Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Artist's Way: Recovering a Sense of Faith

Last night was week 12 of the Artist's Way Creative Cluster. It had been scheduled for Tuesday night, but I've been a sick little puppy for the past week and my ladies graciously agreed to shifting our gathering to Wednesday night. It was an evening of celebration and farewell. Where to begin? The beginning! I baked cookies in the morning in preparation for our celebration. For bakers and cookers, this is no big deal. But since Howard and I have been empty-nesters for a number of years, I don't cook much anymore and I very rarely bake. So this was a momentous occasion. I made two batches of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (I even tossed some craisins into one of the batches), and made them all with three kinds of nuts. It was nice having the kitchen smell so sweet . . .

Then in the late afternoon, I got things shifted around and a table set up (remember, we meet in my husband's law office, for Pete's sake - it's in an old house and is very nice and all, but it is still an office!), since on our final evening we share a meal together.

Sinatra, the Alley Art cat, made a final appearance.

For our warm-up, I pulled out drums and tambourines and we had fun making a joyful noise.

After our usual check-ins and sharing, it was time to eat. For our meal, we made Stone Soup, a tradition started by my Artist's Way mentor, Gretchin Lair of Scarlet Star Studios. According to the story, two travellers enter a town with nothing but a large (and empty cooking pot). They fill the pot with water and toss in a stone. Villagers join in by adding various ingredients and that's what we did last night, added various ingredients. I made a basic stock in advance, and each of the ladies brought two vegetables to drop in. The pot was brimming by the time everyone had arrived: bok choy, squash, tomatoes, red pepper, brussels sprouts, pea pods, chard, and carrots (that's what I can remember). I had picked up a loaf of Great Harvest Dakota bread, and with real butter and sparkling water, we settled in to enjoy our meal.

Then the fun began, the unveiling of Omega Projects. Again, this was something I did when I was in Gretchin's Artist's Way several years ago and I liked it so much, that I have incorporated into my Creative Clusters. Each woman was told at the beginning of our 12 weeks to be thinking of some kind of creative response to what they learned during the sessions that they would share on the final night. Their responses were amazing!

Gerri, one of our ladies who has been sick and had family issues, has missed a lot of our weekly sessions. She was able to join us last night and for her Omega project she read from a cute little book, Feng Shaun. Although I didn't take a photo of Gerri reading from her book, I did take a photo of the chocolate raspberry cake that Gerri brought from Gerry Frank's Konditorei (a cake place to die for).

Next to share, was Bobbie. Bobbie was my faithful woman who drove from Portland every week! She made a footstool commemorating her 12 weeks in the Artist's Way. It was made using copious amounts of my favorite glue, E-6000. Her project was filled with photographs and doodades, all memories relating to her Artist's Way experience (including animals representing each of the participants - I'm the naked yellow plucked hen with the red hair sitting on the stairs!).

Dawn S. had created a series of six bags, each with a letter spelling out the word "Artist." Each of us received a bag and it had two things inside that Dawn had made: a series of cards (more on that in a minute) and a beaded book mark. Yowsa! Beautiful. The set of cards were made from pages she had created in her Visual Journal during the recent class she took with me at Stampin' Cat Studio! Such a wonderful surprise and the cards were lovely . . .

Dawn K's project sprang from the creation of Lucy, her art doll of last week. Dawn took Lucy on a field trip (an Artist's Date, actually), then did an altered children's board book to record the adventure.

Susan also incorporated her newly made doll (Flo) with the doll she made last year in the Artist's Way, Fifi. Flo and Fifi were in fine form, which included riding bareback on a brightly painted frog.

Finally, Jill shared her Omega project and it was a slide show of a trip she made last year to Thailand. It was complete with beautiful photography and music by Jack Johnson. I told Jill I considered taking a photo of the laptop, but it would have broken the spell of our journey, so I chose not to. The photos she shared were beautiful and touching.

Our evening came to a close with everyone taking a Lingam rock from the centerpiece. For the past 12 weeks we have passed a large Lingam as our speaking stone and so last night everyone got to choose one as their own. A Lingam is described by Tibet Arts and Crafts in New York as a "sacred stone from the holy Narmada River, in India. . . . They are said to contain the loftiest vibration, and great healing power. Lingams symbolize creation, and perfect balance of male and female energy. The body of the Lingam represents the male energy knowledge and the markings represent the female energy wisdom." *


Bobbie said...

How our beauty and art radiates because of YOU!!!! My daughter has seen my growth and movement~there are no words to ever thank you enough Danya. But I do graciously thank you with all my being.

gl. said...

you had me at "chocolate chip oatmeal cookies." i have such a warm feeling thinking about your omega project, the origin of your "alley art!"