Spotlight: Brenda Ferrimani
by Colleen M. Quinn
> With its high ceilings and picture windows, Brenda Ferrimani’s art studio in Longmont, Colorado, is close to becoming her dream: a place for the exploration and understanding of dreams through artistic expression. Dreamwork, which is the exploration of dreams and their meanings, is central to Ferrimani’s studio and work. As an artist, she paints dreams as both a way to dreamwork and also to articulate her spirituality and personality.
“Dreams speak the language of the soul,” says Ferrimani. Through her art, she begins understanding that language.
Ferrimani’s work did not always center on her passion for spirituality and dreamwork. In the 1980s, Ferrimani worked as a graphic designer and operated her own design firm in Colorado. Her work was successful, but it didn’t fulfill her in the way that she needed.
“I was losing interest in my work,” she says. “I needed to somehow express my soul.” Graphic design was of little help in this expression, so Ferrimani entered a period of self-reflection and artwork through examining the dreams she was having at the time. While painting historical public murals during the early 1990s, Ferrimani also painted and sketched her dreams, searching for meaning within them.
As a result of her stunning dream art, Ferrimani attended the International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts in 2000, an annual conference that celebrates fantastic images in literature, film, and art. At the conference Ferrimani spoke for the first time to book artists, science fiction writers, and other artists about her work with her dreams.
“It was a little scary to share my work for the first time!” Ferrimani says of the initial experience. “But there was a great group of people [at the conference]. There I began to find the meaning behind the images of my dreams.”
Before long, Ferrimani understood what her dreams were telling her. “My purpose is to record things,” she says, explaining her need to paint, write, and create. Dream art has become the medium for her spiritual and personal growth. She now paints dream art full time, and is spreading the word about dreamwork.
In addition to her painting, she also writes for Dream Time, an internationally published magazine, and has published an article in the quarterly Dream Network. Ferrimani is also certified in the projective dreamworking method through the Marin Institute in California; in projective dreamwork, the dreamer shares his or her dream with others, who in turn describe and analyze the dream as if it were their own. With this method, a dreamer has several different interpretations and possible meanings of the dream to consider.
“The projective method allows you to enter the dream,” Ferrimani says. “You own the dream to determine its meaning. It heals both the dreamer and those who work on the dream.” Similarly, one can enter and examine a dream through artistic expression.
Dreams are a constant source of inspiration for Ferrimani. The most moving dreams are the few that encouraged her to explore them in the first place. During her time as a graphic designer, she had several recurring dreams of flying and then being pulled back to earth. She had a comparable feeling in her waking life.
Her first piece of dream art, called Expansion, is a powerful image of a woman flying through space. According to Ferrimani, it is the culmination of the flying dreams she has had over the years, and represents her “yearning for spiritual knowing and growth.” Once she had found the meaning in these dreams through painting Expansion, she felt compelled to continue this work with other dreams as well. All artwork and related articles can be found on her website http://www.brendaferrimanidreamart.com/.
Perhaps the most powerful of Ferrimani’s dreams is one she calls The Raggedy Man. For her, this dream was a breakthrough in her understanding of dreams and of herself. For several years, she dreamt of a neglected homeless man who followed her everywhere in pursuit of a sexual encounter. From this Ferrimani discovered her “wounded healer” or her need to help others that she had long overlooked.
“It totally transformed me from who I was,” she says. “I realized that I needed to give my wounded healer a little tender loving care!”
From this revelation, Ferrimani decided to start Paint Your Dreams, a workshop that focuses on dream art and dreamworking through artistic expression. The first workshop begins on June 16, 2007, in her newly finished studio in Longmont. The initial workshop is only for one day, but Ferrimani plans on having one once a month by September. She says that the class will focus specifically on symbols in dreams, and for the first workshop, students will paint trees, a powerful dream image.
The class will have a structure similar to that of a projective dreamwork group; after students are finished with their paintings, each person shares his or her work. In turn, each person offers what the painting means for them. Ferrimani feels that the projective method is an extremely productive way to explore both art and dreams.
“Everything we see and experience goes through our own filter. No one experiences the world the same,” she explains. “Sometimes we have personal resistance to our own dreams. Others can look at our dreams objectively, in case something has been overlooked.”
Ferrimani says that there are three things she wants people to take away from her workshop. “People can learn something about art,” she says. “They will have a painting they can use for decoration or meditation, and they will experience a level of deeper knowing.” She also plans to have drop-in times for her studio for those who wish to try their hand at dream art.
Ferrimani’s art is not confined solely to her own dreams. Since first starting in her dream art years ago, Ferrimani has collected and painted the dreams of others, many of which can be seen on her website, http://www.brendaferrimanidreamart.com/. As a dreamworker, Ferrimani works with others on the meaning of their dreams. In addition, her paintings offer another facet to dreamwork.
Currently, she is working on a series of paintings called Amazing Women’s Dreams. In the process of collecting dreams, Ferrimani’s goal with this body of work is to reveal the likenesses between dreams of amazing women and how they can be connected. One painting in particular, called Surrender to the White Buffalo, was inspired by the dream of Kathleen Sullivan, who later became a successful dreamworker once her own dream had been examined. The painting, and the dream, is about knowing and being in touch with one’s self.
Ferrimani also plans to explore the meaning of recurring symbols in dreams, specifically the symbol of water and tidal waves. This is an image common for many dreamers, including Ferrimani, and she hopes with her artwork she can help others to decipher their own dreams.
“For me, the tidal wave means my love of dreams,” she says. “It’s what has taken over my life.
Brenda may be contacted at:
About Colleen Quinn
Colleen Quinn graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication. A writer for most of her life, she has been writing for Whisperingtree.net for over two years. In that time, she’s had the opportunity to meet with many practitioners and masters of the healing arts. Using her years of customer service experience and time as an intern reporter, Colleen provides a unique means of expression for each practitioner she meets. She believes that honest interest and open ears are paramount for learning and understanding the world around us. Through her writing, Colleen offers readers a valuable insight into the work of those who are doing so much to help others.