Sacred Shrine of the Seemingly Insignificant

"Sacred Pinecone" shrine.  Found object assemblage. Click to enlarge.

“Sacred Pinecone” shrine. Found object assemblage. Click to enlarge.

My mom and I recently participated in a Michael deMeng assemblage workshop with the theme, “Sacred Shrine of the Seemingly Insignificant.”  What’s not to love about that theme?  I had no idea the creative magic those words would become, a shrine of the seemingly insignificant, and how it would mirror the intuitive process experienced through SoulCollage(R).

A fan of deMeng and his work, I counted the days to this weekend workshop all the while filling a box full of my favorite found junk trinkets that might be used to create a special shrine. Of the haul I brought with me, these were the items I ended up using: a wood mantel piece from a family clock, tin embellishments from a mirror, a tin milagro, a lamp base,* mini Christmas lights, a small round mirror, auto spark plugs,* an old school seatbelt buckle* and stove burner* along with a variety of lost and broken jewelry pins, brooches and earrings. (The “*” goodies were all found in the desert.)

"Sacred Pinecone" shrine. Click to enlarge.

“Sacred Pinecone” shrine. Click to enlarge.

The entire weekend of learning techniques, creating a secret story and putting things together was fun with such a playful concept. Originally my “seemingly insignificant object” was going to be the moon. But the little moon I made never quite worked for me. The golden colors of my shrine didn’t fit the moon, which now looked like a ping-pong ball sitting on a fancy stick when put in the shrine. Not exactly what I was going for.

My tiny moon, painted and no where to go.

My tiny moon, painted and nowhere to go.

I was experiencing that intuitive vibe I get when making SoulCollage(R) cards, you know when something is pulling you in a different direction than you planned. And you’re kinda arguing with it? When the feeling of the card results in something completely unexpected with the original image that first drew you. I was fighting it too.

At the end of the workshop, there is a critique. We each put our shrines on the table and share what we are comfortable with sharing and get useful feedback.  With the moon in place, I did not like my piece. Bleh. Ugh. I shared this.  There were thoughtful suggestions to “yellow up” the moon, repaint a crescent moon instead, put a face on the moon and similar ideas. But I felt like those were moving away from the significance of the full moon with the rabbit story from my childhood. I liked my moon.  But not here, and not with this color scheme. Then Mr. deMeng said, “Well, really I wouldn’t change a thing about this except…why not the moon? Save it for something else, you could always put it back!” he reassured. I heard what he was saying. It was an “AHA!” moment. The other item I played with was a tiny pine cone and deMeng liked that, I liked it, my mom liked it. My shrine liked it. It was very encouraging.

I’ve described SoulCollage(R) cards as being miniature altars in the way they are intuitively created and in their personal meanings and imagery. And very much like a SoulCollage(R) card in the making, it wasn’t until the end of the weekend really when my shrine became a true “altar” and the pine cone such a truly significant expression of synchronicity. My son is named after the Jeffery pine, and while searching for the perfect “shrine cone” we realized the one we found was from a Jeffrey pine tree!  Seriously, it almost made me cry. Again, like a SoulCollage(R) card, this experience went in a totally different direction than what was planned, and once I remained open to it, it all came together into something much more meaningful. ❤


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This entry was published on July 24, 2015 at 3:18 PM. It’s filed under Art, SoulCollage® and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Sacred Shrine of the Seemingly Insignificant

  1. Great blog about the process we went thru in that class. We had a great time, but our pieces evolved seemingly on their own when we let them……I absolutely LOVE the paint job you did on your moon….it is so realistic looking….can’t wait to see where it finally ends up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My feeling is that the creative process always feels like this regardless of the medium once we stop allowing our conscious mind to override our intuition. I experience that aha moment when I allow the work to tell me what it needs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I totally agree Cherry. Most of my hiccups with my art is when I force things, get impatient, etc. and fight that intuitive guidance! I don’t realize that’s what I’m doing at the time.

      I was thinking about that as I wrote this post, in regards to my usual process when doing something like painting. I realized I often have an idea, a visual in my head as I go. But when I’m stymied, or get stuck, this intuitive process pushes its way through, once I let it, that is. I don’t know if people can tell my more “intuitive” go with the flow, less planned paintings from my “painting what I see in my head” paintings, but I can when I look at them. In workshop and class situations, I also learned that I can get blocked quickly, because I am used to being able to let this process happen in its own time, usually with no deadline to worry about.

      Like you beautifully stated in your comment, about allowing the work to tell you what it needs, this is what was blocked for me (without me making that connection) when it all didn’t “fit” together at first. It takes me a while to work those moments out, honestly; and it usually involves me needing to step away from the work. I was grateful that Michael, the instructor in his experience guided me (gave me permission! LOL) to ditch the moon for something else. It seemed to connect me with everything I had done with that piece up until then.

      Point of my reply: You are so right, we must take care to allow our intuition to flow freely through our brush, pen, hands 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by, I always appreciate your comments, bonita!


      • And I really appreciate your thoughtful blogposts Michelle 🙂 I can see how it would be easy to get blocked in a classroom environment. I love that you ‘ditched the moon’ – maybe we don’t always need to shoot for it after all!

        Liked by 1 person

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