Hello dear friends,
How are you holding up? We are in the depths of it right now. And I can’t help but think of the Hero’s Journey. You know Joseph Campbell and the 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey?
If you’re not familiar with Mr. Campbell, his most important cultural contribution is arguably his work on what he called “the hero’s journey.” This journey is a 12-step path that recurs in the mythology of the world and has guided many cultures throughout human history. It looks like this:
I am not exactly sure where you are on your version of this path, but I feel like I have definitely left the “ordinary world” and am somewhere between stages 6 and 7. It feels like this is the “ordeal” or “dark night of the soul”, but somewhere deep inside, I know we haven’t seen the bottom of this yet. And as I look around me, I am reminded that
“The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral. You continually come back to the things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.” – Barry H. Gillespie
Wisdom from Art Classes
I recently taught an Art Night where we explored the idea of resilience through spirals. We studied spirals in nature and the symbolism – of journey, connection to earth and heaven, resilience, growth, and grief. And we noticed that spirals show up everywhere from the shape of our galaxy to the DNA in our cells. The beautiful piece of art at the top of this page was made by a student in that virtual art class in response to these prompts.
Spirals remind us that the Hero’s Journey is literally coded in our DNA, in our fingerprints. Continually cycling on this spiral path is how we grow stronger, wiser, and braver. Sometimes things have to completely fall apart so that we can begin again. I believe we are facing one of those moments on a national – if not global scale. And it requires each and every one of us to begin again in one form or another.
I believe some of our greatest strengths are creativity and connection.
As on any Hero’s Journey we need to gather allies and a few secret weapons. And I believe that creativity and connection are two of our best assets for the quest. In my own world, I feel that one of the best ways I can offer support during this time is to help people regain familiarity and confidence with these tools. To do so, I am continuing to offer classes for the whole family – and in the time of COVID, these camps and classes are 99% virtual.
Nature Art Camp for Kids
We have made the difficult decision to convert this year’s Nature Art Camp to a virtual home-based summer camp for 5-9 year olds. Camp will run July 13-17, 2020 from 9:00am – 3:00pm – with a Zoom gathering at the beginning and end of each day. My dear friend and early childhood specialist, Anna Diem and I have poured our creative energy and professional knowledge into creating a home-based camp experience unlike any other.
We are taking your children on their own Hero’s Journey! They will receive a “Hero’s Survival Kit” in which each day’s mystery supplies will be provided in a wrapped bundle to be revealed through treasure hunts, coded messages, and riddles. Each day campers will explore a different aspect of their journey through observations of journeys found in nature – from the river’s path and migrations, to life cycles, and stories. We’ll foster connection through virtual story telling/sharing, games, and of course – art making. This year’s camp will have an extra focus on creating artwork and projects that can be used a s a foundation for support at home – such as games that can be played later with family or virtually with friends, story starters, and ideas for independent play. And no Hero’s Journey would be complete without a heroic return home with an elixir! So special this year, camper families will also receive a “Hero’s Family Elixir” providing quick tips, activity ideas, and resources for parents to help nurture positive communication, creative expression, and growth mindset during uncertain times. Our aim is to provide a week of support that can be used as a foundation for future growth for the whole family. More info and registration can be found right over here.
Adult Art Class Series
In partnership with the Columbia Center for the Arts, I’m offering a series of *virtual* collage classes designed to give you a creative reprieve for the heart and mind. Thursdays June 25, July 2, and July 9 from 8-9pm PST, meet me on Zoom for some creative fun. Participants will use cut paper and acrylic paint to make collaged pet or people portraits in the style of mixed media artist Michel Keck. I’ll use Zoom and guide you through playful art process designed to help you gain experience with mixed media collage techniques while focusing your creative energy on a person or pet that brings you joy. Win – Win! You can get more info and register for this 3 part series right over here.
Summer Art Camp for Kids at CCA
In another fun-filled collaboration with Columbia Center for the Arts, I’m leading two different sessions of collage camps for 5-8 year olds (in the morning) and 9-12 year olds (in the afternoons). Monday-Wednesday (July 20-22) we’ll meet virtually and make three different collage projects designed to introduce campers to the concept of collage while encouraging creative play and exploration. On Thursday (July 23), we will be meeting in-person for an hour at the Columbia Center for the Arts to share our work with one another and explore the gallery. We’ll gain experience with observation, confidence around sharing ideas, and enjoy some limited in-person face time with each other – all in a safe supportive environment. Learn more and register here!
There have been some beautiful lessons evolving from these virtual classes. And it’s a helpful practice to boost our collective strengths in a time when we need them most. I’d love for you and your children to join me and experience this for yourself.
Be well, sweet friends. Stay with it.
With love and gratitude.