Polymer & dreams
Intentional dreaming
Some metaphors & symbols


. . . Dreams are a great source of information about yourself and what you're doing in the world, as well as a stimulus for creativity. Their vocabulary is everything you have ever done, seen, thought, and felt, etc. --in other words, a palette totally unique to you.

If you can forge a link between your (very separate) waking and dreaming minds, it will then become a pathway which begins to have an increasing traffic of creative ideas. . . this also gives one the feeling of being more whole, or connected to all parts of oneself . . .
(And if you can figure them out, the puns in the metaphors are completely amazing ...you're often in awe that *your* little brain could come up with something so brilliant :-)...)

Polymer and Dreams

This was a topic which I suggested to my guild for one of our monthly Exploration Themes:

Make something (with clay or mixed media) based on an image, or a thought, from a dream. This could be something from a past dream or a current one, and it doesn't have to be exact ...just something stimulated by a dream. I could even be a dream-like image, if that doesn't work for you.

Some technique possibilities might be:
sculpting or bas relief, or other techniques like stamping/carving, transfers, metallic powders, painting, mokume gane, watercolor bead backgrounds , scenes or landscapes, caning, glow in the dark or mica effects, etc.

Your creation could end up being a part of a piece of jewelry, or if you make the images in miniature they could be kept in a special box** or you could make a charm bracelet or beads for a necklace from them.

(Even with bad images, you "regain control over them" rather than the other way around, by being the one in charge as you (re)create them.)

**The special box could contain images from any dreams you ever have that seem important to you, or could be for "working on" a problem or theme that you're interested in dealing with.

Intentional Dreaming

(short version)
1. Write, read, or think about a topic you're interested in just before going to sleep (writing seems to work best)

2. When you first wake up, or in that beginning stage of waking/drifting:
....simply notice the first image or scene that comes to you
(it almost always seems to have nothing to do with what you wanted! (see the "metaphor" aspect below)
(it may seem very pedestrian, or it may not)
(if you want to remember more than one image, it's extremely helpful to most people to write them down ...or they'll just slip-slide away)

(a message I wrote in an online polymer group)

I was once a part of a women's "dream group" which was really fascinating and made quite a difference to me. I'm a fairly rational person, so most things I'd heard about dreams weren't very appetizing and their results didn't seem to ring true. However, our group was based on neither the Freudian nor Jungian approaches most associated with dream analysis. It dealt instead with a kind of metaphor deciphering based solely on one's own dream vocabulary. . . and, if the decoding didn't really "ring true" for the dreamer, it wasn't a correct interpretation (no "you're just resistant to the interpretation or the therapist" her. . . plus, having the dreamer be the sole arbiter of what rang true yielded some surprisingly fruitful and non-defensive results).

Sometimes we would "ask" to have a dream relating to a particular subject *just before* going to sleep --often writing it down or telling someone else. (This serves to bring your brain's attention to the subject and put it on notice that you're serious about whatever the topic is.)
Sometimes this was regarding a life situation, or sometimes more of an art problem... e.g. what am I most interested in doing (with my clay) now? or how do I solve the problem of attaching the pieces? or how can I be creative about this item or theme, or what do I need to thinking about re starting a business?

When you wake up, the dream or snippet you remember will often hold some insight into the requested info. At first, it NEVER seems that it has anything to do with what you asked for (this is totally normal).

To get at what it "means" to you, forget the actual story of the dream and your real life for awhile, and "define" the meaning of the word ... or simply begin free-associating words and ideas that occur to you relating to the objects, people, and environment of the dream or snippet.
Don't try to make these fit to anything now...just do this in an isolated way.
(You can do this to a friend, write them down, or just remember them.)
You will eventually get to something that "rings a tiny bell" in your head and sounds vaguely familiar, like something else you've thought about in the past few days or some way you felt.
Think about that thing and then free-associate some more, and you'll be surprised, I bet, at how other things start fitting into the puzzle and hanging together.
Then, and only then, begin fitting these back into the "story" of the dream.

Another way to begin getting the outer and innner parts of your brain closer together is to draw (and/or write) a scene(s) from your dream. It's kind of amazing how this seems to pull areas of your brain closer together, giving you a sense of wholeness ...and "naturalness" for lack of a better word.
Drawing (artistic or not <g>) also seems to concretize the image/symbols, and also to put your brain more firmly in the track of taking your own symbols seriously.
(If you've had an unpleasant dream, drawing it also seems to take the sting out of it -- don't know why, maybe because *you've* been in control in the drawing of it?)

Whew. . . I really got going on that, didn't I? I guess I did because being in that group of women and also really feeling the presence of this "other person" (my totally unconscious/dreaming self) were postive and integrating experiences.

I still occasionally get out my dream books (spiral notebooks which I wrote my dreams in, and decorated with symbols from them) and go over a few . . . lots of times I can now see "obvious" patterns that completely befuddled me at the time!!!!

Diane B.

Some common metaphors & symbols

In addition to personal symbols & metaphors, there are some which may be universal within certain cultures, or in humanity itself, because of the similar experiences shared.

One of those is water, which often has something to do with emotionality (so, for example, if you're drowning in the ocean, or the water is in a toilet, that may indicate something difficult about emotions in your life; conversely, if you're living near a well, etc., it may suggest something positive.)
(from a post to an online polymer group:
--In your case, it may be that the stream of running water could suggest your freely-flowing emotions, or a wellspring of unconscious emotional ideas available to you. Possibly you "left" some ideas or emotions near the river, but had consciously forgotten what they were or that you could access them. All in all, I'd say your river image sounds positive.

--As for the "translucent" bars, that probably means something but only you can say. Translucence may be relevant to some technique you've been trying, or it may be more metaphorical and suggest being able to "see through" something.)

For those who are interested, here are a few other possibly-universal metaphors:

food --nurturance (intellectual & emotional)
plants/greenery --growth
....your body --how you "get around" in your life (legs/energy or disability, hair/ideas, clothing/image projected to outside world, teeth/personal appearance or assertiveness, being "pursued" or pursuing, etc.)
....your car --how you as an individual relate to life or react (brakes, steering, etc.), & who's "driving"?
....bicycle --having to do with "balance" and learning
....train --skills learning
....flying --feeling high, did something really well (for me it can be ice skating too)
....house --your larger self and intimate relationships; more comprehensive than car
....large buildings --the larger world, communities or large groups of people you live with
..."building" something
....unconscious/higher level
....unconscious/lower level (more like the "Id")
money/wallet or valuables --(often losing them) --personal value, valued parts of yourself, etc.


If anyone is interested in reading about this approach to dreaming, these two books are great (principally available from "sellers" at amazon now, etc):

--The Dream Game , by Ann Faraday --description of the metaphor- way of looking at dreams, and lots of food for thought about possible themes/images (for more info, go to amazon.com and enter Ann Faraday to bring up both her books)

--Creative Dreaming, by Patricia Garfield --lots of this one deals with how some other cultures use dreams intentionally to deal with life or get creative ideas from the inner brain (for more info, go to amazon.com and enter Patricia Garfield to bring up all her books on dreaming)


Lorie O's transformation of a painful dream image into a sculpt

" . . . and then I decided I should sculpt the image from my dream. . . something that would help exorcise the terror and pain that was inside me. It took me a couple of days to get the courage to sit down and sculpt from that wounded part of my heart. . . .When I finally sat down with my clay, a wonderful thing happened. Instead of the image of fear and horror that I was "supposed" to create, a wonderful (figure) emerged from the clay. . ."

boxes (some are houses) created by children to express their hopes and dreams from Art without Borders --non-polymer, but inspirational
http://www.vsarts.org/prebuilt/showcase/gallery/exhibits/cbborders/cbb01.html (click on each photo)