"Ultimately, I’m working with the idea of how experiences ripple through generations. The red line that traces us is like a lifeline that connects us. Experiences ripple through all families. It just so happens that in my particular family, a big experience was the internment. And I wanted the viewers to relate to that experience, by relating to their own family experiences," Judy Shintani.
Hey you From the Universe
Lately I’ve been looking for things and
finding other things.
For example I found my gift box from my graduation for JFKU in 2006. I hadn’t looked in it recently. Inside one of the things I found were packaged pennies with a label that said "place where you want them to grow". So I put some pennies in my wallet and some in my fee box for my classes. Since then I keep finding pennies everywhere. I find them on my studio doorstep, outside my car, on my chair. Today I found a quarter on my cell phone(weird?!). Hmmm well the value is going up. Not sure where this leading but I’m trying to follow the breadcrumbs. Paying attention more to "pennies from heaven". I think I’m getting it that my value is where I am, what I do, in my studio, and the way I communicate and connect. Obvious, but pennies or messages from heaven help out to confirm it. I've been going outside of my studio a lot to work with others. I'll have time to regroup soon and looking at ways to "be here now" will be a focus!
Oh and by the way, what was I originally looking for? A key which I already had on my keychain and didn't remember. Now if that isn't a message I don't know what is!
Update: the next day: found $3! I like this roll I'm on.
Why celebrate girls?
Why celebrate girls? I say why not? With all we have to be stressed out about in the world and media blaring danger, death, people being unpleasant - why not take a day to gather and honor girls and their wonderfulness and power? Why not take an afternoon to remember that girl in us that still wants to
be happy and play and laugh?
That is why I'm putting my Japanese dolls up for the first time in 20 years to celebrate
Girls' Day like they do in Japan.
Every kind of doll and it's owner of any age is invited to hang out and eat cookies or what ever kind of treat you want to share. I'm looking forward to laughing and blessing the health and happiness of us all! RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org to join us at my studio on 2/27, 1-5pm.
December 31st, 1969
A moment of peace
May you have a moment to remember your wonderful self this holiday season!
Much gratitude for your support, creativity, and being you. Here's to new adventures and unfolding in the new year.
Finding my direction
When the Solstice is nearing, I often tune into where I am and where I want to be. Today I took a hard look at an area of my life that I haven’t been attending to. As often can be the case when one doesn’t pay attention, things can go awry and life can be thrown out of balance. I felt sad, overwhelmed and angry with myself.
I came upon an article by Jack Kornfield that really spoke to me - about setting your compass.
“Whatever your difficulties—a devastated heart, financial loss, feeling assaulted by the conflicts around you, or a seemingly hopeless illness—you can always remember that you are free in every moment to set the compass of your heart to your highest intentions. In fact, the two things that you are always free to do—despite your circumstances—are to be present and to be willing to love.”
Yes! Of course, I must make my own compass! I pulled out my pen and drew a compass and without much thought, wrote six words circling the center of my compass. I drew the arrow pointing to one of the words – the one that had the most juice in the moment – abundance! Around the compass I drew my hand – so I held my personal direction finder. I added color and designs to my drawing. Each finger became alive with vibrancy, depicting my interaction with my new tool, and aligning myself with my soul’s intention.
This afternoon of art making helped me bring to light an area that has been in the dark. It gave me confidence to make a commitment to myself - to take responsibility for my needs in a positive, active, and loving manner.
Wisdom for all ages
Last week I went to Kala Art Institute's Print Public open house. Our group, the Northern California Women for Art, helped organize a tour. We learned about Susan O'Malley's wonderful posters and murals she created with words she gathered from others. I was so taken with her project I decided at the last minute to incorporate it into my Wisdom Flag Workshop I was having at the Coastside Senior Center in Half Moon Bay.
I led a visual meditation during which the artists met with their eight year old selves. During the silent meditation, the artists gave their younger selves five pieces of wisdom gathered from their years of living. After the meditation they worked with this knowledge in their wisdom flags.
Some interesting things came up: "my younger self was dancing happy and naked - can I put something about that on my flag?" "I think my eight year old self had more wisdom of me than I had for her!" "Teeth, take care of your teeth!"
As the class was only one and a half hours, the artists created quickly using paints, collage, and writing. During the art sharing, I found we were all nodding in acknowledgement and awe - what wisdom we all had to gift each other and the world!
Opening the Heart with Art
Kathleen Nelson Troyer, coach extraordinaire invited me to write about love.
Check it out!
My desk was overflowing again, putting me in an agitated mood. It was time to organize it - not my favorite activity. How could I make this more fun? How could I honor important items on my desk that were now in disarray?
As I was about to throw away the large box my boots came in
(I was saving it in case I returned them – ha! that didn’t happen)
I noticed that the box fit perfectly next to my printer that I had taken off my desk and placed on my Chinese chest. This box could hold my current projects, giving them a special home!
How could I make this box more attractive? I took out my acrylic paints and first covered the large logo on the lid. I then painted a bronze color and used the pattern on my paper towels to create a woven impression. Next I put an orange wash over the bronze and used the paper towels again
to carry on the woven pattern. Lastly I took turquoise paint and with my finger ran it along the edge of the lid
to accent it.
Taking that extra 30 minutes to beautify this area of my desk really made a difference and it was fun. I used recycled materials and didn’t spend a dime on this custom storage container.
Integrating creativity into everyday tasks takes them from mundane to inspiring. Try it with organizing different areas in your studio and home – create small areas of beauty and peace. Make a mandala casserole – creating veggie swirls. How about arranging your clothes or books by color? Opportunities are endless.
This month I taught and experienced a variety of art processes. I thought about how the different materials brought up different emotions and feelings.
For the first time I worked with mosaics and cement in guest teacher Jennifer Clark’s classes. I was surprised how placing the stones and tiles into cement felt so satisfying. It was similar to putting my toes into mud and enjoying the cool squishiness. Working this way brought out the playfulness in me, and a grounded sensation filled my body. There was a meditative quality too - in another mosaic technique of smoothing mortar and then wiping the mortar off of the mosaic pieces, the process of wetting the cement, and letting the pieces dry slowly.
Later in the week I experienced painting in different ways. In the painted mat class I facilitated, we applied acrylic onto treated fabric. We worked with the canvas flat on the table, creating a decorative and functional mat with a specific design. There was a communal feeling as if we were in a sewing circle, talking about our art and sharing stories of life.
The second painting experience was done standing up and on paper in a class in San Francisco. I created 4 fluid paintings with tempera in a couple hours. It was a more internal process, bringing up hidden emotions and deep feelings.
Lastly I made art with kids outdoors, collecting flower petals and grass to create mandalas. What a process of discovery and play - such a joyful energy!
I'm reminded that art is an endless way of exploring ourselves through play and introspection. I love offering an abundance of different creative experiences to my students at my studio and everywhere I teach.
Judy Shintani is an artist, mentor, guide, transformative art facilitator