Grandmother’s Coat

Grandmother-s coat heller kleinI have always been fascinated by Clarissa Pinkola Estes idea of making a full length scapecoat to detail in painting, writing, with all manner of things pinned and stitched inside. But I really love what Alice Wellinger has done here. This beautiful piece truly resonates and fuels the desire to do something using a grey coat that I have had hanging, unworn for many years.

In order to come to know them better it could also be good to explore what the inside of a character’s coat looks like

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A Foraging We Go

Since I gave up full time work and worked primarily from home I have come to enjoy going out for a few hours in the middle of the day. Over summer, when so many people are on holidays and out and about, I find it all the more important to go out for a few hours.

Yesterday while I was out I stopped at the Guildford General Store for a late lunch and then browsed at Book Heaven on the way back to Castlemaine.

Book Heaven Castlemaine

I managed to find a rare copy of Don Quixote with exquisite  Salvador Dali drawings.  With over 90,000 titles at Book Heaven it is hard to come away without anything.

Today a friend and I headed over to nearby Maldon and had Apple and Rhubarb pie at Zen Produce Store and then found the ‘inland beach’ at Welshman’s Reef Caravan Park area.

InlandBeach

Photos on the Caravan Park’s site reveal a water wonderland here. But with strong gusty winds whipping up off the water it was not the time to have ‘dip’. However, there is no doubt that this is another good site for one of those spontaneous picnics.

A Soul Food Order

For a period of time there was a quite unique order inhabitating the Lemurian Abbey, as envisioned by Heather Blakey, creator of the Soul Food Cafe. These were the early days of blogging, long before Facebook and other Social Networking Sites began to dominate the landscape. Barbara Banta was a founding member of this order. She has maintained a cell at the Abbey.

I’d expected to find perhaps only the foundation or an outline of a building, but to my amazement I saw a huge gray stone monastery reaching into the heavens and spreading out in all directions.

Heather greeted me in a flowing blue gown and made me welcome despite the fact that I was dressed in forest green sweats, trailed by a black and white cat and carrying a large bird cage. I nervously explained that Oreo had practically insisted on accompanying me, since he felt a vital part of my writing after our trip down the manhole and, I babbled on that, I had to bring Tookey since it was impossible to find anyone who could feed a neurotic, menopausal Amazon anything other than an extremely long stalk of celery. Heather has evidently had strange encounters with nervous novices before because she never lost her elegant composure, although I did notice she insisted on walking on the side opposite Tookey’s cage after the bird reached out and tried to grab her sleeve.

My first impression of the place is that it’s so complex and maze-like I’ll never be able to find my way back to my room if I leave it. Well, this is from someone who gets lost in a revolving door. It’s also one reason I’m already glad I brought Oreo. Once I feed him, he’ll remember where he belongs and lead me back if I get confused.

My room truly is a cell, very small, and minimally furnished. The length of the bed is the length of the room. An old fashioned pitcher and wash basin just fit the table that holds them. I have a writing desk and straight back chair and, high up in one rough stone wall, a small window lets in the light.

I wanted to ask Heather about the strange rumors I’d heard about lemurs and an alchemist’s tower. I wondered how many others had come and who and where they were, but she didn’t linger, just told me to have a good night and that we’d talk more tomorrow.

She turned as she was about to leave and asked, “You did bring the supplies you need for your projects, didn’t you?”

I held up my journal and pen and pointed to the canvas tote bag I’d placed on the bed. “I have some things in there for my altered book, but I’ve never made one before and I don’t know if I’ve brought the right stuff.”

“You’ll soon find in the Abbey that you have everything you need. Sweet dreams, ” she added.

When she was gone, I put my tote full of art supplies on the chair and laid my journal and pens on the desk. I had arrived at Lemurian Abbey in broad daylight and been shown to my cell. In the few minutes Heather and I had been speaking the day seemed to have ended. Light from a sickle moon was pouring milky white beams through my window and I was longing for sleep. Was I suffering from jet-lag? Was I on NJ time or Australian Time. I was so tired I couldn’t even recall if it was winter or summer.

I noticed a metal hook protruding from the corner of the wall near my writing desk and hung up Tookey’s cage. She was fast asleep. Turning down the blankets, I snuggled into bed with Oreo curled at my side. Tomorrow I would begin. “I have everything I need,” I murmured over and over until I fell into a contented sleep.

Barbara Banta
Order of Soul Food

Purveyor of Creative Stimuli

I used to pride myself in being a purveyor of creative stimuli! Feedback from those who trawled through Soul Food supported my claim that I was quite good at triggering creative responses by providing a smorgasbord of tempting fragments.

Here is one I used to love to use with students. I would insist that there was complete silence and then I would take them through this guided imagery. After we completed the imagery exercise, the students would write what they saw in their imagination and then share their writing with other students. The experience was always exhilarating and there were times when the class spontaneously broke into applause.  I was always impressed by how insightful my students were.

You are walking down a road…. As you are walking, you see a house. Look at it. Notice its details…. Walk towards it. What do you notice about it?…. You start to walk around the house, looking at it as you walk…. Now you are halfway around. Notice the details of the house as you continue to walk around it…. Now you come back to where you were when you started…. As you walked around the house, you noticed a way to get in. Now go into the house…. What do you see?…. Explore the house, what’s inside?…. As you were exploring, you noticed a secret door leading to a secret room. Go inside that room. What do you see?…. Now leave the secret room and go back into the main part of the house…. Now leave the house. As you are walking away from it, you look back at it one more time…. You are back on the road once again, walking.

It was sessions like this that led to a collection of prompts being housed at Soul Food.

Creative Compulsive Disorder

Zina

Zina Nicole Lahr

As a subscriber to Colossal I came upon the work of Zina Nicole Lahr. Tragically she recently died during a hiking trip. When you read her blog and her feelings about the loss of her sister this is all the more poignant.

Zina describes herself, in an inspirational video made by her friend, as having Creative Compulsive Disorder. There is no doubt that she was full of the most amazing creative energy and this makes her death harder to come to terms with. In this video, alone, she talks about so many creative projects. It is totally life affirming.

Zina was a Creative Forager and I am in awe of what she achieved in her short life.

Random Acts of Giving

Amidst the sometimes stressful frenzy of Christmas shopping, the idea that giving to others can be good for your health and happiness can feel a bit of a stretch.

But a growing body of scientific research shows exactly that.

It’s now clear that doing good for others without any expectation of reward – known as behaving altruistically – can give you better physical and mental health and even help you live longer. Read remainder of article

This year Christmas Day was very special, thanks in large part to the giving nature of some friends.

It is timely to remember that it is healthy to be giving all year round.

Rather than making any New Year Resolutions Anastasia and I are going to actively promote ‘Random Acts of Giving’.

Feel free to ‘gift’ any suggestions of what might constitute ‘Random Acts of Giving!’

Random at Colossal

I have decided to use the Random function at Colossal to see what pops up to offers some inspiration.

“Using thousands and thousands of standard sewing pins artist (and MacArthur Foundation genius) Tara Donovan creates geometric shapes on immense canvases that appear almost blurred and atmospheric. The patience and care it must take to create these works is mind boggling. Her hand touched each pin, one by one until the canvases were filled with gentle sweeping gradients of tiny metal circles. See the work for yourself at Pace Gallery in New York through March 19th.”

I am thinking that there are a number of things I could do as a result of seeing this artist’s work.

One thing I could do is contact Tara and talk to her about how she came to use sewing pins in this way. Another is challenging myself to find other uses for all sorts of obscure things – like paper clips, paper doilies or some more uses for blue tack.