Exercise Your Heart by Giving Generously

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HOSPITAL CHARITY AUCTION: Instagram’s community of calligraphers is full of people generous with tips, tutorials, giveaways, and charity auctions. Imagine my delight to respond to a call for donations to an auction benefiting a hospital right in my own city.

All through July, Amanda (@amandaarneill) is running an online charity auction #fromlaurensheart to raise funds for BC Children’s hospital who saved her daugthter’s life from a rare heart defect. (Read her full story here.) In the annual effort to give back, her goal this year is to raise enough money for a new life support machine. 100% of money raised goes to the hospital.

The auction features beautiful items donated by many talented and wonderful Instagram and Etsy artists. Be sure to check them out!

  • Auction packages run on Wednesdays and Sundays throughout July. Each package goes live at 9am PST, with bidding open for 24 hours, closing at 9am PST the following day (Monday and Thursday).
  • My donation of this Theodore Roosevelt quote will be part of the auction package on Sunday, July 5.
  • She is also offering flash sales on items throughout the month on her Etsy shop.

Follow her on Instagram and check back throughout July for more great items. Tell your friends too!

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I believe the human heart leaps when we are given an opportunity to be involved with a purpose or vision greater than ourselves. The distractions, busyness or boredom of life are a continual threat to our hearts’ longing for purpose and belonging.

After a bout of health challenges that hijacked my energy, I’m grateful that my creativity is back in full force, just in time to participate in several serendipitous opportunities to participate in compassionate and generous initiatives. 

This series of blog posts shares the good work many are doing. 

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Dangerous Women Are Freedom Fighters

dangerous-women-leadersDARE TO BE DANGEROUS WOMEN: When Idelette McVicker, the Founding Editor of SheLoves Magazine asked me to do the chalkboard art and donate a silent auction item for the first face to face gathering of SheLovelies, I couldn’t resist the invitation to join this amazing community of sisterhood I had glimpsed online, now gathering in the flesh.

The evening was stunning — gorgeous in looks with beautiful event design by Holly Bovet and her bestie Shaley. But more important, her heart was beautiful. Idelette shared her Triple Dog Dare — the figurative Mount Kilimanjaro she would climb in the next 90 days. She dared us to join her to complete our own dangerous dare with the goal of raising #dangerousdollars and awareness for freedom for women.

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Half of proceeds went to Beginning of Life: a small Moldovan organization with the very big heart, working to change the statistic that Moldova being the country with the highest rate of human trafficking in the world. They live humbly, passionately, and dream big for more women to know freedom. The other half went to support SheLoves, to create new and fresh ways to mobilize and empower more women, locally, and around the world.

Idelette’s “I Am Dangerous” poem inspired a new calligraphy piece, which I am donating proceeds to the continued efforts of these beautiful organizations. The Dare was also a perfect complement to the work I am already doing with using the Social Calligraphy Workshops to support organizations who fight human trafficking.

Buy a print, or come to our next workshop to support this great cause!

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I believe the human heart leaps when we are given an opportunity to be involved with a purpose or vision greater than ourselves. The distractions, busyness or boredom of life are a continual threat to our hearts’ longing for purpose and belonging.

After a bout of health challenges that hijacked my energy, I’m grateful that my creativity is back in full force, just in time to participate in several serendipitous opportunities to participate in compassionate and generous initiatives.

This series of blog posts shares the good work many are doing.

Birth of Vancouver’s First Social Calligraphy Collective

It only takes a spark…that spark was my friend’s recent Instagram photo of Uppercase Magazine’s cover feature issue on calligraphy. Because sharing my passion for calligraphy is like eating candy to me, I offered to teach her. Another friend chimed into the thread, wanting in on it. By the time we moved it over to email, our fire was stoked. (Side story, we almost all ended up at Granville Island’s Paper Ya and Opus Art on Sunday…instead we ran into each other online! When it’s meant to be, nothing gets in the way!)

A divine convergence emerged as we fired emails back and forth late into the night:

  • We all have childhood stories of our hearts ignited for calligraphy.
  • We all believe in the power of beautiful words to build rather than destroy.
  • We all are experiencing a reawakening to engage our creative muscles, not only for our own expression, but also for the greater good.
  • We all have a heart for social justice and communicating with purpose.

Jazzed from the creative synergy of a “craft jam” I hosted the night before, and inspired by my recent branding conversations with another friend to build a business that fights for social justice, the idea for a “social calligraphy collective” was born.

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The vision is to carve a collective space for creative community to gather, learn and grow our skills, and dream up ways to use art to encourage and inspire change. The busyness of life can squeeze out the important-but-not-urgent things, like creativity, relationships, and generosity. Hopefully this collective will help make room.

Come to the next workshop to:

  • Dream of how we can use words to spark transformation
  • Learn a basic design process to draw your concept from start to finish
  • Experiment with a few calligraphy tools to ink your design
  • Socialize and ignite your creative energy while giving to a great cause

Sign up. Spread the word. Let’s create a bonfire.

Find out more and register at www.socialcalligraphy.com.

Taking Art to the Streets

Growing up, art was my favourite subject. I engaged in creative play all those hours of entertaining ourselves without babysitters. I would never have imagined showing any of my work in an art show.

The opportunity came a few years ago, when my spiritual community at Grace Vancouver Church hosted an annual art show. The aim? To build community and connection, and to bless the city in so doing. Residing only a few steps from Gallery Row in Vancouver, it made sense that loving our neighbour included serving the artists in our city by creating an open space and invitation to display their art to share with others.

The first year we held our Arts in the City, Arts in the Sanctuary show, we relied heavily on filling the walls with art from the many artistic folks in our immediate church community and one degree of connections with artists beyond our walls. This was my favourite, to see a range of skills and art. With each passing show, word spread and submissions increased, both in quantity and in caliber.

I remember feeling disappointed when one year, my art finally didn’t make the cut. I remember the collection that year was the most “professional” overall, with few amateurs. It felt like the original heart of the event had shifted a bit. Looking back, my submission was admittedly very amateur, almost juvenile in its style. I understand the curation team’s choices. Mine simply would not have fit with the overall show.

That piece of rejected work has been sitting in the bottom of my closet, for 6 years now. Until now.

125contributing2012Enter Papergirl Vancouver. Part of a larger worldwide movement, Papergirl calls artists to donate their work from around the world to be shown in a particular Papergirl community. Artists can create original works for the show, or they can just dig under the bed and shed the light of day on their old sketches. They encourage any and all levels of art for submission. They take everything!

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The coolest part? After the show, they roll up the artwork and take it to the streets by bike, randomly handing out the art to strangers as a gift – beautiful acts of “giftervention.”

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I love that they are creating connections between artists within the show itself, but also with the greater community of the host city, and the Papergirl movement worldwide. This year 136 artists submitted 738 pieces of artwork to Papergirl Vancouver from as far as Japan, South Africa and England. What a privilege to be part of such a community. I can’t wait to submit more to other cities coming up.

web-calligraphy-sharing-homeArtwork for Papergirl Vancouver will be on display for the week (until July 27) at Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown during regular centre hours. Opening night is tonight, July 24, 7-9pm. Check it out!

Read more about Papergirl’s vision here (and watch fun videos of recipients of art at Papergirl gifterventions around the world)