Thankful Thursday - The First of Many

OR:  The Perfect and Pleasant Premier Pop Up Event

The weather may have been less than ideal but the fine fare, dashing décor, and captivating creativity made for a most splendid day indoors!  We welcomed our intrepid Creative Explorers to the tables to explore Notes to Our Future Selves – a trio of mini Studio Sessions featuring:  Kintsugi Hearts, Mindful Mandalas, and Found Poetry in a blending of creative expression, words, and colors capturing ideas and moments both real and imagined…  Each of our Artist Instructors illuminated this theme in a way that highlighted their primary medium. 

Our Special Guest Artist for 2018, Jeanne Faith d’Orleans, incorporated her love of fabric in a textile version of Kintsugi.  Guests released themselves and/or others with the symbolic mending of fissures in the heart with golden thread while using the written word to release past hurts or present misunderstandings.  The results were phenomenal, and the sharing of the messages (or their intent) brought an echoing chorus of “OHs.”

Your Creative Connection Co-Founder Michelle Davis Petelinz brought her love of pattern and color to the fore with her presentation of Mindful Mandalas.  In addition to expanding the use of the humble water-based marker in an amazing way, our guests explored the symmetry of the form as well as building a base for the presentation of words that matter in the now.  This print-making exercise brightened a dreary day with the creation of multiple “stained glass windows” in our work space, punctuated by the murmur of satisfaction in creative discovery. 

To close out the afternoon of creative fun, Co-Founder Penny L. Arrowood guided all present in the construction of a bit of Found Poetry – restructuring and/or redacting existing written words to tell another tale, whisper a different wish, or construct an alternate reality.  The sharing that followed was in turns humorous and touching – leaving us all a tad gob-smacked by the vivid images one can create with nothing        more than words.

Throughout the afternoon, guests enjoyed an assortment of fresh fruits, dipping sauces, pound cake, lightly salted nuts, iced tea, and water.  The perfect fare to fuel our creative engines as we wiled away a rainy afternoon ensconced in the reverie of community, artistic expression, and the sharing of the stories that unite us all.

All of our projects throughout the afternoon were completed on Strathmore Artist Papers Mixed Media Papers (Toned Tan and Gray, Toned Blue, and Heavyweight).  Each of our guests received a trio of sample pads featuring these luscious papers – two of which (Toned Blue and Heavyweight) are not yet available in stores (!) 

Pop Up participants also received the first public viewing of samples for the Studio Sessions on offer at the ‘big event’ in October (11-15, 2018 at the Haw River State Park).  In another unique twist on the art retreat/experience, in addition to three full days of creative instruction Creative Explorers at Your Creative Connection Haw River will incorporate works from each Studio Session into a physical vessel of their experience at this event.  Providing for an incredibly tactile reminder of a magical time, as well as a visual recounting of what was learned and enjoyed on this leg of their Artistic Journey. 

Our special thanks to photographers Alan Christianson and Holly Sullenger for so beautifully capturing the event in images for us to treasure!  Our thanks also to our Creative Explorers for the day!  We enjoyed spending time with each of you, and loved seeing how gloriously different the outcome from each exercise based on the individuality of the maker.  We are already looking forward to next time!

With gratitude and appreciation,
 ~ PLA & MDP


Thankful Thursday - Friendship

Are we always laughing?  
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."  ~Anaïs Nin

      I love this quote because it describes my relationship with my dear friend, fellow creative soul, and business partner, Penny Arrowood.  Our first meeting was unremarkable:  as a guest at a gathering of the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild, in the diminutive back room of a local craft store, I met many women that evening. Penny was busily taking notes on the proceedings, so I assumed she was the Guild's secretary (an assumption which turned out to be prophetic), and her enthusiastic welcome and genuine interest in my work was wonderful (you can read more about our Guild adventures here). 

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”  ~Linda Grayson

      From that unassuming, almost random beginning, a true friendship was born that thrives today.  We've shared many triumphs, weathered many a storm, and through it all, our affinity for each other (and a well-turned phrase, a well-engineered pop-up book, or a well-made chocolate bar) has grown.  The "new world" which has evolved from our friendship is Your Creative Connection, and we seek to share our vision of camaraderie, creative exploration, and community with you.

      Our first event, "Notes to Our Future Selves," is in just two days.  We are looking forward to presenting artful mixed media techniques and our third Teaching Artist Jeanne Faith d'Orleans, meeting new Creative Explorers, and giving just a taste of what's in store during our grand, mixed media retreat in October.  Sound like fun?  It's not too late to register. All of the details are here.  See you on Saturday! 

Until next time,



Thankful Thursday - The Joys of Teaching


I've wanted to be a teacher since elementary school; I loved the idea of standing in front of a classroom and writing on the blackboard (yes, they were all black back in the day), the smell of newly sharpened pencils, crisp new notebooks, and one of my favorite classes every year was art (of course).  And although I did not choose to become a traditional classroom teacher, I now teach art to children and to people with disabilities.   

My students have ranged in age from 18-months to 102 years old, and I enjoy the challenge of presenting projects which are fun, colorful, and appropriate for each audience.  I have learned as much if not more than what I've taught, and my students are a constant source of amazement.  And yes, I do believe teaching is a superpower:  from the 3-year old who went from saying "I can't!" to "I did it!", to the 10-year old who figured out how to take "junk" to make something "cool", to the 40-something woman who began by declaring "I'm not artistic" to exclaiming "Wow, I didn't know I could do that!", to the non verbal man with autism who won an art contest with a project we created, to the 100-year old who said she remembered how much she loved coloring when she was a child as she proudly showed off her painted paper seascape, teaching is indeed a joy for me.  
I'm looking forward to more joy and more amazement when teaching my "Mindful Mandalas" printing technique during our upcoming Pop-Up Art Event on April 7th, and to having a full day to teach multiple mixed media techniques during my retreat Studio Session at Haw River State Park in October.  There'll be more Studio Session details coming soon, so stay tuned!  

Wishing you joy and amazement in your life,



Save the Date! April 7th, 2018

Greetings, fellow creative explorers! 

We are thrilled to announce our very first Pop-Up Event!  Make plans now to join us on April 7th, from 1:00-4:00pm, at Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh, NC for an afternoon of creativity in community.  You will enjoy a mini workshop that highlights every facet of the jewel that is Your Creative Connection:  Creativity, Community, and Self Care.  Spaces are limited, register today for Notes to Our Future Selves.  Enjoy hands-on fun as you meet the Artist Instructors that will present our premiere event at Haw River State Park in October.


We will while away the afternoon in creative bliss, as Jeanne, Michelle, and Penny share some of their favorite techniques.  We will work on lovely papers from our friends at Strathmore Artist Papers.  You will be creating fully functional art, as our final compositions will work as artful reminders to yourself or beautiful gifts for others by way of Mixed Media Mail Art!  We will busy our hands with the creation of Kintsugi Hearts, Mindful Mandalas, and Found Poetry.  Participants will leave with at least three frame-able and/or mail-ready mini masterpieces.  Plus:  there will be Door Prizes, refreshments, and special offers to be had.

As if all of this isn't enough to tempt you:  Attendees of the PopUp Event will get the 1st look at samples for each of our Studio Sessions in October!  What are you waiting for?  Register today.  Double the fun by inviting a friend!  Don't wait too long -- spaces are limited!  We look forward to seeing you for artful adventures on April 7th.