creative Therapy

Catalyst Eighty-Four
October 18, 2009, 6:40 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.


Ok! Here’s catalyst number eighty-four:


What’s the best gift you ever gave?


We’re so excited to have Lydie Manche as this week’s Guest Artist.


Here’s a short little bio for Lydie: 29 years old, I am a wife and a mother of two little and terrible girls . We are living in a small village in the north east of France. I like this village very much because because it is edged with meadows and because houses full of flowers are made of old stones. Houses have soul, nature is present everywhere and all that contributes to my inspiration… I’ve scrapped since the birth of my first daughter and my scrap evolved little by little towards what they call in France the “plant scrap”.


If you haven’t seen Lydie’s art, make sure to visit her blog.





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




Lydie Says:

In our world, everything pushes us to consumption, to purchase… A PSP here, an i-pod thereabouts… a jewel, a computer, a television with flat screen… The society constructs its stocks on the idea of “having “.To illustrate this subject, I wanted to emphasize a simple but invaluable present: a present which everybody has but that can be sometimes forgotten: love. And what better to express love than a kiss? The kiss of two beings who like each other, the kiss of a parent on the forehead of her child, a kiss on the cheek of one friend… I don’t believe I have ever given anything more precious than this mark of deep affection… And to contrast the oppression the flapping of the metronome which regulates our lives, I wanted to show purity and lightness… That’s why I picked the white for the background of the page.


In French:

A notre époque, tout nous pousse à la consommation, à l’achat… Une console de jeu par ici, un i-pod par là…. un bijou, un ordinateur, une télévision à écran plat… La société construit ses valeurs sur l’idée de “posséder”.Pour illustrer ce sujet, j’avais envie de mettre en valeur un cadeau simple mais inestimable… un cadeau que tout le monde possède mais qui peut parfois être oublié : l’amour. Et quoi de mieux pour exprimer l’amour que le baiser. Le baiser de deux êtres qui s’aiment, le baiser d’un parent sur le front de son enfant, le baiser sur la joue d’un(e) ami(e)… Je crois n’avoir jamais rien offert de plus précieux que cette marque de profonde affection… Et pour contrecarrer l’effet oppressant que peut avoir le battement du métronome qui rythme nos vies, j’avais envie de pureté, de légèreté…C’est la raison pour laquelle mon choix s’est porté sur le blanc pour ce fond de page.


Technique Highlight:

Having taken a photo of my kiss and thanks to my software of modification, I played with the contrast to whiten my skin to such an extent that it can, once the photograph stacked on white paper, become transparent. I then used two rub-ons flowers on the corners of the photograph and paper to reinforce this idea that there is not photograph but direct impression on paper. I like to create a layout with elements which are not very typical in scrapbooking but that, especially, bring me back to simple things: nature. I like the plant foam, the natural and artificial foilages, the flowers.. I also like the small ends of wire netting, pebbles, the small bricks, wood when they are used with time. I enjoy putting them on my layouts. Here, as I chose to illustrate simplicity, I used only two leaves of bracken, picked some time ago and that I had dried between two big books. After the leaf dries, I pasted it on the back with some glue with bookbinding. Then I put it directly on the page before glue is dry. The leaf isn’t damaged with time. I glued together small artificial leaves over these natural leaves of all to create an effect of dimension. My achievements would not be complete if I did not use a thread of aluminum which characterize them. Just take a small segment of this thread, twist it to give it a form which I like then fix it on the layout in the required place. For this page, I used a brad but some hooks can also be used.


In French:

Après avoir pris mon baiser en photo, et grâce à mon logiciel de retouche, j’ai joué sur les constrastes pour blanchir ma peau à tel point qu’elle puisse, une fois la photo superposée sur le papier blanc, se confondre avec celui-ci. J’ai ensuite disposé deux rub-ons fleurs à cheval sur la photo et le papier pour renforcer cette idée qu’il n’y a pas de photo mais une impression directe sur le papier. J’aime créer des pages avec des éléments qui sont peu habituels dans le monde du scrap mais qui, surtout, me ramènent à des valeurs simples : la nature. J’aime la mousse végétale, les feuillages naturels et artificiels, les fleurs.. J’aime aussi les petits bouts de grillage, les cailloux, les petites briques, le bois lorsqu’ils sont usés par le temps. Je prends un plaisir immense à les intégrer sur mes pages. Ici, comme j’ai choisi d’illustrer le sujet avec un maximum de simplicité, je n’ai utilisé que deux feuilles de fougère, ceuillies il y a quelques temps et que j’avais séchées entre deux gros livres. Une fois la feuille sèche, je l’ai encollée sur l’envers avec de la colle à reliure puis je l’ai placée directement sur la page avant que la colle ne soit sèche. La feuille ne rique ainsi pas d’être abîmée avec le temps. J’ai collé par-dessus ces feuilles naturelles de toutes petites feuilles artificielles pour créer un effet de relief. Mes réalisations ne seraient pas complètes si je n’employais pas ce fil
d’aluminium qui les caractérisent. Il suffit de prendre un petit segment de ce fil, de le tordre pour lui donner une forme qui nous convienne puis de le fixer sur la page à l’endroit voulu. Pour cette page, j’ai utilisé un brad mais des agrafes peuvent aussi être employées.



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



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



Amy Says:

Many special gifts came to mind for this catalyst. I chose to document visually the way I have come to think about pillows I made my boys last holiday season. Their lists were filled with many things, and many of those they received. The “making” of something each year for them has never been a necessity. Instead, the “making” of something beyond what may appear on any list they create fulfills my own need for tradition. Last year, I made pillows, and I involved them in picking colors and fabrics. I wanted these pillows to be with them for many years and to be special – to be symbolic. I wanted each pillow to mirror and reflect something about each boy as he was in that space of time, at that age. As I worked on their pillows, each took on a life of its own in my head. Once they were finished, someone referred to them as “Mama’s Gifts.” It is a concept I talked about after that in an episode of the Creative Mom Podcast. In working on the art for this piece, I had to look anew at what the pillows contain, what I put into them, and what they stand for. As gifts, these were important to me and, thankfully, to them.




Iris Says:

The best gift I ever gave was something I did for myself. I used pay so much attention to my family that I often neglect myself. I have given up on so many dreams and have let go of so many opportunities in the past in favor of my family. I realized that I won’t love my family any less if I start loving myself too. I have then decided to allow myself to dare to dream. I may not have as much chances of succeeding as compared to my youth, but at least I won’t go forever asking myself … “what if?”




Wendela Says:

That’s absolutely without doubt…our cat!! The best gift for my kids! They love him sooooo much, and pampering him the whole day..He can do tricks, walking like a doll…sitting as an doll…sometimes ha has to wear clothes…but he’s never getting angry, and crabs never! He’s so sweet!!


Technique Highlight:

I printed the image on a piece of fabric, and sewed the papers, and the laces together with my sewing machine. After that I added some rub ons, crackle paint, and some flowers..





Michelle Says:

As an aspiring photogrpaher, I would love to think that the photographs I take for people are the best give I have given. To be able to be behind the camera and capture the relationships between families, especially mother and child brings me more joy than I ever thought possible. To be able to give a mom photographs of her and her children the way that I see them is such a gift that I am happy to give over and over again.




Journaling Reads:

A few years ago I finally became an American citizen. I think this is the best gift I could have ever given to my kids.





Lori Says:

I think the best gift I have ever given was to my husband when we were dating. I surprised him with tickets to see his favorite hockey team. He was thrilled, to say the least.





Wilna Says:

The best gift I have ever given was birth to my 3 girls. This page is just a celebration of that!




Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What’s the best gift you ever gave?” 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.




3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wow, what amazing work. TFS!

Comment by Vel

About five years ago, my husband asked me to make him a birthday card. He said that commercially made cards seemed impersonal to him, and that was all he wanted for his birthday. So I did, and he acted so thrilled that I began making all of his cards: anniversary, Father’s Day, Valentines. Since he’s the most non-materialistic man this side Thoreau, I figured the least I could do was put my heart and soul into the cards that I made for him. Pretty soon I was making cards for my sons, my sister, my mother, and my friends, and then, wonder of wonders: poeple started putting them in frames and hanging them! The next thing I knew, my sweet husband was taking me to art shows, and I was so inspired by what I saw that I started a blog, took up art journaling, and began painting again, after a hiatus of almost twenty years. That was two years ago, and now my life is so full because of the friends I’ve made and the joy that comes from creating something beautiful out of nothing. The gift I gave turned out to be the best gift I ever received.

Comment by Alberta

Amazing prompt .. when I get better I am definitely going to do this one ..

Comment by Sasha

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