Exploring Covenant Based Caregiving with a Creative Twist

August 26, 2014

Covenant /ˈkəvənənt/  (noun) : A promise. An agreement. A commitment.

Back in June I was inspired by the concept of “covenant based caregiving” and thought that creating an altered book to honor my values & beliefs & explore my interest in this topic would be a creative, interesting endeavor for this fall.

What are your promises to yourself that you can make about living, working, loving, being, becoming, believing, promoting, striving, and seeking that support covenant caregiving vs. “on demand” caregiving?

I’ve started to brainstorm my list of promises (and then fancied it up with Recite) to get the creative process going:

Exploring Covenant Based Caregiving with a Creative Twist | creativity in motion

I’ve been saving a small children’s board book to alter for this very project. I have started to strip away the glossy, coated pages and paint backgrounds of color on the raw surface underneath with acrylic paint.  It’s the same process I love doing for my ready for revo’lution books every year– I find it so freeing and liberating to prepare the spaces for my altered books in this way. Removing and clearing out the old, to set the stage for something new.

Exploring Covenant Based Caregiving with a Creative Twist | creativity in motion


I hope to share my progress here on how things are developing with this new project! I am excited to finally begin…. :)


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Journey to Resilience: Takeaways & Creative Offerings

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Gratitude

Self-Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation


Ribbons of HOPE: Community Art Project Comes Together for Ferguson, Missouri

August 24, 2014
“At the end of the day, we must go forward with hope….” ~Jesse Jackson

There’s a collaborative community art project mobilizing for Ferguson, Missouri and the project’s organizers are inviting anyone who would like to contribute, to send Ribbons of HOPE.

From the project’s description:

“Ribbons of HOPE will be displayed and tied on to fences at two sites in Ferguson, with hopes of spreading to additional sites. The Ribbons of HOPE sites will provide a safe space for people to reflect, connect, commune and exchange dialogue.”  The project organizers “hope and wish that Ribbons of HOPE will be unifying, to help nurture and strengthen community spirit and build bridges towards the future of Ferguson. “

Ribbons of Hope: a Collaborative Community Art Project for Ferguson, Missouri | creativity in motion

On my Ribbon of HOPE, I artfully infused it with positive intentions & support to send. To create my contribution, I used fabric ribbon, nylon cord, sharpie & paint markers, glitter glue, some small cardboard tags, and covered everything with Outdoor Mod Podge.

Ribbons of Hope: a Collaborative Community Art Project for Ferguson, Missouri | creativity in motion

Ribbons of Hope: a Collaborative Community Art Project for Ferguson, Missouri | creativity in motion

Ribbons of Hope: a Collaborative Community Art Project for Ferguson, Missouri | creativity in motion

Ribbons of HOPE is a partnership of the Adolescent Resource Center (a program of Queen of Peace Center), the Northern Arts Council, Ferguson Youth Initiative, Provident Counseling, and the Missouri Art Therapy Association.

To learn how to contribute your Ribbon of HOPE, visit the Missouri Art Therapy Association blog.


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Shifting Made Visible

August 16, 2014
Shifting Made Visible  | creativity in motion

reflection & review: 15 days of August 3x5s

I decided to take a look at this month’s 3×5’s I’ve created so far in a moment of creative contemplation.

Shifting Made Visible  | creativity in motion

Shifting Made Visible

This month I’ve been experiencing some major shifting, from within and out. I’ve been witnessing this surface & form in my daily creative practice of 3×5 work with themes that reflect new change, possibility, and discovery:

Shifting Made Visible  | creativity in motion

Day 213: Artful offering

“When everything is moving and shifting, the only way to counteract chaos is stillness. When things feel extraordinary, strive for ordinary. When the surface is wavy, dive deeper for quieter waters.” –Kristen Armstrong

Shifting Made Visible  | creativity in motion

Day 215: explicitly forming from within

“…art is knowledge made visible.” –Gustave Courbet

Shifting Made Visible  | creativity in motion

Day 217: [creative] restoration

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find ways in which you yourself have altered.”
— Nelson Mandela

Shifting Made Visible  | creativity in motion

Day 219: create hope

“All appears to change when we change.” – Henri-Frédéric Amiel

Shifting Made Visible  | creativity in motion

Day 221: artful passion

“The authentic self is the soul made visible.” –Sarah Ban Breathnach

Shifting Made Visible  | creativity in motion

Day 222: all my hopes

“It is enjoyable to make things visible which are invisible.”Eric Cantona
Shifting Made Visible  | creativity in motion

Day 226: something new


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Creating Hope: NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium

August 10, 2014

I recently attended the 4th Annual NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium organized by the Renee Jones Empowerment Center and hosted on the campus of Notre Dame College here in the Cleveland area. The day was completely full with a variety of informative topics addressing areas in relationship to trafficking & survivor stories, therapeutic services, law enforcement, outreach, and housing.  I wanted to share some of the resources, information, energy, efforts, and examples of hope, recovery, and resilience that filled the room throughout the day, as well as the work being done locally and nationally to bring awareness and help to this issue.

Creating Hope: NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium | creativity in motion

Cleveland’s Renee Jones Empowerment Center

The Renee Jones Empowerment Center is the only NE Ohio agency “committed to providing life coaching and aftercare services to those with the courage to break the human trafficking system…Human Trafficking is code for slavery — involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or peonage.”  Humantrafficking.org is a comprehensive international web resource full of publications, updates, research, and reports to learn more about the advocacy efforts happening around the world.

 During the Symposium’s Treatment & Clinical Services track information was presented about models, strategies, and approaches being used with at-risk youth for prevention & recovery that is grounded in trauma informed theory and attachment treatment.  Some of treatment considerations discussed were:

  • Implementing a Positive Peer Culture (PPC) within Group Based Work:

    PPC “is a peer-helping model designed to improve social competence and cultivate strengths in troubled and troubling youth. “Care and concern” for others (or “social interest”) is the defining element of PPC. Rather than demanding obedience to authority or peers, PPC demands responsibility, empowering youth to discover their greatness. Caring is made fashionable and any hurting behavior totally unacceptable. PPC assumes that as group members learn to trust, respect, and take responsibility for the actions of others, norms can be established. These norms not only extinguish antisocial conduct, but more importantly reinforce pro-social attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Positive values and behavioral change are achieved through the peer-helping process. Helping others increases self-worth. As one becomes more committed to caring for others, s/he abandons hurtful behaviors.”

 More information about this model can be read here: The Evidence Base for Positive Peer Culture [PDF].

  • The Sanctuary Model® for Organizations and Programs working with Survivors:

The Sanctuary Model is an evidence-supported template for system change based on the active creation and maintenance of a nonviolent, democratic community in which staff and clients are empowered as key decision-makers to build a socially responsive, emotionally intelligent and just community that is able to transform internal and external conflict, and that fosters growth and change.

More information about this model can be read here: Trauma-Informed Means Changing Organizational Culture

  •  Interventions valuable to treatment are client centered, empower survivors with a source of control about their thoughts, feelings, & behavior, as well as utilize structured sensory interventions & experiences that are soothing, repetitive, and build resiliency. (This includes art therapy!)

In my art therapy work at the Renee Jones Empowerment Center throughout this year as part of Ursuline ArtSpace’s Outreach Program, I try to keep the following themes in mind when planning and implementing art interventions for group work:

Creating Hope: NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium | creativity in motion

Jeanne Allert, Founder & Executive Director of The Samaritan Women in Baltimore Maryland also reinforced the power of play as a liberating & therapeutically essential part to the activities and structure of her restorative program for survivors of trauma and trafficking.  Also check out the TSW website for their lists of must see films and books to read to learn more about sex trade, human trafficking, or prostitution.

For me, the most emotionally powerful part of the Symposium’s day was the program’s Keynote Speaker, Dr. Elaine Richardson who performed a one-woman show inspired by her book PHD to Ph.D. It included an amazing performance of music and storytelling about Dr. Richardson’s experience & recovery from addiction and her life in prostitution.

Learn more about Dr. Richardson’s work and story here:

Thank you to the Renee Jones Empowerment Center for bringing us all together to bring awareness, help, and hope to this important issue.


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Travel Update: Random Acts of Art Adventure Arrives to the UK!

August 3, 2014

Originally posted on 6 Degrees of Creativity:

Travel Update: The Random Acts of Art Adventure Arrives in the UK | 6 Degrees of Creativity

The Random Acts of Art Adventure travels 4000+ miles to the UK!

Just a few weeks ago, the Random Acts of Art Adventure left the US in Florida to begin its creative tour (stops 34-36) in the UK with Janette, Louise, and Bernadette:

Travel Update: The Random Acts of Art Adventure Arrives in the UK | 6 Degrees of Creativity

The creative goodness stash that arrived to Janette on the Isle of Wight

Travel Update: The Random Acts of Art Adventure Arrives in the UK | 6 Degrees of Creativity

Janette’s lovely addition to the pouch’s Creative Passport

Travel Update: The Random Acts of Art Adventure Arrives in the UK | 6 Degrees of CreativityJanette created this series of Random Acts of Art using supplies she received in the pouch, along with her own materials.  These 6 altered bingo cards (picture above: front, picture below: back) will be abandoned by Janette over the next couple of months for people to discover and enjoy. :)Travel Update: The Random Acts of Art Adventure Arrives in the UK | 6 Degrees of CreativityAfter its stop on the Ilse of Wight, the pouch traveled to Louise in Highbridge, Somerset:

Travel Update: The Random Acts of Art Adventure Arrives in the UK | 6 Degrees of Creativity

Creative Greetings from Louise in Highbridge, Somerset!

Travel Update: The Random Acts of Art Adventure Arrives in the UK | 6 Degrees of Creativity Snapshots from Louise of her Creative Passport page & Random Acts of Art…

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Paper Stash Swap Show & Tell

August 1, 2014

In July, I organized a Paper Stash Swap for my 6 Degrees of Creativity online workshop community, where interested members signed up to exchange artsy paper stuff and goodies with another participant:

Paper Stash Swap Show & Tell | creativity in motion

Let’s Swap Some Paper!

Below is some the creative goodness I put together for the couple of fun  stashes I mailed to Nancy and Jessica.  These packages included a variety of scrapbooking paper, tags, paper bag books, scrap collage bits & pieces, bingo cards, book catalog file cards and more:

Paper Stash Show & Tell | creativity in motion

Preparing Creative Goodness for Paper Stash Mailing

Here’s a collection of awesome paper stashes I received from Jessica, Roseann, and Nancy (thank you!) which included lots of colorful printed paper, book & dictionary pages, maps, tags, tickets, and so, so much more:

Paper Stash Show & Tell | creativity in motion

Paper Stash Treasure

The second part of this Paper Stash Swap is this month’s Show & Tell where we can share what we’ve created with some of the gifts & treasures we’ve received.  I’ve used a lot of the stash stuff in my 3×5 365 cards during the past month. It was also really easy to take the stashes (contained in a large mailing envelope or plastic bag) on the go with me to create with.  I really thought the patterns, textures, & colors of the stashes I was generously gifted with brought a new excitement and an inviting warmth to my 3×5 art. It was a pleasure to begin incorporating these positive elements into my creative practice and feel these meaningful additions come to life (each day and each week).

Paper Stash Show & Tell | creativity in motion

My Paper Stash Show & Tell: July 3×5 Art

I look forward to seeing other Show & Tells from this exchange on the 6 Degrees of Creativity site and how what was received was used or what it inspired. :)

In case you’re looking for your own paper stash inspiration check out some of these ideas from my Creative Goodness with Gluebooks e-book that you can download free here.

Paper Stash Show & Tell | creativity in motion

Cultivating Your Paper Stash

What’s your favorite paper item to use in your stash or to gift to others?


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Social Media’s Role in Cultivating Art Therapy Connection, Community, & Creativity

July 26, 2014

Earlier this month at the national art therapy conference in San Antonio, I was able to spend time dialoguing in a focus group I led about one of my favorite topics: the role of social media in creating connection, community, and sustaining creativity.

Social Media’s Role in Cultivating Art Therapy Connection, Community, & Creativity | creativity in motion

This group time was a very nice opportunity to talk with art therapists and art therapy students about how they use social media, what interests & challenges them, as well as the different ways social media can be used within the art therapy community for networking, collaborating, art-making, and inspire one another.

In comparison to a focus group I led on this same topic at the national conference 5 years ago (2009), the awareness and use of social media seemed to be a lot more integrated into our regular professional interactions and activity.  This included, but was not limited to: connecting with other art therapists, inspiring & supporting our own creative process with art-making, taking to the social media air waves to promote what we are passionate about in art therapy (through blogging, creating Facebook pages, using hashtags, QR codes) and keeping updated on worldwide happenings and news in the art therapy community.  The increasing use of smartphones, tablets, and apps (vs. 2009) to access social media in mobile form definitely has contributed to this day to day practice.

Challenges voiced included understanding how to leverage the most out of different social media sites, having a mindful awareness of ones personal vs. professional life online, and keeping up with the constant changes, new developments, and activity in the world of social media.

Check out this SlideShare inspired by this focus group’s topic:

This was a great time to gather together about this topic off the grid!  Thank you to everyone who attended! It is inspiring to learn more about how we as art therapists continue to use social media to strengthen our professional connections, enhance the relationship with our creativity, & create online opportunities for supporting our work, interests, & practice.


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Inspiration from the 2014 TLC Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly

July 23, 2014

It’s been a super busy last couple of weeks and I am grateful within that time I was able to schedule in attending a day of the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s Annual Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly.

One of the workshops I attended was facilitated by Nora Stanger  and focused on overcoming childhood trauma through reframing experiences, exploring & discovering life purpose, as well as the connection of foundational values and personal leadership in finding that calling.  Check out Nora’s TEDx talk Embrace Your Past…. Define Your Future (8:39) to learn more about her powerful, inspiring story of post traumatic growth:

On reframing, Nora shared these four steps (also available here in handout form):

  • Acknowledge and Apply Your Strengths- What personal strengths can you bring to the situation?
  • Find & Use the Positives- Using your strengths, how can you make the situation better?
  • Accept the Uncontrollable- What parts are not in your control? What are you willing to give up?
  • Focus on the Controllable- What can you control (thoughts, feelings, actions)?

Reframing invites a different way of seeing the experience and challenges us to explore our beliefs about the situation and to change or reverse its meaning.  This perspective can help us manage the experience better and from a strength-based and empowering mind set.   I was super happy that this workshop also included shout outs to the pioneering positive psychology work of Dr. Martin Seligman and his site authentichappiness.org.

On life purpose, Nora discussed how looking beyond ourselves and situations helps discover, give voice, and action to the bigger meaning and calling of our existence, no matter what our past and circumstances.  She cited the work of Dr. Bill Millard and his Life Calling Model, which outlines a series of values rooted in character, faith, and service connected to our strengths, passion, and experiences to explore life purpose. Foundational Values are at the core of our being and helps form the way we think about the world, ourselves, and others. Our values are the basis of our choices (Millard, 2012).

I was inspired by Nora’s content and these presented models not only in relationship to my work in trauma with survivors, but as another addition to  covenant based caregiving that I learned about last month.  More inspiration and awesome ideas for transforming this stuff into altered book form!  Thank you Nora!

Also at the TLC Assembly, I was able to present a workshop on art journaling, trauma intervention, and self care, which was a nice way for attendees to end the week.  This part lecture/part art-making workshop explored the use of art journaling as a safe, contained space for processing emotional expression, promoting self care, and sharing ones personal narrative and intentions related to trauma work. Content also included themes and the benefits of art journaling as a visual voice and means of trauma intervention with youth and women survivors. The group engaged in creating their own mini art journal with paper bags with mixed media to help identify and support their own professional self-care practices:

Inspiration from the 2014 TLC Childhood Trauma Practitioner's Assembly | creativity in motion

Inspiration from the 2014 TLC Childhood Trauma Practitioner's Assembly | creativity in motion

Inspiration from the 2014 TLC Childhood Trauma Practitioner's Assembly | creativity in motion

 It was such a pleasure to work with this group! Thank you to everyone who attended!

You can check out all the photos from the Assembly’s great week via TLC here. :)

Call for Art : Art Therapy 360 : Join the Celebration!

July 21, 2014

Originally posted on Art Therapy Alliance:

Art Therapy 360 | Art Therapy Alliance

In recognition of the Art Therapy Alliance reaching 36,000 likes on FacebookArt Therapy 360 invites community members and supporters to create a mandala (in any media) celebrating the awesomeness & power of art therapy.

To contribute to this community project, please e-mail your own original mandala art photo (no larger than 1000 dpi) to info@arttherapyalliance.org with a brief statement describing how your 360 image celebrates this amazing field and practice around the globe!  Please also include your name & where your mandala was created.

Art Therapy 360 mandala images will be posted on the Art Therapy Alliance’s Facebook and Pinterest pages to help spread the word!  You can also share your art and positive message about art therapy using the #arttherapy360 hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  Join the #arttherapy360 celebration through art & social media!

Here are some art therapy & mandala resources to help get you…

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6 Degrees of Creativity 2014 Online Workshops Sale!

July 15, 2014

Originally posted on 6 Degrees of Creativity:

6 Degrees of Creativity Workshop SaleRegistration for 6 Degrees of Creativity’s 2014 online workshops is open until the end of this month– there’s still time to join in on the creative goodness if you are interested… :)

This year’s 6 workshops are available until December 31, 2014, so you can still enjoy the remaining 5 months.  All workshops are self-guided and go at your own pace to make it super easy to fit into your schedule and when you want to participate!

Beginning today (until 7/31), this year’s series of 6 Degrees of Creativity workshops will be offered at a discounted rate of $24.99 (USD). After 7/31, registration for new participants will be closed.

Throughout the last 5 months, the 6 Degrees of Creativity site has been an inspiring place to connect with other creatives and artful concepts dedicated to using art for good:

6 Degrees of Creativity Workshops- Sale!You can learn more about all the workshops here.


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