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For Those Dealing with Disability/Illness/Strife

My Healing Journey through Art

Art excites me. It is a gift from my illness. Art gives me purpose. Through art I connect with my past, see my present self more clearly and have a bridge to other people.

In this 1/2 hour presentation, followed by 1/2 hour Q&A I share images and artwork that depict my journey from feeling like an invalid;  with brain deficit and physical and energy limitations to a grateful, engaged artist.

Perfect for support groups, quilting guilds, and anyone wondering how to deal with all those slings and arrows life throws at us. Join me in discovering how creativity helps us rise to life’s challenges.

Using Art to Understand Yourself

Life Maps, self portraits (purposeful and inadvertant), drawing your disease, mandalas, masks, fingerpaints, and more. You don’t have to be an artist to use art as a tool for self discovery. 

Our conscious, busy, overfilled minds can keep our deeper awareness hidden. Explore techniques and see examples of how playing  with markers, paint, embroidery, structured and unstructured exercises opens vistas into the unconscious.

This workshop is an hour long with examples, stories, and a couple short exercises with a 1/2 hour afterwards for Q&A. It includes multiple excercise pages for download and many encouraging prompts and insights for your artistic inner child. 

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from the Kuna:

Molas, Indigenous Wisdom, and Kuna Culture

I lived in Panama for seven years and love the Kuna People. I first developed a love for the mola, a colorful, multi-layered fabric panel hand sewn by Kuna women and worn on the front and back of their everyday blouse. As I learned more about their culture I came to admire, respect, and learn from it.

Just about every paper I wrote in college, whether for Anthropology, Economics, or History I managed to make about the Kuna. My collection includes over 65 molas, many artifacts from the San Blas Islands, and books and thesis papers on the Kuna and molas.

Come explore Kuna wisdom (on stewardship: when asked to sell Kuna land a chieftan said that God who made this made it for the Kuna who live no longer, for those who are here today,and also for the ones to come. So it is not ours only and we could not sell it.) Culture (both patriarchal and matrilineal!), the balancing act of living in the modern world, while maintaining traditional values. And how the mola evolved from body paint to clothing to income.

This presentation can be tailored by age and interest either for a 1/2 hour to an hour presentation with Q&A following. Also available by order: a Turtle Make a Mola Kit with everything you need to make your own felt mola at beginner or advanced level, and Mola Magnet Kits.

For Educators/Homeschoolers/Creatives

Molas and the Guna People

What’s it like to live in the tropics? What would it be like to have a family canoe, not a car? Why do the Guna dislike cats? Explore living in the tropics through the eyes of the Guna people.

Molas are the front and back panel of a Guna shirt. They are hand sewn with layers of brightly colored cloth cut to show lots of colors. In addition to being clothing they can be wildlife art, political cartoons, pictures of everyday objects, retelling of myths, and more.

Learn how to make your own mola using felt. This presentation can be tailored by age and interest either for a 1/2 hour to an hour presentation with Q&A following. Also available by order: a Turtle Make a Mola Kit with everything you need to make your own felt mola at beginner or advanced level, and Mola Magnet Kits.

Turtles: from Gods to Trickster

Hindu God Vishnus second incarnation, immortality versus having children, formation of the North American continent, and peyote visions all have turtles in common.  Visually track turtles from prehistoric Aboriginal rock art, African and Mayan creation myths, Yoruba, Romanian and Persian morality tales, as well as  ancient Japanese tortoiseshell designs and kilim rugs.  Yet it is not really a presentation about turtles. It is about how the human family can look at the same animal and draw such a range of life lessons.

This presentation can be tailored by age and interest either for a 1/2 hour to an hour presentation with Q&A following.

How I Create World Folk Art

I grew up in Saudi Arabia and Panama and got to travel a lot too. Everywhere I went I noticed how much people loved to decorate: body paint, clothing, modes of transport, buildings whether homes, businesses, or place of worship.

When I started to draw all of that came rushing back. I mostly draw animals, studying the area in which they live and exploring the people who live there and their style of decorating. Check out Night and Day Cats from the ancient Aztec and space photos, Mehndi Elephant from India, and a Dreamtime turtle from Australia. 

This is a 30 minute presentation, with Q&A afterwards and lots of encouragement for kids to delve into the stories and art of the many peoples of the world.