Offering HeART and SoulCollage® workshops to inspire your creative spirit

Stepping into the River of Sadness
Where grief, gratitude and beauty coexist
It was August of 2005, and I was on my second vision quest. I sat in the shade of a old juniper tree in the Inyo Wilderness, across from my vision quest guide, Anne. "I don't know why I've been crying ever since I got here," I said. "I'm usually a really happy person and there's nothing I can think of to be so sad about." 

From the minute I had arrived on that quest and looked out at the sweeping landscape of juniper and bristle cone pine, I felt emotional, overwhelmed. At first I thought it was normal apprehension about going out on a quest, but three days later I was still grieving.

Anne was kind and compassionate in her response, but she didn't try to comfort me away from my tears. "Go out on your quest, crawl into the lap of Mother Earth, and cry with her  as long as it takes," she said. "She 
welcomes your tears." And I did. I cried nearly every day for the ten days of that quest. By the time it ended, I was wrung out and raw, but with a new found intimacy with my earth mother. It was as if I had stepped into a river of grief -- mine as well as the collective grief that runs under the surface of everything -- and Mother Earth soothed my sadness.

Something I learned on that quest: the other side of grief is love. We grieve deeply because we love deeply. When we lose something or someone we love our hearts get busted wide and there we are, ripped open and vulnerable. 

Since then when I hear stories about species going extinct or glaciers melting or dead zones in the ocean, my heart shatters and I feel the tears well up again. I am reminded about how much I love this planet upon which we live. So much beauty! And when I hear stories about mass shootings and innocent people being persecuted at our borders, I feel angry and sad, hopeless and helpless. I wonder how many others of you feel this way, too? 

The only thing I know to do is feel my grief and cry. Then, I go into my studio and make art. Art is my respite from grief and sadness. It allows me the chance to do something with my feelings, to take my broken heart and turn it into something tangible. I don't want to get rid of my broken heart. I want to transform my grief into loving action and make something beautiful from it. And, I want others to join me.

Coming together to create beauty is a balm for the soul. We  join  together and share our broken hearts, instead of being alone in our grief and have  it lurking at the edge of our lives to come out sideways, fill us with bitterness and keep us in a state of hopelessness. We don't need to be afraid of our sadness. Together, we can make beauty from our brokenness.Together, we can help one another heal. 

Shrines, SoulCollage(r) and The Kintsugi Ceremony are all part of my love offering to help heal the brokenness, a place where grief, gratitude and beauty can co-exist.

I invite you to come into my studio, be with me, and create something that shows your love to the world. 
Here are  some heart-opening offerings for you:
A Love Story From the Museum of Natural History - Downloads received from an old growth lodgepole pine at Johnny Meadows (by Anne Stine, Wilderness Rites Vision Quest Guide).
Re:member Documentary - Years after her son's tragic death, a bereaved mother is on an impassioned mission to un-silence grief in our modern culture that has buried and forgotten the essential art of grieving. (by Victoria Markham, fellow vision quester and founder of the non-profit LifeCycle Center in Ashland, Oregon). 
From my creative heart to yours,
SoulCollage® Gatherings  ~  3rd Fridays

Autumnal Equinox SoulCollage Gathering
The Alchemy of Summer Light and Autumn Shadow
Friday, September 20, 2019
Choose the morning or afternoon session:
9:00 - 12:30 pm or 1:00 - 4:30 pm (Returnees: Note longer session times!)  GG's Down to Earth Studio in Salem, OR,   Sliding scale $20 - $35.  (Those new to SoulCollage can come one hour early for an overview - Newcomer Fee of $40 includes one-hour overview and 3 31/2 hour session).  Come join us for the rekindling of SoulCollage fires as we make cards and see how Light and Shadow dialog with one another.  Bring your SoulCollage card deck.    Email me  to reserve your spot. 

Join me for these upcoming Friday SoulCollage themes: 
October 18, 2019 - Magic and Mystery
November 15, 2019 - Attitude of Gratitude
December 20, 2019 - A Special Gift
Ancestral SoulCollage®  Equinox Celebration
with Larisa Noonan, Ancestral Healing Practitioner
GG's Down to Earth Studio, Salem OR
Sunday,  September 22, 2019 
10:00 am to 4:30 pm

What are the specific earth-centered rituals and ceremonies practiced by your ancestors? How did your ancestors honor and celebrate the equinox, this time of light/dark, inner/outer balance? 

Join us for a deep dive into ritual and art. 
Sumi Ink Surface Designs
Art Department Supply Store, Salem, OR
Saturday, September 1 4, 2019
10:30 am to 4:00 pm

All skill levels will experience success in this joyful exploration of abstract design. Designs can be used in large format as framed art or in smaller pieces for cards or collage. Designs are created with Sumi ink and watercolor, watercolor pencils, colored inks, gel pens, glitter pens...pretty much anything goes for color!  
Shrines for Hope and Healing
GG's Down to Earth Studio, Salem, OR
Sunday, October 13, 2019
9:30 am to 4:30 pm

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. 
Kintsugi Bowl Ceremony - Where Grief and Beauty Co-Exist
GG's Down to Earth Studio, Salem, OR
Saturday, April 6, 2019
9:30 to 4:00

Breaking and mending are honest parts of a past which does not need to be hidden. Our wounds and healing are a part of our history, a part of who we are. Join us for this powerful journey of finding beauty in our imperfections through the process of Kintsugi and SoulCollage®  
SoulCollage®: Solstice Soul Renewal 
Breitenbush Hot Springs Resort, Detroit, OR              S unday 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. Registration Info will be available in January 2020.

On Joy and Sorrow
Kahlil Gibran - 1883-1931

GG's Down to Earth Studio
503 990-0278