Sometimes a photo needs an explanation, sometimes it needs a haiku. Last night I couldn’t sleep and wrote a haiku for a photo of our sunset. Then I went back to sleep. Poetry soothes and inspires, often at the same time.
A few days ago, I saw pottery being decorated with bubbles. I’d done bubble paper when I was younger, and decided the holiday weekend was a good time to play with bubbles.
First, I found my black India ink and the gold ink for a bit of shimmer.
Then I put a small squirt of dishsoap into the recycled foaming container, added water and ink. Just a bit of water to move it up the siphon. The foam was dense, and the bubbles held their shape until there was just ink, but no bubbles on the paper.
The result was a blob of tight foam. I wiped them off with a brush. Interesting effect. Not what I had in mind, but it will be fun to experiment with this part.
But when I took the straw out of the cup, I knocked it over, spilling India ink-soap-water mix into my crotch and onto the floor. Time out to peel off pants, put them in the washer, clean the floor and generally mop up all the ink that wasn’t where it belonged.
This experiment works best if you blow the bubbles till they rise up out of the cup, then carefully place the paper on top of it. For that reason, watercolor postcards work well. You can use cut pieces of watercolor paper, too.
You can also use a palette knife to scoop the bubbles onto the paper. It’s a personal choice. What am I going to do with them? Probably use them for my Stow-Away-Poetry postcards. Or color them in. I’ll let you know. If you have a suggestion, let me know in the comments!
—Quinn McDonald is hoping India ink comes out of linen pants.
Orlando. I can’t fathom it. I’ll let others handle the politics, the religion, the reasons. I want to make just one point. That is, simply, what we do to others, we do to ourselves. We are never alone in hatred. We are never alone in kindness, compassion, and love. But we get to choose.
Art doesn’t have to be just one thing. I like to combine writing and collage. But I don’t like tearing words out of a magazine and using that. It’s great for vision boards, but I like collage to be more coordinated.
In this collage, I used writing as a background. I also stylized the writing so it is not readable. I didn’t want the viewer to be distracted or to feel that reading was part of experiencing the art.
The collage was part of creating an assignment for my grad school program in poetic medicine. We were to create the collage first, then the poem. I tried to do that, but it’s not how I work. At least not successfully. So I wrote the poem below, then created the collage.
The brick building had been extended
a poured foundation ready for this,
the third expansion.
Three different weathered shades of brick,
a muddled patchwork marking time.
“Memory Center”—clearly, a lie.
The memories have long faded
from this center’s rooms,
bleached into shadows
like the rising wings of birds
against the moon
during a break in the clouds.
–Quinn McDonald is studying poetic medicine. She is also a trainer in business writing.
Another talisman has come into my life, this one through the skill and talent of Su Keates, a silversmith from New Zealand. Su listens and then brings her own vision to the creation of a piece.
This piece was going to be hard. I wanted to have an abstraction of the Hebrew letter shin, the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The letter has many meanings and associations. The word shin literally means teeth or bite, but that’s not the hidden meaning I am drawn to.
Shin has three points, often said to represent
kindness, justice and mercy. In one kabbalistic interpretation, the three stalks represent the flash of an idea, understanding, and application of knowledge. Now that is a meaning I can spend time with.
What I love is the number of words begin with the letter shin (in Hebrew). The word for peace, shalom. The word for hear, or listen, sh’ma. The word for the day ordained as a day of rest, Shabbat. Then there is sun (shemesh) and change, and year, and rest.
Shin is a mother letter, and it represents fire. So I wanted this talisman to look like fire. The letter is heard in the first phrase of the Bible, “In the beginning.” How could I not find this letter a talisman for my work as a coach, helping people change? Or my work as a writer, helping people heal and rest from the scars of their life?
It’s new and ancient and I can already tell it has power and life.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer and a creativity coach who helps people reinvent themselves.