Birthing a Book: a process of pushing ahead and letting go

Valerie Sjodin copyright 2011 I haven’t posted as much recently because I’ve been working on a book that includes part of my journey  in artwork, Scripture, prayers I’ve written, and prayers of others I use and have been blessed by. This is the cover image. Self-publishing is one of those things I said I would never do because I tried once with a print and hated it. So why am I doing it now? For me it is paradoxical. It’s almost like the death of a dream allowed me to consider it. One of my dreams was making an art… Read More

the playful praise of an ordinary woman

I have an altered prayer book, a work in progress, that I use and add to. The book itself was really too fragile for an altered book but I couldn’t resist. My friend Katie rescued it from the throw-away pile at their church library. It was originally a Sunday School lesson book, The Children’s Six Minutes by Bruce Wright and I’ve changed the title for my purposes to: The Playful Praise of an Ordinary Woman. I gessoed over some of the text, glued some pages together and left some of the text as prompts to incorporate into the visual prayers.… Read More

What’s in a Swirl

One day when I sat down to start a visual prayer I was feeling aimless, insecure, like I didn’t have a center, clear purpose. I knew it was probably because I was used to a structured schedule with working, being a mom and accommodating other people’s schedules, but I still felt that way. I didn’t know where to start, so after I quieted my mind and focused on God I let go, picked up my pen and began drawing my favorite shape in the center of my paper: a swirl or spiral. I thought, “See you don’t have a center,… Read More


There are a number of ways pray using art as a vehicle, but those whose books I’ve read or those I’ve talked to follow a similar but flexible format. My favorite book that tells how to do it is Prayer of the HeArt. It’s not full of pretty pictures, but the writing is sincere, well written, and helpful. It’s also a good reminder that it is not about making good art, but allowing God to speak to us and through us using visual media. This process was confirmed in a workshop I attended this summer with facilitator Anna Elkins: “Eyes… Read More