Tools & Talismans #26 — Kathleen Shannon

I’ve now painted a little more than a quarter of the pieces for this project, and as I work on each piece, finish each piece, I am struck by the things that are precious, useful and important to each woman. There are a few items that carry through: phones, scissors, writing tools, and recently a fair amount of feathers, but the rest of the items are all varied and individual.

When I got the idea for this project there were a few things that interested me: the power that lives in the things we use, touch or treasure and the curiosity about how many other women would be interested in thinking about their tools and talismans and sharing them with me.

I’m still so jazzed each time I start a new painting, and then again when I share it. Each time I paint I’m reminded that there is indeed power and love and deep rich story in all of these tools and talismans.

Nag Champa: reminds me so much of high school. I was first practicing yoga and studying earth magic. My talismans were limited to nag champa and colored candles that I would light and gaze upon with lots of teen angst. I still love lighting a stick of nag champa in my home.

The little gold kitty: My sister got me a little red maneki-neko cat from Epcot at Disneyworld (I know . . . not super mystical). I carried it with me every day during my pregnancy and handed it off to a friend wishing to get pregnant after I gave birth to my son. I replaced my little red maneki-neko cat with a gold one — which symbolizes intense wealth and prosperity. It couldn't hurt!

iPhone: This is probably my most handy tool. I can do a significant amount of work all from my phone. From creative coaching to taking photos for my blog to capturing notes and ideas to connecting with other creatives over social media. I feel so lucky to live in a day and age where we can fit a computer in our pockets.

Pen & Paper: As much as I love technology I believe something magical happens when you put pen to paper. From brainstorming to planning to sorting out my own head — lists, streams of consciousness, and mindmaps fill my notebooks.

Kathleen Shannon is a creative coach, podcaster, designer, and #boss.


Tools & Talismans is a personal painting project where I’m documenting in watercolor the tools and talismans of 100 different women — creators and healers, thinkers and makers, wordsmiths and visionaries. Join me for a year of Tools & Talismans — I'll be sharing a new painting with you every Wednesday.

I also create commissioned illustrations for people just like you — contact me and we can talk about what you might need for your website, a book cover and etc.