Learn how the STAX Process works and grab a spot for one of our courses.
CREATE YOUR STORY
As we move through life, we need daily reminders of our awesomeness. Store-bought quotes often don’t resonate. When we see our own words, the affirmations make sense. They sound true. So we believe them. Hang them on your walls: reinforcing powerful messages on the daily.
ONE BOX AT A TIME
Everyone is creative, but we often get in our own way. For much of my life, creativity – specifically art and writing - was off-limits because I was afraid to make mistakes. Then I discovered cardboard as a canvas.
The number one reason I love cardboard is it’s free and abundant, relieving the pursuit of perfection. Every time I arrive at the canvas, it’s an experiment. I often lay out multiple canvases at once and see where the process takes me.
I am also inspired by the fact that cardboard art is not permanent. It evolves as we evolve. Cardboard art can accurately reflect a moment in time that, someday, no longer resonates. It’s easy, no-fuss, and meaningful, but a joy to swap out for new pieces.
CREATIVITY IS THERAPEUTIC
Being actively creative has had a ripple effect in every facet of my life, and this is what I want to share with you. Sure, I want to share my art. But what I really want to share is my process.
STAX studio is an outlet for expressing what we are feeling, unlocking our fears, and affirming our own personal processes. This is an invitation to grow, to heal, by giving yourself the freedom to make mistakes and just play.
COMING SOON: OUR FIRST COURSE
CONFRONTING YOUR INNER CRITIC
Weekly 1 hour zoom plus short videos for at-home writing and art exercises each week. There will be one writing and one art project per week. We work on topics through writing and then play with those words through art.
INCLUDES: STAX art supply starter box with the materials you will need for this course, and beyond.
WHAT YOU NEED: cardboard box, cutting tool (scissors, box cutter), good internet connection with zoom installed, and an open mind
COURSE OVERVIEW + SETTING UP
Writer’s Studio: Me explaining what the course is about, goals, what the Inner Critic is, and the STAX method.
This is PLAYFUL stuff. If you take it too seriously, you will miss tapping into your subconscious AND you will miss the chance to use the words that really resonate with you. You have to use your own words or it won’t sound authentic and that lets your IC creep in. So – writing exercises are 15 minute free-writes.
We want to play with an emotion and then let it come out in our art.
We play with it in writing and then let it come out in our art. It’s not therapy. It’s therapeutic. So it’s not serious, it’s PLAYFUL.
Art Studio: How to tear down a cardboard box, set up your space. Introduce other materials.
MEET YOUR INNER CRITIC
BLIND CONTOUR + NAME
Welcome; ice breaker(?); overview of the course again. Need to do some kind of community building exercise together.
How about breaking out into tiny breakout rooms of 2 people? And then there’s a set of questions to ask in each room? Something to build community. Zoom is ALWAYS about building community.
This week we do the art first.
Art project: Pencil blind contour on a half sheet piece of paper. This is your Inner Critic: a distorted version of yourself. And that’s why the words work so well on you – they’re your own words. Now we’re going to use your own words to combat the Inner Critic. Throw those words right at it.
Writing Exercise: Once the blind contour is made, make a quick character study of your Inner Critic (where did it come from, why is it here? What does it do all day?). This is playful and not therapy – we don’t need to understand the ‘why’. Just who this is. We also don’t need to know what they look like: we already know. Get a feel for who they are, because they are a part of you.
Give it a name and print the name underneath it, paste it to cardboard. Hang on the wall, facing you, not over your shoulder. This is a quick character study – just what flows to your mind. Answer these questions:
(print out the questions so they can print them out themselves).
THE INNER CRETIC IS KEEPING YOU STUCK
FILM REVIEW + ONE WORD STUCK
Community building: introduce your Inner Critic. You don’t have to show the blind contour, but please give us the name.
Exercise: Give people examples of words and how certain phrases may or may not resonate with them. Trying to highlight the “brilliant and prolific writer” example from the Artists Way. Maybe give them three examples of the same sentence and have them circle which one works for them? But they’re all positive affirmations, just in different.
This week we learn what the Inner Critic is actually saying to you. The precise words it uses – this is part of why the thoughts resonate so well with you. Sit with the fear. What’s the worst that can happen? Write a review for launching something where you're stuck. What’s the worst that can happen?
Writing Exercise: Pick an area where you’re stuck. A project you’re trying to get done. A goal you’re trying to achieve. Something your IC is holding you back from. OR a wild ass dream. And have a professional review it. If you don’t have one, then join me and write a review for your first film. Be descriptive, really sitting in the uncertainty and fear of whatever has you stuck.
Have your inner critic review your first film. It’s your first one – you really went out on a limb and took risks making this movie. Make it horrible – so horrible it’s almost ridiculous. But use your own words. State the publication they’re writing for as well. I’m trying to get people to use the words their inner critic would use, so is this how I do it? How do I get them jazzed about a book review if they aren’t writers? I really want you to understand what it’s telling you. The precise words it uses – this is part of why the thoughts resonate so well with you.
Art Project: A piece with a word representing the project for which you were stuck (or a feeling you’re struggling with), as an island on ripped cardboard, then mount it on the wall beside the IC? We’re going to see that for the next week, your IC is up on the wall, so is the thing you’re getting stuck around. They should be either the same size or the IC is smaller. It can be something profound, like standing up for yourself, or being more empathic, or it can be a goal you are working towards.
This idea, well, it’s up for grabs anytime.
MEET YOUR INNER HERO
COURAGE STORY + SUPERHERO CREST
This week we meet our Inner Hero. Our Inner Hero can, singlehandedly, take down the Inner Critic – either proactively or when under attack. Keep in mind that STAX art evolves as you evolve. Today’s project is playful and represents a given moment in time. So don’t overthink it. This is what your Hero looks like today. You can use the tools to update it whenever needed.
Community: Share your doodle in a breakout room (?) – just to generate more ideas. Treat it like a writer’s room: you have a concept and you’re bringing it to the writer’s room for more ideas. No comments or evaluation of what’s been done. Instead: just share what you came up with and maybe a word you’re circling.
Exercise: Doodling sprint (for symbols). Colored pencils, pens, whatever. I give them a prompt and they doodle for 5 straight minutes.
Prompt: what are some superhero symbols you love? What if you tried to make up your own? Just play with this. Or ask yourself, what do you wish someone would say to you about you? Put it to the side – you’ll need it for your art project.
Writing Exercise: write about a situation where you were scared and did something anyway. Pull one word out of that for your art piece. It can be something as simple as diving into a pool when you were a kid. Describe the colors, any shapes you remember distinctly. What was the superpower you had to channel to find that courage?
Art Exercise: superhero portrait of your Hero (use the superpower word and the doodle from zoom to create a symbol or word to describe your Hero). Use colors from the scene, shapes, to build your symbol. Put it on your wall.
Do we rip part of the cardboard, so it looks like the Inner Hero is breaking through? Like it’s breaking through a shirt? The cardboard canvas must be larger than the Blind Contour drawing.
WHAT MAKES YOUR INNER HERO HAPPY?
MIND MAP JOY + SELF-CARE MENU
This week we get to learn more about your superpowers. Things that make you happy make it easier to get in the flow, spend time doing them. Without even thinking about strengths, what brings you joy? Follow your bliss. These words can actively counteract the Inner Critic. Have fun with this – don’t overthink it. These things that bring you joy are also things that you will turn to when the Inner Critic is attacking you, and also as preventative medicine (ie – a self care plan and recovery tool). This is what the Inner Hero needs in order to stay strong.
We’re not looking for things you’re good at, because the Inner Critic will have a come back for those. Nobody can argue with what makes you happy. Chances are they’re areas of strength too.
Community building: see exercise below.
Exercise: I’m going to kickoff the mind map by asking some joy questions. These are simple activities that have been reported to bring people joy and are pandemic-proof. Answer the survey to see who else shares these interests.
Writing Exercise: mind map everything that brings you joy. These are also areas where you likely have strengths and are certainly ways to feed your Inner Hero. Ask yourself these questions:
Use a compilation of questions from the Artists Way.
Art Exercise: Paint a background, just something quick and easy (this will be the backdrop). On another piece of cardboard, make a painting – super fast, squiggly lines of paint everywhere. Let it dry and cut it into 5-10 small pieces. Now use a letter stamp, or write with a marker, your top 5-10 superpower domains (one on each piece). Now glue them to the background. Put it up on your wall. This is a self-care plan – when you sit down with the Inner Critic, but then decide to get up and go for a bike ride, or do 20 pushups, it feeds your Inner Hero and makes it stronger.
I recommend taking a picture of this piece and keeping it on your phone, almost like having a card in your wallet.
Now that you know more about what makes your Inner Hero tick, give your Inner Hero a name and add it to the Superhero crest from last week.
CONFRONTING YOUR INNER CRITIC
DARK ALLEY + ONE-LINER
Community building: Show-and-tell – introduce us to your IH and tell us 3 things it likes (that’s when we check in and say hello) NOT what they’re good at, instead: 3 things they like. This is what fuels your inner hero and keeps it healthy and strong. Share it with the whole group.
Exercise: Sensory exercise where I share words/phrases and ask them to jot down how they make them feel, and where. Like, SHARK (quickening of heart rate), etc. Trying to see the somatic connection between what we write/narrative and what we actually feel in our bodies. See where you feel certain feelings. Those are physical cues when you are getting activated by your IC. This shows how important narrative is: it’s only what we choose to believe. It’s not always what’s actually happening.
Writing Exercise: Your Inner Hero and Inner Critic meet in a dark alley. The IC is down on one knee – the Hero is prevailing. Then, you find out he has a boss-man, someone who’s been paying him all along to write shitty reviews. He’s been on the take. He claims he was sent as your protector. Boss man has kept you from falling, from making mistakes, by keeping you small. Someone has been paying protection money all your life. You don’t want it anymore? Or you want to say thank you? Still want to kick the IC’s ass? It’s up to you – but do it in 15 minutes.
Now you’re in a dark alley. What do you do next?
You’re in a dark alley, nobody knows you there. And you’re the one who comes out on top. Remember your Inner Critic and your Inner Hero both have names now, so use them in the story.
Art project: what do you paint in the background?
Go to your dark alley writing exercise. Give the story a monumental last line – what is the last thing you say to your IC in this scene? A one-liner from a film, like Hasta La Vista Baby; You Complete Me; I don’t give a damn. What is the last line in this scene? THAT is what we’re going to put on the art project.
STORY OF TWO WOLVES + YOU CHOOSE
This week we wrap up. Review what you will have on your art wall, the goals we tried to achieve, and hopefully we did.
Community building: Share the last line of your dark alley story in a breakout room. So it’s intimate (2-3 people only). Give them a set of three questions to address after the line is shared. Do I do this more than once so they get to share with a bunch of people AND see how common the themes and vulnerabilities are?
Exercise: see above – the exercise is the community building part.
Writing Exercise: I read the story, as if I’m reading a storybook, of the Two Wolves. Explain, wrapping up, that we have many parts to us and the IC and IH are always there. We can choose which one we want to feed, which one we want to empower. And your IH feeds off what makes you happy, so feed it, prophylactically. The Inner Critic feeds off anything – things outside our control, a comment someone makes.
So, after I read the story, take out a red pen and you are going to choose the Inner Hero today. Rewrite the IC’s film review and make it glowing, strong, believable because it’s in your own words. Remember this is playful – so use your own words! Rip up the old review and throw it away.
Art Project: Take one of the cardboard panels and paint and write the words: You choose, or you get to choose, or I choose, or, there are two wolves. Whatever words resonate with you. Place it in between the IC and IH portraits. Move your “stuck island” thing closer to the Inner Hero as well (ie, there should be a method to the configuration of the hanging art). That island is up for grabs all the time and now that you know how to make one, you can update it as needed. Now the critic and the Hero are on the wall together. Every day, you get to wake up and decide which one wins.
WEEK SEVEN (ADDITIONAL COST)
BONUS (A WEEL LATER)
SHOW AND TELL
Show and tell your art wall. Send a screenshot – would people want to do this? And then I do a slide show and each person gets to introduce their story. I think it’s better for them to send me a screenshot so they aren’t walking around the room trying to use the computer camera to show their art. So send in a screenshot and I’ll do a fashion show and you speak to it when it’s your turn.
Final Video (art studio or writing studio?): Thanks for participating. What’s next? Other courses, stay in touch, etc.
Extra Bonus Project (art studio): Cut up your blotter or palette board and make postcards. Send one to a friend.