The Art of Forgiveness – An Ongoing Thought Blog

What is forgiveness?

There are things that happen to us that we can’t talk about. Secrets we hold so close to us they become a crutch that we use to push people away. We have hurt that is caused by other people that is so painful we ask why we were born. We feel angry– and if we let it, this anger becomes so powerful it turns into hatred.

Should we forgive those who hurt us? Who are not sorry for hurting us? Where do you draw the limit?

Should we forgive everyone who has hurt us?

Earlier this month I reached out to an old friend. This particular friend was one I considered at one point to be my closest companion. She was a person who I relied on so heavily and so deeply that we inevitably broke apart. When our friendship was strained we spent almost two years without the other for comfort. When I had reached out to her after almost two years the forgiveness I felt washed over me like a warm ocean wave.

Our falling out never destroyed our humanity. If anything, during our period of time not speaking, we grew. I learned to love harder and forgive more often. When our hearts were ready, we forgave each other and we’re stronger and more independent for it.

In most cases I would say yes, forgiveness is a healing experience. Especially when experiences between two people who want and need it.

But what happens when the other person doesn’t want forgiveness?

Sometimes the people who hurt us are not sorry. Sometimes people hurt us for no other reason than to gain pleasure from our pain. When this happens, forgiveness feels impossible. Do we forgive those who are not sorry? Do we forgive those who take pleasure from our pain? These questions are difficult to answer.

Forgiveness makes us vulnerable. It lets down our walls and allows another to see us for who we really are– human. But this is not an excuse to allow others to continue to use your humanity against you.

During a recent Vipassana I sat in complete silence for 10 straight days trying to forgive someone who has hurt me beyond words. I came out of the experience with 3 questions:

  1. Why do we forgive?
  2. How often should we allow ourselves to forgive one person?
  3. What should be the result of forgiveness?

Here are the answers I’ve come up with:

  1. We forgive so that we can grow from our experiences.
  2. We should always forgive. But this does not mean we allow others to continue to hurt us and this does not mean the other person should not remain accountable for their actions.
  3. There is no definitive result.

I am always curious to hear about what people think of forgiveness. What makes a person more forgiving than another? I would like to hear your stories! So please send me a message or comment on this article, it would be most helpful 😀

Beth Johnson | The Kamloops Quilter from Another Time

quilter kamloops, beth johnson, kamloops artist, kamloops quilter

As a local to Kamloops, with a deep knowledge and interest in her family history, Beth Johnson is a source of stories. Upon meeting her, it’s soon clear that Beth has lived a rich, interesting and sometimes maybe even bizarre life.

As a frequenter and member of the Kamloops Makerspace, Beth is often surrounded with a vibrant social life full of like-minded creators. Her art is not like most of the many patrons of the Makerspace as she finds herself in the realm of quilting and textile art.

As much as I mention that Beth seems to be from another time, she doesn’t knock modern technology helping her art. As an adult in the modern age Beth mixes both traditional and modern techniques. When it comes to her style though, this girl is nothing but authentic vintage patterns and styles. She is hands-down one of the best dressed people in all of Kamloops.

When/Where/Why did you start making art?

I grew up with a mother who is an avid quilter. She says that I used to watch her like a hawk when she was working on a project, so she decided that she would teach me. By age 5 I was making little quilts and outfits for my barbies. At age 9 I made my first quilt (with, of course, ample help from Mom). That got me started. From there I have dabbled in related mediums- embroidery, crochet, applique, etc. In 2014 I took a class on how to use a long arm quilting machine and fell madly in love. I work part time at Heather’s Fabric Shelf where I finish other people’s quilts on her long arm. Ultimately my dream is to buy my own machine and to become very good at custom quilting. I dabble now, but it’s hard to really put the time in without my own long arm.

How long have you lived in Kamloops?

I was born and raised here. I have had long gaps away- 6 years in Victoria as a student, 3 separate years abroad, and a few longer backpacking road trips- but I keep returning to Kamloops as my home base.

What did you attend post-secondary for and did it help you on your artistic journey?

I finished my BA at the University of Victoria, where I majored in Hispanic studies. One of my other great loves is language, so I wanted to become reasonably fluent in something other than English. It put me in good stead for my stints in Mexico and Colombia, and my travels around Latin America. Those areas of the world also happen to have a very vibrant and active textile culture. I have a lot of embroidered textiles that I’ve bought there. I also find myself increasingly influenced by their motifs and colors. In particular, I am influenced by Mexican imagery- Day of the Dead, La Loteria, hand-painted tiles, Frida Kahlo, etc.

What are your artistic goals for the next 5 years?

My longer term mission is to become a skilled free-motion quilter, and to produce art quilts that are worthy of entry into national and international quilt shows. I think I will be on my way to that in 5 years, but it is a mission that will probably take a few decades to fully achieve.

What are your favourite mediums and what medium do you want to try?

Above all, I am a quilter. I tend to favour fussy, hand-stitching techniques like English paper piecing, applique and embroidery. They are great for getting into a meditative groove. I do a lot of basic sewing too. Frequently I buy funky fabrics at thrift stores that I make into skirts and dresses. I would love to master more advanced embroidery and hand quilting techniques, and try out things like trapunto. My other medium is jewellery. I make earrings out of old bottle caps, sometimes using old photos or stamps as the image inside. I also embroider designs on to circles of fabric, and make them into button earrings. I am a member of the Kamloops Makerspace. Every Wednesday evening we have an open house for the general public. Sometimes I give tours, but more often I sit in the lounge and work on my hand stitching. It’s a great way to engage strangers as it gives us a starting point for conversation. They want to know what crazy, fussy project I’m working on. I frequently use our laser cutter to cut out my templates. I love how I am able to use a very modern piece of technology to do something so traditional.

Besides making art, what are your passions?

I am a passionate (very) amateur photographer. I especially love to take photos while I’m travelling. In the last few years I have been making photo books of my travel photography just for myself. I am in the process of adapting some of my photos for embroidery and applique so that I can use them in my quilts.

What is the best and most difficult part of the Kamloops art scene?

One of the pitfalls of quilting is that it is frequently not seen as an art form. I suspect that has to do with unintentional ageism and sexism. Traditionally, quilting has been an almost exclusively female medium, practiced quietly at home for utilitarian purposes. A lot of people today only know it as a grey-haired women’s craft. I would love for the wider public to see quilting as a legitimate medium. I would love for the skill (including of traditional quilting) to be recognized, and for people (including guys!) of all ages to be more comfortable with the fiber arts. A lot of people also aren’t aware of Modern Quilting as a distinct thing. It involves a lot of experimenting with different techniques, materials and themes, as well as a strong streak of reinterpreting the traditional. I love it because you can depict whatever you want, however you want. The positive side is that the quilting community here is very active. I am a member of the Kamloops Modern Quilt Guild, where I get to meet other like-minded stitchers. We talk a lot about tools and techniques, and we always have a show and tell of our latest projects. I always learn something new!

What do you want people to know about you or your art?

I love quilting because -however artistically, precisely or elaborately made- a quilt is still a very tactile, approachable object. Quilting unites art and utility. I love paintings, but I also find them very distant and separate. With a quilt, I feel I can pick it up and run my fingers over the textures and colors. Giving a quilt to a friend is like giving them a hug that they can wrap themselves in anytime.

*Important side note though, don’t touch someone else’s fiber art project without permission! Exhibits usually have very prominent ‘Do Not Touch’ signs. The standard practice at quilt shows is that quilts can only be touched with cotton gloves, and with permission. Vintage textiles also have to be handled with greater care.

Art Blog #1 | Dreams and Drawings

Art, ocean, drawing, art

The Curious World of Lindsey Tyne Johnson

I’ve decided to try and do a monthlyish post about art I’ve been making. These are mostly just ideas, brainstorms and sketches. Feedback is much appreciate– The end.

water, ocean, old image, hands, body

Rachel Tonn | Earthy Inks & a Ecstatic Dance

The Curious World of Rachel Tonn

Rachel Tonn is one of those one in one-hundred thousand people you meet and instantly connect with. Her ability to make you feel comfortable is borderline magical. Her journey as an artist is only just beginning but it’s something well worth following.

I think what draws people to Rachel is probably her ability to make you laugh. A day spent with Rachel is a day spent laughing. On a recent visit we discussed the idea of clowns– how certain people naturally fit into the category of ‘clown’. I started to think of being a clown as being a kind of artist. It’s not something you necessarily strive for, it’s just something you are. Perhaps being a clown is kind of like having a celiac disease– but instead of gluten– you’re allergic to not being hilarious… If that was the definition of clown, Rachel is definitely allergic to not being hilarious.

The positive things to be said about Miss Tonn is pretty long. Her big-hearted nature has also lead her into the field of social work and has made her a large circle of unique and interesting friends. Dancing is a big part of Rachel’s life, through Ecstatic Dance she explores an art in itself but is also as a community practice. Meeting the people Rachel surrounds herself with is pretty cool– probably the most unique people in this town can be found Rachel’s social circle.

Her body of work is growing and I encourage everyone to keep an eye out for it.

When/where/why did you start making art?


I started making art at a young age – I recall a photo of me taken when I was in kindergarten, where I’m holding a paint brush with a big grin on my face, standing proudly beside a picture of a garden I just painted. I was always known as the artist of the family. My exploration into art continued over the years, branching out into photography, sewing, crocheting, and various other mediums. I’ve always loved experimenting. How will my roll of film look if I drop it in chicken noodle soup first? What pigments will I get from these plants if I mash them up and use them as paint? So many fun discoveries to be made!

How long have you lived in kamloops?


I’ve lived in Kamloops for 3 years – I grew up in Winfield, BC.

What did you attend post-secondary for and did it help you on your artistic journey?


I completed my social work degree last year. This actually put quite a significant pause on my artistic journey – I stopped actively making art for about 3 or 4 years. I think at that point of my life, I was comparing myself to a lot of artists and felt too intimated to actually make art. I also had very little time to give to my art. However, I took a drawing class in my last semester of university a couple years ago which helped me let go of some of those artistic insecurities. I was reminded of how cathartic and beautiful the process is, and it gave me the confidence to simply trust in my artistic intuition.

What are your artistic goals for the next 5 years?


Oh boy, this is a big question. Recently, I’ve been thinking about going to school to become an art therapist. Art and dance have been such a huge part of my personal growth and I’ve been feeling inspired to share that with others.

I have ideas for art installations, dance performances, and community projects which I’d love to see come into fruition in the coming years, but I’ve been really, really enjoying the process of just allowing myself to create.

What are your favourite mediums and what do you want to try?


Recently, I’ve been making my own ink with plants and all things earthly, which has been so fun! I’ve been really enjoying the experimentation that comes a long with it. I generally like to pair my inks with charcoal or India ink.

I would really like to try using more natural fibres in my art – I’m a sucker for textures.

Besides making art, what are your passions?


Ecstatic dance is another passion of mine. For those that aren’t familiar, ecstatic dance is a judgement free, safe dance space where people are free to move and express themselves. It encourages people to let go, be, and feel. It has been quite incredible witnessing how dance has changed my life and those around me. And it feels so important to continue to share this piece of wellness with others.

What is the best and most difficult part of the kamloops art scene?


I honestly haven’t engaged too much with the art scene in Kamloops. However, I help organize Ecstatic Dance in Kamloops, which is sort of art related! The best part of this experience has been witnessing the growth of this culture that never existed before in Kamloops. I think the same could be said about the art scene in Kamloops – since there isn’t too much happening here, we have the opportunity to create something new and watch it grow from its infancy. Of course, finding people and venues to support these endeavours is a challenge – Kamloops isn’t the most progressive city. But when those stars do align, the outcome is absolutely beautiful.

What do you want people to know about you and your art?


I’m just having fun. I’m just trying to put my energy into things I truly enjoy. In the past, I got stuck in feeling that I should only make ‘good’ art, which put a block in my creative energy, because none of my art was good enough. I still run into these thoughts and feelings, but I’m learning that accepting and embracing my art and the process is a radical act of self love. It’s a reflection of myself and the journey that I’m on. And what’s more beautiful than that?

You can find my exploration into natural paints on instagram: @wetroots. It’s a little sad right now, but I promise I’ll start posting more soon!

Olivia Stirton | Poetic Resilience

The Curious World of Olivia Stirton

Those lucky enough to spend time with Olivia Stirton will know almost immediately that Olivia leads with her heart. Olivia’s natural openness is a magnet for everyone who feels as much and as openly as she does. Her refreshing ability to relate to others surely plays a part in her poetry, along with her enormous capacity to feel deep emotions.

I met Olivia Stirton for the first time while working at a bookstore here in Kamloops. The first thing I noticed about Olivia was her incredible aesthetic skills. Every shift I had with Olivia, I would see a new side of her. I never knew whether to expect a beautifully freckled and red haired pixie-Olivia or a teal-haired smokey-eyed goddess-Olivia. Seeing the various expressions Olivia offered the world was pretty amazing and she immediately struck me as an artist.

Those lucky enough to know Olivia Stirton, will also recognize that her growth through art is only beginning. If you follow her on Instagram, you’ll be able to see her growth as a poet, an make-up guru, a photographer and more.

When/Where/Why did you start making art?

I’d always been passionate about art,
but I never felt that I was good at it
and I just fell out of practice. Then I
wrote a poem for an English
assignment through my online school
when I was 16 and realized how much
writing meant to me, and how it could
be art just as much as painting and
drawing could be. That original poem
ended up being published online at
Feminine Collective just last year,
along with a couple more recent
ones.

How long have you lived in Kamloops?

I’ve always lived in Kamloops, but I
want to explore and go elsewhere at
some point. There is so much more
out there to see and gain inspiration
from, and I would love to see more of
other artists’ creations from other
places. And I’m running out of places
to play with nature photography here!

What are your artistic goals for the next 5 years?

I’ve just started getting back into painting and I’m hoping to push myself to create what I want without letting the opinions or skills of others influence me or cause me insecurity. My art is my own, and my goal is to reclaim that part of me. I want to stop avoiding such a great outlet due to the thought process that I’m “not good enough” at it, and create what sets my soul on fire. I tend to scrap a lot of my paintings and things I’ve done because I’m not happy with them and I really hope I can stop myself from doing that.

What Pushes You to Make Art?

My art and writing often comes from my struggle with mental illness. It’s been a great outlet for me over the years, through the highs and lows. My poetry tends to be rather dark, and sometimes I’m afraid to share it for that reason, but the truth is it comes from my heart. When I finish a poem that I feel really expresses what I’m trying to say, it gives me a sense of relief, even if nobody reads it but me. I would like to be able to share them more, but oftentimes when I do the response is positive but also along the lines of “are you okay?”

What are your favourite mediums and what medium do you want to try?

I mostly write poetry and practice photography, but over the years I’ve taught myself makeup artistry as well, and I’ve just begun diving into SFX makeup. I also enjoy acrylic painting, but I’m hoping to try more oil and watercolour painting as well. I’d love to learn new techniques and try new things in all of those different forms of my art though, I’m still trying to find myself. 6. I’m passionate about the environment, human rights and equality, but I tend to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself because it’s just overwhelming to think about sometimes. I kind of wish I could change the world and then get sad because I can’t. I hope at the very least I can have a positive impact on those closest to me.

What do you want people to know about you or your art?

I struggle to find positive things to say about myself a lot and there’s not a lot that I really need people to know about me, but I’d love for people to have a better understanding of mental illness in general. Terms like “unstable” have weighed heavily on me for a very long time, and it’s disheartening to be putting in your very best effort just to be okay and have people on the outside thinking you’re just “crazy”. I’m thankful to have art as an outlet and distraction, but I wish I didn’t have to be so concerned about being judged for my struggles. I guess I just want people to know that I’m trying my best.

Read Olivia’s work here: http://www.femininecollective.com/author/akinse/

Stories You Cannot Tell | And How to Tell Them

We have have things in our lives that cloud us with the feeling of isolation. It could be the story of something you’ve seen, felt, heard or lived.

When I was growing up my mother was the strongest person I knew (and still is). As a young immigrant from England, my mother had to experience things that no one in this world ever should. Through pain and trauma, my mother beat many odds– by putting herself through school and raising a family.

If you meet my mother, you wouldn’t know these things. She has raised four strong willed and resilient children, all on her own. Our family is not perfect. I haven’t spoken to my sister in years and we all mourn a brother who’s lost. But we’re all successful in our own rights.

From what I’ve learned in the past two years especially, is that we all have these stories. We’ve all been through things that no one should have to go through. We all bleed from different injuries, in different ways.

The things I’ve been through have only made me stronger, smarter, and more empathetic. It’s unfortunate that it sometimes takes tragedy to show us a new perspective.

To those who stories they cannot tell: If anything, I hope you try. I hope you still imagine yourself as a child, full of curiosity and innocence. You can tell your stories in a way that you keep yourself safe. Through art, work, hiking, or merely being a friend.

Mac Allison | Making A Creation

The Curious World of Mac Allison

When I first met Mac, it was very clear we were going to be friends. Her passionate, artistic, adventurous and occasionally mischievous nature was a recipe for friendship success. It wasn’t a week into our friendship when Mac was first mistaken for my wife. We bonded over art, music and spending time crafting at the Kamloops Makerspace.

Being twenty-somethings in the modern world can be a challenge. We’re constantly side-hustling, working day jobs and trying to navigate the world. Mac hasn’t been immune to this, but she has always done it with a friendly smile on her face. Her caring and empathetic nature is truly inspiring.

One of my favourite memories of Mac is her singing a cover of a Dog Tooth and Nail song about the borders that divide our countries. Never having sang in public before, Mac barely hesitated to sing what she was passionate about. Her art is a reflection as to what she cares for and I look forward to celebrating her successes in the years to come.

Mac Allison

When/Where/Why did you start making art?

When I started to make art, I was so young I can hardly remember. It was from a very young age I had a big curiosity with art because of a single mystery painting. It hung on the wall in my Grandparents bedroom. When I came to visit there was always a white sheet hanging over the picture frame hiding the painting. My grandmother did this you see, because the painting was too erotic for young eyes. They had many paintings in this home collected from their travels, many original on canvas. The day I pulled the sheet off the wall and unveiled this “mystery” painting I fell in love with art and wanted to make art. This painting I own in my collection now and it reminds me about my fascination to art. The painting my Grandparents purchased this painting in Mexico it depicts a topless woman with very strong features, oil on black velvet canvas makes for an extra sensual touch. My own artwork usually depicts a peaceful forest or wooded surliest scene. Inspired by an old 1970 oil on wooden canva,  hung in my house growing up, this was of a classic cabin in the woods painting. It was the realism in this painting that gave me the fantasy of walking into the painting. It gave me peaceful feelings as I’d look into it like a window. I also own this painting now in my collection to continue to inspire my artwork today.

How long have you lived in Kamloops?

I was born in Surrey British Columbia, and relocated at the age of 6. I’ve since lived in Kamloops for about 15 years.

 What did you attend post-secondary for and did it help you on your artistic journey?

 My post secondary studies are just beginning. I’m currently beginning my first year with the Centre of Art and Technology in Kelowna BC. Here I will study Website Development and Graphic Designing. I hope to use online technology as a new medium for my creative mind to play with, to help boost my artwork and create a profitable career.

What are your artistic goals for the next 5 years?

My artist goals for the next five years, has much to do with my graphic design work. I hope to build my first company which offers services online to help curate other businesses. I’d also like to have my own studio space to work on my other art practices including my jewelry making, I want to sell online. Another goal I have is to create an installation complete enough for a gallery space to display any creations I have completed over numerous years of my art development.

What are your favourite mediums and what medium do you want to try?

My favourite medium is acrylic paint on canvas, I found this to be the most natural for my abilities. Things I’m less practiced at include pottery, textile, performance art such as dance, and music. I’d like to work on a musical expression for my future medium the most. 

 Besides making art, what are your passions?

Besides art my passions mainly include searching and studying spiritual practices. I have a great curiosity for the teaching others offer in regards to the human condition and the many different ways others reach out the the higher divine. I’m not born religious so I’ve made a conscious effort to seek teachings and practices that assist my own well being. I explore nature, and speak with animals, and look to other artists for inspiration. I’ve always been interested in any teachings regarding herbalism or gardening, active health and nutrition. These passions are life long explorations, I look forward to working on. 


 What is the best and most difficult part of the Kamloops art scene?

I’ve found the most difficult aspects of the Kamloops art scene is the lack of community support for funded spaces to help create up and coming artists. Growing up I was a part of the “young artist’s ” hosted by SD73. This was a collective of youth artwork. Submissions collected by the school district were judged by the community art teachers. Over my school years I entered I was selected a number of times. One year we were invited to TRU where we for a day participated in art courses hosted by the art teachers at TRU. I found this to be a very good idea to introduce to young students the possible courses to look into for post secondary education. I hope they still run this today because I feel as an artist this is the kind of support needed to help generate and encourage talented Artists. I feel aside from school assisted programs Kamloops does not have much to offer for the fellow freelance artist. There are a select amount of artist’s who host painting classes or spaces for art making, and I’ve tried out a few. I feel like the people running these spaces work very hard to financially support the rent and many have failed in maintaining the space. My own art teacher I once attended after school, lost her space I believe because it wasn’t supported enough to continue. I think Kamloops has elevated a few artists, but does not put in enough to help create more artists. 

What do you want people to know about you or your art?

My artwork is very connected to my emotions. I paint or draw and create in times of my life when I’m distressed, upset, and undirected. I don’t usually create for the purpose of making something “pretty” or “beautiful” but to calm myself in my own mind, to create that window of peace to gaze into and to meditate on those better feelings of serenity and happiness. My art is commissionable however my style is unpredictable, so you might not get what you expect. I call my style intuitive art because it’s the feelings I grasp onto in my process that creates the outcome. I’ve always felt that creating was my most natural ability, my art is a part of me. I am Mac, making a creation. 

You can follow Mac’s journey on instagram @macmakingacreation

How to Use a Spirit Board Alone (and Safely!)

spirit board, planchette, how to use a spirit board

5 Steps to Using a Spirit Board Safely

Spirit Boards can be used for many different purposes. So if you think they’re merely a toy or a piece of cardboard used to summon demons, think again. They are a multipurpose spiritual tool. If used correctly, the spirit board can teach you wonderful lessons and tell incredible stories.

I’ll be laying down details as to how you can make the most positive experience possible as well as it’s different uses.

The Difference Between a “Ouija Board” and a “Spirit Board”

As stated above, Ouija Boards are a trademarked product. In short, I do not have the rights to call my product Ouija Boards. Because they’re not! The spirit boards I make are made from %100 recycled materials. Producing less waste. Producing good karma. And allowing something that would have been thrown out tell a beautiful story.

The Different Uses of a Spirit Board

Self Discovery – If you’re going through a hard time, in need a bit of clarity or if you’re on a self-care kick– the spirit board can help. Follow the steps below and make self discovery you’re intention.

Making Peace/Healing – Sometimes we have someone in our heart, living or not that you may want to make amends with. Using a spirit board gives you the perfect opportunity. Set your intention to make amends or make peace with someone from you past and follow the safety steps below.

Curiosity – What can a spirit board teach you? You and thousands of others have wondered the same thing. As long as your intentions are clear of malicious or hurtful intentions, let your curiosity guide you.

Divination – Did you know spirit boards can help you make decisions about your past, present and future? Make this your intention the next time you use one.

Step 1: Do NOT Appropriate.

It’s common practice to burn sage over your board before use. But you shouldn’t be burning plants or materials such as White Sage if it is not apart of your culture’s original rituals.

Why?

White Sage (Salvia apiana) recently became endangered because of it’s recent burst in popularity. It’s original use as a sacred plant of Native Americans, Indigenous folk and the First Nations people of Canada is at risk because of it being over harvested, mass marketed and misused. Read More.

Seriously, pals. It’s bad news. Just use the sage that grows naturally in your area. Show it respect and don’t over harvest it.

PS Also maybe don’t call it “smudging” if you’re not practicing an actual, legit, smudging ceremony. Or if it’s not apart of your cultural practice. If you’re unsure as to why this is important, ask someone from your local native community if they would be willing to educate you on their traditions and why it’s sacred to them.

lavender, spirit boards, softness, planchette

Step 2: Make Space

Before I use a spirit board (especially when I’m alone) I ensure to clean my house. It sounds crazy but it’s important that you’re comfortable — and that you’re not busy worrying about your laundry, studying or any other menial chores you may have to do.

I’m also in the habit of lighting candles. This can symbolize the beginning of your session and the opening of your board.

I also surround myself with positive objects. If you have a favourite plant or rock, it’s nice to keep them close by. I like to keep a basket of medicinal plants by me.

I also lay sprigs of lavender around my board to encourage healing and softness.

Step 3: Set an Intention (A Positive One!)

Lastly and most importantly:

  1. Good Vibes Only – Only use a spirit board in a positive and healthy environment.
  2. Do Not Use a Spirit Board to Meddle – If you’re merely looking for a good time– or your want to meddle with things you don’t understand stay away. The outcome is never good.
  3. Set Positive Intentions – Whether you’re looking to make peace, discover more about yourself or you’re curious as to what it can teach you– do it respectfully.

Step 4: Open Your Board

Before you start, take a breathe and allow yourself a brief meditation session. Clear your mind, calm your body and set a gentle pace. This is where you’d say a quiet prayer, mantra or something to make you comfortable.

Whatever energy you’re about to put out into the world– is going to be the energy you attract. Make sure to make it good.

Let it be known (out loud) what your intentions for this session are. If you’re looking to make peace, you can say something like:

Let it be known that I’m here to make peace. I don’t want any harm to come to myself or others. So mote it be. (Or of the like)

Step 5: Close Your Board

Warning: The failure to close your board properly can cause some unwanted side effects.

When your session is complete be sure to say goodbye, you can do this by saying it out loud or pointing your planchette to “goodbye” on your board.

Blowing out your candles can also symbolize the completion of your session. By doing this your allowing the energy from your session to settle– so that nothing unwanted lingers where it’s not welcome. You’re no longer inviting unknown wanderings into your home.

If You’re Still Unsure

If you’re still unsure if you want to use a spirit board or how to use one properly. Ask you local witch shop such as Ritual Cravt, Catland Books or Juju Pittsburgh or someone you trust (all of these stores sell boards by Under the Apocalypse, also). There isn’t necessarily one way to use a spirit board. Everyone has different experiences and practices. You may know someone who has a set-routine that works for them– and that’s fine. But ensure you do everything with respect and caution.

Laina McPhee | Artist With a Cause

laina mcphee, flowers, sunflowers, birds eye view, portrait

The Curious World of Laina McPhee

I first met Laina shortly after starting a small artist community called the Kamloops Open Art Society (KOAS). The process of starting this society was slow– but I was quickly approached by a young woman artist by the name of Laina McPhee. If not for Laina’s support and enthusiasm, there might not be a KOAS at all.

One of the first things I came to appreciate about Laina was her openness to discuss mental health. As artists, we’re often labeled as neurotic creatures who thrive off of inner turmoil in order to make art. After attending a Nick Cave concert last year, I took a new perspective to heart with the words he had said to his audience “Misery does not inspire art, we make art despite misery.” I think the same can be said about art and mental health. Despite our struggles with anxiety, depression, past trauma or whatever we may deal with– we use art to help heal us.

I knew I wanted to feature Laina as soon as I came up with the idea of having a blog celebrating women artists. Her vision of a community of artists was paralleled to mine and her passion was infectious. Read what Laina has to say about what it’s like to be a woman, an artist, a Kamloopsian, and a human just trying to make it by in the modern world.

laina mcphee, flowers, sunflowers, birds eye view, portrait, Lindsey tyne johnson

A Kamloops Artist Through and Through

Q: How long have you lived in Kamloops?

A: In short: 7 years. Long answer: This is my hometown; my sisters, dad, and several other relatives were all born here as well. When I was four years old, my family moved to Vancouver Island, living there for 13 years until coming back to Kamloops in 2016. I have stayed in town since and look forward to continuing to make it my home for years to come.

Q: When/Where/Why did you start making art?

A: I used to tell everybody that I was the least artistic person they know; that I had no creative skills whatsoever. When I was in grade 10 at Esquimalt Highschool, I needed one more course to fill my schedule, and picked self-paced Art 11 as an “easy course.” I figured if it was self-paced I could just ‘bs’ my way through the semester. What I found was a natural talent for watercolour, and a soon-to-be fascination with all things you could create. There was no bounds and being in self-paced, I could choose what I wanted to explore. I’ve never stopped exploring since then.  

“I used to tell everybody that I was the least artistic person they know”

laina mcphee, flowers, sunflowers, birds eye view, portait, lindsey tyne johnson

Adding another layer of depth and resources into the Kamloops art community and scene.

Q: What are your artistic goals for the next 5 years? 

A: My goals for the next few years are mainly to build my portfolio, expand my personal business into more commission work, and continue to develop my (our) new project the Kamloops Open Arts Society into something that can truly add another layer of depth and resources into the Kamloops art community and scene.

Q: What are your favourite mediums and what medium do you want to try? 

A: I practice in a few different mediums, mainly pen on paper, watercolour, photography, and acrylic on canvas. My favourite medium to date is plain old acrylic on canvas though. I will probably be trying out oil soon, not as of yet because it’s a bit daunting for me, but my dream-medium has to be marble sculpting. Very expensive and hard to do, requiring lots of brain power, planning, and strength, marble statues and sculptures have always captivated me.

laina mcphee, flowers, sunflowers, birds eye view, portait, lindsey tyne johnson

The Bitter Sweet Kamloops Art Scene

Q: What is the best and most difficult part of the Kamloops art scene? 

A: The best part is definitely our small-town feel. Although technically a city, the community is still small enough that if you know a couple of people, you pretty much know half the town and art community by association. The most difficult is absolutely the flip side of that; because Kamloops isn’t a huge place, it doesn’t have the resources and developed art scene that somewhere like Kelowna or Victoria has. There is little to no accessible spaces for unestablished artists to meet, gather, be social, and be creative. 

On Creativity & Mental Health:

laina mcphee, flowers, sunflowers, birds eye view, portait

“I actually did my art school (grade 12) final project on the correlation between how my art style developed alongside my mental health. I initially only did black and white, very monochromatic pieces, that were much more twisted and surreal. As I became more comfortable and confident in myself I began painting much more colourful, abstract pieces. It was very difficult at first to learn to manage my anxiety around painting, specifically having to start with a plan, following very particular “rules” I would set for myself. The more I let go the more my art developed and the more I liked it myself.”

Lindsey Tyne Johnson

Hope is a Dangerous Thing for Women Like Us to Have– But We Have It

Growing Up & Being a Creative

It’s October 11th, 2019. I’m just about to have a pumpkin carving party at my home in Kamloops, BC with a house full of warmth, music, food and talented women artists.

A little over two weeks ago I decided I wanted to start celebrating the women artists in my community in some way. The amount of beautifully talented artists in my community has always impressed me and it’s always shocked me how under-rated they can be.

Being a woman today has it’s challenges. Heck being a human is an everyday struggle. I feel when the universe decides you’re an artist, it doesn’t give you the entire job description. It doesn’t tell you that your need to create will consume most of your anxieties, dreams and aspirations. It doesn’t tell you the roller coaster of emotions that comes along with the creative process.

Here I will be telling you the stories of many amazing young women who’ve persevered making art despite how difficult it is to remain creatively active in our insanely busy and competitive world.

Collage of women artists in Kamloops | Lindsey Tyne Johnson

PS Lana Del released a song last year with the title ‘Hope is a Dangerous Thing For a Woman Like Me to Have’. The title itself was enough to grab me. As I read into the song, I found myself falling deeper and deeper into the Lana rabbit hole. I couldn’t help but feel as if this song was a response to the anxiety and responsibility that has come with her fame and life choices. Or perhaps the anxiety and responsibilities the come with the everyday struggles, pressures and responsibilities that is being an artist and a woman.

Lindsey Tyne Johnson