Antique Treasures and Creative Endeavors

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Antique Treasures and Creative Endeavors

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A designer I worked with held the best rummage sale ever. It was so good, in fact, it reminded me of the one I witnessed on screen in Out of Africa. Remember the end of the movie, the baroness is broke and is forced to sell her possessions to book passage back to Denmark? Her offerings were covet worthy: crystal, Limoges, silver, a cuckoo clock, animal trophies, a hand-carved settee with leather cushions, and a mahogany dining set and matching sideboard with a gallery crafted in brass.

Instead of moving back to Denmark, this designer was just downsizing from a larger life, and he owned dazzling objects, just as the baroness did, from copious amounts of porcelain to a whole set of Royal Doulton china in a pattern labeled Hamilton. With urns and yellow and pink flowers and distinctive brown banding, the pattern and price made my heart race. I love it and use it to this day. I also found a hand-colored architectural drawing from the 19th century there—best rummage sale ever!

To keep my love of rummage and estate sales going, I rented a space at an antique mall, which proved to be a creative endeavor. The space changes and morphs creatively as I sell and find new treasures. I can’t wait to see what changes next!

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Poseidon's Temple

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Poseidon's Temple


Living creatively, I like to write poems about daily inspirations. Surfers never fail to inspire me. From the coast of Norway to the coast of California, I’m drawn to watching them, longing to join their ancient tribe.

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Poseidon’s Temple

By Melissa Segonds

 

Tall Mountains

Rising from ocean

 

I see an ancient tribe

Of wave riders

Tied in cowrie

 

Sliding

Across the surface

Like breeze

He-men

And jellyfish

Surfing

In harmonic

Motion

 

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Nectar

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Nectar

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The first chapter of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making seemed to contain a plethora of themes (Fox, 1997). One of the first I encountered was connected to the experience of surprise. According to Fox (1997), poem-making has the ability to offer healing surprise, which, for some, may feel like some sort of revelation or epiphany, “a creative, joyful, luminous, physical experience of being disinterred from limitation” (p. 3). When reading those words on surprise, I was reminded of Czikszentmihalyi’s (2007) research on creativity’s flow experience. He seemed to use almost identical language when describing that limitless aspect of the creative process.

But whether it is called flow or surprise, it seems writers find that healing experience in personal ways through personal rituals (Perry, 2009). Some unburden themselves of external commitments in order to enter flow or surprise. Others perform acts and warmups, engage in routines, or play music, so there seems to be a ritualized nature to finding the flow or surprise experience.

Reading about that nature spurred my thinking in a related area, psychological surroundings. How do psychological surroundings or inner and outer places affect the experience of flow or surprise? Fox (1997) seemed to address my question directly and specifically with the Finding Your Sacred Place Exercise. In that exercise, he encouraged the reader to imagine places that allow for creativity and for writing to emerge. And a place could mean: a physical home, a coffee house, specific objects, an interior place, an image, the imagination, or a sacred place.

Here’s a poem about a sacred place for me. It’s called Nectar.

 

For art’s ambrosia

A sacred place

Laced in flight and filtered light

I flitted, flying and feeding

In nectar’s sweet delight

References

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2007). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Fox, J. (1997). Heart, who will you cry out to? Giving silence words (pp. 1-31). In, Poetic medicine: The healing art of poem-making.  Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher.

Perry, S. K. (2009). Writing in flow.  In S. J. Kaufman, & J. C. Kaufman (Eds.), The psychology of creative writing.  New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

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Pacific Pilgrimage

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Pacific Pilgrimage

Twice a year, I travel to Monterey, California to attend creativity conferences. Before the conferences begin, I like to immerse myself in nature with pilgrimages to a sacred place. That place seems to elevate my thinking and connect me to my creative core. Trying to capture its essence, I recently wrote a poem. It is called “Pacific Pilgrimage`’. The first line of the poem is taken from an Emily Dickinson poem.

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I stepped from plank to plank

To river bank

Gateway to a secret place

Thistles in brush

Rabbits abound

Oak sculptures and glorious crowns

All, clarion calls to the Pacific

And I am found

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A Creative Connection to Diana/Artemis

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A Creative Connection to Diana/Artemis

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For an impromptu expressive-arts project, I created a piece dedicated to Diana/Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, moon, and nature in Roman/Greek mythology. To make that piece, I used a field easel. I, then, added handmade paper from Otomi Indian artisans. Those artisans use a process that dates back to pre-Columbian and Meso-American times and incorporates a mix of earth-toned fibers from Amate, Nettle, and Mulberry trees.  On that handmade sheet, I layered various objects: a photo of a marble statue depicting Diana/Artemis in the Louvre Museum, an animal trophy, barley, fallen leaves, birch candleholders, beeswax candles, and metal arrows piercing Otomi paper.

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For some reason, the statue’s form in the Louvre is resonating with me at this time. Is that due to my preference for classical subject matter? Is it because I’ve always been drawn to hunting, animal trophies, oak forests, hills, archery and the moon? I think Diana/Artemis is connected to childbirth as well. Could that be a creativity connection for me? Or, am I attracted to that mythological figure's ability to target and focus on goals, symbolized by archery’s bow and arrows?

Photo from Wikipedia courtesy of Marie-Lan Nguyen

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Cape Sounion's Temple of Poseidon and Creativity?

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Cape Sounion's Temple of Poseidon and Creativity?

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I decided to glue shells of various types to a Greek-style statue. Stylistically, the finished result reminds me of ornamentation found in Greek, Roman, and Baroque Grottoes.

The finished result also reminds me of a day trip I took to Cape Sounion’s Temple of Poseidon, 43 miles from Athens, Greece. In that rugged and rough-textured place, the temple’s Doric columns of marble still seem to serve as a clarion call.

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How is that temple calling to me? Is it the unapologetic pursuit of beauty and classical proportion there or the setting itself? In my mind’s eye, I am able to visualize Homer’s odyssey around the blue Aegean, Cape Sounion’s crags, and the surrounding fertile hills. Or is my hearing an ancient call connected to Poseidon, god of the sea and earthquakes and horses? As I age, I notice that I am drawn to the sea, its eternal rhythms, colors, and shells. Or could that call be connected to creative destruction? Is that behind Poseidon’s pull for me?

Photos from Wikipedia courtesy of Alan Carr and A. Savin

 

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Creativity, The Big Doodle, and "Sign of the Times"

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Creativity, The Big Doodle, and "Sign of the Times"

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Feeling stressed in my body for a variety of reasons, I decided it was a good moment to try The Big Doodle (Rogers, 1993). That's a Person-Centered-Expressive-Arts exercise developed by Natalie Rogers, which involves newsprint and felt-tip markers. It's fun for exploring play and personal creativity, 

I gathered my supplies for my own version of The Big Doodle. Instead of newsprint, I chose to use art-supply paper. The directions stated I should move and hum while doodling with both hands, but vocally, I’m not very expressive. So I enlisted the help of favorite singers and songs. I hummed and moved along to them while trying The Big Doodle.

The results were fascinating. Afterwards, I noticed the stress in my body had dissipated, and I felt energized. And I loved what had appeared on the art-supply paper. Depending on the song, each doodle developed differently. Some had slow curves or curly-cues. Others were more blocky and geometric. Because I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise and its results, I made it a morning ritual.

To extend the positivity I was experiencing during Big-Doodle moments, I started scanning my costume jewelry and accessories in order to pair pieces with each song-inspired doodle. Playing around with pairing was fun and creative. Each piece once worn could serve as an extra boost of positivity, reminding me of favorite songs and singers and Big-Doodle moments.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

"Sign of the Times"

"Sign of the Times"

References

Rogers, N. (1993). The creative connection: Expressive arts as healing. Palo Alto, California: Science & Behavior Books, Inc.

 

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Creativity and Candles

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Creativity and Candles

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 Mythologist, Joseph Campbell (1988), wrote:

I walk off Fifty-first Street and Fifth Avenue into St. Patrick's Cathedral. I've left a very busy city and one of the most economically inspired cities on the planet. I walk into that cathedral, and everything around me speaks of spiritual mysteries. The mystery of the cross, what's that all about there? The stained glass windows, which bring another atmosphere in. My consciousness has been brought up onto another level altogether, and I am on a different platform. And then I walk out, and I'm back on the level of the street again. Now, can I hold something from the cathedral consciousness? (location 520) 

Candles, to me, serve as visual reminders of "cathedral consciousness", and in my decorating book, you can never have or light too many. I also love cathedral votive stands, two and three-tier ones, corner stands, and rounds. Because I love them, I decided to make my own version at home. I filled a classical urn with sand. Into the sand, I placed skinny taper candles made from natural beeswax. Whether lit or not, I find them beautifully atmospheric, lifting me to higher ground.

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References:

Campbell, J. & Moyers, B. (1988). The Power of Myth [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Photo by Interstate295r

 

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