creative Therapy

Catalyst Ninety-Nine
February 3, 2010, 8:00 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 ninety-nine:


What’s something you wish you knew about your parents?


We’re excited to have Genevieve Simmonds as this week’s Guest Artist.


Here’s a quickie self-bio for Genevieve:


Genevieve (aka Gen aka Paperjax aka G love aka Benny….) is a 32 year old mama and wife living in Vancouver BC. Proud to be taking care of her two boys, she relies heavily on creative release, bubble baths and happy hour. Gen is a published co-author of the Memory Makers release “We Dare You: Scrapbook Challenges About Real Life” (2007) and is still a member of the online challenge site She has had artwork included in several different Publishers’ releases and designed a line of paper and stamps. Gen has a not-totally-abandoned blog and is in the process of setting up websites for her freelance graphic design/creative solutions business and mixed-media artwork. Keep up with her daily mumblings and musings via Twitter: ‘gensimmonds’.


If you’ve never seen Genevieve’s art, make sure to visit her blog and the dares blog.





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




Genevieve Says:

My parents publicly (within the family that is) began having problems after Christmas a few years ago. They had been together for almost 30 years and I felt as though I had been smacked in the face with Shock, a feeling that lasted some time. Over the years bits and pieces of truth and honesty and emotion and feeling have been discussed. We as a family made an effort to accept what was and vowed to work on communication.


I can see this now as a life lesson – where you learn it’s time to wake up and realize you’re an adult. Not just a daughter or little sister. So now I can have a grown-up legitimate opinion. And what about the life lesson where you learn how important communication is? I wish that was role-modelled for me instead of this after-the-fact ‘do as I say, not as I do’ idea.


What do I wish I knew about my parents? I wish I knew their stories. I wish that I had known more about them as individuals and as a couple. Who were you? Who are you? Where did you come from? Share your memories with me. What did you love? Who did you love? Where did you live? Why? For some reason there was an unspoken code of silence. There was lots of love, lots of opportunity, logic, responsibility, expectations, priviledge. But not much conversation. It’s clear now that not talking about problems and mistakes and feelings doesn’t make them go away.


Our stories are so important. When I began scrapbooking 8 years ago I fell in love with telling our story. Not just for other people but as a way to express myself and deal with topics both good and bad. I have used telling my story through photos and words and artwork as a creative and fundamental form of therapy. I believe that someone in the future will be interested in my personal legacy. I feel that all of our stories are unique and special and deserve to be told. One can never know what impact they may have.


I wish I had their stories. And there is still time….


Technique Highlight:

I prepared the background cardstock paper with a coat of gesso, applied with an old gift card. After the gesso, I used acrylic paints to bring out the texture in the paper and the gesso layer, as well as add colour to the background. This is an easy technique where you can’t really make a mistake…just incorporate it in!


The image of branches in the background was then transferred to the background with a blender pen and burnisher. It was a complete experiment and didn’t go quite as planned. Still, I’m never one to start over unless completely necessary, so I rubbed a bit more paint about and planned to cover up the part of the paper that had ripped (a fair-sized chunk) with the next step.


The photo was manipulated in Photoshop and printed onto canvas paper. One thing I love to do is incorporate interactivity and hidden surprise bits and/or journalling, extra texture and architecture. I cut the silhouette shape at the top of the image, trimmed down the sides and bottom and then cut it in half to create two doors of a ‘gate’.


I sewed hinges, added some rubons and more paint and a little heart.



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



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




Dina Says:

Years ago when I was trying to figure out if my husband was “the one,” I was really curious about my own parents’ courtship. I wanted to know how they fell in love and why they chose to get married…I wanted details! I wanted to hear about the butterflies! This page is about that wish…




Opal Says:

If I could, I would like to ask my mom if she ever wanted to leave, to “fly the coop.” If she did, and she had good reasons to, we never knew. She kept things to herself. But looking back, I wonder what went through her head.


My piece is machine and hand quilted. The selvage piece at the bottom just appeared when I was looking for a black and white fabric. The name was perfect: “All Cooped Up.” My mom was a quilter, and she would have known the significance of the Flying Geese. I show her wistfully looking at them from her window, holding a bit of a dream in her beak.




Karen Says:

I wish I knew you when you were kids. I wish I knew your dreams. What did you want to be when you grew up? What hopes did you have for the future? Did you wonder how your life was going to turn out? Were you happy? How I wish I knew you when you were little. How I wish we could have been friends then. I love you.





Lori Says:

My Mom has always insisted she just wanted to be married well and raise children when she was younger. Times were very different for women in her day. Aspirations of careers were rare. Even still, I have always wondered what her dreams were when she was little. Maybe she’ll tell me one day when she’s ready.


Journaling Reads:

I have often wondered what you dreamed of being when you were young. Do you have any regrets? Would you go back and change anything? I have always assumed that the big dream was to be married and raise children because you told me so, but still, I wonder.





Lia Says:

I wish I knew how my parents met and how they fell in love. What made them decide to be together, get married, and have us kids. But now that my mum has passed on, and I don’t want to make my dad sad by asking him too many questions about their relationship … I guess I’ll never have the full story. Dad tells me some snippets of their courtship and marriage once in a while, and I hold on to those morsels of information dearly.




Wendela Says:

I would love to know more about my roots! I don’t really know much about my parents because they are divorced…and they didn’t tell not much about that time…I love to know more about my mom and dad…because it’s about me…my roots…




Larissa Says:

I’d like to know their love story, how and why they fell in love. I would also like to know more about their childhood traumas so I can better understand the education I had.



Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What’s something you wish you knew about your parents?” 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 so we can share in your creative therapy, too. 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

Here is my blog where my catalyst 99 is , I will say that it was great therapy to do . I hadn’t thought about my parents in this way , in a long time .

Comment by mary ann k.

[…] Jump to Comments Very much inspired by catalyst #99 from Creative Therapy, this layout was created from a sketch by Skissedilla and made with the […]

Pingback by Happier Times «

I finally did it! Took me long enough…

Comment by Margrethe

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