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Adding Ruffles and Flourishes

Adding Ruffles and Flourishes
Adding Ruffles and Flourishes

Special Objects

You may want to incorporate into your Odyssey presentation some of the artifacts from your High Hill retreat or from your research, such as photos, lists, time lines, trees, drawings, or scrapbooks. Gather your artifacts and rehearse your presentation, reading your Odyssey aloud. As you read, think about what you might like to share, either by passing it around or by referring to a display. Note the places where you will do this. Time the entire presentation to make sure it fits within 45 minutes.

Family Shrines

In some cultures, people worship or honor their ancestors with a family shrine. A shrine might have photos, objects, candles, incense, and flowers. You may want to prepare a family shrine to accompany your Odyssey presentation. Use pictures or objects that are especially important to you. Try locating a souvenir from each decade that is symbolic for you, putting one or more on your shrine, either at home or during your presentation to the group. If you are planning an Odyssey presentation for your family in addition to the one for your High Hill group, this could be an especially meaningful gesture.

Handcrafts and Visual Art

If you are a person who enjoys handcrafts, such as knitting or quilting, or visual arts, such as photography or painting, you may want to use your own art in your presentation. If you are lucky enough to have any of your childhood projects, you may want to include them in your Odyssey presentation. In any case, take time to admire the artistic child who still lives within you.

You may decide to create your own paper mache mask to be part of your Odyssey presentation. This can be done at home by yourself or with one or more people from the workshop. It is time-consuming, but worth the effort!

Before you begin creating your mask, think about your outer persona, the person you present to the world. Then, think about your inner persona, the person deep inside whom the world rarely sees. Choose one or the other to represent with your mask, or make one mask for each. Find detailed instructions for making paper mache masks on the Internet or borrow a craft book from your library. You will need these materials:

  • Something to shape your mask, such as a balloon or pieces of flexible, mesh screen and masking tape
  • Plenty of newspaper, cut into strips
  • A paste of flour and water (Mix one part flour with two parts water.)
  • Acrylic paints, brushes, and water for rinsing brushes
  • Trimmings such as glitter, feathers, twigs, and yarn—whatever you want to use (You may have some special adornment, jewelry, a precious souvenir, or another item you would like to add to your mask.)
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Twine for hanging your mask.

Make a structure or mold on which to build the mask. Balloons or molded screens held by tape work well. Then, form the mask by laying strips of paste-coated paper over the mold, shaping it as you imagine it. Make a small hole on each side, by the ears, so the mask can be hung when it is finished. Once the mask has been formed, put it in a safe place to dry, which may take several days. When you are sure it is completely dry, paint your mask, letting your imagination be free. When the paint is dry, decorate the mask and add any special ornamentation. Hang the mask on the wall or a bulletin board to set. Invite anyone who has joined you in mask-making to talk about their masks and what they mean. You might choose to wear or display your mask when you present your Odyssey.


There may be songs that were important at certain times in your life, or are important to you now. If you would like to include music in your Odyssey presentation, plan to bring recordings and a player (or perhaps a musical instrument or your own voice!).


You may have in your head, in journals, or on your bookshelves quotations that express the core of your feelings about an event, a person, or a place. Whether poetry or prose, they can enhance or highlight what you are trying to say. Think of salt and pepper: Season your Odyssey with quotations, but don't overwhelm the flavor of your own words. People will be more interested in what you have to say than in the words of others!

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