Monthly Archives: February 2015



GET INCLUDED in The Art For Arachnoiditis Project MAP OF THE SURVIVORS! TELL US WHERE YOU ARE FROM in the comments here or on Sheila Kalkbrenner’s Map of the Survivors Patreon Post and we will add your location to the map. NOT from the USA? No worries, The map now includes our world of survivors. As of February 16, 2017 we have 266 Arachnoiditis Survivor locations registered for the Map. These locations range from Canada and the USA to Scotland, England, France, South Africa, Australia, Mongolia, India, and New Zealand.

See current locations registered at the Art For Arachnoiditis Project. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 55f21-mappins3-13-15 In addition to showing the posters of the Album of Survivors Collage at the Exhibit, a hand-painted MAP OF THE SURVIVORS was pinned with Awareness Ribbons created by Survivor, Linda Funsch, and displayed at the First and Second Survivors’ Art Exhibits. Watch the Map In Progress Video YEAR 2 of the Art For Arachnoiditis Project includes many new opportunities to Empower Survivors via Participation in the Arts. I will be taking new entries for YEAR 3 from November 1, 2016 – April 9, 2017.

Healing Art Activity #20~ Fortress for a Naked Thing

Very few things compare to the naked vulnerability which develops after that sense of violation that comes from being harmed by somebody we trust.  Arachnoiditis blows our  soul-fortress away.

“It’s … difficult to explain. It’s … it’s like … I think it’s as though everyone has a small place inside themselves, maybe, a private bit that they keep to themselves. It’s like a little fortress, where the most private part of you lives—maybe it’s your soul, maybe just that bit that makes you yourself and not anyone else.” His tongue probed his swollen lip unconsciously as he thought. “You don’t show that bit of yourself to anyone, usually, unless sometimes to someone that ye love greatly.” The hand relaxed, curling around my knee. Jamie’s eyes were closed again, lids sealed against the light. “Now it’s like….like my own fortress has been blown up with gunpowder—there’s nothing left of it but ashes and a smoking rooftree, and the little naked thing that lived there once is out in the open, squeaking and whimpering in fear, tryin’ to hide itself under a blade of grass or a bit o’ leaf, but….but not….not makin’ m-much of a job of it.”~Diana Gabaldon  via her character, James Fraser, in Outlander, Chapter 36: MacRannoch – Page 760

Design for Frame 4 of Still Standing
Design for Frame 4 of Still Standing

Later, to Claire.… 
      “Ye know the fortress I told ye of, the one inside me?”
      “I remember.”
      He smiled without opening his eyes, and reached out a hand for me.
      “Well, I’ve a lean-to built, at least. And a roof to keep out the rain.” ~Diana Gabaldon via her character, James Fraser, in OutlanderChapter 62: Absolution – Page 832

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the photography & paper sculpture shadow box project that eventually became Still Standing  was the lean-to I was building for my naked soul.  ” Surrounded by these grief-ridden walls and painfully fettered to my limitations, each frame inside of that box is a pane of glass belonging to the window that the world tried to close against me. It is my window. Window to this soul and window to the world, I decide when it opens and when it closes. In the infamous words of G.W., “I am the decider.” ~Sheila L. Kalkbrenner, in Today is Friday, from Still Standing, Sometimes; the Art For Arachnoiditis Project Book.

Ask yourself, “What will give me shelter?” and while you are thinking about it remember, We, the community of Survivors, at the Art For Arachnoiditis Project will be your shelter because we KNOW and we are Right Beside You as you become your own comforting Angel. We will not go quietly.

For additional inspiration check out: Shelter Me ~ Joe Cocker, Shelter Me Lord~Tab Benoit,  Shelter Me ~Cinderella, Gimme Shelter~The Rolling Stones

I believe ART is the best Coping Mechanism

HEALING ART ACTIVITY #20 ~ in 3D, create a safe place for that naked, vulnerable version of yourself that was exposed when arachnoiditis became a part of your daily existence. A blade of grass, a bit of leaf, the materials are up to you.

Here are some suggestions, remember~ It doesn’t have to be a house. Your shelter can take on any form that feels appropriate to you made from materials that suit your creative comfort zone, physical abilities and resources.

Some Ideas and Materials you might try: Play-Doh, Salt Clay , Sculpey Clay, Try Paper: How to make an easy paper house, Make a house out of paper, Origami House , Pop-up House Try  Ginger Bread or Repurpose some Cardboard, Magazines or Phonebooks, Old Books

The individual definition of shelter and safety has an infinite variety of visual representations and imagery. What does YOUR safe place look like? I often have to remind myself that there is a fine line between confinement and shelter. So, in doing this activity in my mind I try to remember to create an opening, a crack for a window or a door with a latch that I can unlock to get out and open to permit others to come in.

Mixed Media drawing completed for the winner of the Multi-media house contest on the studio face book page. 2013
Mixed Media drawing completed for the winner of the Multi-media house contest on the studio face book page. 2013  The offer was to award the winner a mixed media drawing of his/her favorite architectural structure. The winner chose this one. It is a birdhouse built on family land in memory of her father.

After you complete your project, Submit your Registration Form if you would like to submit it for the Art For Arachnoiditis Project on-line Gallery. Updates on Calls for Entries by Arachnoiditis Survivors will be posted on Sheila Kalkbrenner’s Patreon Page.