Mission of Creative Wellness Services

Creative Wellness Services provides unique, creative and experiential wellness programs for individuals and groups, such as your work place environment. Services are facilitated to include the use of art, creativity and self-reflection to promote enhanced teamwork and individual wellness.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Cycles of our lives, our history and our future….Samsara the Wheel of Life….



I've just spent the last two days (+) preparing and facilitating a creative process art play shop…..called "The Samsara Project" - A Creative Shrine Play Shop.  

Samsara being the 'Wheel of Life that we create'…. the patterns of our lives, that are created, that show up, arise and pass, the constant changes, transitions, of joy and suffering.

What do we do with what arises? With the suffering, loss and grief that show up?  How do we react to the pain, as well as the joys, the accomplishments, the gains?

On so may levels of our lives this cycle, this samsara can be seen…not only in our daily lives, as well as over the generations, in the historical, political and social patterns of our world.  This is perhaps where the saying "History has a tendency to repeat itself" comes from.

How do we react and address what shows up?  Can we create meaning in our world about what happens, be it love, loss, death, grief, sadness, loneliness, winnings and fallings, beginnings and endings?

That is what The Samsara Project is for me?  Coming to an awareness about the moments we create? or that are created out of our control?  Ways to find peace in those moments, in our daily lives and in our historical patterns?  Do we learn form it?  Or are we going to come back to it time and time again addressing the same patterns. Instead we could lean into the discomfort…the suffering, the pain, the desire, the wanting, the discontentment.  Perhaps doing so will give rise to the opposite, the ease, the joy, the satiation, contentment, etc.

All the while remembering these will pass, the wisdom of impermanence.

What are the patterns in your own life that are cycling? showing up?  What is the most relevant to your own liberation?  Where can you become unstuck?

The places we are broken and cracked is most definitely where we can find love and light, peace and joy….even as it is temporary ---- The cycle can expand us,  through the ebbs and flow, change is certain.  How are you going to act now?

To quote from Rebecca Solnit  Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change….

"This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen.  It is also a nightmarish time..Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both …Power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is the dark around the edges..not the limelight centre stage….

Also from Rebecca Solnit, "You row forward looking back, and feeling this history is part of helping people navigate toward the future.  We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra, a war chant of our victories.  The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future".  

Thanks again to Brain Pickings for some insightful reading and speaking from the heart that helps other hearts grow and make sense of powerful emotional and transformative times.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Another post on how creativity is good for our wellness and health….

Have you ever felt that sense of flow, that sense of being so full when creating art, getting lost in the process and not worrying about the outcome?…That is the magic moment…the place where we are creating wellness in our lives.

I have felt this flow when I take the time to just play, to let go of outcome, embrace those happy mistakes and create just for the sake of creating.  I have decided that I am going to take this year to do that…after my May art show commitments, I have taken a conscious moment to decide to create only for my own wellness and growth.

I think this is how I can expand and take time to push my artistic edges.  So after 10 years of being on the Elora-Fergus studio tour, I am going to take a sabbatical from it this year and any other art shows.

I will continue to embrace not only my own artwork in this way, as well, I will offer opportunities for others to do the same, creativity for the sake of wellness.   Here's to embracing getting lost in this new transition.

Here is a link to some other thoughts on how creativity serves our own health and wellness.  Enjoy your own creativity, creating for your own sake.



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Transformations- An Altered Book Arts Exhibit - Call for Submissions and New Program in April


Call for Artists Submissions
Transformation: An Exhibition of Altered Books

Artists are invited to submit altered book works for an exhibition at the Town of Halton Hills Helson Gallery from September 14 to November 27, 2016. The exhibition is open to Ontario artists at emerging, mid-career and established levels.

Transformation is an exhibit about the evolving nature of books and our lives. Everyday changes abound, politically, socially and psychologically, we as human beings are transforming. This is an invitation for artists to work with this theme of transformation in ways that intrigue the artist, viewer and community, to engage in the concept of change and evolution, using the book as the medium.

The exhibition celebrates the book as object and submitted works should clearly incorporate the physical elements of a book or books, ie. pages; covers; spine.

Each artist may submit up to three works. Works should not exceed 48 inches in any dimension. Works may be two or three dimensional, ie. suitable for wall mounting or display on a shelf or plinth. Works may combine various media and should be created within the last two years.

Artists should submit digital images in jpeg format not exceeding 1 MB in size. Each work may be represented by a maximum of two images (ie. one overview and one detail). Please include a description of your work with title; media; dimensions, date along with a short statement and CV.

Transportation and in-transit insurance to and from the Helson Gallery will be the responsibility of the artist. COD shipments will not be accepted. Submission Deadline: May 15, 2016
http://www.haltonhills.ca/gallery/CallToArtists.php

Exhibition Jurors:
Supria Karmakar, Artist and Curator
Judy Daley, Helson Gallery Curator

For additional information and to submit please contact:
Judy Daley, Helson Gallery Curator
judyd@haltonhills.ca
905-873-2601 ext 2536


Also at the Helson Gallery: Altered Book Workshop with Supria Karmakar
Using mixed media, collage techniques and the vintage layers of a book, participants will have an opportunity to create a new structure from an old hard covered book. Join us for this five week workshop April 2 – May 7 (note: no class will be held on April 23) led by noted altered book artist Supria Karmakar. Fee: $200 plus $60 materials charge owed to the instructor at the first session (cash or cheque only please). For details and to register contact Judy Daley, Helson Gallery Curator

The Helson Gallery is located in the Town of Halton Hills Cultural Centre in downtown Georgetown.
9 Church Street, Georgetown, Ontario L7G 2A3
For further information: 905-873-2601 ext 2536
www.haltonhills.ca/gallery


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Monday, November 23, 2015

Metta Mindfulness Silent Retreat - The Insights and the Spacious Spaces…..


Above:  Imbetween Spaces, Encaustic Mixed Media, 2015.

I had truly forgotten the sweet feeling of quietness, to invite peace, ease and happiness into my life, with each daily moment, and the embracing of these imbetween spaces.

Coming off a 4-day silent Metta, (the Pali word for lovingkindness and friendliness) mindfulness meditation retreat, run by True North Insight (TNI) with three powerful teachers, Molly Swan, Jill Davey and Patricia Rockman, where the theme was on the 'heart of mindfulness'.  The journey with all its conditions were as they needed to be, which I see now but didn't at first.  The Loyola House in Guelph have these beautiful trails to get lost within and the food was soul nourishing and healing.  The container provided by these three wonderful women has filled my heart and soul with love, gratitude and peace - it has been a gift.


This gift of mindfully sitting, walking, eating in silence for four days has provided a new awakening that is only a sliver of what still has yet to unfold.   The coming into silence was anything but silent in many ways, the incessant chatter from my own mind, the memories of sweet blissful love, and the haltering sorrows of loss and heartache, all came sweeping into this silence, and for days it continued…

The first two days was filled with my excruciating sleepiness, pure exhaustion came flooding in and the pain of sitting in every joint….was this exhaustion or avoidance?

I try to sit, meditate, to be still, to allow what may surface, reciting the metta phrases of love, safety and peace…yet all I get is sleepiness, I fall asleep, time and time again…. I try, really TRY, I hold my posture, breathe deeply, even force my eyes to open but all I get is sleepiness, it finds me time and time again..this is my struggle.  Again I ask, is this exhaustion or avoidance or an invitation to renunciation?

It crosses my mind, "what have I done, is there still time to leave, to run away?". …But deep within I know  I am here in the right time and place.  I'm here as I need to be.   The day seems endless the sitting (the falling asleep in my case) the walking, the standing, the walking, the eating, all in silence, and all with intent and so it goes on….all the while inviting Metta, for self, for the benefactor, the friend, the stranger, the unfriendly one, and all beings….sending Metta through myself, my heart making space for them all.

This reminded me of Rumi's poem, the GUEST HOUSE, to invite each guest with welcome arms, to sit, drink with them to listen intently.  And so I get through the first day (barely) and the second day there seems to be a sweet settling, and I think maybe I can actually get some meditation done today, to sit, but 'nope' sleepiness arrives at my door again.  This is when I realize the exhaustion is my guest to welcome in, to sit with to have tea and listen to intently.

That evening Jill Davey, gives a magnificent Dharma talk on 'happiness'…What is it?  How do I get it? How come everyone else seems to have it?  And like some, I too want those 'boots', - Yes that will make me happy, right?  The newly renovated garage, the perfect kitchen, and the pristine English style garden, with just the right amount of wildness, with no weeds…this will do it, bring me happiness?  Right!!!…Happiness is within - The making do with what is showing up, inviting a welcoming embrace for it all, being mindful with our thoughts, our reactions, our preferences, dislikes and likes, being loving with our imperfections….Being curious about it all, that is how I find my 'awake', whether it makes me happy or not.  This is what is finding peace and harmony is, being in the moment - a perspective.

Sometimes we aren't able to change the conditions, or control the variables, to try to do so only brings challenge and suffering, like my 'forcing myself to stay alert and awake'…when I came to accept the state of exhaustion, it lifted, and I found I could truly listen….this was my guest on the last day - and I began to be able to feel the metta for myself, for those around me and for those in the room with all the sweet annoyances, and even for those that have hurt me intentionally and /or unknowingly.  Out of which, I realize that I have only begun, touched the tip of the iceberg, and there is so much yet to feel, to deeply explore, to be awakened to.  To make the space for metta daily, to see, feel and connect and slowly and softly tread this earth as I continue the unfolding.   With a full heart I feel more space and welcome it all, whatever may arrive at my door.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Some altered book ideas to consider when making your own book…..

Above:  Hard covered books to alter…. 

The ingredients for choosing a book to alter include the following:

-the cover needs to be hard covered and intact with the spine
-sometimes I choose a book based on a theme of interest
-also consider the feel of the book …for instance is it thick enough for a niche or drawers
- the font, the size, the colour of the cover, any graphics that might be in the book can enhance the altered book
-If the cover or spine is ornate or embellished in anyway, it might be used as part of the design
-Sometimes the content of the book might inform the theme for your altered book or it might unfold as a part of a process carried over a few weeks, months etc. 
-pages need to be able to withstand paint, collage - heavier porous papers are best vs. shiny thin papers


Above:  Spines for altered books should be intact and strong, the best spine from this photo is the green book, the second from the bottom.  The book on the top has a spine that looks a bit too slanted to one side/direction, and this may cause the book to not sit flat…but that can be an interesting look to the overall design too depending on your vision and preference

Above:  An example of an altered book cover, the theme of this book is "Art, Nature and the Soul"…..It is an old manual on teaching art…..

Above:  Layers of pages with collage, paint techniques etc. 


Above:  A prepared niche

Enjoy choosing your books and exploring ideas, a theme for your project.   I will continue to post here some other tidbits in completing an altered book & collage process.








Sunday, May 4, 2014

"Creativity Needs Space to Present Itself…"

Above: A section of a collage in my art journal…..This collage explores the things that inspire my heart.

Recently I heard Robin Sharma, say in a video he shared on the benefits of journalling, "Creativity needs space to present itself."….This is so true, it resonated with my experience of journalling anyway.  Anytime I have taken the time to journal my thoughts, feelings, ideas, to do lists, it empties my brain, to make space for the creativity to flow…It truly worked like that.  

Another example of this is, when you might have had a hard time sleeping, or your mind is working a mile a minute and you are tossing and turning, for what seems like HOURS....  I have found if I just get up and write a "to do list" or journal all the things I am thinking, feeling, ruminating about…My brain empties and allows me to let go, relax and finally fall asleep.  I do this because I am tossing and turning anyway, so why not give it a try.

I am so excited about facilitating and teaching the upcoming Four-Week Gratitude Altered Books with Collage & Mixed Media program in June.  It is almost full - only a few spots are left.   Together we will be exploring gratitude, in our journals and working with a hard covered book, creating collages, acrylics and mixed media within the pages.

It has been my experience that when we express gratitude in journalling and art making we begin to see the things we didn't notice before - Or that we see things in a new light and enjoy our everyday, the more mundane aspects of life much more intensely and richly.

So here's to that lovely cup of coffee in the morning, or the feeling of warm water from the shower on our skin.  The smell of rain on the grass, or the sweet buds of violets growing all around us…The list can be endless in how we can see the beauty in our to day to day lives.   I am grateful to those who take the time to read these posts and choose to share or comment on it.  Or simply take the time to reflect privately on your own about the thoughts shared here.  Nameste!







Friday, April 18, 2014

A New 4-Week Altered Book Program Exploring Gratitude using Collage and Mixed Media Techniques

Starting Wednesday June 4th to Wednesday June 25th, 7-9:30 pm in Elora





“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder 

In this new 4-week altered book art program, we will explore the theme of gratitude, using reflection exercises, which will then inform the art collages, using mixed media and various collage techniques to alter a hardcover book.  

It has been my experience that when we are in a space of gratitude, we are happier, more grounded and balanced. We begin to really see things as they are and embrace the here and now more.  This grounded space is a very liberating one to be in, and provides room for ourselves to hear and feel peace with what is.  Gratitude attracts good energy, good experiences, wonderful like minded people and new opportunities.


Offering a new altered book, collage & mixed media 4-week art program. 
Starts Wednesday June 4 to 25th, from 7-9:30pm in Elora, ON. 
Together we will explore the theme of gratitude in our lives, while altering a hardcover book with numerous collage and mixed media techniques. 
Cost: $80 for instruction, $60 for supplies, Total: $140.  No experience needed. 
To register: supria@supriakarmakar.com