Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Artists works

I must learn not to use the back button when I'm writing my blog. I've done this beginning three times now. Okay now we are starting again.
This past month I visited with Kathi Kuti and together with another lady we learned how to make a teeny tiny pot of violets although my pot of violets looked like they'd been through a terrible wind and rain storm. I gave them to my aunt who is in the retirement home and the one I go and visit all the time. I took a picture of the mouse smelling the flowers beside her coffee cup.

This past Thursday I visited another artist Steve Smith who is a famous potter. His website Talking Earth Pottery shows the fantastic work that he does. I was feeling quite blah about my art and he lifted my spirits and encouraged me. So I got back at it. I made a doll pin, but she has no name. Maybe Rainbow would be a good name. I'm afraid my photography needs practice. So now what? More pin dolls and some business cards.

I spend most of my time when I get down in the dumps searching art blogs and embroidery blogs. One blog that I spend a lot of time on is Salley Mavor and I may have mentioned her before. I made a quilt years ago and put some dolls on the quilt. I didn't know how to do that but I just did it. It turned out pretty good and I think it is in the slide show of my art. There were seven dolls on it. Turns out that those dolls are almost made like the dolls that Salley Mavor makes. I'm excited about that because I so admire her work and found out that even though we live miles apart we do similar work. The art piece I showed you a couple of posts back had tons of french knots on it, and so does her art piece on one of her posts. Do I sound like a star struck kid? Alright!!

Okay enough of the idolization. I'm going back to my dolls now and even though it is almost 90 degrees out side I'm making chicken soup. Wasn't feeling all that great yesterday and today so I'm going to see if that will help. Nothing serious, just a bit of blah!! Have a great one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Work is changing for me. I've been a counsellor, an author and an artist. I've also been a teletype operator, a nurses aide, a bartender, a teacher's aide, an economic development officer's assistant, an executive assistant, a treatment director and a file clerk. All good and honorable jobs. I've enjoyed most jobs and really enjoyed working with the people. What I'm finding now with the world as it is, I most enjoy writing and talking with people.
When I first wrote the book Shaking the Rattle  Healing the Trauma of Colonization I wrote it as a story of healing. When I went to the En'owkin Centre and re-wrote the book it changed or as they say today it morphed into something completely different. I rather enjoy the book as it turned out. I enjoy writing and I'm going to go back to that with a little art work on the side. Part of my discussing this with you is that I'm also going to be writing on the blog - not like this - but in another page or blog if I can set it up. I want to continue helping people and the best way for me to do that is to answer questions. Questions that people need help with in their search for healing, help, self. So please bear with me as I figure out the technology to do that.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Writing

There has been so many changes in my life since I wrote the book "Shaking the Rattle  Healing the Trauma of Colonization. When I wrote that book, and it was published in 1996, I was moving from a career of counselling and being a Treatment Director, to becoming a writer and an artist. I detoured to SUNY Buffalo in Buffalo, NY where I achieved an MA in American Studies and had the privilege of being a guest lecturer in a few classes and becoming friends with a few of the professors and faculty members. After graduating with my MA I went home to lay on my mom's couch and be ill for about 6 months. I didn't realize how fried your brain could get doing academic work until I got out of it. I also didn't appreciate becoming ill during graduate school but that happened as well. One man saw me during that period and suggested I go on to get the Ph.D and I said very plainly "are you nuts?" and we both laughed.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can create more than the usual symptoms. I became depressed and with that the symptoms exacerbated. I read when I felt like it but didn't get to the information about depression until another year had passed. That information says that depression comes when there is a death, a job loss, a chronic illness, relationship ending etc. Anything traumatic can cause depression and depression can cause illness as well.

So the writing started. It wasn't writing a novel or even poetry. It wasn't even an academic paper or essay (which I swore I'd never write - but now do) I had faithfully done morning pages from The Artist Way before going back to University for a year and a half. I knew deep down inside that I wanted to be a writer and an artist - I just didn't know how to get there. Then while recovering or recuperating or depressing and trying to figure out how to get out of it, I went for a drive to Massachusetts with my friend Martha to visit my friend Donna. Donna introduced me to a journaling technique that she does.  It was called PWriting or Proprioceptive Writing. This writing helped me so much that I was able to get back to seeing colours again- you know how everything looks gray when you are depressed? So this Pwriting was a miracle for me. I thought of trying to become a teacher of Pwriting but financially I was blocked. I taught a course for Mohawk College part time in late 2004-2005 and used that Pwriting on the students. It helped, even though they grumbled.

Now I want to go back to writing again - my art has taken up most of my time - but the writing is calling me. I'm going to be using the Pwriting and the Artists Way to help me focus again and I'm going to try to blog -writing. As my one favourite teacher used to say "time she marches on, and more will be revealed."

New Learning?

I get frustrated and it is no longer fun to blog when things don't work. I spent half a day Wednesday trying to get a widget to work from Amazon.com to show my favourite books. It didn't carousel like I wanted but was just a static piece showing those favourites. Well, now it is a carousel showing only some of my favourite books - since there are probably hundred's that could be labeled 'my favourite' books. This time this editing only took a half hour or so. I'm getting better at the technology for this anyway.

I was at a spiritual conference in Olean, NY - St Bonaventure on Saturday. My friend Diane Hill, with whom I traveled, was a plenary speaker and put together a piece for the audience incorporating her knowledge of quantum science, and Native or traditional Native science. She also incorporated the Wel-systems information into this presentation. It was amazing to see the universe, the human body, and the traditional stories linked together in a one hour presentation.

While I was away for those few days I met a few old friends and made friends with some new people. I was encouraged again to get writing and to get my books out there. For the past few years I've dabbled in writing by submitting to anthologies such as Birthed from Scorched Hearts and Genocide of the Mind and published a poetry book but I haven't written a novel or another book like Shaking the Rattle  Healing the Trauma of Colonization which was published in 1996. People are saying it is time for another and also they are telling me that the first book is still relevant and is still needed. All I can say is I'm working on it. Like my favourite fabric/felt artist Salley Mavor my work can take weeks and sometimes months to complete and I have been spending time on that rather than writing. I guess it is time to attempt both.

I'm attending another conference in a few weeks with Diane and bringing my art work to sell. I am sure that there will be people there that will ask if I have books for sale as well. Yes, I will bring books as well. Since I have chosen not to have a laptop computer right now, I will be writing but it will be by hand which is where quite a bit of information comes from - connection from the heart and the spirit to the hand.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Okay I just finished writing a blog where I spoke of how I had writing tools that helped me through my depression around the chronic illness that I got while in University and I hit the wrong button and it allllllll went away. I guess I feel like a ditz - well maybe I am right now.

So, to start over again I will say that I finished school at the En'owkin and the book "Shaking the Rattle  Healing the Trauma of Colonization" was published in 1996 by Theytus Books Ltd. I detoured to SUNY Buffalo to get my Masters in American Studies where I became friends with students and faculty and even guest lectured in a few classes. While at the En'owkin Centre I moved from being a counsellor and Treatment Director to become a writer and an artist.

Before going back to school I wrote morning pages from the Artists Way because deep down inside I knew I wanted to be a writer and an artist but I didn't know how to get there. After I finished my MA, a few years lapsed where I was chronically ill. I slowly came back to life with lots of rest, sunshine and fresh air and friends. I moved back into my own house after six months lying on mom's couch being depressed because she was healthier and stronger than I was and twenty years older than me.

My friend Martha invited me to drive with her to Massachusetts where I went to visit my friend Donna who introduced me to PWriting or Proprioceptive writing. This was a miracle for me and I thank these people in my life so much. The Pwriting helped me to get out of the depression and that helped alleviate the symptoms of the illness. I've learned so much and am so grateful. Depression comes with information telling you that you have a chronic illness, or you have lost your job, or you have lost a loved one, or you are suddenly getting a divorce that you didn't see coming - any kind of trauma can cause depression and depression can cause physical illness.

The writing led me to the art and more writing. The art work for me is mostly fabric art and art dolls. The writing has been put aside for a while so that I could actively pursue the art career. Now I feel the writing starting to nudge me. So, I'm going to start a blog or a page on this blog about writing. I have no idea what it will look like but as my favourite teacher says "time she marches on and more will be revealed." We will see...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Day New Work

This is the third day of cleaning my "studio space". It is actually a little corner in what is supposed to be the living room of my small one bedroom apartment. I like this place and I like the little space. If I had a real studio it probably wouldn't be any cleaner than this one and it would have more "supplies". I am an artist and author but I am a collector as well. When the room is cleaner I'll post a picture of my collections and the "studio space".

I've also "discovered" some unfinished pieces. This is a picture of a piece I started over seven years ago inspired by a birthday card that my mom gave me. Yes, of course it needs ironing but it is not finished by any means. Look at the background - it is done with french knots. Not the smartest idea but at the time that I started this I was laid low with a chronic illness and maybe I wasn't thinking clearly or I just enjoyed sitting and knotting. The handwork is soothing for me. So that's a picture of piece of needle work that I carry with me and work on while I wait in Dr.'s offices or hair salons or ...

Back to the cleaning and then off to the second hand store to see what is dying to come home with me. have a great one.