Center for Sacred Psychology

Soul Food Archive: Guest Caterer Specials

Harlem Renaissance Party (detail)
Story Quilt, © Faith Ringgold 1987*
View Entire Quilt

Guest Caterer Specials are side dishes that complement our main courses. The experiences of many spiritual seekers are forming a "cookbook for a sacred life" (Ram Dass' phrase). Might some special delicacy from this potluck meal become a staple at your table?

Please sample our current Main Courses menu, as well as our tasty Desserts & Snacks and earlier dishes in the Soul Food Archive. And, do send your personal comments to our busy kitchen staff. View others' comments here.




Our Current Guest Caterer is Rebecca Janes of Monrovia, California

Here’s what Rebecca writes about her little creatures:

“My soft sculptures are, clearly, animals but they have faces with human expressions. Do they help me reconcile my animal and human natures? The little figures stem from my interest in the history of primitive artmaking, especially as they are made by hand rather than machine.  They also have links, I feel, to ancient totem making.  They are made of cloth, which I love, and are small and tactile—they’re silly, and don’t pretend to feed into any ‘art-ego issues.’





These soft sculptures are simple, and can give pleasure to others—I can make them while looking at television at night with my husband.  Materials that I recycle come from thrift stores; the animals are about play and childlike creativity.






“Also, I can give them things to hold, so they tell stories.  Somehow, these little creatures seem to spring from my now-wiser age, because I am settling happily for making them.  If I were to start my life again, I might have chosen to be a sculptor, and I would likely have chosen large, colorful outdoor forms.  While it makes me feel a bit sad that I didn’t know this until now, I feel blessed to know that I have defined one of the roads not taken; this is a way of reclaiming parts of dreams and desires.




“I share my story of reclamation because I think we are all composed of elements which, when explored and even partially lived out, stretch our lives.  These soft sculptures—with their rich velvety surfaces with pits and tears and re-sewn places—remind me of the beautiful Japanese quilts made of workers’ old clothing.  They look soft and pale and worn and patched together, landscape-like.  I imagine we all have these kinds of reclamation stories.






“I think what we are making tells us about ourselves and our journeys, and happenings inside.  After one is made, I can ask it questions such as Why are you here? and, What do you have to say? and, How can I pay attention to your need to be created?








We're interested in ways this Soul Food may have touched your life.

Click HERE to send us your comments...


Read Others' Comments...

I love love love these darling critters. I can imagine making one that, for example, expresses sadness and then smiling after making it! What a great way to connect with the inner archetypes. If I saw these in a store I would want to buy one but would probably spend hours trying to decide which one!


I have beside me right now a Rebecca-made "critter" that is my napping cat. It makes me feel so good to see this handmade figure of love--and also relaxation and wellbeing. Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing not only this critter with me, but sharing with all of us the path you have taken in your art. What a blessing!


Rebecca, your whimsical creatures are truly charming! Each one is a wonderful invitation to play, hold, wonder, dance or sing. They made me laugh out loud. They also made me want to fly to my long neglected fabric cabinet and start my own creations. Thank you for sharing your delightful "friends."
Los Angeles


I love these and want to make my own; great offering.



* Credits for this page:

~ The quilts of American fiber artist Faith Ringgold hang in museums around the world.  Harlem Renaissance Party, #2 in her "Bitternest Series," is in the collection of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.  Acryllic on canvas, 94"x82", it pictures eleven guests and their exuberant, mask-holding hostess, Cee Cee.  From lower left around the table, the guests are Celia (or Ceclia), a doctor; Florence Mills, singer and comedienne; Aaron Douglass, painter; Meta Warick Fuller, sculptor; W.E.B. DuBois, organizer and writer; Cee Cee's husband, a dentist; Richard Wright, writer; Countee Cullen, poet, novelist and playwright; Zora Neal Hurston; novelist, folklorist and anthropologist; Alain Locke, philosopher and writer; Langston Hughes, poet and writer.  Gratefully used with permission.  See more of Faith's work at

~Rebecca Janes is a spiritual director, a retired Marriage, Family and Child Counselor, and talented artist working in several media—large scale painted canvases, small collage cards, photography, embroidery, others.  Rebecca can swing back and forth between her fine art media and the playful, but very satisfying craft she describes here.  She is also the Artist in Residence at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Eagle Rock, California and co-director of the church’s Center for Spiritual Encouragement, where she provides opportunities and materials for individuals and groups interested in artmaking as an ingredient of their spiritual practice.  She also collaborates with our Center, offering groups to go with our eCourses, as well as one-to-one email consultation for course participants outside the Los Angeles area.
Rebecca’s soft sculpture animals (and cards picturing them) are for sale to support local and international efforts for peace, justice, poverty-reduction, and the encouragement of creativity in spirituality.  She can be found at and at

Rebecca encourages us to think of how personal touches/handmade ingredients can be combined with today’s cyber-technology in artmaking, with the bonus of making one’s art more personal and accessible.  She recommends Fingerprints: The Art of Using Handmade Elements in Graphic Design, Chen Design Associates (Cincinnati: How Books, 2006), The Collage Workbook  by Randel Plowman (Asheville, NC: Lark Books, 2012), and Expressive Drawing by Steve Almone (also from Lark, 2009)..



top of page