creative Therapy

Catalyst One Hundred and Five
March 17, 2010, 7:00 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 one hundred and five:


Tell a random childhood memory.


We’re overjoyed to have Pam Garrison as this week’s Guest Artist.


Here’s a quickie self-bio for Pam:


Pam Garrison is a mixed media artist who is passionate about creating and inspiring others to create. She shares her talents by teaching at paper arts and mixed media events in the U.S. and abroad. She currently serves as a Director’s Circle Artist for Stampington & Co. You may have seen her work in various art books and magazines, or HGTV’s “That’s Clever.” She is currently licensing designs with Papaya Inc. Pam resides in Southern California with her husband and two young children where she strives to incorporate creativity into her life every day.


If you’ve never seen Pam’s art, make sure to visit her blog.





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




Pam Says:

When I was young, my family and I would travel each summer from Michigan to Florida to visit my Grandfather. While there, we would spend endless hours searching the beach for special shells. My Mother and I were particularly fond of the treasure hunt. This is a memory I cherish to this day. I lost my Mom at an early age, and so the shells we found, and the memory of the joyful time spent finding them, are extra special to me. I find that I often connect to my Mom through an art piece. Not because she was creative, which she was, but because when making art, it is a time my feelings about her and love of remembering her flow through me most easily.


I have, as you might expect, continued to be a treasure hunter, especially when at the beach. My children and husband join me in the hunt and take great pleasure in finding a prize piece with me. A tradition that brings the big circle of life home to me. Last year I made a few shadow boxes from the treasures we have found, and even included some of the special finds from my childhood as well. When given the journal prompt, “tell a random childhood memory”, this journal spread is what came out. A nice trip down memory lane and a story behind the creation for my children.


Technique Highlights:

I started with a blank water color page and stitched on a close-up photo of a piece I made with shells found. I made some notes on the photo of where and with whom certain pieces were found. On the left side of the spread I drew a very loose picture of my daughter (or is it me as a little girl?) using a paintbrush and calligraphy ink. I wrote with a dip pen and a graphite pencil too. Lastly, I scanned a photo of my mom, brother and I searching through the amazing pile of shells that washed up on the shore in Florida. I stapled it on and doodled on top of it.



Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team. You’ll notice we have a new team member this week, please welcome Kathyrn.




Kathryn Says:

I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood-most are just bits and pieces. One of the few memories of my early childhood is watching the annual balloon races. We would climb up on the roof of our house, and watch all the novelty balloons take to the sky. When I look back on it, it seemed as though the sky just filled with color-like a make believe world. It was magical.





Iris Says:

A random childhood memory that came back to me when I saw my two sweethearts fighting over a toy. As the younger child, I have been bullied by my older brother. The same thing is happening with Nicole and Cheska. Nicole would always get the best toys and refuse to share it with her baby sister. I was so proud of my little Cheska who at 14 months has learned to fight back! She was playing with her toy and Nicole suddenly came in the room and kept getting the balls she was playing with. Cheska would grab the balls from her sister only to have her older sister take it away from her again. When she got fed up of the situation, she bravely went up to her sister and bit her arm! Such a brave feisty little one!:)




Karen Says:

My sister and I fought pretty much all the time as kids. One day, I got really mad at her and banged her door on my way out. Within seconds, I heard this really loud crashing sound and when I opened the door, I saw that her window had broken. Since we were both much more afraid of our mom finding out than anything else, we immediately forgot about our fight and collaborated on a solution. With the help of our dad, the window was replaced without a trace of what happened, before my mom came home.





Larissa Says:

When I was a little girl, I used to giggle a lot, looking for daisies, angel wings, fairies and butterflies. I also used to play with paper dolls at my granny’s house, having a great time with all her treasure boxes. She used to have boxes for everything: buttons, sewing, laces and knitting.





Amy Says:

This piece represents the shimmer of a childhood memory, something I’d forgotten until suddenly it appeared again as I considered this catalyst. I had been thinking of my grandparent’s house and visualizing several elements there… fig tree, tire swing, neighbor with gum in his pocket and the apple tree on his side of the fence. And suddenly I remembered having “tea” with the neighbor right next door. It was such an unexpected moment of memory that I checked with my mom to make sure. Indeed, my grandmother and I were frequent guests for (weak) tea.




Journaling Reads:

My whole childhood, my mother would sew. I can remember her clearing off the dining table to cut out patterns as clearly as if it were yesterday. When she was done cutting, she would iron and carefully fold all of the cut fabric and pattern pieces just so and begin to sew the most beautiful clothing. It was always my job to pick up all of the stray straight pins that would fall to the floor. I loved that job. I would sit under the table for hours listening to the sewing machine running along and catch pins that fell. I think that it was those moments where my love of all things handmade was born. -Journaling: March 2010, 28 years old.




Christine Says:

I still remember how much I disliked wearing dresses. They were just something that I couldn’t stand to wear when I was younger. Well, my aunt was thoughtful enough to sew a long dress for me as a gift, and my mother wanted me to wear it to church. I still remember arguing with my mom about having to wear it. Unfortunately, there was nothing that I could do about the ruffles. However, we came to a compromise. I would wear it to church as long as I could wear my shorts underneath.


As I look at this photo, I’m reminded of that moment and now laugh at how much I disliked wearing dresses as a child. Now I will wear dresses for special occasions, and I don’t dislike them as passionately as I did then.




Opal Says:

As I thought about this catalyst, many random memories came to mind. I wanted to do this one, and then that one, and soon, there was one other that seemed even better. But when my thoughts turned to my grandmother, and the memories I have of her when i was a little girl, I knew that this was the one to celebrate with art. My Grandma Jackson cooked with an apron on. Now, women of that day had a Sunday best dress, and then for the rest of the week they wore a “house dress.” An apron was always worn over the house dress. The aprons worn by the women in my family were the type that went over the head and covered the front of the dress, tying in the back. I don’t think I ever saw my grandmother without her apron.


This piece is mixed media. I sketched the type of apron I remembered on vellum. The background is a pieced log cabin using fabrics of the 30’s. The vellum is stitched to the center, and the apron stitched on top. Machine and hand quilted.



Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “Tell a random childhood memory.” 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.




4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

My submissions this week are two paintings based on memories of son’s childhood and his favorite book Midnight Moon. I read it to him so often that, 27 years later, I can still recite it from memory. “When you close your eyes and go to to sleep, the sandman comes on tiptoe feet and sprinkles stardust in your eyes and then you hear him softly whisper, ‘Come with me a’wandering in the sky.’ So out the window and over the roof you fly, past winking stars and ruby Mars, all the way up to the moon…”

Comment by Kathy

Here’s my take on Catalyst 105. Thanks for such a great site.

Comment by Rowen

Fantastic creations by everyone 🙂
My LO is on my blog:

Comment by Lynn

Thanks for the catalyst–I’ve been doing a lot of scrapping lately of old photos. Here’s my layout (posted in the pool at your Flickr group):

Comment by Deb

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