The House of Dream Memory

This post is dedicated to the memory of Elaine Rapp, who died on June 15, 2019.

Taking the paper off the straw, I would just pull and krinkle it and then remove it. Some people are more dedicated and methodical even when unrapping straws. I was in a rush to try out the inks. It was a huge piece of paper and we had partnered up. We poured on the thick black ink and started blowing on it with our straws. If you blow short and hard, you get strands of ink, spider web-like around the blob of ink. If you blow longer and less fiercely while moving the straw over the ink, it looks like the waves of a lake moving out.

That was in Elaine Rapp’s “Materials” class. I only had her for one class but it was a magical experience. Her approach was hands on and encouraging creativity and exploring through using the materials ourselves, like a kind of lab for art therapy. She was kind and very approachable and encouraging/validating. I still have the final project I did with hair from my dog on the cover about home and body, inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ drawing, “Femme Maison”.

Another memorable aspect of the class was the use of “I am”, when talking about our art work. You become the art work and speak as it, a technique of play therapy, art therapy and Gestalt therapy. Elaine was a Gestalt therapist as well as Art Therapist and it informed her teaching. I see the inside of the book with the title, “I am Your House of Dream Memory”, that I turned the book into a live creature as well as a house. She was definitely comfortable being in the metaphor, something that drew me to her teachings.

This is the ┬ácover of the book with my dog’s hair glued on top of the white cover in a blob in the center. I added the yarn to the wire on the right side. I will post more of the book in another post. It was done in December of 1997. The featured image at the top of this post is a cropped page from my book.

“Free Play”, assigned reading in Elaine’s class, is one of the few “textbooks” that I have returned to numerous times over the years. It’s written by a musician scientist, not an art therapist, and definitely influenced my making this book as a final project. I wish I could remember the assignment. Above and below are pages from the book.

 

I am including Elaine’s comments and grading of the book because back then we didn’t even email professors. If it were now, I would have photos of class work and of her. All I have is in the comments she wrote here. I include the grade because I don’t remember getting an “A” with a double plus from anyone else. I definitely got disappointing grades in grad school at times, as it was very different from high school and college. You can also see the beautiful stationary she used to write her comments on it. You can also see her sensitivity and validating and encouragement, which is often rare from professors. I can say she really loved teaching and valued and cared about her students in a very warm, sweet and authentic way. She had a full life of creativity and died at 91. It feels happy to celebrate a teacher who touched me deeply and was part of my path on the art therapy career road that kept me in touch with my passion for the work…

 

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Artist Website

I had an artist website, http://www.natashart.com for many years and around 2016 I took it down, as I wasn’t sure it was worth it. More people seem to see my art on social media like my Facebook Artist Page, my Instagram Artist Account and Pinterest business site, for which there are links on this blog. Recently, I’ve decided to redo the website and sell art directly from the website. I even contemplated figuring out how to merge this blog and my artist website, but that seemed too complicated.

I considered a lot of different sites and then went back to the company I used  before, Other Peoples Pixels. They are smaller than a lot of the other website builder/publishers and they do exclusively websites for artists. When I read about the company being artist owned and that they give to good causes, I realized it made sense to stay with them. The other thing I found out was that the whole website from before was still there.

So now I am starting to redo the site, which involves several dilemmas. The site domain name natashart.com is not available unless I want to buy it for around 300$. So what do I call the site instead? My name with .com is taken by a social worker, so I can’t use it. I could use my Instagram address, natashartartart.com. Other options are : natashartist.com, natashapiro.com, natashashapiroart.com, natashapiroart.com

I can’t decide whether to merge my first and last name or do something very easy to find on a Gooogle search. I defintitely come up near the top on a Google search along with a wedding photographer.

This top image is now scanned and on my website. I decided to try to go for scanning 3 drawings per day, but that may be too ambitious.

The other dilemma that I noticed once I uploaded the first three new drawings was, what do I keep from the old website and what do I “hide”, in order for the website to be cohesive? I haven’t figured that out yet. Another dilemma is photographing pieces that are too big to scan, or drawings that are already framed that I want to sell. It’s hard taking photos of framed pieces but I’d like to sell the framed ones, especially older pieces I still have from about 10 or more years ago.

 

 

I also scanned these other two drawings. Titles are another big problem for me. I don’t know how to come up with really good ones that won’t be annoying or boring.