Serendipity: My Word of the Year

mixed media


Some people choose a word for the year instead of making resolutions. I like the idea, but didn’t really plan to choose one of my own. Instead, I think a word chose me: serendipity. I’ve been wading through the Carl Jung philosophical discussion of synchronicity which lead me to the more accurate idea of serendipity: a happy accident.

Yesterday I took a two-hour mixed media class at a local studio, A Work of Heart.  We started with three small canvases, and three tag-board hearts.  We applied a thick, clay-like medium to each canvas, then used templates to make impressions in the medium before it dried. The template I used is reminiscent of a beehive.

While we waited for it to dry, we got to choose a page from sheets of music, children’s books, or a dictionary.  She had stacks of them.  I reached for a children’s book, and quickly came upon Alice in Wonderland.  Not only was this a childhood nickname, but I still have a few of the beloved pages from my copy of the book, a gift from my grandfather in England. It’s one of only a handful of possessions we brought from Canada.


The class continued and it was great fun.  We mixed our own secondary colors using three primaries, then painted over the medium.  We cut the hearts from our chosen pages, in my case Queen Alice.  We spent a joyful two hours, layering, painting and stamping till we had the desired effect.  When it was time to add the final detail, a couple of words or a quote on each page, I went back to Alice.  There, on the second page, was the following quote: “Where do you pick the flower?” “In a garden or in the hedges?”


In other words, I made a work of art at A Work of Heart using pages from Alice in Wonderland, managing to find a garden quote in the last few minutes of class.


Oh and one more thing: when I looked up the term synchronicity, Wikipedia cited a passage from (you guessed it) Alice.  Here’s the passage:

One of Jung’s favorite quotes on synchronicity was from Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, in which the White Queen says to Alice: “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”.

‘The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.’

‘It MUST come sometimes to “jam to-day,”‘ Alice objected.

‘No, it can’t,’ said the Queen. ‘It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.’

‘I don’t understand you,’ said Alice. ‘It’s dreadfully confusing!’

‘That’s the effect of living backwards,’ the Queen said kindly: ‘it always makes one a little giddy at first–‘

‘Living backwards!’ Alice repeated in great astonishment. ‘I never heard of such a thing!’

‘–but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.’

‘I’m sure MINE only works one way,’ Alice remarked. ‘I can’t remember things before they happen.’

‘It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ the Queen remarked.

Queen Alice


Where do you pick the flower?

canvas art

In a garden,….

canvas art

…or in the hedges?

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Queen Alice

Queen Alice

24 thoughts on “Serendipity: My Word of the Year

  1. This biker / blogger / photographer is constantly amazed by the fact that I have connected with so many incredibly talented people! I love the colors and designs, Alys, and the class sounds like it was so much fun. I’m coming off a couple committies soon and hope to do some things like this sometime!
    I like that your word chose you!


    • Thank you, LB. Good to hear that you can clear your calendar for some fun, creative activities. I find it so relaxing attending a class, where all the supplies are provided for me and no disruptions.

      I’m glad you like the word. It’s even fun to say!


  2. Isn’t that just the most serendipitous event! Everything coming together to fit you so perfectly and look what you get to hang on your wall! You are very, very talented! My first mixed media was a complete disaster 🙂 Happy dance Alys!! 🙂


    • Thank you for that Happy dance. It was really fun working with all those different tools and mediums.

      I can’t believe that anything you created with your hands was a disaster. Perhaps it simply didn’t live up to your high standards. 🙂


  3. What a lovely class, project and result, Alys! Your choice of colours is beautiful! Thank-you also for the information about the contact page. I had no idea how to do that, but now I do thanks to you! Brilliant! xoxoxoxox


    • Thank you, Dani! The class was great fun. She offers so many different classes, too: mixed media journals, jewelry, sewing, stamping, inking..Eclectic. Also, it is only ten minutes from our house.

      I’m glad you found the contact form information useful. I did it in just a few minutes. Often these things take up hours, mostly due to user error. Yep…that’s me.


  4. Dear Queen Alice,
    I simply love your ‘Word of the Year” idea, I must give that some thought. I do fancy ‘serendipity’ since it’s context usually means something happy and good has happened. Your little artworks are certainly that. Such happy colours and the book parts of course were the ‘cherry-on-top’ I can’t believe you made that all in one class. Those colours are perfect for your new wall mural too. I think I have the very same stencil. It’s great to toddle off for only a few hours and come home with something new to grace the nest! What a great biz to have near by.


    • Queen Alice! LOVE that.

      I’m amazed that you remember the colors of the wall mural. You’re right. They’re exactly the same colors. I hung the little panels on the narrow strip of wall near our back door. I really like it there.

      It is nice to to a make and take in two hours. I can tuck it into a week day without rocking the boat for drop off and pickups. You and I will go make something there on your next trip.


  5. I love the artwork you did. It feels so HAPPY! What fun and what a great word for the year. To look for serendipitous events all year would make one very mindful. I could think something like those 3 pieces of art could almost be done with fabrics on canvas and stiffened. Hmmm. Thanks for the info on the connection forms. I’ll look it up.


    • Marlene, that’s a great idea! I’m sure you could do that. Let me know if you explore that idea further. It’s so fun trying new things.

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m pleased with the results and would definitely do it again. I was amazed when I got home that the colors blended beautifully with mural in our living room, created by an artist friend named Donna Pierre. That made me smile.

      I agree: looking for serendipitous events does make you mindful. Something to work on every day. xox


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