Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Diary- Part 1: Preparation

Recall Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Diary- Preview:

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I’m keeping a diary and will try to post at the end of each day. Today in Part 1, it is about preparation:


As much as art and connection are part of the 3-day intensive, I also want to incorporate life skills in a natural way.  One of those life skills is project planning.  On Day 1 we will be mind mapping an action plan as a group.  I want this to be youth-led, so my role as facilitator is to create a safe and dynamic space/environment.  Of course, I have a plan and agenda in case there needs to be a nudging in order to achieve the goal, but as much as possible, this is the overall vision is that of the participants.  By mind mapping together, the participants will experience project planning in a tangible way, and my goal (part of the longevity piece) is that they put that experience into their personal tool kit.  .

I practice what I preach.  I am spending this weekend preparing for the trip.  Making checklists, packing, mind mapping out some curriculum and action plan, researching, and looking to other creatives for inspiration.  For example:

Thomas Kail of Hamilton Joins Prof. Dolly Chugh’s Managerial Skills Course:

As a facilitator, I have to have a plan, an agenda-free agenda if you will.  I also have to be flexible and in the moment, ready to throw plans over the shoulder and let the experience and group dynamics lead.  Plan, be ready, RELAX, have FUN!

“Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.”
― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life


It is important now for me to honor this call for retreat. #creativeprocess

I sense it is time to really retreat in between work schedules and ensure cave time to focus on my passion project: Molly, a true crime analysis.  Seek solitude, writes Delacroix.  I hear you.  I am in a fantastic place regarding the project- she feels ripe, ready, eager.  Through a tear in the fabric of time and space, Molly, long dead, guides, revealing more and more.  It astounds and humbles me.

“Murder, though it hath no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organ.”
— Shakespeare, “Hamlet”


Creative process includes allowing for gestation, gathering resources, paying the rent.  But it also requires intense dedication.  And obedience.  So it is important now for me to honor this new call for retreat.

We need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers. – Ester Buchholz


And having allowed the project to gather even more evidence of late, it seems very much like gathering supplies in order to build.  To sculpt.


Writing non-fiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. – Joan Didion

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Check out:

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Twyla Tharp, chinamarker on newsprint

Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s it in a nutshell. ― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

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]



Part 1: The Project

Part 2: The Inspiration

Part 3 of 4: THE TEAM

 My daughter is a volunteer on the team creating this incredible Burning Man 2016 installation and I love seeing how empowered she is as she participates in the ultimate creative, physical and collaborative experience.

Anna Thorsen at Pier 70, San Francisco (Photo by Afonso Salcedo)

Being a part of the first build week for the @catacombofveils was UNREAL – I could not be more grateful.  I can now add “table saw”, “nail gun” and “wood stretching” to the resume. @dansullivan__ & Team are legends. – Anna Thorsen

Photo: Catacomb of Veils

Scott Prusso, Anna Thorsen, Joseph Killian, Dan Sullivan, Jeffrey Lang. Photo by Afonso Salcedo)

Photo: Catacomb of Veils

Collaborators aren’t born, they’re made.  Or, to be more precise, built, a day at a time, through practice, through attention, through discipline, through passion and commitment. – Twyla Tharp

Anna Thorsen, Joseph Killian Pier 70, San Francisco PHOTO BY AFONSO SALCEDO

Joseph Kilian at Pier 70, San Francisco. Photo: Catacomb of Veils

The first requirement of collaboration is commitment… It helps to have a champion. – Twyla Tharp

Project visionary and designer, architect Dan Sullivan, at Pier 70, San Francisco. PHOTO BY BETH GOULD


This project is a GORGEOUS example of collaborative practice, and at its heart: community.  The team of volunteers cannot avoid being transformed through the process.

Image: Esteem Hearts (from team training workshop, Toronto June 2016)

O’Ryan taught us how to build a horse!- Anna Thorsen
In the end all collaborations are love stories. ― Twyla Tharp, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together

What does a day at the Catacomb of Veils build site feel like?  From our crack-of-dawn arrival at Pier70 and morning wood delivery, to pouring ourselves into creating art for our community…. the dedication, the love, the generosity.  We give our time and design expertise, but your donations make this happen. Every tax-deductible donation goes 100% to the materials, construction, transportation, insurance, and build-site rental for Catacomb.  This is our COMMUNAL EFFORT together — and *you* are central to making this happen. Catacomb of Veils



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Next up:

Part 4 of 4: THE SCOPE

Ponderings on the “idea.”

As a creative, I find it as important to make time for input as well as make time for creative output.

And allow myself some stupor time- doing nothing— doesn’t happen often.  Tried today.  To just stop for a bit, but instead I was distracted by my thoughts- thoughts that have been swirling in my head for a while around the concept of the IDEA.

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” ― Marie Curie

I often wonder where and when the project MOLLY truly became MY IDEA.  And why not somebody elses?  And why an illustrated book and not just a simple presentation?


Post on November 14, 2015

Molly tapped me on the shoulder on Level 5 at the Vancouver Public Library at Georgia and Hamilton  in late 2003 as I was searching through microfiches.

And January 21, 2016

But as I listen to Irish Folk Songs, like this favorite rendition of Molly Malone, I wonder if I didn’t instead run into Molly’s ghost wandering- since 1947- along Georgia Street.

The concept of the IDEA has been coming up in my readings and research lately and in the shows I watch.

For example, Jerry Seinfeld addresses the concept in his latest episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee:

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You can’t really make ideas.  Create ideas…  All ideas are the same.  They just wander by.  It’s like, if you have mice.  If your house has mice, you never know when they’re gonna show up, or how, or in which room.  And great ideas are the same.  They’re like mice.  It’s just a mouse.  A mouse in the house.  And you step on its tail and go, “Hold it buddy.” – Jerry Seinfeld


I was gifted Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic- Creative Living Beyond Fear from my soul-sister, Patti Henderson.


This book is an easy and delightful read, and actually all about the IDEA.

I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us – albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual. – Elizabeth Gilbert

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“Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea… and ideas are bulletproof.” ― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta




Conversation about art, artists, creativity w. Tharp, Miller, Walker, Petit

I love that I can have a sit down with my heroes on a warm Saturday night and just shoot the shit.  Tonight we contemplated creativity, the artist and the why.

Here are some highlights:

Twyla Tharp (china marker on newsprint)

I believe that we all have strands of creative code hard-wired into our imaginations.  These strands are as solidly imprinted in us as the genetic code that determines our height and eye color, except they govern our creative impulses.  They determine the forms we work in, the stories we tell, and how we tell them.  I’m not Watson and Crick; I can’t prove this.  But perhaps you also suspect it when you try to understand why you’re a photographer, not a writer,or why you always insert a happy ending into your story, or why all your canvases gather the most interesting material at the edges, not the center.  In many ways, that’s why art historians and literature professors and critics of all kinds have jobs; to pinpoint the artist’s DNA and explain to the rest of us whether that artist is being true to it in his or her work.  I call it DNA; you may think of it as your creative hard-wiring or personality. – Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

Henry Miller (china marker on newsprint)

The practice of any art demands more that mere savoir faire.  One must not only be in love with what one does, one must also know how to make love.  In love self is obliterated.  Only the beloved counts.  Whether the beloved be a bowl of fruit, a pastoral scene, or the interior of a bawdy house makes no difference.  One must be in it and of it wholly.  Before a subject can be transmuted aesthetically it must be devoured and absorbed.  If it is a painting it must perspire with ecstacy…  The anatomy books will tell you one thing, or many things, but looking at an eye or an ear to render it in form, texture, color yields quite another kind of knowledge.  Suddenly you see– it’s not an eye or an ear but a little universe composed of the most extraordinary elements having nothing to do with sight or hearing, with flesh, bone, muscle, cartilage. – Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Alice Walker (china marker on newsprint)

… these grandmothers and mothers of ours were not Saints, but Artists; driven to a numb and bleeding madness by the springs of creativity in them for which there was no release.  They were Creators, who lived lives of spiritual waste, because they were so rich in spirituality- which is the basis of Art– that the strain of enduring their unused and unwanted talent drove them insane…. What did it mean for a black woman to be an artist in our grandmothers’ time?  In our great-grandmothers’ day?  It is a question with an answer cruel enough to stop the blood…  Our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see; or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.  – Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens

Philipe Petit (china marker on newsprint)

There is no such thing as motivation in my world.  As an artist, I am driven, I am compelled, I am thrust forward by a force so rooted inside me, so convincing, that it seems futile to try to explain it.  Although it has a name: passion.  Passion is the mortar that holds my creative assemblies together.  It is the motor of my actions.  Because it is in perpetual motion, it has an impatient edge to it.  It is urgent.  And because it invites my arts to grow, it is essential. – Philipe Petit, Creativity- the perfect crime

Announcing my new project with @The_Social_Life: @bypoststreet! #art #fashion #music #collaboration

Design. Discover. Deejay. 

by post street is a creative and collaborative source for fashion, house, hip hop and art.


Follow @bypoststreet

The latest creative collaboration by @poststreet (Kat Thorsen) and @the_social_life (Anna T Fabulous).

Art/ Fashion/ Music

Portraits/ T-shirts/ Podcasts

Twitter/ Instagram/ Soundcloud

Video by Julian Bowers


by post street is a limited edition t-shirt & music company created by Anna & Kat Thorsen.

by post street is a creative and collaborative source for fashion, house, hip hop and art.

Collections will be released monthly and feature two fashion figures and one DJ.  Each collection will be produced in limited runs, available for 30 days (or until sold out) and paired with an exclusive podcast by the “DJ of the month” (available to download for free).

This project was born out of our mutual desire to take the bold, scary, courageous (and perhaps outrageous) step to abundance and living our dreams!








In the end all collaborations are love stories.
― Twyla Tharp, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together





Perks for your contribution:

Funders will have access to a variety of rewards depending on the level of contribution. These rewards range from postcard sets, to a signed t-shirts, to original individualized portraits.

Your contribution will allow us to:

Create our first limited edition t-shirt run featuring two fashion figures and the “DJ of the month.”  The unisex t-shirts, designed by Anna and featuring exclusive art by Kat Thorsen, are made from 100% organic cotton.

Provide exclusive access to first official podcast created by the “DJ of the month” Riccardo Bhi from Milan, Italy.

Create a cutting edge website to house sales, podcasts and to provide a continuous creative source of fashion, art and music.

Plan, promote and execute the launch event that utilizes interactive art and a DJ performance to launch “Collection 1.”



No one can whistle a symphony.  It takes a whole orchestra to play it. – H.E. Luccock

By becoming a funder you will allow the world to experience:

• The new collaborative wave that combines art, music, fashion and social media.

• The buzz of anticipating and collecting the monthly limited edition t-shirts.

• The discovery and celebration of leading DJ talent from around the globe.

• The power of interactive art events.

• The positive impact on our non-profit partner.  (by post street will be donating 3% of profits from t-shirt sales to a non-profit organization.)  STAY TUNED FOR OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT NEXT WEEK!

• the satisfaction of purchasing a product that is completey produced and manufactured locally.


It doesn’t stop at “Collection 1”:

by post street  anticipates extending services to organizations to provide theme-specific limited edition t-shirt runs for promotional campaigns and fundraisers.

Photo by Carolyn Spencer
My collaborative street art wall, Vancouver BC.  Photo by Carolyn Spencer


  • Anna Thorsen:   former entertainment promoter and visual merchandiser, Anna is now the editor-in-chief of the multi-city lifestyle website, The Social Life.  She brings over 10 years of experience within the fashion/entertainment industries into her new role as Creative Director for by post street. the-sociallife.com


  • Kat Thorsen, artist, art therapist and author is renowned for her art blog, portraits, therapeutic art classes, craftivism, street art and popular interactive art events. Kat is the resident artist for by post street. katthorsen.wordpress.com

No reinvention and overextension, but aligning and collaborating. #indexcard #journaling


Reflect on what you would like to see for yourself.

Reflect on directions you feel yourself flowing away from and towards.






“In the end all collaborations are love stories.”
― Twyla Tharp, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together