creative Therapy

Catalyst One Hundred and Thirteen
June 2, 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 one hundred and thirteen:


Who were your favorite relatives?


We’re thrilled to have Maya Donenfeld as this week’s Guest Artist.


Here’s a quickie self-bio for Maya:


Maya lives with her husband and two children in upstate NY, where she spends her days creating and repurposing in her old farmhouse. Her biggest inspiration comes from raising her children in rural surroundings and the contents of her recycling bins. She loves sharing ideas about creativity, green living, and celebrating all things handmade on her blog maya*made.



Maya also sells her amazing creations at her etsy store.




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




Maya Says:

I love my grandmother beyond words! She has played a huge role in my life, and I’m blessed to still have her here with me. I created this piece for her 89th birthday. I’ve never known anyone as wise, nor have I met a person so filled with optimism. Fittingly her middle name is Hope. This photo depicts my grandmother in front of her clothesline with my mother and her baby brother in the late 40’s.She and my grandfather were in the throes of building their home while she simultaneously was directing a nursery school, and caring for her two young children. Yet, that smile. The banner contains here favorite saying: Smile and the world smiles with you.


Technique Highlight:

I printed an old scanned photo directly onto muslin and Mod Podged it to a piece of scrap wood. Using bits of fabric, I created a tree and painted with acrylics directly onto the leaves. The trunk received wood grain from a fine sharpie pen. Tiny bits of cardboard turned into mini clothespins to hang a raw edged square of fabric. Coffee grinds were rubbed into the creases of the banner to give it an aged look in keeping with the sepia palette of the entire piece.



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




Katie Says:

IMy husband’s little brother Ian was killed by a drunk driver during the Summer of 2008. It’s not been 2 years yet. He was only 19. I met him when he was 8.


Coincidentally, my own brother also died at age 19. How could that day have not been the saddest day of my life, you ask? Time has soothed the pain. Also once I got through the shock of losing my brother, I felt comforted with the feeling that “it was his time”. I had a feeling that the Lord called him home. Ben had blossomed and taught his lessons here on Earth. My brother Ben died of natural causes.


That is a much different type of ending then losing my brother-in-law Ian to a drunk driver. I don’t believe that it was his time yet. I don’t believe that he was supposed to leave us yet. Ian was just beginning. He never even got a chance. I’ll never ever forget that phone call, I’ll never forget the news reports, I’ll never forget the Memorial Service or the Funeral. I’ll never forget the plastic bag from the Coroner’s office with Ian’s belt buckle in it saying that they cleaned it the best they could. I’ll never forget picking my husband up at the airport, home mid-deployment to bury his baby brother. All are as sad as the last.


I hope to never have a sadder moment in my life, never. I’m not sure that my heart could handle anymore.





Carole Says:

I have a lot of family that I don’t get the opportunity to see that often, as they live in England and I live in Australia. so for me this was more about the Relative that I haven’t seen for so long, and getting the chance to finally meet them.


Mum and I had the chance to go to England for 4 weeks, so it was very exciting and also an unreal experience to not only spend time with my mum (Mum lives in Sydney) but also to meet the relatives that I hadn’t seen for almost 20 years. It was really lovely to the get the chance to spend a few days in Godstone England with my Uncle Brian and Aunt Margaret, and this photo was taken outside their house, they were so wonderful.




Karen Says:

Besides my grandmother, whom I wrote about a few weeks ago (and my grandfather whom I also captured in a previous catalyst), my favorite relative was my uncle Lory (my grandmother’s brother). He was always so much fun and so interested in what I said and what I did. I could tell he was genuinely present when we were together. I have always loved him and I miss him terribly.




Iris Says:

My kid’s favorite relative is definitely their grandmother. We are just so blessed to have her live only a few hours from us. That way, the kids can always be with their grandmother during the weekends.





Opal Says:

My favorite relative is my Uncle Floyd, my dad’s twin brother. They were inseparable, Lloyd and Floyd, but so very different. Uncle Floyd was never without a smile or a joke or a kind word. He always had time to listen to me and was never at a loss for words of advice or support. He laughed even when he was in pain. A horseback riding accident left him severely handicapped, but he never complained. He traveled, studied, listened to country music, and loved his family. This is his favorite chair, a brownish La-Z Boy lounger. His Dodger cap hangs on the coat rack.





Dina Says:

‘ve talked about my Grandma M in past pages, who I felt particularly close to. But the truth is I really loved all of my grandparents. Our annual visit to both sets of grandparents was a highlight of my year. And I really, really enjoyed hanging out with my cousins. I have lots of fun memories of them–playing, running, swimming…even driving at tractor through a fence and into a house (oops). I had a blast with my cousins!





Amy Says:

I have two “favorite” relatives, a matched set. This piece pays tribute to only one half of that set. Growing up, there was a cabin near a lake… and outside that cabin was a sign that announced the owners. On that sign was a fish. There were many fish throughout my childhood, and many golf clubs, and many songs sung, and many Polaroid photos. But there was only one “Big A.” This piece is yet to be quilted, which will add new dimension and texture to it. But even as is, this “composed fish” is in memory of my grandfather.





Christine Says:

I have so many fond memories of my Aunt Lydia, my father’s youngest sister. She came to live with our family when I was about seven and stayed with us until she got married. She and I shared a bedroom together, and I remember the times I would watch her prepare her clothes for work the next day. I admired her outfits, and I asked her a few times if she would consider passing them to me when I grew older and could fit into them. She always laughed when I asked her that, and I didn’t realize until I was older why it amused her so much.


IShe was the first person to teach me something crafty…she taught me how to crochet. We would spend some of our evenings together, and she would show me how to loop the yarn around my hand and make even chains. She even crocheted a poncho for me that I wore until the tassles on it became tattered and worn. I will always remember my aunt fondly, and am grateful that she took the time to teach me something that we could enjoy together. Because of her, I found out that I could do something creative and truly find pleasure in it!





Shelley Says:

I have several favorites when it comes to relatives but these young girls are the ones I chose for this catalyst. These sweet girls are my nieces and they are true miracles as they are all the result of in vitro fertilization. Each girl is so unique and each one has such endearing qualities. The eldest sister is not much older than her triplet sisters so they very close in age and really enjoy each others company. More importantly…they can share clothes!! I know their parents can scarcely remember their babyhood as much of that time is a blur…but what a wonderful group of young ladies these girls are today! I look forward to seeing and hearing about their school events, proms, dances, and all that fills a young girls day!





Anna Says:

This shadowbox – canvas is my tribute to my grandparents. My grandma died when I was only 2 – she was a young woman who was taken too early from us. My grandfather passed away almost 20 years later. This picture is the only one we’ve got where they are together… it’s a kind of a family treasure now.



Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “Who were your favorite relatives?” 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.




6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

All the sample pieces aer particularly wonderful this week. I imagine that;s because they were all created with love. My favorite relative, my sister, turns 50 this week, and here’s the card I made for her. It’s filled with my favorite memeories of her. Thank you for giving me the chance to write about the best friend anyone could ever have.

Comment by Kathy

very nice work featured here! funny, i just made a LO yesterday (through big picture scrapbooking)about my granny, my fave relative.

LO 2 ~ big picture baker's dozen/catalyst #113 ~ who is your fave relative?

Comment by Aia

Here is my catlyst 113 , I have missed you creative therapy , Im back.

Comment by Maryannk

I just posted my page at my blog here:

Comment by rinda

This is a great catalyst! Really thoughtful work everyone. Thank you Maya.

Comment by Lori

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