Soul Quilts with Mati {March 2013}



On March 2, we had a very special Gather Art Workshop ~ blessed by the wonderful Mati Rose McDonough, a local Bay Area artist  She joined the girls for a colorful and whimsical adventure creating SOUL QUILTS.  It was a fun exploration of paint and collage in ‘sewing together’ a mixed media canvas that represented the journey of our lives.  Much like the quilts our grandmothers sewed ~ which connected the hearts and souls of past, present and future; this process sewed together words of wisdom, imagination, joy and sorrow, friendship and love.

Mati showed the girls her techniques on how to layer paint, play with lots of vibrant colors, and make some daring choices in the process. Everyone learned to trust in their own unique voices!  It was a beautiful and bold afternoon and the girls embraced it with grace.   As demonstrated in her book, Daring Adventures in Paint, Mati guided the girls as they experimented with building beautiful backgrounds, adding collage and transferring images …. and writing little love notes to themselves, hidden below the layers of paint.  Many girls adorned their wings with silver foil … adding a little bit of magic to their SOUL QUILTS.  If we could read between the tiny “stitches”, what stories would they tell?

But the juicy part of the day was witnessing the girls as they ‘discovered’ their own wings ~ learning to trust in themselves, their abilities and their uniqueness.  We did a lot of soul searching ~ tapping into the sense of adventure, unraveling our attitudes about change, expressing gratitude for all that life offers … including challenges.  In the end, the artwork represented new opportunities taking flight, knowing that we share the same freedom as a bird perched on a branch and that there truly are no limits.  I feel so blessed to be witness to all that lies ahead for these beautiful girls.

I shared a quote by Victor Hugo ~ which captured the essence of their paintings ….

“be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”

Janelle led the girls in a heart-opening yoga class which they all embraced with “a beginners mind”.  It is such a gift to see them focused, still, and breathing into their bodies.  One doesn’t always stop long enough to notice the breathe, but it is such a wonderful skill to develop.  These girls are already embracing yoga, breath work and stillness in their daily lives.  It is like planting seeds!!

Our day was made complete with two sacred circles ~ bringing our mind and body to the NOW.  We started with a refresher of finding our mindful bodies ~ anchoring ourselves with our breath; much like a boat on the ocean would be anchored ~ able to float about but always knowing that we can come back to our base, our home.  The evening  ended with a beautiful Pebble Meditation inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh.   Sending the girls off into the world, and safety of their homes and lovely parents ….. just imagining the beautiful adventures that await each and everyone of them.

with gratitude,





  1. Ashley K

    I loved painting with Mati Rose! My favorite part about the collages was painting the trees and the bird, because it could be any type of bird, any type of tree, and any type of background. I also felt like this at the February workshop, like there was no right or wrong way. I loved painting the blossoms and the leaves, too, because that encouraged me that this was my kind of tree, just as it was my kind of bird!

    March 3rd, 2013 // Reply

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