October 2020 Edition

Workshop video, writing it out, and Intersections: Where We Meet
Dear community members,
I have been writing to people more than usual lately.  It seems like an apt form for unraveling thoughts that seem to be more easily tangled (or wound up) these days, and writing can be a beautiful way to share what we are learning and processing in the moment, reflecting inwards on our own experience, but reaching outward in an effort to connect.  
The effort to connect can feel like a struggle right now.  I don't think I've talked to anyone who isn't feeling more isolated than usual.  This makes me think of a couple of things in relation to art and artists.  Connectivity is perhaps the most essential element of an artist's inspiration.  True and deep connections that come out of a proclivity to be curious, and a willingness to dream, are the fodder and substance of meaningful art.  Artists may be suffering for lack of some of the usual means of connecting to what is around them, but on the other hand a challenge like that can be provoking.  How do we conduct significant exchange and incubate our communal ideas right now?  This is an apt question to pose to artists, and inherently, for artists to mirror right back to the community.  A potent topic for discussion.  Considering this problem, Katie and James made a survey that you will find below, and which we hope you will send back to us.  It was made to be fun, as light-heartedness can be therapeutic, but feel free to take it as seriously as you like.
While the Sanctuary strives to find more ways to connect the community, we are happy to share that a re-opening plan allowing a limited group of artists to use the studio spaces again has been approved by the county.  We see this as great positive progress because the resources within the building want to be used.  A still workspace is counter-intuitive, and an active one can be motivating in many directions.  As access to tools is reestablished, we hope that there will be spillover into more projects that benefit the surrounding neighborhood and the community.  There is so much potential for outdoor installations, variety of performers on the Radio Hour, exchange by mail, or engagement on virtual platforms.  See what is coming up in that realm, below.
Engagement is what has been keeping me sane.  Conversation is key to understanding (and enjoying!) the social world.  If you feel the need for more healthy conversation, I would love to write to anyone who writes to me.  Send letters to Natalie Williams c/o the Sanctuary at 1301 J Street Arcata, CA 95521.  No promises of timely responses.
With love and care,

From our Studio Artists

Free Workshop Video
Claymation puppet building with Violet Crabtree

We're proud to present the first of our series of workshop videos sponsored by the Grace Us Foundation. They will cover a wide variety of art and craft projects, most of which you can create at home with easy to find supplies. Stay tuned for a new video each week on our Youtube channel and on our website.

This is part one of a three part tutorial on making claymation movies by Violet Crabtree. In part one we'll learn how to make a clay character, or puppet, to animate. Music by Hudson Glover.

Intersections: Where We Meet //
Oct. 17, 7 - 8:30 p.m. online

$15 individuals, $30 household, $4 discounted price

Buy tickets here


From the Arcata Playhouse: “Intersections was initially thought of as the culmination of our year-long project of partnerships, collaborations and getting to know different communities within the larger Humboldt Community. As we now see it, Intersections is an ongoing and unfolding artistic dialogue on how we share space, time, resources, and wisdom. 
Intersections, Where We Meet offers a healing frame for the expression of the grief and the joy for life of the different peoples and cultures that find themselves in what we now call Humboldt. 
The livestream will connect the audience with performers in locations peppered all over town and beyond.”

Breathing is a vital part of life and a powerful tool for health, relaxation and stress relief.  By breathing deeply, you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, and in turn, slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.  Sanctuary artists Hannah Hoffman, Sara Kei, James Zeller, and Katie Belknap will share with you an original song by Katie to encourage you to access the healing power of the breath within yourself.

Community Connections

Sanctuary Mad Libs Survey
by James and Katie


The Sanctuary’s desired role is to be a place of connection for community, and these times have been challenging! We know feeling isolated has been tough on a lot of people, and we’re hoping we can offer some means of connection this coming fall and winter, maybe even from a distance, and also help with art therapy ideas.
And we’re wondering if you’d help us out by filling out this form. Then, for a laugh for us and for you, fill it out as a Mad Libs! You can even fill it out by yourself, just write down 12 verbs ending in -ing (-ing verb), 3 nouns and 3 adjectives, the crazier the better, then fill them in! Click here for a printable version. On the right: James' mad libs wordpool.

My favorite things I did at the Sanctuary were ____________ , ________________, and ________________(3 -ing verbs). My current creative outlets are _______________, _______________, and ________________( 3 -ing verbs).  Making art helps, or might help me feel _____________, ______________, and _____________ (3 adjectives). I can’t wait to go to  _________________ (event) at the Sanctuary again. I love to connect with the community by ________________ (-ing verb), or by _________________ (-ing verb). I find inspiration in ________________, ________________, and ________________. (3 nouns). A few things I value about community connection are __________________, __________________, and ____________________(3 nouns).

Wordpools with James Zeller

I love doing madlibs by myself! Really, I’m not shy about it. There are all kinds of ways to do this. One way I love is with using a “wordpool”, a collection of cards with words attached. I cut out words or phrases from magazines, old books or newspapers, using any that catch my fancy.
I was introduced to this idea by Susan Goldsmith Woolridge’s wonderful book “Poemcrazy”. She suggests using them in several fun ways. I use them for all kinds of creative prompts, including attempts to make myself laugh. One consistently successive strategy has been using the cards to fill out mad libs. You can organize them into grammatical categories, nouns and verbs and such, for a traditional mad libs approach. Or, if you want to be more surreal, just let it be a free for all. The meaning of what you come up with might be dubious, or deep.

Like right now I came up with (card words underlined): I hope people don’t think I’m orographic because I like bits of mud so much. Or if they do, as long they laugh, I’ll feel by the bird. I don’t mind being a bit of a “softened only by the perfection of the circle” if it makes people smile! 


Word cards can be fun, therapeutic and be used as an aid to the creative process. They can suggest alternate ways of seeing objects, life, or yourself and your feelings. “Poemcrazy” suggests using word cards to label items around your house. The gate to my friends house became “Time”, the blackberries breaking through his back fence “a small museum”. The card his dog chewed “A Novel”. Or to use the cards to give yourself names: Today my name is “metaphor for the creative process”. Yesterday my name was “behind the sawmill at the Scotia bluffs”. Today my name is “Horizon”. Someday, far in the future, my name might be “re-interpretation of the myth”. Okay I fished around for those, but there are no rules.

Thanks, hope someone out there has some fun with this.
Love to all of you,

From our Friends and Regulars

J St. Regulars Radio Hour //
Weeknights 7 - 8 p.m. online

Instagram @creative.sanctuary

The Radio hour streams every weekday from 7 to 8 p.m. live on Instagram and Facebook. We've rearranged the schedule a bit this month to feature more musicians in the mix, with Julio Perdido returning every other week for Thursdays full of Love. Special guests Canary and the Vamp will be playing us some old time jazz for the October 28th Wildcard Wednesday. James Zeller is our venerable host every Monday and Friday, and Daniel Nickerson is our one-man boogie band on Tuesdays.
Solomon Clark and Hello World Computer Sales and Repair have raised over $2000 for the Sanctuary with this promotional offer for refurbished computers. Click the image for a direct link to the full ad. 25% of proceeds go directly to the Sanctuary. For quotes, call 707-845-0280 or email

Donating to the Sanctuary

Want to support the Sanctuary?
Consider a one-time or ongoing donation to help us during the extended closure. Donations of $50 or more will receive a piece of mail art from one of our artists. Click here for more information.


Copyright © 2020 Creative Sanctuary, All rights reserved.

the Sanctuary,
a project of Creative Sanctuary, a non-profit corporation
1301 J Street
Arcata, CA 95521

Creative Sanctuary is dedicated to creative growth through artful living.
We encourage people to teach, inspire and know each other.

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