Had a lovely afternoon at Mt. Airy Read & Eat teaching about altered books. I even started one of my own! Always different to do the work than just to teach it. For me, it involved letting go of planning and attachment to outcome, listening to that inner voice that said, "use this book, stick that picture of David Lynch on the first page, be spontaneous and experimental." The letting go is such a beautiful thing. Here are some images from the day, staring with one of my pages. See all of them on the PinkHouse Facebook page!
I can’t remember when I first learned about altered books. Probably a Renfrew patient had learned about them in a previous treatment center and brought the idea to our studio. It caught on and before long Lauren and I were offering Altered Books workshops to share the techniques we had learned. Now making an altered book seems to be a rite of passage for people who are reconnecting to themselves and their creativity. There’s something about working in this medium – it becomes a kind of container for so many pieces of one’s journey. Each page tells a story, or documents a moment in time. It allows for experimentation, flexibility, the opportunity to literally and figuratively “open up” and the safety of closing it when needed. Having words and sometimes pictures already on the pages can feel less daunting than a blank slate. You can paint or draw in it, collage, cut out, transform, reveal, conceal and play.
In preparation for the Altered Books workshop that I will be offering on March 5th at Mt. Airy Read & Eat, I will be collecting lots of altered book ideas on the Pink House Studios pinterest page and posting some stand-out images on our Instagram (@pinkhousestudios), twitter (@pinkhousearttx) and facebook pages. Feel free to follow along and share your own altered book art! If you'd like to join me on March 15th from 2 – 4 at Mt. Airy Read & Eat for some altered book fun, email email@example.com to sign up! $20 covers the cost of all the materials.
Here are some great finds from googling altered books:
Book transformed into a sculpture:
PinkHouseStudio in on Instagram now! Come and follow us - pinkhousestudios! Happy holidays!
October was all about the elements at Pink House Studios. An ever-evolving group of participants met at Art & Soul Yoga to explore our connections to Earth, Air, Fire and Water. One group member graciously shared some of her reflections after each week:
Earth: Mother Earth is our protector.. She sees every today as well as every yesterday and the hopes of all tomorrows. She shares endless joy, peace and love to those who will look up from their suffering and toils. Look not with your eyes but with an open heart and an open soul. She will nurture and sustain each of us regardless of where we are along our journeys. We are blessed by her magnificence, especially those who are awakening to awareness.
Air: We are all under one roof. We are all connected by a life force which permeates everyone and everything.It is by separation (physical, mental, spiritual) that we shut ourselves off from this life force. Seeing that we all carry self-doubts, secrets, addictions and a multitude of self-defeating behaviors can awaken us and unite us as one energy. Unity is the cure to loneliness, fear and self hatred.
Fire: I feel a deep connection to my belly and all it holds...personal power, self knowledge, an unstoppable desire to nurture myself and to extend that love far beyond myself. The burning desire to do more and be more radiates outward and an additional desire comes into my consciousness. I ask the energy to please heal my inner wounds as well as have a healing effect on those around me. Today's session taught me there are many hidden pains with which we all struggle.
Water: The flowing of water is captured in my energetic being. It ebbs and flows sometimes bringing pain and sometimes delivering joy and love. It leaves me with gentle peace as I allow the energies to flow into my silent space. A transmutation occurs and the ever-changing flow of energy is breathed in and then out as a delicate wave of love and blessings.
Here is her painting of her "inner waters", completed in our last session:
I found this to be a rich structure for a workshop and hope to offer it again next fall.
In October, PinkHouseStudio will bring you Elements of Wholeness: A Healing Art Workshop in Four Parts. This series was inspired by the work of my good friend Lori Lamont. She developed the idea for this workshop in her graduate program, where she presented it to a small group of women with eating disorders. I loved it so much that I invited Lori to revive and revamp the program so we could bring it to you! I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Lori.
Lori Lamont is a Board Certified, Registered Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor currently working as an outpatient art therapist and clinical coordinator of the outpatient department at Lenape Valley Foundation. An artist, yoga practitioner and avid outdoor enthusiast, Lori is passionate about creating opportunities for self exploration through somatic, ecological and expressive arts based experiences.
This past Sunday, Lauren and I offered our Alter Ego workshop for the first time at Magic Gardens. We had so much fun and it was fascinating to research the array of alter egos that artists, comedians and performers have created. After a reading from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and a discussion of Heisenberg from Breaking Bad, we presented on alter egos from art world innovators (Marcel Duchamp, Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman, etc), pop stars (Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, etc.), comic book superheroes, cinematic doppelgangers, plus video footage of Andy Kaufman (as Tony Clifton), Sasha Baron Cohen (as Ali G), Joaquin Phoenix, David Bowie and more. We talked about the myriad functions of these fascinating characters, from the humorous, to the political, to the deeply psychological.
After our presentation, participants were invited to fashion their own alter ego out of characteristics that push their buttons in others and tend to be rejected within themselves. Qualities like arrogance, hypersexuality, self-centeredness, awkwardness, ditsyness and indifference were brought forth and took center stage through the creation of paper dolls who embodied these disowned traits with abandon. Each had a name and a story and got a chance to be interviewed. Here were the characters that emerged:
It was interesting hearing how each person felt as they became their alter egos for the interviews. Some were aware of just how strong the judgments about certain attitudes and life style choices were in their minds, others felt liberated to just be those things and not care what anyone thought. We talked about how we might draw on these characters when we are struggling to put ourselves first, speak our minds, set boundaries or take risks. Definitely planning to run this workshop again! If you'd like to receive notifications about upcoming workshops, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'subscribe' in the subject line.
PinkHouseStudio is on twitter now! Follow us at @pinkhousearttx!!
As Lauren and I gear up for our exciting Alter Ego workshop on August 3rd, we thought we would share some of our favorite alter egos.
Janelle Monae's alter ego, Cindi Mayweather, came to her in a dream after watching Fritz Lang's Metropolis. She is an android activist from 2719 and fights for those in the margins. Here's what Monae has to say about her: "The Archandroid, Cindi, is the mediator, between the mind and the hand. She's the mediator between the haves and the have-nots, the oppressed and the oppressor... She is in the future but I feel as though we share the same DNA... Cindi helps me write and she helps me talk. Cindi is my hero... She has encouraged me in times where I don't want to talk about certain topics that could be freeing and inspiring to other people."