Friday, January 27, 2006
Getting this workshop ready for an Altered Arts Conference in Ann Arbor, Midhigan, this summer.
The idea behind the workshop is to re-animate childhood memories and even recreate them in some cases, using photocopies of snapshots of friends and family and creating paper puppet people, giving them all kinds of marvelous and splendid embellishments like wings, jewels, & crowns. And if that isn't enough fun in itself, we will also be creating little story books for our paper puppet people, out of old kids' board books.
This sounds like so much fun, I wish I could sign up!
Monday, January 23, 2006
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Still playing with old postcards and photoshop... Will I ever get tired of this?
I can't imagine!
Zine 6 "Creating Heart Treasure Every Day" is ready to download.
Click on "zine6" or the image of the zine cover
I got an email today from a Positive Psychology e-group regarding a grand rounds presentation on Resilience to Stress. If you are at all interested in resilience or stress, read on.
On Friday, September 23, Dennis Charney, MD, Dean of Research and the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Pharmacology, and Biological Chemistry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, delivered a grand rounds presentation entitled: "The Psychobiology of Resilience to Extreme Stress: Implications for the Prevention and Treatment of Mood and Anxiety Disorders."
Dr. Charney began by discussing his current research, in collaboration with Dr. Steve Southwick, which focuses on the study of individuals who have been exposed to extreme stress and have shown remarkable resilience. Their goal is to ascertain why one person appears more resilient than another. A major source of the data are Vietnam veterans who did not develop either depression or PTSD after being held as prisoners of war (POW). This group consists of approximately 750 men, primarily pilots, all of whom were held captive during the Vietnam War, held for a period of 6-8 years, tortured, and/or kept in solitary confinement. The research conducted on this population of individuals has included video taped interviews, neuropsychological testing (including tests of emotional intelligence), neuroimaging, and DNA studies.
Dr. Charney identified 10 critical psychological elements and characteristics of resilience, including:
1 Optimism. Those who are extremely optimistic tend to show greater resilience, which has implications for cognitive therapies that enhance a patient's positive view of his or her options, thereby increasing optimism;
2 Altruism. Those who were resilient often found that helping others was one way to handle extreme stress, which can also be used therapeutically as a recovery tool;
3 Having a moral compass or set of beliefs that cannot be shattered;
4 Faith and spirituality. For some POWs, prayer was a daily ritual, although others were not at all involved or interested in religion;
6 Having a role model. Many people with role models draw strength from this; for treatment, using a role model, role modeling, or helping someone discover a role model can be beneficial;
7 Social supports. Having contact with others who can be trusted, either family or friend, with whom one can share most difficult thoughts was important in recovery;
8 Facing fear (or leaving one's comfort zone);
9 Having a mission or meaning in life; and
10 Training. One can train to become a resilient person or to develop resilience by experience in meeting and overcoming challenges. Dr. Charney believes the importance of training has implications for how we prepare young people for adulthood. He suggested that high school health courses could be adapted to help with this preparation.
Full text is here.
I also got a newsletter from the random acts of kindness foundation today.
I suspect if the above grand rounds presentation was of interest then the following will also be of interest.
It's almost time for Random Acts of Kindness Week. This year it is February 13 - 19. Time to make your plans! For some ideas, here a some recent kindness activities that others have done (for more ideas please see the RAK website):
"I used my airline miles to give magazine subscriptions to the local nursing home." - Tanja, Texas
"I spearheaded a peanut butter and jelly drive. We gathered over 300 pounds for our local food pantry." - Roslyn, California
"Our little RAK club gathered games and made cards for a school in Louisiana to use during their indoor recess time." - Kathleen
"During the summer, I collected blankets and sleeping bags at garage sales and auctions. Then after washing them, I donated them to a local rescue mission for Thanksgiving. They were gone in a day." - Barb, Indiana
Yvette from South Dakota wrote this story for the newsletter.
A HELPING HAND AND PHONE
"I live in Huron, South Dakota. My son was in a car accident on his way to college in Mitchell, SD (about 50 miles away) He drives this every day. A snow plow pulled out in front of him and he crashed into it. The hospital flew him to Rochester, MN with severe injuries, before I was able to get to the hospital in Mitchell. After leaving the hospital, I went in search of a payphone to try to speak to him before he went into surgery. An impossible task in Mitchell. The payphones seem to have all disappeared. As I was explaining the problem to a lady at a pub, (I had stopped in with the hopes of finding a payphone in there) a woman and her parents (I have never seen these people before) pulled out three cell phones. The woman took the paper with the number out of my shaking hand and dialed the number, then sent me out into the hall so that I could speak to my son. They asked for NO money or anyth! ing. Then, when I had spoken to my boy, they told me he was in good hands; they would pray for me; gave me a hug and made sure that I got back to my car OK. I don't even know who they were or what their names are but they were some of the sweetest people I have ever met. A true random act of kindness."
For greater resilience in life and to enjoy your life more fully, try kindness as much as possible.
"What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Monday, January 16, 2006
This was a response to one of the suggestions in Danny Gregory's new book, "The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist Your Truly Are"; to draw on something that's already got something on it. This was a very wild thing to try to do. Brain teasing and activates snoozing neurons. Fun in a challenging way.
For those of us who enjoy art challenges and assignments, the internet is a rich source for such things. Danny Gregory's website is packed with ideas. He credits drawing (or the attention to life which drawing demands) as the thing that saved his mental health and life following his wife's nearly fatal accident in the subway in NYC. To read more, go to Danny's website and scroll down to "My Conversion."
Drawing "...does help me to see the beauty in people and things, to cherish what I have, to reach out to others, to favor creation over destruction, to find peace and feel more alive.
May it do the same for you." -Danny Gregory
For lots of assignments join the everydaymatters yahoo group and go to the files section where you will find art challenges that will challenge you for a long time.
A few other places to look for assignments and challenges.
art by you
fluxus mail art
self portrait tuesday
And here's swirlygirl's explanation of 52 figments.
"Figment [fig·ment] noun
1. Something invented, made up, or fabricated: just a figment of the imagination.
2. A contrived or fantastic idea; "a figment of the imagination"
Synonyms: creation of the brain, creature of the imagination, fabrication, fantasy, fiction, figment, imagination, invention, phantom of the mind, whimsy, wildest dream
52 weeks, 52 questions, 52 creations, 52 opportunities to think outside the box, make something up, ponder your most outlandish dreams and have some fun. At the beginning of each week for 2006, I will post a downloadable pdf foldable mailer with a new question. Some questions will be silly, some challenging, some straightforward and some completely outrageous. Print the file, cut along the dotted line, create your answer - write it, draw it, collage it, anything goes - and mail it to me!"
Alright, here's EDM challenge #1; a drawing of a shoe that turned into so much more.
I started with my leg, foot. and slipper; then I noticed Bruzzi, our newest Bergaasco, sleeping. I noticed I had to look very hard to find his nose. Then I noticed the cat noticing the setting moon. Wow! I was so glad to be awake to do all this noticing.
Thanks, Danny, for the challenge!
ON ZINE 6
This zine "Creating Heart Treasure Everyday" is nearly ready to down load. This ‘zine is all about the work of one alternative artist, Sally Turlington. The reason I thought focusing on one artist for this ‘zine would be of interest is that you get a more rounded picture of the artist’s life this way. You get more of her story and her words and more of her imagery. With this more rounded and perhaps deeper picture, I hope you will also get more subversive seeds of joy and inspiration. I chose to start with Sally fro this format because there was something in her work and writing that resonated deeply. It seemed that with word and image she created heart treasure for herself and others every day. I found this intriguing. I wanted to know more.
'Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.'
— Leo Buscaglia
Down loading instructions will follow shortly.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Always Inquire - Photoshop fun by Lani
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. -Albert Einstein
ON PUPPET NEWS
Puppetry in Education and Therapy:Unlocking Doors to the Mind and Heart, is finally in print. This book is self published by Matthew Bernier and Judith O'Hare and the royalties after expenses will go to the Puppeteers of America. Their hope is to make a significant contribution to the body of information about Puppetry in Education and Therapy.
To read more about this book, go here.
This year Puppets Education Magic will be part of the Tri Regional Festival which will held in Asheville, NC July 20-23 .. July 20 will be a pre festival day for people who work in the area of Puppetry in Education and Therapy.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Playing with "Fruits" image by Shoichi Aoki from my morning pages.
"I am for those tine invisible loving humamn forces that work from individual to individual..." -William James
Create Heart Treasure Every Day.
Some Journaling questions.
Don't ask "am I doing it right" but rather "am I doing it?"
It's good to be going home.
"Fear less, cherish more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, listen more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours." (Swedish Proverb)
Inspired by Danny Gregory's new book, The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist Your Truly Are (which you can read about here.) and his yahoo group ( a very lively group, whew) I've been working in my own little art journals, one that came back to me after a wild trip all over the continent, and one that's just my regular "morning pages". Examples of both seen above.
For some beautiful journals and book bindings, check outthis blog.
For some inspiring results of a mail art "contest"see:
Danny Gregory's website.
Where is home to you?
Is it where your childhood memories are at play?
Is home somewhere in the mind?
What I am finding in my foray into altering photographs and playing with photoshop, is that there's something really astonishing going on. I can take images of myself as a child, and images of ancestors, and images of places I have been and put them all together in new ways. I can rewrite my life story a million different ways. I can see a lifetime as part of a whole continuum of lifetimes. I can start to see the life of the little kid with the umbrella as part of a much larger picture. I can feel the edges of what I believed was isolated, independent, and unique, as a little blurry. When I look at the bigger picture, the human tapestry as a whole, the feelings that go with this view are a lot less isolation, one life is not so unique, and mostly what I feel is a kind of interdependence, not just with people around me, but also with ancestors, teachers, friends, and places from long ago and far away.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Today is a very sad day. A friend told me of the sudden death of a much beloved niece in a car accident. Sometimes there are very few words, only art.
So I wandered among images of Jizo's (protector figures found in temples and shrines in Japan), and other cemetery sculptures which seem quiet, honest, and simple in aspect.
May we all find solace and peace of mind for our sufferings and sorrows.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Over the holidays, I acquired an incredible sore throat and cough that left me wanting to do very little except play with art materials, photoshop, and memories of world travel from once upon a time.
So here's a series of altered postcards from places I have been. The first is Japan. Spot the foreign intruder?
Egypt! Got to love those grumpy camels.
Our favorite mode of travel, the P&O lines. And when that wasn't available, a tricycle would do.
Another Korean Postcard.
This one was fun, an old Japanese Postcard.
OK, this isn't a postcard, but I liked their umbrellas. It's one of Dodgeson's photo's of Alice Liddell and her sister. This may count for travel as I spent a lot of time with Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
Maybe I'll post art journal pages later!