Follow-up on Secrets of Spirit Boxes – wow!

One of my life’s great joys is getting feedback and photos from artists who find a workshop useful and then adapt it to their own style and aesthetics. That’s exactly the purpose of teaching classes like the new Secrets of the Spirit Box.

Here’s a magnificent example from Patricia Mosca, friend and fabulous artist. She emailed me this morning, saying “I have attached a picture of a Secret Message Bearer that I did…(my style of course).”  Look!

And here is how she describes her creation on her Facebook page:

…secret message bearer…
we all have them…those deep secrets that we don’t share…the secret message bearer allows you to put your thoughts and words onto paper and hide them…each comes with a small box attached to the back where you can place your secret soul whispers so only you and the bearer can witness them…we all need a safe place for blessings and gratitude…

 

Just as she transforms the idea of Secrets of the Spirit Box, she also transforms my Earthshard faces by painting them in a realistic way that brings a different kind of life to them.

Brava, Patricia, for raising the bar on taking the basics and flying with them to new heights!

Another wonderful artist friend, Ann Leach, is also interpreting the Spirit Boxes and their secrets in her own style. Look at this assortment of her “Sea Sisters SEAcret Spirit Boxes.”

Ann is also the driving force behind the Call for Elemental Spirit Dolls. I’ll be talking more about this in detail, but for now, please follow this link to see more:

https://www.annleach.com/elemental-spirit-dolls

And, yep, that’s my Spirit Doll on the poster. Won’t you join in?

 

 

 

Secrets of the Spirit Box – a new workshop

This brand-new workshop follows closely on the heels of The Wanderers, one of my most popular workshops ever.

One of the reasons I like small-scale workshops like Secrets of the Spirit Box is that both experienced artists and beginners can use them as little “meditations” when there is a bit of time and space in the studio between big projects. These assemblages provide a stress-free exercise in design and decision-making using materials that we usually have on hand.

I’m really excited about the Secrets of the Spirit Box. With three hours of videos, this engaging class shows you how to transform simple materials into a magic box assemblage with lots of places to hide secrets. Like The Wanderers, you can customize and adapt the ideas endlessly.

Also like The Wanderers, the workshop tuition is just $39 and the videos are downloadable and available forever – at least as long as I am around! You can go to the class link and view the Introduction for free.

The Secrets of the Spirit Box

Here are some more photos that I took while I was working on this project.

There are several parts to making a workshop like this in case you are ever interested in doing your own.

First, of course, comes the idea. I like to think of things that are almost fail-proof and always educational and enjoyable. Then you need to make some prototypes or samples to make sure your ideas are realistic and match your original concept in clarity and simplicity of process.

Next come the filming – break it down into manageable segments. I did one segment in this new workshop in which I made a Spirit Box from start to finish in one hour, no breaks. That was hard because I kept seeing new possibilities as I worked, but stuck to the plan anyway! (Some workshop designers film with their iPhone, but I use a Sony video camera on a boom stand.)

Then comes the editing. I use three different kinds of software depending on the project: Adobe Premiere Elements, Windows Movie Maker, and Vimeo Create. You can get a free 30-day trial of Adobe Premiere Elements to see if you like it. And, yep, you gotta just sit there and learn it. But learning is good.

And finally, you share your workshop online. I like Teachable a lot. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good option for me right now. If you want to do a practice workshop, try uploading your video to YouTube and see what response you get. It’s an interesting entry sharing platform.

Sharing what you know with other creative people is important and keeps you connected to the community of makers and artists.

So here’s MY latest share:

Secrets of the Spirit Box

I”d love to have you join me! Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Clay sent, joy returned

In the wonderful way of things, I just received a photo of a Spirit Doll from Ireland that brings me great joy.

I “met” the maker through my Etsy shop. Her name is Linda Newman, and she’s from Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland. Also, in the wonderful way of things, she has visited the studios in Mulranny where Lora Murphy hosts Painting with Fire.

Linda ordered some little clay faces from my Earthshards shop – when they arrived she wrote, “Your beautiful spirit doll faces arrived today. Across two countries and an ocean in perfect condition. They are all talking at once and I have tears to hear them!”

She told me a bit more about herself – it sounds like heaven.

“I’ve a little farm with loads animals n bee hives n gardens. Just time to LIVE now n get off the wheel.”

And then just two days ago, I received this photograph – look! And then read about the animals that make this creation so special, below.

 

Linda writes, “Her hair is Lambchop wool (Lambchop is her sheep), and a lock of mane from my dear pony Bobby, guinea feathers from Ethel, my intention is on a heart under the chamois dress. She is nesting in the child pepper wreath in my kitchen so I can see her every day.”

“She has a sharing of animals that were very dear to me. Lifting Bobby’s mane and burying my nose in his beautiful scent underneath was my treasure.  Mind you Ethel got a fright from a fox recently and has absconded to the neighbour’s woods. I had to retrieve her when I get back. Her husband Fred doesn’t seem to care she is living a field away. A modern relationship. I’d gathered those feathers after I cried n thought the fox got her. But she was too clever!”

I feel as if I know Bobby and Ethel and Fred and Lambchop. What a book that would make! Perhaps when Michelle Belto and I go to Ireland to teach next year at Mulranny, I can actually meet these rascals – and Linda, too!

Linda just asked, “I have a bag of washed n carded wool from my sheep Lambchop, which is a natural creamy colour but has little seeds and bits of dried plants still in it. Would you like some? I can send you some. Will make very interesting hair.”

Wow, yes!! Hair from Lambchop?? Lucky me – I can’t wait to see what that magical Irish wool will inspire. Thank you, Linda!

Life’s connections invite us to respond to them with a thrill of wonder – keep reaching out, keep connecting. You’ll receive joy in return.

 

Put your away your toys

File this post under “Studio Tips” – I just found an amazing storage solution for my mixed-media toys!

It was totally accidental. I was at IKEA after we got back from our trip looking for a folding chair. You can’t get to that department without going through the children’s furniture section, which I normally just rush right through. All of a sudden, I spotted this:

Even better, when I looked beside the pile of bins, there were some frames for toy storage that the bins fit in!

“Dang,” said I. “This looks like the kind of storage system we had when I taught high school art – bins for supplies.” IKEA had both white frames and natural pine ones. I picked up the natural pine one and six white bins. I took them back to my studio, and the frame was amazingly easy to put together – 24 pegs, six screws, twenty minutes tops. And look!

But wait, it gets better. The next day (yesterday) I went back and got two more sets of bins and frames and stacked them on top of each other on the other side of the work table – check this out:

This is a game changer! I have trouble with conventional storage systems because I work in clay, fiber, paper and wax and little bitty pieces and shards which defy categorization. These bins are perfect! They keep things separated but accessible, and I can pull them out when I need them. Plastic bins of my stuff! Hooray!

And may I add, this is an incredibly affordable system? Each unit costs about $74 for the frame and six plastic trays. So I got all of this for a little over $200. The white frames are even cheaper – $39. You can also get colored plastic trays and metal mesh trays.

Here is the link to the IKEA page that has these toy storage system:

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/cat/toy-storage-20474/

They even has one that looks like a Japanese Tansu Chest (well, sorta). This is the white frame with larger colored bins, but you can mix and match:

So I know not everyone has an IKEA close to them, so I checked to see if these can be shipped, and they can. Delivery costs may vary, but it’s still a deal.

So bye for now – I’m off to play with my toys – and I promise to put them away when I am finished with them.

 

Afterwords: Shards and Sand

After I posted “Shards and Sand” several days ago about our trip to the beaches of Normandy, so many of you responded with thoughts and memories about war and peace and humanity. Thank you.

In that post, I wrote, “Part of our duty as artists is to pass on tradition and preserve our cultural history in various formats, to express human emotion and help us all to feel hope and peace of mind.” My artist friend Pamela Ferguson, a wonderful poet and painter, sent this note with a poem she wrote which will speak to all of us.

“I was moved by your post/blog on Normandy, Lyn. I’ve been to France but not there. I can imagine the voices who whispered to you. I look forward to the art that comes from your experience. This poem wrote itself after I read your blog. I wanted to share it with you.”
Here is the poem, brilliantly composed by Pam from the point of view of a young soldier watching the incoming invasion. I superimposed the words on the photograph of a bunker at Pointe du Hoc in which he might well have been waiting.

Isn’t the power of artists inspiring each other amazing? I am so grateful to Pam for sharing this poem which I know will stay with each of you as is has with me, opening our minds and hearts.

Shards and Sand

Pointe du Hoc cliffs

We’ve just returned from a two week trip to the Normandy Beaches where the most significant victory of the Western Allies in the Second World War took place on June 6, 1944. The DDay military invasion that helped to end World War II was one the most ambitious and consequential military campaigns in human history.

Both of our fathers fought in the Second World War and this trip felt as much like a pilgrimage as a history lesson.

I’m still processing the profound personal effects from this trip, but the experience taught me that it is impossible for the human race to be unaffected by war. It also reinforced the idea of the universal hero archetype who starts with a humble birth, then overcomes evil and death.

The story of Pointe du Hoc defines heroism. Pointe du Hoc was the location of a series of German bunkers and machine gun posts. On D-Day, the United States Army Provisional Ranger Group attacked and captured Pointe du Hoc after scaling the cliffs while being fired on by German soldiers from the clifftops.

When we visited the location, the bomb craters and bunkers were still there at the top of the high cliffs. Wildflowers bloomed around the ruined machine gun bunkers.

I collected a few wildflowers from this place as well as rose petals, small sticks, sand and shells from Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. These Shards of remembrance will ground me in the feeling collectiveness and gratitude I felt while walking the sands of the Normandy beaches.

Part of our duty as artists is to pass on tradition and preserve our cultural history in various formats, to express human emotion and help us all to feel hope and peace of mind. I’m not sure how this profound journey I took will manifest itself in future artwork, but I know that it will. These little Shards will be a starting point.

A French family at the American Cemetery in Normandy

The church at Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first town in Normandy liberated by American paratroopers

 

 

 

 

 

Look what wandered in early . . . .

I had planned to wait until Monday morning to publish this post, but Monday morning is kind of a busy time for a lot of people. So, surprise!

I worked this weekend finishing the new online workshop called Wanderers. It’s done! I love it! It was such fun. I really put myself on the spot, not knowing how the final pieces would turn out, but they look just like themselves!

Here are the two new Wanderers, demos from the workshop, who now inhabit this planet – one is free standing and one is wall-hung. You’ll watch them getting built from start to finish in the video lessons.

Those of you who are SHARDS readers know that if you enroll in the course right now, you have a Coupon Code. Coupons are new to me, but it’s a great way to thank you for subscribing to the blog and for being interested in new workshops.

The Workshop has eight videos and is over three hours long (in manageable bites). You have lifetime access. Tuition is $39 (cheap!) but for the next three days, you can use a coupon for $10 off (cheaper!). The code to put in when you check out is WANDER10. It will work until 6:00 PM on Wednesday, July 27th.

Oh, yes – here is the link to the course:

WANDERERS: Enigmatic Figures Wrapped with Grace and Spirit

I cannot thank you enough for the encouragement and the good feedback.

If you find any glitches in the new workshop, please send me an email – and have fun Wandering!

There’s something about a kimono . . .

 

Luna, Lyn Belisle, Mixed Media on folded paper, 30×40″

TAH DAH! New mixed-media class in my online Studio Classroom,  starting today! THE ENDURING KIMONO: FORM AND PATTERN

My old, old, OLD friends remember when my signature pieces were large-scale origami kimonos done with mixed media techniques before any of us knew what mixed media was. I loved these pieces and still go back to folding origami as a meditative practice.

This course was developed during the Pandemic as one of my first online teaching classes. It’s an all level exploration of paper folding and surface treatment which results in really enchanting paper kimono forms that translate into all sizes and formats.

I haven’t posted a new class to my online Teachable Studio in quite a while – part of the purpose of getting this course ready was to remember how to use Teachable! But it all worked, and the course is up with five instructional videos. The introduction is a free preview, so please take a look.

Boro Kimono, Lyn Belisle, 11×14″

But wait!! There’s more – for SHARDS peeps, there is a Coupon Code! I wanted to learn how to create coupons, as well, so I actually made one for a $10 discount code. The regular price of the class is $29 (cheap) but with the discount, it is only $19 (cheaper). The code is KIM19 and it is good until next Friday. Just go to the link below, check out the preview, and if you want to join the class, use the code for your discount in the check-out coupon box. I tried it myself and it seems to work – whew.

THE ENDURING KIMONO: FORM AND PATTERN

Meanwhile, I’m having my first group in-person workshop at my San Antonio studio this weekend – wish you were here! Stay safe, stay cool.

 

 

We interrupt the blog post we were working on for this message . . .

I just got an email from Lora Murphy, the genius behind Painting with Fire. She’s going to be featuring one of my workshops this Wednesday, which is a couple of months before it was scheduled.

Here’s the info:

This mini-workshop combines Spirit figure construction with encaustic surface design and a bunch of other fun stuff. Remember the toilet paper rolls that I’ve been saving? Here’s how to use them! Gauze, Paper, Plaster, + Wax is a 45-minute treasury of techniques and inspiration (if I do say so myself.)

It’s kind of a prelude to my other workshop, which comes up in 2023 on Painting with Fire, called The Shaman Spirit in Paper and Wax.

If you have been thinking of joining Painting with Fire, do it now and you can see the Gauze, Plaster, Paper + Wax workshop day after tomorrow. Plus, you’ll get the Shaman workshop and about a zillion other workshops by a zillion other fantastic teachers in encaustic and mixed media.(A zillion = 26)

Some of the other teachers are Roxanne Evans Stout, Crystal Marie Neubauer, and my Enso Circle partner, Michelle Belto. Subjects include things like eco-printing and large-scale pouring and found object inclusions and — well, it’s a very cool program. And you don’t need a ton of new material and equipment to participate. Heck, in my class this Wednesday you just need some wax and a toilet paper roll – and a few other things. Actually, here’s the short materials list.

I know I’ve talked about Painting with Fire before, but the email from Lora remind me to remind YOU that you can register any time. Class started April 27th but since these are prerecorded videos, you get instant access to the already released classes when you sign up. Classes are delivered each Wednesday approximately 12 noon EST as prerecorded video and once they are available you can watch whenever you wish. You get lifetime access to all classes.

Here’s that signup link!

OK, now back to my other blog post in progress – it’s about provenance and the soul of objects. I’m enjoying writing about that and will post it soon.

 

Descanso: art and healing

I am sharing this story with you without additional commentary other than the plea that we all hold in our hearts the healing power of art and our profound gratitude to those who make it.

DESCANSO:

A cross placed at the site of a violent, unexpected death, in memoriam.

A state of quiet and re-creation

A pause, a rest, a haven

The Email Conversation, June 22, 2022

Lyn, I wanted to share the piece I created using the “Paloma” face I purchased from you some time ago. I created the Santa Madre Guadalupe altar “descanso” to remember all children who have died-victims of violence. It is dedicated to the little angels killed at the Uvalde school shooting. The “milagros” represent the kids. The hearts represent the broken hearts of their moms/dads. ~ Enid

Enid, this is beautiful and bittersweet. I would love to share it on my blog with your permission. Uvlade is so close to San Antonio and all of here are still mourning, as is the rest of the nation. Would you tell me a little bit about yourself as background? Would it be OK to share this with others as a healing gesture? Art heals in so many ways. I am very grateful to you for sharing this, and the little milagros speak louder than words could. ~ Lyn

The Response and the Story, June 23, 2022

I am 72, and an adult survivor of childhood abuse, neglect, maltreatment, and violence, I have been involved with, engaged in some form of PTSD recovery therapy for more years than I can count. While providing some small relief benefits, traditional talk therapy failed to help me move forward, to move pass the trauma. Taking my well-being and mental health into my own hands, I started to create art as an outlet to gain insight into my childhood experiences and to speak my truth.

It’s been 2 years now since I started creating my “healing art”, and I am just starting, just learning how to use healing art to express emotions too difficult to say or share while building inner strengths and developing inner emotional resilience.

My creation, La Santa Madre, expresses my deepest emotions in a way that words could never express and reflects my culture, religious upbringing, world views and values. Lyn’s clay art woman faces have been part of my artistic creations and personal journeys to mental, physical, and spiritual well-being for some years now. I start out every journey by holding and talking to the faces, asking,” Who, what do you want to be?” I listen and wait sometimes for years to hear the faint voice.

On May 24, 2022, I heard Paloma-Lyn’s creation, say to me, “I am the mother of the angelitos of Uvalde and of all children-victims of violence.” That day, I started creating La Santa Madre Guadalupe Descanso . The children milagro charms represent the many children who have lost their lives to violence. The corazones represent their parents’ hearts, broken and too often buried with their children.

One milagrito is my son Billy who died in 1992 as a result of a driver’s poor judgement. One milagrito represents me and the childhood I lost.

Enid Sepúlveda Rodríguez
New Mexico
6/23/2022

Thank you, Enid. You have touched many hearts today.

Lyn