i was open and honest and truthful, but most importantly i was relieved that i forgave myself for not being stronger. i forgave myself for not knowing better. i forgave myself for being a child who just wanted to be loved.


Technique Highlight:

honestly, for this page i really let the journaling dictate the flow of what i would create. there is a lot of hand cutting and piecing things back together on this one. there are a lot of layers. the cabinet card
frame is actually a piece of fabric that i designed. i simply cut out the picture and then created a layered handcut paper collage and layered it underneath the fabric. my journaling was written on the large journal card and then layered deep underneath everything else, you can just see it peeking out under the fabric and the vellum.




Lia Says::

Bubbles was my favorite cat, and my heart broke when she passed on this Valentine’s Day. In my head, I wasn’t the best owner she could have had. All she wanted was my affection and time, and I regret and am so sorry for not giving her more of that. I love her, and I miss her. And I wish she was still here.





Larissa Says:

I chose the easiest way to do this very therapeutic catalyst: I wrote letters to my father, my brother, former boyfriend and a friend of mine and I put them all in a mail box specially decorated for this occasion.





Katie Says:

This was an emotional letter for me to write. It’s a part of my life that I don’t talk about. I keep it separate from my daily life, I have to or I would fall apart. I have a son, he is 17. He is 17 and his life is in shambles. Bad genes and some very rough patches in his life have created some hurdles for him. I put a lot of work into him. I’m afraid that we are running out of time. I am only going to put the beginning of my letter here as the rest is deeply private.


Dear son,


Your doctors keep telling me not to say sorry to you. That it allows you to lay blame somewhere else and that is not therapeutic for you. That then you put your energy into blaming and not into getting better. I do need to say that I am sorry. I don’t know exactly how you got to this place. I think you were passed some bad genes, but that can be controlled through medication, we just have to find the right one for you. I can’t control the hereditary genes. So what I truly feel sorry about is that we all helped getting you into the situation that you are in now. Nothing was on purpose. I knew though that when you were little that this day would be here. I told your Dad, someday this will come back and haunt us. It has.


I was 19 when I got pregnant with you. It was unplanned but I was so happy. You were so wanted. I didn’t have a lot but I did have a lot of love to give you. Your Dad was quite a bit older then me, you know that. I thought I could change him. I learned the hard lesson that you can’t change anybody, ever. So with the advice of a therapist, I packed our bags and walked out the door. You were 8 months old. I knew that your Dad would be mad, but I didn’t know the hell we would go through. I didn’t know that you would become the pawn, the tool to get back at me.


The court set up our visitation schedule and it was too much for a baby. Too much for a baby that was still nursing. Your dad would not allow you to drink breast milk at his house…so you would cry and cry and refuse your formula. Your Dad would not allow me to walk you into the house. The door would open enough to squeeze you in. Did you know that you used to hold on to me with your toes. He would pry your arms off me and then all you had left were your legs…even your little toes held onto the fabric of my shirt.


I tried everything I knew to make it better. I tried to hold you through your rage as you got older. I tried to give you as much love as I could. We used to pack your little bag of treasures for you to take to your Dad’s house. They were very important to you. They were the only part of “us” that you could take with you. You used to pack them in your Fisher-Price silo from your barn set.




Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “Apologize to someone.” I urge you to give it a try. This one has the potential to be a particularly healing catalyst, I hope you will embrace it in that vain. 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 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.



We have a new RAK this week by the very generous Sakura of America which are these beautiful metallic gel pens:



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.




6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You changed the catalyst today. Aarrgh – well here is my entry to last weeks. My favourite word – a bit belated.

Comment by vivienne

Wow! holy smokes, all your pages are just stunning, and so heartfelt. This is why I love this site so much… thanks for sharing your stories.

Larissa, loved your mailbox idea, and Katie, my heart goes out to you and your son.


Comment by Francesca Di Leo

Here’s my take on this catalyst

Another good one! Had me thinking pretty deep.

Comment by Sandra Collins

My heart is in pain right now reading some of these stories, especially to Katie. I KNOW how you feel. My son is 20 and I am at the same spot. My prayers are with you at this time in your life. I have more than one apology to make, I will start today.!

Comment by Kas

This one is very personal, so I won’t share the story, but I loved putting together my first catalyst piece! I think I’ll try to do them in ATC size… off to try more! 🙂

Comment by Tammy

The artwork in this post is so moving. Thank you for trusting to share it with us. I am speechless.

Comment by Bethany

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