To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

Planting Prayers – Creating Images & Words for Sacred Space in the Garden –

It was some times hard to explain what the workshop was about. It was titled Creating Sacred Space In The Garden – Planting Prayers offered at Kanuga during the Faith, Art and Creative Expression conference in late August. We started with ways to know and experience nature as a participant in the evolving story of faith, art and our creative expression. We made simple art with painted images using different paints and dyes. We wrote words from the heart that were sometimes intentionally  illegible. Then we took some of these image and word prayers out into nature to “plant”  and send them out into the world. (See previous blog)  We also created prayer boxes to hold these treasures.


First we asked ourselves, what is prayer?  Poet Mary Oliver writes:
“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.”
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.”

We created our own prayers, thoughts, wishes and dreams that were embodied in our artistic creations, including small folded origami books. The colors, shapes and marks we made carried meaning along with the words.   Jennifer’s cover shares the thought “Dare”.




It continues with a line from a Mary  Oliver poem: “the leaf has a song in it…”



Her mandala and flower art is surrounded by the dance of a Rumi poem, starting with “The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell …”



Prayers aren’t  just words, they are images too. They are personal, powerful and often private between the person creating the prayer and the intended recipient,  whether the recipient is Creator or any part of creation.  Connie’s beautiful calligraphy is powerful for the rhythm and flow of words that travel back and forth across the page, written with a pen never leaving the surface of the page as she wrote. The energy, meaning and purpose are there in the words in a language of the heart, unique in its expression.



Connie’s origami book starts with a quote from Pope Francis: “We all have to think if we can become a little poorer, all of us…”



There is no “right” or “wrong” way to express the depth of the human heart and soul in creation and expression of prayer. It is often in creative expression that the depth of who we are and our longing can be fully expressed, fully experienced.  Betty shares the words of  Mary Oliver in the cover of her book: “Praying, it doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones, just pay attention, then patch a few words together….”



Ann’s words of love for the mighty hemlock share her concern, caring and love for these lacy needled beautiful trees.



The cover of her book shows painted strokes creating a hemlock with words written in white underneath the colored paint. These white words are a prayer the supports the tree image and other words.



And inside Ann placed a small hemlock branch in the envelope supported by the words written in white, on white paper, and then revealed when painted over.



Ann is a also quilter and her paper book shows her talent with fabric quilting designs.




Lark shares the poem: “If I were a butterfly, I’d thank you Lord for giving me wings…”




Her book cover displays a butterfly that was found on the grounds of Kanuga and the words, “May we be transformed by your Spirit”



Her book continues with, “You planted in me at my making …” A small envelope holds family photos.



Betty’s book with vibrant pinks declares the word “heal”.



And continues with the Mary Oliver poem Song of the Builders, “On a summer morning I sat down on a hillside to think about God…”



Betty shares words of wisdom and another prayer.




Her book ends with “blessing, as you go on your way…”




Connie’s book cover  is woven together with ribbon, circular shapes and energy of her creative expression. The circle is a symbol of wholeness.



The words “Expect A Miracle” are a thought we can all hold in our hearts for our own, other’s and the world’s healing.



All the origami folded books started with a large (18″x24″) sheet of paper that was written and painted upon. Several of Linda’s open papers show the first written words on white with later colored paint that reveals them.











Linda also created images and marks with the shapes of triangles and crosses, shapes she hadn’t used much in her painting.  All these pages were later folded into book shapes as journals for writing and more images.





We even found that the paper towels we wiped our brushes on held a beauty of colors and shapes that moved us and allowed the creative intimacy we experienced.




The marks we made and the words we wrote, both as part of our prayers, thoughts and feelings were profound. For those who create in the spirit of love, depth and truth; the intimacy of creative expression allows the deep intimacy of connection to Creator and creation that our souls so profoundly desire.

Next blogs – Prayer Boxes and the Art of Linda & Kelly at Kanuga

Enjoy & Create


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