From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 5

I dedicate today’s post to my soul-sister Patti Henderson and to our deep HEART chats. — I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart. Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your…

My Stanley Park observations find their way into “Molly” at unexpected times

Our usual spring awakening is late this year. I recall a walk around Beaver Lake a year ago…  I was infused by the profound beauty of nature.  Warm sun.  Blossoms.  Skunk cabbage.  Herons were dancing in the wind above the lake, ducks were courting and playing, chipmunks and squirrels scurrying.  Chestnut-backed chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches landed on my…

A reminder that sometimes it is OK to do less.

I have been slow all day– I am trying to allow myself time to stop without guilt, to allow this feeling of weariness, this reminder that sometimes it is OK to do less. What is this weariness?  Yes, I am recouping from a flu and yes, I have many multiple projects going at once, yes…

Is this where they’ll find me?

Is this where they’ll find me?  In the tub, laying back, my neck resting on the edge, my face covered with a book? Is this where they’ll find me? Seemingly asleep, one hand holding tight the book that covers my face, hiding the cheap reading glasses that have slipped a little, eyes closed, the mouth slightly…

Still willing to eat that shit sandwich!

It’s been a year and a bit since I came across this article by Mark Manson that asks 7 fabulous and profound questions re: finding your life purpose: I just LOVE his questions!  I really recommend you read the article and contemplate the questions. As I read through them, all I did was nod, nod, nod-…

Recalling a declaration from “my future self” on July 25, 2015

Working on my graphic novel, I pull out research and reference materials from my files and come across a journal entry from July 25, 2015 created during Peter Breeze’s Be a Star workshop.  This is truly why I keep everything for what an incredible reminder to myself that I am fulfilling my dream by whatever means necessary….

Three years ago, with shaky hand, I signed…

Three years ago, with shaky hand, but empowered to move my life forward, I signed bankruptcy papers.  And my grown children and I signed a lease for a magical apartment in the West End.  There have been dark moments since that have terrified me as I processed and struggled, but also so much lightness and so…

Boundary by Emily Cowan

Wow.  Emily Cowan, comic book artist, has just completed an extraordinary book: What a beautiful journey it has been to dive into Paige’s teenage life.  My cheeks prickle with familiarity– those hot-nosed, overly self-conscious struggles of a 15 year old. The book is deceptively gentle, masterfully rendered. DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND READ THIS GORGEOUS BOOK! LINK:…

A mother’s eulogy by Beverley Pomeroy

by Beverley Pomeroy (posted with permission from author) Well, it’s a difficult thing to have to write a eulogy for your child.  Where do you start?  How do you end?  How can you possibly sum up your beautiful child’s life in 8 minutes? Do you get up and read it yourself…or do you get someone…

Traditional craft: handwoven treasure by “Domestic Intervention Co.”

Being Swedish, I was raised surrounded by beautiful handwoven cloths.  When I think about Sweden, I see looms. Textile art is in my DNA.  My mother loved to tell me stories about my great grandmother– my name sake, Brita.  Brita raised so many children with little money.  She’d walk to town and check out the…

Here’s to us crawling to the finish line…

Touch me life.  Not softly. – Maya Angelou And my GOD, life has touched us this year. Here’s to us crawling to the finish line, scraped, bruised, hoping.  Here’s to our successes and our fucking failures, to finally resting and to re-entering labour. Here’s to the vigil keepers, the rent seekers, to the quiet and the loud…

Eliza’s Story

“210 years later, Eliza Hamilton’s orphanage — now a family services agency called Graham Windham — is still helping kids get their shot.  Graham Windham serves over 4,500 kids and families each year.  Just like Eliza’s husband, these kids survived a tough start in life.  Graham Windham provides services like family counseling and treatment, after…

Dec 13 #Lucia- childhood memories of wearing a crown of candles

Today is Lucia Day in Sweden. As I was the only daughter in our family, I was the one to wear the crown of candles (when we used live ones, we would place a wet rag on our head inside the crown- the crown being made of lingonberry bush or pine branches). I had an…

Molly- a true crime analysis, a visual serial goes online January 15!

How do you escape from a convincing story?  After enough repetitions, the facts come to serve the story and not the other way around.  – Errol Morris I began working on this PASSION PROJECT in 2003 when I was a volunteer criminal profiler on the Babes in the Wood task force in Vancouver, Canada.  And…

‘Asta Sollilja of Summerhouses’ exhibit

My 1998 solo exhibit: Asta Sollilja of Summerhouses ONE OF THE PIECES FROM THE SHOW: The House, 1998, Katarina Thorsen It was a house and a stable in one.  All that was visible of the inner, wooden shell was the door and its frame, the door so small, the threshold so high that one had to…

Around 3 am… I felt a tap on my shoulder.

Around 3 am yesterday morning (November 19) I woke up because I felt a tap on my shoulder. More like a double jab. On my right shoulder. It felt so real— I just knew it was a message regarding Molly but it didn’t even feel like her- felt like a male presence. Like he was telling…

You are motherhood. You are the greatest mystery. Karin 17/09/36-08/11/08

Only do not forget, if I wake up crying it’s only because in my dream I’m a lost child hunting through the leaves of the night for your hands… – Pablo Neruda 8 years ago today, my little brother held my mother’s face and spoke sweetly, guiding my mother.  I laid my right ear on her chest and…

I’ve given myself space-time.

This week started with some bristling uneasiness.  But instead of falling into fear and trying to figure out next steps, I decided to give myself this week to take time– to NOT FIGURE THINGS OUT.  To give myself some space and time.  Some space-time. Be in the questions, yes- but allow whatever comes- to come. I asked myself- what…

We were drawn together on Saturday- and now I know why…

I love family.  And we have shared so much- all the life markers, the ups and downs of life and through it all there is that special glue that connects us. We had an impromptu get together at my place on Saturday- somehow ALL of us (niece, nephew, brothers, sister in laws, daughter, son, daughter…

“Always, remember, you are the best.” No, you were, Pappa. #toliveuntilwesaygoodbye

My greatest cheerleader was my Dad. 4 years ago today, his heart stopped beating, but his spirit lives on. His pep talks were the best. “Always, remember, you are the best.” No, you were, Pappa.   Our gift to you: Free PDF version of DRAWN TOGETHER, THE BOOK by Roar and Kat Thorsen! LINK

Delicious book! ‘Awakening Joy- for kids’ by Michele Lilyanna and James Baraz

I reconnected with a sweet friend/soul-sister/colleague last Friday, sharing sacred hours at my kitchen table. When I lived on the Sunshine Coast 1996-2003, I was lucky enough to befriend and work with Michele Lilyanna.  (Happy 20th anniversary, Michele!) Incredibly, both my kids were lucky to have her as a teacher, and her friendship got me…

Ode to the carnation- “nature’s bastards”

A flower is a miracle.  A carnation certainly so.  Did you know carnations are “banned” as decor in certain facilities?  They are supposedly cheap, low class, ugly, unacceptable. I adore carnations and I have to speak up.  How can this beautiful flower, known to be GOOD FOR HUMMINGBIRDS, BEES AND BUTTERFLIES, be so vilified? Sir, the year growing…

Love letter to Toronto 

6 AM Despite living in Canada most of my life, I had never been to Toronto before this year and now I am on my third visit in just a few months!  Sitting at the table in my suite in Etobicoke [early morning preparing to co-facilitate with Beverley Pomeroy 3 days of engagement work with…

Stillness of the hummingbird.

I recall the wonder of seeing a little hummingbird, amidst my sunflower garden, staring in through my kitchen window (when I lived in Roberts Creek).  Nothing has never felt so still.  That breathless moment.  A reminder today to sit in stillness, reflecting on that little creature.  Just stop.  For a moment. If the hummingbird shows up…

The inverted detective story approach.

Huge thank you to Patti Henderson who encouraged me to consider the inverted detective story approach on Molly- a true crime analysis.  I thought I needed to restructure my rough draft fully when she suggested this Columbo style, but as I review my manuscript, I realize only minor tweaks are needed structurally- especially the opening sequence.  All…

My mother’s tapestry…

Today would have been my mother’s 80th birthday.  It was joyous to celebrate her by celebrating my nephew’s 5th birthday (his official birthday is on the 19th) in my brother’s household filled with kids and mayhem, food and laughter. Our growing family certainly is my mother’s tapestry- her woven threads. We are the weavers of our…

First line… let’s go.

Recall:  I sit now surrounded by my manuscripts, references, inspiration and pressing fingertips to keys and (re)typing.  (Re)COMMITMENT!  This version will be from the pelvis.  First chakra shit. Yesterday, I posted: Start again. Put China markers and socks and threaded needles down. Write, bitch, write. There is no beginning.  I’ve tried to invent one but it…

Stitched together with good intentions- a grumble of [sock] pugs!

On September 1, 2016, Fall weather and autumn vibe seemed to come on full force here in Vancouver BC.  Along with the autumn atmosphere comes the rejuvenated desire to craft, to create product and re-open the ETSY shop and the reminder to focus on the Winter craft fair to do list. So I put away my other work…

President’s Dream Colloquium on Returning to the Teachings: Justice, Identity and Belonging sfu.ca

Photos by Rick Magnell: Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society Art Camp, Riske Creek/ Williams Lake Summer 2016. See: LINK From President’s Dream Colloquium on Returning to the Teachings: Justice, Identity and Belonging: “Justice, identity and belonging are central indicators of health and well-being. Founded on the ideal of a pluralistic society, Canada faces significant equity challenges in upholding…

The importance of @Lin_Manuel’s creative process

— Show attendees, reporters, politicians, historians, authors, social media, voices in the street, voices in the theatre, dancers, actors, musicians, artists, the fans lining up for 100 hours, our hearts are screaming that Hamilton “the most astonishing thing I have ever seen.”  Including my household!  WE ARE OBSESSED!!! “It’s fair to say that “Hamilton” is quickly…

That is a step on which… #creativeprocess

I was working on my Molly project today— contemplating a slightly new format, to reconstruct the prologue.  The idea came out of the first weekly mini writer’s retreat that I started last Monday with my soul-sister, Patti Henderson: Patti encouraged me to attack the material in a new way. I love how collaborative dialogue can push, pull, inspire.  Afterwards, perseverating…

Same tools, same instructions, all equal, all different. O.W.L.

The OWL is a POWERFUL image and I use it all the time in my work. The form of the OWL itself is very conducive to teaching the principles of drawing. The direction quickly create an engaging and intense gaze, drawing both the student and the observer in. By Aug 24, I’ll have led approx 225 people…

We are made of star-stuff…

To get myself realigned and prepared for diving into writing/drawing/reflection, I check in with my Church that is Frida Kahlo and let the stream of consciousness flow. Head to heart to hand. To prepare for output, there must be some quiet me time, input.  Some meditation.  And for me that is the private act of…

SOME PORTRAITS OF GRIEF.

For me, it is impossible to quantify grief.  To qualify it.  To define it.  It comes as a surprise. It comes as a wave.  It comes suddenly.  Or it comes on slow.  It can feel like nostalgia, anger, sadness, gratitude, drowning.  It can be triggered.  It can be low grade.  It can be reassuring.  It can…

You had the opportunity last month to end up not recognizing yourself.

This past weekend I have had a bit of that existential-post-trip-out-of-body-kind-of-weirdness-needing-to-contract feeling. [Thanks to my soul sister, Patti Henderson], I check in with the Power Path regularly (especially when I feel like this) as a tool/guide.  I am reminded of the July 2016 forecast: “Radical personal transformation is possible. Start with taking care of yourself, loving…

It takes no compromise to give people their rights… – Harvey Milk

“It takes no compromise to give people their rights… it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.”  ― Harvey Milk —

Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Art Camp Diary- Part 6: the photographer

Recall: Preview Part 1: Preparation Part 2: Travel Part 3: Art Camp Day 1  Part 4: Art Camp Day 2 Part 5: Art Camp Day 3 — Part 6: Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society Summer 2016 Art Camp- the photographer What a treat it was to be joined by photographer Rick Magnell of Magnell Photography on Days…

Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Diary- Part 5: Day 3 Celebration 

Recall: Preview Part 1: Preparation Part 2: Travel Part 3: Art Camp Day 1  Part 4: Art Camp Day 2 — Part 5: Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society Summer 2016 Art Camp Day 3- Celebration   — Sitting here in my lovely hotel room organizing supplies and reflecting on this week… — It was the…

Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Diary- Part 4: Day 2 The Wall

Recall: Part 3- Day 1 Today: Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Diary- Part 4: Day 2 The Wall It doesn’t take long to make connections and on the morning of Day 2 it was evident we were all a connected and creative group building new bonds and friendships! (Portrait of youth participant from photo…

Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Diary- Part 3: Day 1

Recall: Preview Part 1: Preparation Part 2: Travel Part 3: Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society Summer 2016 Art Camp Day 1  Executive Director Sarah Jackman picked me up this morning… … and drove me through extraordinary scenery… … to the Old School Training and Recreation Complex in Riske Creek. First days are always about gaining trust and…

Catacomb of Veils- Burning Man 2016, Part 4 of 4: The Scope

Part 4 of 4: THE SCOPE Catacomb of Veils will be the largest art piece at Burning Man 2016 and one of the largest burned sculptures in the history of the event. Everyone participating in the creation of Catacomb is all-volunteer with a commitment to the transformative power of temporary art. – [SOURCE] Recall:  Part…

Catacomb of Veils- Burning Man 2016, Part 3 of 4: The Team

Catacomb of Veils will be the largest art piece at Burning Man 2016 and one of the largest burned sculptures in the history of the event. Everyone participating in the creation of Catacomb is all-volunteer with a commitment to the transformative power of temporary art. – [SOURCE] Recall:  Part 1: The Project Part 2: The…

Catacomb of Veils- Burning Man 2016, Part 2 of 4: The Inspiration

Recall Part 1: The Project Catacomb of Veils will be the largest art piece at Burning Man 2016 and one of the largest burned sculptures in the history of the event. Everyone participating in the creation of Catacomb is all-volunteer with a commitment to the transformative power of temporary art. – SOURCE Part 2 of…

Catacomb of Veils – Burning Man 2016, Part 1 of 4: The Project

Something extraordinary is underway in San Francisco:  Catacombs of Veils.   Catacomb of Veils will be the largest art piece at Burning Man 2016 and one of the largest burned sculptures in the history of the event. Everyone participating in the creation of Catacomb is all-volunteer with a commitment to the transformative power of temporary…

Journal exercise: self-care and self-compassion

Journal exercise: What does self-care and self-compassion mean to you?  How are they different?  How are they the same? — Inspired by conversations of late, I am intrigued by the differences between SELF-CARE and SELF-COMPASSION. — — In health care, self care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated. [source]…

Caress the detail, the divine detail. Language play.

I don’t consider myself a writer by any means.  I am a visual artist inspired by the written word.  I love gathering sources, collecting, researching, gathering.  I love reading and feeling the creative process of the writer.  I enjoy contemplating interpretation- how small changes in presentation and how collaging and mish-mashing can alter meaning and…

The heart of communication is to observe, wait and listen…

A major part of my role in any workshop that I facilitate is CREATIVE ENGAGEMENT.  I am currently sitting at gate B25 at the airport in Toronto prepping to head home after an incredible experience co-delivering workshops that address challenges and provide staff team training in a particular residential living community.  — — To engage…

The objects are the context from which I draw clues.

What happens when a case is very old, when much of its physical evidence is deteriorated or destroyed, and its main players long deceased?  How do we investigate? For me it is all about the historical context. When I work on Molly, I step into the 1940’s through books, research, primary sources.  And I do it…

The Social Weaver and collaborative practice

During a prep session today for an upcoming World Café on collaborative practice, the three of us wanted to identify an animal that represents the theme of collaborative living.  The plan is that I will then add drawings of this animal to the large mind map I will be creating during the World Café session…

In place of death there was light.

I am preparing myself to draw my mother’s “death mask” from the photo my son took after she passed on November 8, 2008. I have been preparing for awhile. I know the process will be an important and necessary one for me personally.  I think about it often.  It’s not about needing to work on something…

The permanent analogy of things by images which participate in the life of truth.

  “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar What am I trying to convey in my work?  Is it of value?  Does it matter? I remind myself that it doesn’t, that it CANNOT MATTER how I “fit…

Special sale: Dead Bird Collection- embroidered drawings

I am a BIG BIG fan of symbology, imagery and metaphor.  I feed on it like some kind of voracious vampire.   As I was collecting a few books from my personal library to donate to our local community mini library, I pulled out an old book I had forgotten about.   Oh, how I love…

The importance of the vintage photograph as creative resource.

  There is no end to the inspiration I get from looking at vintage photographs- through immersion comes awakened imagination. The central characters in my graphic novel are real people but as I am doing an artistic interpretation of real events, I revel in the freedom to flesh out the central characters using old photos as a…

The boarding pass lies within the double helix…

I had a bit of a silly dream last night. I write, silly because, unlike the dream, I usually get to the airport three hours ahead of time for a domestic flight.  I am already fretting about the upcoming 6:30 AM flight on June 19 when I head back to Toronto for more creative community…

Messages from Angels…

I love getting messages from Angels. I just sat down for a spot of tea… and pulled out some creativity books to prep for a session around mission and vision statements. I discovered a tiny envelope inside one of the books containing a gift from one of my mom’s best friend, Jopie. I don’t recall…

The timeless/spaceless mid zone of creative process and chatting with the dead…

There is a beautiful part of my creative process that I cherish- the part that allows me to dialogue with my parents as if they are here in my kitchen, sharing coffee and offering advice and dialoguing on the cold case.  I had some magical moments the other day as I pulled out old binders…

Dear my body… a love letter.

  Dear my body, We shy away from the camera; we always have. We are like the Sasquatch– rare sightings on FB. I am not interested in what you look like.  I don’t want to see.  I don’t need to see. I prefer the role of the observer, not the observed. I love REALITY and…

I asked them to draw themselves as a superhero…

I was doing graphic recording and co-facilitating a workshop for frontline staff at a residential living facility in Toronto last week. The focus of the workshop was Interdependence of Community Engagement in Residential Living, with key facilitator Beverley Pomeroy. We mind mapped so much with this group that we had to double/triple layer the large wall mind map!…

Mamma.

  Karin Thorsen September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008 Because you are only a seed, chestnut tree, autumn, earth, water, heights, silence prepared the germ, the floury density, the maternal eyelids that buried will again open toward the heights the simple majesty of foliage, the dark damp plan of new roots, the ancient but…

… it goes deep, deep down into its burrow…

I was organizing my notebooks and loose papers and to-do lists at a coffee shop this morning.  I love to organize, but I am strangely disorganized.  Creative chaos is my middle name, but so are organizational skills. My mind runs a 1000 miles per hour, and so I write bits of quotes, make lists, tiny…