Offering HeART and SoulCollage® workshops to inspire your creative spirit

Breaking and Mending
Finding beauty in imperfection 
It's spring and green shoots are breaking through the muddy ground and moving toward the light. New growth is everywhere. Last Saturday in the Down to Earth Studio we did our own version of breaking and emerging to let the light shine in.
Eleven of us gathered around the table in the studio, kindred spirits joined together to create soulful art. First, we made an altar of our personal tokens and totems with the Grandmother Kintsugi Bowl at the center. Mary* told the magical legend of the ancient Japanese art of  repairing broken pottery with gold called Kintsugi As a philosophy,  Kintsugi treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. It  encompasses a philosophy of living, of finding beauty within the imperfections of life, and peacefully accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay. 
We each wrote about life experiences that had broken us in some way -- a broken heart, a broken body, or a broken spirit. Then, we listed attributes that we'd gained from those experiences: compassion, understanding, listening, loving more fully, all the ways the breakage had cracked us open to let more light shine into our hearts and minds. 
Our bowls became a metaphor for our lives. We held them in the palms of our hands and breathed into their beautiful wholeness. One by one we broke our bowls. Then, we picked up the pieces, sorted them out, and glued them back together with patience and commitment, and carefully painted the fault lines with gold to highlight the cracks. When the mending was over and our bowls were whole again, we listened with open hearts to each woman's story, filling the studio with laughter and tears. Finally, we placed the bowls on the altar, sat back and celebrated the beauty of our vulnerability and resilience. 
Here's to women of a certain age who have the courage to speak their truth. Here's to women of a certain age who come together to honor the beauty of their brokenness, who mend and heal, and become wiser and more loving, not in spite of, but because of, their imperfections. Women who trust that coming together in sacred ceremony changes ourselves and ripples out to change the world. A-ho! Blessed be!
*Mary McDougal, my co-facilitator, offers SoulCollage(r) gatherings at her Studio in the Trees in Eugene, OR. Email me for her contact info.  
Want to Create Your Own Kintsugi Bowl Ceremony? 
The next time a treasured bowl or vase breaks, why not repair it and paint the cracks with gold? Here are some journal prompts you can start with to find the treasure in your Kintsugi vessel:

When I look at this bowl...
Each golden fault line....
What I've misunderstood about perfection is...
What I know about beauty is...
What I know about forgiveness is...

Life can (and probably will!) break us along the way. May you find your way toward mend ing and healin g. 

From my creative heart to yours,
P.S.   Email me  for help (best glue, best gold paint to use, etc.), or to schedule a Kintsugi bowl cerem o ny for your friends, women's group, or just for yourself. I would be honored to share this with you. is a link to something special just for you. 
Beauty Girl Outdoors enjoying nature. Beautiful Teenage Model girl in black dress standing  on the Spring Field_ Sun Light. freedom concept
April SoulCollage® Gathering  -  The Joy of Spring!  
Friday, April 19, 2019,  Choose the morning or afternoon session: 9 - 12 pm or 1 - 4 pm at  GG's Down to Earth Studio in Salem, OR,  Sliding scale $15-$25
(Those new to SoulCollage can come one hour early for an overview - Fee $35 includes overview and session)
Bring your SoulCollage cards for a spring card reading exercise (be sure to bring some of your shadow cards ;-).  What is waiting to burst forth and shine from within you? After the card reading we will create cards to celebrate the simple joys of spring and the bursting of life all around us. Email me to join us. (The next gathering will be on May 17th, our last gathering until September. The topic will be The Full Flower Moon)
Collage Play with Texture
Newport Paper and Book Arts Festival, Newport, OR
Saturday and Sunday, April 27 - 28, 2019
Explore fun ways to create texture for mixed media, art journals, collage, card making, or as stand-alone art pieces. Use Tyvek, modeling paste, Venetian plaster, gel mediums, seed bead gel, mica and other expressive mediums to create interest and texture. You don't have to be an experienced collage artist to have fun in this workshop. Enjoy color and texture, and have the desire to discover new ways to create beauty and interest. The first day students experiment with creating textures. The second day students use the textures to create mixed media collages.  (This class is FULL, but there is waiting list on the NPAF website.)
Shrines Workshop ~ Shining the Light for Hope and Healing
GG's Down to Earth Studio, Salem, OR
Sunday, May 19th 9:30 to 4:30 
(There are two spots open in this workshop.) 

Shrines are a beautiful way of showing what is happening in our hearts, souls and spirits. We will gather and transform our LOVE into visual expression by creating our own personal shrines for hope and healing. Your shrine can be dedicated to the environment, diversity of all species, return of the great feminine, your ancestors, your higher power, your spiritual practice, or to simply heal your broken heart...whatever moves you. 

No cost for the workshop instruction; this is my love offering. (there is a $25 material fee to cover materials and supplies). I have a delightful assemblage of items to use for shrines. Participants may also want to bring additional totems, talismans  and  charms. Email me to register. 
Collage Play!                                                        Silverton Arts Association, Silverton, OR                          Saturday, June 1, 2019 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Collage comes alive as you  explore the joys of mixed media.  Decorative and handmade papers, textures, and paints are your materials in this critic-free class that focuses on experimentation and trying new things and  creating beautiful layered artwork. Basic instruction on layout and design will be provided. 
Class fee: $85.00 Register with Silverton Arts Association here

SoulCollage®: Solstice Soul Renewal 
Breitenbush Hot Springs Resort, Detroit, OR
Sunday through Wednesday, June 9-12, 2019
Ahhh...feel yourself relax into the thought of it...natural mineral waters to soak in, nurturing food, sacred old growth forests surrounding you, the sound of the river, the lullaby of the birds, the invitation to stop and catch up with yourself and your life. Oh...and of course!...stepping into the creative flow of SoulCollage®. This workshop is truly a gift to yourself! 

What is your soul longing for? Let the magic of SoulCollage® deepen your presence with your longing and knowing. Solstice is a time to awaken the luminosity within YOU.  Play in the pure joy of creating personal collages. Heighten self-discovery through journaling, meditation, sound, labyrinth, and time in nature. Register early to get a discount on workshop and more lodging options.   Learn about Breitenbush  
Download flyer about workshop
by Beloved Poet, Mary Oliver
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring
down the mountain.

All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring
I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue
like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.

There is only one question:
how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge
to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.

Whatever else
my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,
it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;
all day I think of her --
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

GG's Down to Earth Studio
503 990-0278