Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"What would I love to create?"

Collage by Lani
"What would I love to create?" This question comes from Eric Maisel's Everyday Creative card pack. He believes that while creating, everything is permitted, that during the creative process we are truly free. And if we assert, protect, and encourage our freedom, then we also be helping our creativity. Sounds great to me. So I'm going to just sit quietly with this question and see what emerges and follow that.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dear Kerin, Seth, and Alicia,

Thank you Kerin, Seth, and Alicia!

Thank you so much for your kind comments on the previous post.
I'd rent an apartment in any of your blogs and groups!

Do you ever get memories popping up at the most unexpected times? Here's one that popped up recently. When I was in kindergarten we had "show and tell". I don't know if kids even do this any more but then we'd bring in some old treasure or collection or something we were proud of to show our class mates. I remember having a particularly treasured, beat up, distressed, old cigar box in which I had created little scrolls of old looking paper, photographs, marbles, and pipe cleaner dolls. I had aged the bits of paper by rolling them and rubbing them a lot with dirty hands. I was so excited to show my box and its contents that I gave no thought to how it would be received. Of course there were no other mixed media artists in my class so none of the other kids got it and what I really remember was the teacher REALLY not getting it. So I kind of let my love of creating old beat up stuff go dormant for a while (longer than I care to think). It's only since discovering other mixed media artists and lovers of old paper on the internet that I feel as though I've found my way home.

So thank you very much, Kerin, Seth, and Alicia, for being a part of this experience of "home"!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More inspiration from Altered Bits

Here's another collage, and the central image is from a collage sheet from Altered Bits! It was a digital collage sheet and as you can see the quality is excellent (well maybe you can't see it since I altered the image a bit, but it had good resolution to it before I went to work on it). And here's some great news for newcomers to Altered Bits, the owner, Alicia Caudle, has a blog, a "by invitation only" ning group (which just makes me curious, what are they doing in there and can I play?), and an etsy shop. So if you can't find me in the next day or so, I'm probably lost in Altered Bits!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More inspiration - for journaling, bees wax, and books

Journal every day - collage by Lani
Wandered over to Seth Apter's blog. (Part of this eCourse I'm in has us identify our favorite blogs and what we like about them.) So I'm studying Seth's blog, his wonderful books, art and links and then I start clicking on the links. The result is I was lost for hours and I have collected lot's more inspiration. THAT's what I love about some blogs out there. Not only are they inspiring because of art and ideas but they also send you off on treasure hunts to find more wonders.

So my first stop was Contemplating the Moon; The Art Journal of Bridgette Guerzon Mills where I can feast my eyes on encuastics. Mmmmmm, I can almost smell the bees wax. She's also got a journal making business and a blog for that. You can find Seth's travel journal in the journal blog and it is inspiring. I've got to go make a journal right now. Well, in a minute. I should finish this first.

Back at Seth's site he's got a little button where you click to find a particular blog entry that has inspired him. He changes this, so you have to check the button on a regular basis. I clicked and ended up at Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails a wonderful book binder's blog! It's a treat for book binders and dog lovers and my favorite posting is here. I love art that is a gift for someone dear and I love art that is meaningful, probably because it is for someone special. Lovely post Leslie.

Finally here's a link via Seth for Altered Bits! WOW! This is an amazing place. The image above, which I love, was originally a tintype freebie download. There are great collage sheets, some which are digital. The quality is excellent. This spot deserves some concentrated exploration!
There are free eZines there along with other amazing treats. Go have a look and tell me if I'm wrong!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Heartening thought

Mound Bayou Remembered by Lani

Here's my new learnings from Marisa's (Creative Thursday) E-Course, "In the Fishbowl:: Life as an Artist". Have you ever felt your artist self slip away quietly in the night? And you awaken feeling lost and existentially adrift? Well Marisa has the perfect answer. Just answer the questions in the earlier post and you will find "well-being in a moment", you will be on your feet, in your own art, life, and world just like that.

Mound Bayou Remembered* (close up)
*The beautifully rusted crucifix is from Judy Wilkenfeld's Etsy shop, and what a lovely shop it is!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Autumn Workshops

Susan Anand and I will be presenting puppet and story book making workshops in two venues this fall. The first will be in September for the Buckeye Art Therapy Association, where we will give you all the tools to create your own puppets and books and to create your own workshops. The second venue will be in Dallas at the AATA conference. It will be a full day pre-conference course where the subjects of puppets, stories, books, animation, and art therapy will be explored in depth.

We hope to provide tools and inspiration which you can use in your search for resilience narratives in your own practice. We will focus on finding and developing characters which embody strength and flexibility, creating therapeutic metaphors which can speak directly to the inner artist, and we will look at techniques for putting the resilience narratives into a format which can be easily shared and reviewed, whether that is a story book or a video on youtube. The advantage of using imagery, stories, ideas, and characters from the individuals you are working with, is that strengths and assets are acknowledged, stories are valued, and the learning is therefore "inside out". As a consequence, individuals are engaged and participate more fully in their own therapy or learning (Gerity 2006).

This full-day course will include an introductory narrative with various kinds of puppets, giving participants a range of puppet possibilities. We will provide examples of simple book structures including a book created with one piece of paper, simple pamphlet binding, and an "altered" child's board book - all of which are suitable for most art rooms and most budgets.

The first half of the day will focus on making puppets and characters, using a variety of collage techniques with card stock. Once the characters are developed, participants will create the storybook as a companion art piece for the paper puppet. Participants will experience the ease of eliciting narratives of resilience, healing, and strength, while learning how to create playful paper puppet characters and a simple book structure. Group stories will be created when the puppets and characters come together in small groups. The instructions will be fairly simple so this course can be replicated in most art settings and with limited budgets.

The final discussion will allow for sharing of creations and how resilience, healing, and strength may be discovered when working with puppets and narratives.

For more information, see the BATA SYMPOSIUM website and the AATA CONFERENCE website or email me. Both events look fabulous! Take a look at the keynotes for both! I'm certainly glad to be going. Hope to see you there!

Happy Father's Day

"And know they love you"

For all the fathers here and no longer here, may you have a lovely day and know that you are loved.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Artist Dreaming...

"Dreaming of Travel" by Lani

I'm in Marisa's (Creative Thursday) E-Course, "In the Fishbowl:: Life as an Artist". The first class was this past Thursday and we got some questions to ponder. (One of my favorite things, pondering questions!!)

So here are two questions.
1. Why do you love what you create?
2. What are you working on when you get into the flow zone, when you lose track of time?

I love what I create because or when it mirrors something positive back to me, something which helps me understand myself and the world a little better and perhaps when there is a feeling of possibilities about it. It's pretty neat to create something and see it as really outside of myself, existing in real life, on its own, not just in my head, and I get a little rush of excitement, you know, like, "yes, I did this!" "Here is something that wasn't here moments ago, and if that is possible then just imagine what else might be possible." A wonderful feeling!

Something I also love about creating in general is how it leads me into a feeling of flow, of everything being right with the world. It is such a gift to be able to create and to be able to feel that feeling! This leads to Marisa's question "what are you working on when you lose track of time, or when you hit that flow zone?" At first I thought sort of concretely, what sort of art was I making and I made a little list: contour drawings, working with bees wax, creating a book... But then I thought it's most things art related. And then I noticed while walking my dogs this morning, looking for subject matter for my camera, that I was getting into that zone quite easily in the "treasure hunting" mode, in the looking for subjects, and it was there when I found my subjects, and then while continuing the walk and imagining how I might crop my subjects or play with them in photo shop... So really many things put me in that space, for which I am grateful!

And here are some examples:
Prospero, my very funny Bergamasco Buddy

The wild iris are blooming like mad on the headland.

And the tiny wild orchids are just beginning to pop up .

All of these put me in that timeless space. I love this time of year! And here's to a great class. Thanks Marisa and all my fellow goldfish!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A question from Patricia Seggebruch's blog.

I was pursuing links on encaustic work and I came across Patricia Seggebruch's book and blog. The book is all about using wax in art (looks wonderful) while the blog is about her love of her ginger headed boys, food, and art. In it was a wonderful question. So here's my attempt to play with this question.
"What is the one thing that always makes you smile?"

So I thought of a short list of things but started to have a little discussion with myself. Chocolate doesn't always make me smile, especially if I'm trying not to eat it. In fact most things that I could think of make me smile most of the time, not all of the time. So it's actually a tough question.

But then I thought, wait a minute, if these things aren't around but I think of them, I can smile. Or sometimes I'm grumpy because they aren't around. Do they make me grumpy?
But the main thing is when I smile, it's coming from me, it's me that's smiling. So it's me that makes me smile more than anything else. In fact I always make me smile. That's a pretty freeing idea!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Do you know someone who may be needing a good wish or a prayer?

You can light a candle by clicking on these candles.

I've been thinking that so many of us are struggling with one thing or another, that maybe a little corner of this blog could be devoted to good wishes for people, ourselves included of course (it is important to take care of ourselves), would be a wonderful thing. Not really sure how to do that, yet, but meanwhile there is this wonderful website, Gratefulness.Org, which has a place where you can light candles for people or for what ever you would like to light a candle for. Try it out, it's a lovely spot of candlelight on the internet.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Positive Psychology & Art Therapy Altered Book Round Robin

Here's the work I did in the PP&AT round robin. All about positive feelings and art making. A very positive, creative, and potent combination! Thank you, Gioia, for hosting this round robin and to Rachel, Emery, Melanie, Gretchen, and Gioia for letting me play in your books!

For more details see Gretchen's wonderful blog! She's described the process so well.

Do you know Rima Staines?

In preparation for the 14 Secrets Wreck This Journal mail out, I'd wandered over to Keri Smith's blog for some last minute wrecking tips and followed a link to Rima Staines' blog, The Hermitage and from there I've been lost for days. Her blog is a delightful story filled exploration of the world from a wonderful looking caravan.

Oh to have a set of wheels like this!

Rima has a blog containing her BA thesis in Misrule, Mockery & Monstrosity in Marginal Medieval Art, a cool website about her clocks that makes the greatest ticking sounds (the website makes these sounds), wind chimes sounds and scratching sounds, partner Tui's website also makes the most intriguing sounds, and an Etsy store.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Games that Nurture Our Creative Souls

More TtV and Collage fun by Lani

One of the most fun things I did recently was play a game called "Princess" with family members which was OK for kids of 3-7. At first I thought I was just filling up a spot, and helping keep order among the 2 & 5 year old, and that a game for 3-7 year old's couldn't really engage me. Well I was wrong. The cool thing about this game (and this company) is that it's all about problem solving together, and there's something in the mythic story that unfolds that captures the imagination. Here's how it works, there's a castle in the middle of the board which gets transformed from a daytime image to a nighttime image as the players land on certain squares. The point of the game is to release the princess who lives at the center of this castle, from a magic spell before night completely covers the castle. There are certain challenges to get past in order to do this, and there are certain tools as well. The whole thing unfolds like a well crafted narrative. Wonderful!

So I ordered their catalog and couldn't believe the number of games they produce and the variety! If they even come close to "Princess" in delivery of fun, then I can see what Christmas will be looking like!

Here are the games that are particularly intriguing in the $10.00 (Canadian) range: Hugs and Tickles (about chasing away bad moods), Caves and Claws (about archeologists exploring caves), Secret Door (a mystery game), and Galaxy (cooperative card games with vintage style graphics). And then in the $22.50 - $24 range: Eagle Eye and Diplomatic Mission. These are both more complex than the $10 games but look extremely interesting. The website is a little awkward to navigate, but well worth the effort. Heck, just order the catalogs and have fun.

Nic Askew has a lovely short film with a question...

Here you are, too beautiful not to see!!!

'lighter or darker' from Nic Askew on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

More on CreativeTherapy

TtV photoshop collage by Lani

In my last post I mentioned, at the very bottom, the CreativeTherapy website. Here's a little story from Karen Grunberg about starting the CreativeTherapy blog/catalyst website. She had a certain rather negative idea about her childhood which came from a group of children who were excluding her from their play. She carried this negative belief around with her for years. Then one day she found a box of old photos, and there she was, a happy, laughing child with people around her, arms on her sholder, including her. She belonged, she was loved after all. So she took the photos and glued them into a book and journaled for 7 hours, straight. She felt energized and the experience was life-changing!
Karen decided to create a place where we can drop in and find creativity prompts which will do for us what her experience did for her. She doesn't call them challenges but rather catalysts, a delightful word which implies transformation.
She's got a whole crew of artists and guest artists helping her! What a marvelous treasure trove this is!

So here's a wee challenge/catalyst based on her story. Revisit your beliefs about your life or yourself and look for evidence of a kind which will loosen up and help you release unhelpful beliefs.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Links and Inspiration

"All Life Matters" Photoshop fun by Lani
Sometimes someone gives you a present and that present turns out to be a great way to pass on some wonderful links and inspiration! So here's the gift that Erika gave me:
The first inspiration comes from Erika's site, a link to "Inner Links" where you can pick a daily angel card or order a whole pack of angel cards. I own a pack so I picked a card and here's what popped up, which I then used in the image at the top:
Cultivate deep listening and act in ways that acknowledge and esteem yourself and others. Everyone and all life matters. Recognize, honor, elicit the best.

Erika also gave this KreativBlogger award to Judy Wise which is an excellent choice! Check out Judy's blog if you are interested in the overlap of art and life with a little encaustic art journaling thrown in (and if you like being here, you need to go there!) I ditto that award presentation!

Now for some of my own ferreting out creative blogs to award the KreativBlogger to:
Dr. Brene Brown's inspiring blog Ordinary Courage is all about living a rather extra-ordinary authentic and brave life, and knowing you are not alone in your being drawn to such a life. Very heartening blog!

For the doll artists/puppetmakers among us there's this delightful blog, Fractured Fairytales. She gets a KreativBlogger award from me.

And then there's another KreativBlogger award for Irma Gruenholz's beautiful clay and plasticine illustration blog, also great fun for doll artists/puppetmakers. Irma also has a flickr site. Lovely!
Irma's "Birds on the Head"

For the fontaholics amongst us there's Eduardo Recife's work and fonts & freebies. I am hoping to stumble on a blog one day... but I reckon he's a busy guy! For fontaholic mail artists there's this collection of dingbats. And this link for awesome free hand written fonts came from Deb Gilchrist whose Paper and Soul blog has wonderful treasures. I vote to give her blog a KreativBlogger award! (I love SteamPunk)

And of course there's Judy Wilkenfeld who always inspires me. What I didn't realize was that she has a blog devoted to her Visual Anthologies TM. Absolutely breathtaking!!! Let's give Judy a KreativeBlogger award!

And finally there's this great link for old photo collectors that came from Adela ! Thank you Adela! After poking around happily, I ended up at the Brooklyn Museum's photostream where I found this lovely and immediately started playing with it.

"Live the life you imagined" by Lani

And here's one last link for great inspiration!
CreativeTherapy! Wonderful creative catalysts for change through art! Awesome website!!!