Friday, August 12, 2016

Zero Circle

"Zero Circle"
Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
    To gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Besides ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness. -Rumi

"Zero Circle" is a poem that I read almost 6 years ago now and every time I read it,it has something new to offer me and I think I will continue to learn from it in the years to come.In a nutshell,this poem speaks to me about a specific moment in time that I continue to have over and over again. It's during the time when I fall flat on my face(and I do have many of those) and I want to give up,and hide. When I feel confused,alone and lost,... but instead of giving up, I give in. At some point we all give in.We realize that every action,every outcome is out of our control and we have to offer ourselves with open hands to something that is bigger and brighter than ourselves.In the darkness, something grabs hold of my hand and helps me back up on my feet. That "something" is different for everybody,but it is in this very moment that choices become clear. Only then will "a stretcher come from Grace to gather us up". 
It's comforting to know that in our hour of need,in that moment of uncertainty,we are not alone. 

This shadowbox was created with this poem,this feeling in mind.

I first assembled the shadowbox and covered it in old stickers(a great way to use up old supplies).I then painted the edges of all the stickers with Deco Arts Multi Surface Carbon Black,Coastal Waters and Chartreuse. I added additional texture with oil crayons. Lastly, I glued on Steampunk  number paper cuts and highlighted them with paint.

There was too much color by this point and so the inside of the shadowbox needed to be anchored down.I used black card stock and added the poem to it with white ink.

I printed up the poem and cut it into strips. My original intention was just to paste it on to the black card stock in the correct order,but after looking at this pile,I thought,... this is exactly how I feel in those moments.

I then added some of the same colors to the Black Dresden and sprinkled it with watered down Metallic Lustre.

I painted the chipboard word "Clarity" with Deco Arts Multi Surface Lipstick Red and used a white sharpie to add highlights. I glued everything into place and when dry I added some Coastal Waters paint around the word.

I then added Deco Arts Gesso to the Fancy Flaming heart and then covered it in the same colors. I also added white sharpie and liquid metallic lustre splatters.

I glued the heart to the back of the box,added flowers and added my favorite line of the quote.

What took the most amount of time on this project was figuring out what image to put on the inside of the heart.heehee.

Retro Cafe Art Supplies used in this tutorial:

Deco Art Paints can be found at

Be sure to check out another tutorial I have on the Cloth Paper Scissors Blog called "Perseverance"
I used RCAG wonderful ATC chunk and feet for the base of  my pretty bird! 
You can check it out here

"Long ago God drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. You were never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

Here's to making every minute count,


Retro Cafe' Art Gallery said...

This is an awesome tutorial my friend! I love your idea to use up old stickers! And I love how you added the poem pieces randomly to express how you were feeling at the time. So wonderful!

Chrissy said...

What a beautiful and soul inspiring piece.

Heather said...

Here's what I appreciate about this piece, Cat: EVERYTHING.

That moment of silence when the thrashing for control has drained away IS the moment of possibility.

Your visual poetry describes precisely the process of chaotic collapse, followed by the triumphant arrival of the unseen forces to gather us up and set us back in the flow.

Thank you, sweet soul. xox

Anonymous said...

What deep and loving words to take in and absorb. I think you made a beautiful piece from your heart as a gift to ours. xox