Art Always Finds its Way Back

It’s been close to a month since I last posted regularly, but what can I say? I’ve been busy with all kinds of things in my time away. Life lately has been a whirlwind of love and loss and work and responsibilities and exercising (I’m still hanging in there!)… But even though “life” gets in the way, art always finds its way back.

The other day I stumbled upon a package of origami star strips. I remembered I used to like making them as a teen, so my creatively-deprived fingers quickly went to work. It was both relaxing and stimulating–it made me remember all of the things I liked to do, but wasn’t giving myself time to do. Folding each star was slowly pushing me towards balance.

Origami Stars

Few people know about my love of visual art, but I think even fewer people know that I like to write. Or I liked to, anyway. The last time I recall writing something (outside of daily journaling) was 2012 and before that, 2010. I don’t really know why I stopped, but the truth is that I miss it.

As I try to open this part of me back up, I’ll hopefully get to sharing some of my old writing along with any new snippets that come up. The following is something I wrote when I was in high school. I thought it appropriate given the inspiration for this post!

Wishing Stars (2005)

Published: In Relief (Mainland Regional HS) & Grimoire (La Salle University) literary magazines

I bought the narrow, glossy strips of folding paper from a small shop on the street corner, next to a bakery that sold pork-filled, steamed white buns and slushy fruit drinks with gummy tapioca pearls that settled at the bottom. I picked up a pack, attracted to the shiny swaths that glimmered like diamonds underneath the flickering fluorescent lighting.

“Those are wishing stars,” said a woman standing behind me. She wore a friendly smile on her face, her almond-shaped eyes almost disappearing in the amiable gesture. I realized she had been watching me all along, as she probably did with so many people day after day. I read the plastic name tag that was safety-pinned to her chest. Mi Yeon, it said, a spicy and exotic name.

“Wishing stars?” I repeated, turning the package over. Neatly tucked into the package was a set of directions depicting how to fold the stars along with explanations tidily typed in Korean.

“You fold them,” Mi Yeon explained. She pulled a strip of similar paper out of her pocket. Like a clown making balloons at a circus, she began to fold and twist the paper. Like a child at the circus, I watched in awe. I hardly realized that my mouth hung open as she pushed in the sides and pinched, forming five perfect points that gave birth to a tiny pink star. Mi Yeon placed it in my hands. “You fold them like this, pinch the ends, and you have a star. When you’re done you wish on them. You can give them to someone if you like. They make great presents.”

The performance had me sold and I walked out of the store with five packages of folding paper. I didn’t care that I hadn’t picked up on anything that Mi Yeon had shown me. I didn’t even care that I couldn’t read Korean. All I could think about were the potential wishes I had tucked away in my purse.

Artfully Megan Signature

Is there anything you feel like you should be getting back to? What is it and how to you hope to get there?

I Miss Journaling Circles!

I think many of us can agree that moving to a new place is scary. It’s not just adjusting to a new place and learning where all of the essentials (i.e. – grocery store, police department, post office, best pizza place…) are. It’s also about meeting new people and keeping in touch with those you left behind. Even though I’ve been living in Pennsylvania for almost 4 years now, certain aspects of my current lifestyle and the natural drifting apart make it hard to have the social life I wish I had.

It was this feeling that necessitated a change that drove me to join meetup.com, a site where people with similar interests can coordinate gatherings with one another. I tried a few here and there and since I knew I was into the arts (though not actively practicing at that time), I went to my first Journaling Circles meetup in 2012.

Art Journal Page - Garden of Secrets

Art Journal Page from Journaling Circles – “Garden of Secrets”
Supplies: marker, gel pen, chip from old artwork

 

I can’t begin to express the impact it’s made on my life. The first way it’s changed me is that it’s helped me to release some of my inhibitions. Something I know I need to let go of is the need to always please others and be “perfect.” There’s a certain freedom that comes with going into a restaurant, pulling out your art supplies, and just going to town. It’s helped me understand the importance of “play” and experimentation in making art. It’s something purely for me and my own happiness and growth.

I’ve also had the opportunity to meet other artists, which really helped to fulfill a social need–even if we met just once a month. There’s something special about meeting up with those that share your passion. I was exposed to different ideas, techniques, art supplies, and ways of seeing the world.

Sharing our journaling pages like we do at the end of every session was a tremendous help to me, too. I’m typically one to keep things bottled, mostly because I think no one’s interested and I find other people much more fascinating. But the more I came to Journaling Circles, the more I learned that everyone has a story to tell and knows things worth sharing–including me. It’s something that I still remind myself regularly, but opening up a little bit more about my own life and experiences has become a lot easier compared to when I first started attending.

Lastly (and potentially the most important), through Journaling Circles I learned to let my passion guide me. When art is such a deep part of you, you cannot and should not deny it. Being in a positive, encouraging, and creative environment has really helped me to focus on nurturing my inner artist and letting it be as big a part of my life as possible. I’m creating more artwork than I ever have before and rather than hiding the majority of it, I’ve shared many pieces on social media and with friends and family. It drove me to start this blog, which I hope to grow into something wonderful someday.

This is the first Monday of the month I won’t be attending Journaling Circles. The facilitator, Rosemary Augustine, will be moving out of state and embarking upon a grant new adventure. I wish her all the best and wanted to let her know how much I’ve enjoyed being part of the group. I know it’s not good-bye for any of us, but I’m forever thankful to everyone I’ve met through Journaling Circles for the inspiration and support!

Artfully Megan Signature