creative Therapy

Catalyst Sixty-Four
May 31, 2009, 7:36 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 sixty-four:


Create art about a time when something that then seemed small happened but then it ended up changing your life.


We’re so excited to have Seth Apter as this week’s Guest Artist.


Seth was recommended to me by our very own Vivian Bonder. When I visited his site, I was immediately fascinated by his art. All the layers in his work


A true artist, Seth creates in so many mediums, including bookmaking and bookbinding, textures, layers, text, altered images, artistic collaborations, visual journaling, abstract art, ephemera, and more. His work and words can be seen in many sites online and in print, in such publications as Artful Blogging, Pasticcio Quartz, and Varietist Muse.


If you’ve never seen his amazing art make sure to visit his blog and make sure to check out his etsy store.





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




Seth Says:

In life, I believe in the power of synchronicity. That things happen for a reason and are meant to be. And that there is meaning to be found in even the smallest experience. You just have to be open to the possibility. One instance of this for me, and the inspiration behind “Leave Full”, occurred in 2000. I was emerging from a challenging period in my life but had become open to and ready for the possibility of good things happening. I was travelling on my own in the North West United States and in British Columbia Canada. One day I entered an art gallery and was immediately mesmerized by the artwork there. It affected me in a way and on a personal level that I had never experienced before. I should say that before this time, while I had admired art, I hadn’t created art since I was a teenager. I struck up a conversation with the gallery owner, Patricia Larsen, and felt that same energy from her as I did from the artwork. Turns out, no surprise, that she was the artist of the work I had admired so much.


After quite a long conversation, I purchased a piece of her art. Soon after, I returned home to New York City. Although I had wonderful memories of the visit, I assumed that it ended there. But, quite surprisingly, I soon received a handmade postcard from Patricia. I felt that I couldn’t just send back a store bought card and made a meager attempt to create my own postcard, which I mailed back to her. This, in turn, developed into a full blown mail art relationship, with the creative stakes rising with each mailing. Ultimately, Patricia and I have developed a deep and continuing friendship. And this connection was 100% the catalyst for me in opening myself up to art and becoming the artist I am today. And in my mind, this was meant to be. Such a small event, walking through a gallery door, led to such a life changing experience…art!(here’s Patricia Larsen’s beautiful site:



Technique Highlight:


I try to achieve a highly layered and textured background in all my work. The background in this piece has been created using acrylic paint. Different colors of paint were added one layer at a time. After each layer, the still-wet paint was either distressed with sandpaper, wiped away with a rag, texturized with various materials, or dug into with a straight edge. I feel that building up the layers, perhaps to the point where the earliest layers may not even be visible, is the best way to achieve depth and richness in a piece.



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



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



Wendela Says:

You change my World….I used a picture of the first ultrasound from my eldest son. He’s 8 weeks here, and so small….almost one inch….so sweet….. On that moment I couldn’t imagine how my life was going to change…Now he’s 12 and this summer he goes to Highschool, so excited…my life changes again…a new chapter from the book of my life


Technique Highlight:

I transferred a copy from the ultrasound image with golden gel medium, and after that I sprayed with glimmermist pearl, and some alcohol ink. Transferring is really nice to do.




Karen Says:

Years ago, I was sitting at school with a friend who told me that a friend of hers (someone I only knew as an acquaintance) had had a really bad day. I am not sure what prompted me, but I emailed her friend that day and asked him if he was ok. Next thing I know, we were hanging out, becoming friends. And then dating. And then we got married. And now we have two kids. It all started with one single email. Amazing what can change in a moment.


Why is this in a binder?





Amy Says:

Last year, I asked someone to make a quilt with me. Although I had done a bit of quilting in the past, at the time, I wasn’t quilting. Most of my art was channeled through writing and sketching or painting, but I was working with fiber, making pillows and small bags for art tools. I was already working with her on a book project, a shared daily recording of moments, but when I suggested we make a quilt to frame an assortment of my daily bird sketches, it felt pretty presumptuous of me. The quilt came into being over the summer. It was a small thing, the reaching out and asking if she might be interested in working on it jointly. I had no idea when I asked that a year later we’d have made dozens and dozens of quilts together and that the balance of my art would have shifted, the scales tipping to fabric. I had no idea that in asking, in doing that first project, I’d have found new direction and new vision and that in the space of a few months, I’d have learned so much.


That first quilt was sold this year. The pieced block here with the heron in the corner mimics the palette and style of the blocks we created for that quilt. Since then, working many miles apart, we’ve built upon one another, quilt by quilt, row by row, and border by border, incorporating scraps, selvage, and sketches.




Lori Says::

I think the biggest change that happened in my life because of a small decision, was when I met my husband. I had finally made the decision to move in to an apartment alone. This was something I really needed to do to grow as a person. The day I moved in, my future husband came bounding down the stairs and told me to feel free to crash any of their (he and his roommate’s) future parties. I was so bummed to hear that my upstairs neighbors threw big parties. I am not anti-social. I just prefer small gatherings to big parties. One night, several months later, I decided to just go up and talk with them. I didn’t put a ton of thought into it, I was just bored. That small non-though-out decision, which meant little to me at the time, turned out to be the reason my future husband and I started dating.


Journaling Reads::

I was about to move into my first apartment and was thrilled to be on my own. The day I was to move in, I came down with the flu. Fortunately, I had several friends offer to help me. We were nearly done when a guy came bouncing down the stairs. He introduced himself to me and suggested I visit them upstairs when they have one of their parties. My heart sunk. My first place and the guys upstairs throw parties. Well, one night a few months later, I did go to visit them. They were not having a party, so I was able to talk to both guys and get to know them a little. A few weeks later, Jeremy, the guy I originally met on the day I moved in, knocked on my door and asked me out. I couldn’t go, but asked him to ask me another time. A week later he knocked on my door, again, and asked me if I wanted to go out with a big group for his birthday. I did and we’ve been together ever since.





Larissa Says:

It all started in a cloudy day where my husband and I decided to go to the beach. As the weather was covered, we didn’t even worried about putting on sunscreen and we spent the whole day sitting on the beach feeling the breeze and the warmth sheltering us.


To our surprise, the warmth resulted in sunburns, redness and discomfort for days.


Those sunburns ended up causing a spot over my forehead, which started to bother me so much that I decided to look for a dermatologist. After some exams, it was found out a problem in my ovaries related to this spot and I was oriented to interrupt the use of birth control pills.


My husband and I had already decided to get pregnant only in two years time, which was the estimated time for me to finish my Master on science of Law degree studies, however, we took the risk and we found out destiny was reserving us the greatest gift of our lives!


I was very afraid of not being able to take my pregnancy to the end, but, hey, everything went on relatively smooth and my little one was born to illuminate our lives with all her joy and energy!


The skin? I still put on many creams with acid even today, have peelings and suffer a lot in various treatments when I am willing enough to worry about my appearance…





KL Says:

i’ve experienced a few unexpected turns in my life but i always believe that you get exactly what you need, when you need it most. today, this day, is a very hard one for me and my family as it is the 10 year anniversary of my grandfathers death.


it was a painful and difficult time for me when my grandfather passed away 10 years ago as he was the true father figure in my life. the man who was always there to help guide me. he was the father that i didn’t have, for most of my life, and he was unconditionally giving and loving and supportive.


when we lost my grandfather my heart broke in two. i had never experienced overwhelming grief before and instead of dealing with my emotions and letting my pain surface and process i hid from it. I hid the pain with a few crazy summer months of partying and doing everything i could to not be alone with my pain and memories. i was young. i was sad. i was so very lost.


but my grandfather sent me a gift just 6 weeks after he left us, he sent me someone who would love me more than he did. he sent me my soulmate, my future husband, the father of my children. someone who would help me get through the pain and see that living and loving and building a future is the best medicine to heal a broken heart.


it still hurts, even now, that my grandfather isn’t here to see the life i have built and the family i have created. but i know that he sees all of it.




Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “Create art about a time when something that then seemed small happened but then it ended up changing your life.” I urge you to give it a try. 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.



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.



4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I am inspired! I love Seths story, but then I have been an admirer of his art for some time vis his blog. The story simply makes his life larger in my mind than before, so nice to have it there.
I read some of the others and enjoyed them too. I will return to read the rest at another time. Fun to find another fiber artist among them, as that is what I do too. Nice to find this blog.

Comment by Lynn

After almost a twenty year dry spell, I started creating art again, as a result of of one trip to an rt gallery. Somewhere along the way, I lost my confidence, and along with it, my inspiration. For too many years, I’ve channeled all of my artistic impulses into teaching children’s art classes, cooking, gardening, and scrapbooking. I’ve bought oil paints and returned them unopened to the art supply store, never brave enough to get out a brush. Long, long ago I wrote two children’s books and stashed them in a drawer, too timid to attempt the illustrations I envisioned. I admit it: I was a chicken. a big chicken. Once upon a time I hardly left the house without a sketchbook. I drew, I painted, I experimented with textile art. What happend to me? I think it had something to do with the feelings of inadequacy I experienced in college, as a commercial art major. There I soon discovered that I had not a commercial bone in my body, and, since, there was no other art-related major at my school, I quickly changed my field of study to education (which I’ve never regretted, by the way, because my students have been my biggest inspiration).

But, after my sweet husband surprised me with a visit to an opening for the Atlanta multi-media artist Kenson, I was filled with a craving to see more. So, somewhat compulsively, I began to surf the Internet and read art magazines. I discovered the publication Art, Paper, Scissors, in which I read an article: Blog for Your Soul and, consequently, I found the sites and blogs of some of my favorite artists: Anne Hathaway and Susie Pryor. Their work inspired me and led me to look further. I found a kindred spirit in at Violette’s Folk Art whose colorful, bold blog and art just plain makes me happy, and Traci Bautista whose collages reminded me how much fun cutting and pasting could be. Now I can hardly wait to get home from work each day to go up to my Art Attic. I joournal everwhere, as evidenced by the page I created for this challenge, I scarcely begin one piece before I’m overtaken with another idea. My heart and my head are so full. Colored pencils, patterned paper, textured paint, I want to try them all! Not only do I want to do all this, I want to teach my students to collage, inspire them to write, encourage them to create. Who knew how much an hour could change my life?

Comment by Alberta

A wonderful prompt and Seth’s work is amazing as usual. My art life changing moment came in the form of an online mixed media group (ZNE) that I stumbled onto when looking at artwork on ebay. I have dabbled in art all my life, but that is where I found mixed media art and everything came together in an amazing way for me. I was chosen for their Design Team where I was reunited with my BFF from highschool (chosen for the same DT), whom I handn’t seen in 20 years. I was motivated to submit work for publication a little over a year ago and have been honored to have several articles and pieces published. A whole new artlife has emerged helping me to feel whole in a way I never did before. It all started with me asking someone what ‘ZNE’ stood for.

Comment by Pam Carriker

I came over from Scrappindipity and I am in awe of the talent here and the way you have shared it so openly.I am reaching for the place in my heart to create something tangible that embodies who I really am.I desire to release some of the long pent up feelings and the self-sabotage that has been trying to stifle and keep me from doing the art that I want to do and know that I am very cable of doing!This site is going to be a catalyst for me!I have pictures of some of my art at flickr,look for”junebuggs”.

Comment by Rachel

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