Archive for the 'creative places' Category

Artful Adventure Treasures from Chicago

November 3, 2013

It’s been a week since I returned back from Chicago to attend the Illinois Art Therapy Association Conference- What a great few days!

Chicago’s Beautiful Landscape

So here’s a little bit about my adventures while visiting one of my favorite cities:

Before the conference festivities launched, I spent some of my time on the streets of Chicago leaving some of the art messages I made with my adventure supplies inspired by this recent 14 Secrets Art Challenge. I also kindly left these artsy messages in books where I was staying in the city. Lani also contributed to the stash with very cool “You are Here” stickers and typed up phrases that I adorned with washi tape.  One of these messages was even gifted to our dinner waiter as a little something extra with his tip….  :)

Distributing these handmade & artful notes into the universe was an amazing joyful release of gratitude for me, as it helped share & finally pass on these messages of hope, unconditional love, & kindness.

To get started on your own Guerrilla Art adventure, check out this Cloth Paper Scissors guide.

Guerrilla Art for the Soul

Following these art adventures, I visited the Adler School of Professional Psychology and lucky me got to drop into the end of Lani’s workshop with IATA members where they created paper puppets & paper houses as a tool for storytelling…It was great to hear about and see what everyone created!  Following the workshop, I attended the kick-off for the conference, also hosted by Adler and its art therapy students, which was an evening of intention setting, art-making, networking, and convo good for the soul.

Healing Narratives & Rekindling

The following day the IATA conference was officially here at School of the Art Institute of Chicago and included a day full of inspiring art therapy presentations, workshops, panels, and presenters. Before getting started with the keynote presentation we all participated in a lighting ceremony led by the Conference Committee to set our individual intentions for the day, which I loved and thought created a collective positive vibe!

Below is the awesome keynote presentation given by Lani, which is filled with lots of treasures intersecting art therapy, positive psychology, neuroscience. and healing narrative:

You can also read Lani’s End Notes from the IATA Conference here for more good stuff!

*****

During the conference’s afternoon, it was an honor to offer a workshop on Art Journaling’s Visual Voice for Trauma Intervention, as well as explore art journaling as a way to process a trauma therapist’s journey related to self care.

Art Journaling as a Visual Voice for Trauma Intervention | IATA Conference

Art Journaling as a Visual Voice for Trauma Intervention workshop @ IATA Conference

Download the handout from the workshop here:

Art Journaling as a Visual Voice for Trauma Intervention | Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC, CTC-S

I am looking forward to also doing another workshop on this topic this week at the Expressive Therapies Summit in New York City.

Chicago Smashbooking

And lastly, from all the creative goodness & treasures I collected along the way during my visit, I did a new spread in my smashbook to honor my experience and adventure!

*****

Related Posts:

14 Secrets Challenge: Adventure Supplies & Guerrilla Art for the Soul

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention

twentythirteen on the go

Firewalk Inspired Smashbooking

September 9, 2013

This week-end I participated in something I’ve wanted to do for years…the experience of firewalking.  Every September, Common Ground Center for Renewal in Oberlin, Ohio holds an annual firewalk and this year I finally made it…and wow…it was so very worth it…

Firewalk Preparation | creativity in motion

Firewalk Fire Preparation

For me, something about taking on this challenge greatly called to me as an unique opportunity for continued transformation and growth, as well as to explore trust & faith.

Our certified firewalking instructor Dave Tuscany led us through an amazing empowerment workshop while a fire 15 feet long burned for 90 minutes. A news piece about the evening can be read here.

Firewalk Feet | creativity in motion

Firewalk Feet

As I silently approached the sacred space of hot coals and embers, this glowing pathway was something I was surprisingly eager to travel on rather than fearful. There was such a strong energy and atmosphere of positive affirmation and intention that when it was finally my turn to walk, I did so without hesitation.  I felt no pain or burning on my feet…only a warm, nurturing & determined feeling coming from within and surrounding me.  Beautiful.

Firewalk Ashes | creativity in motion

Firewalk Ashes

As I was leaving the event that evening, I took some of the firewalk’s ashes as a special keepsake of this important experience. The charred pieces of ember were still smoking and full of heat as I shovel them into the wooden box I brought with me.

Firewalk Ash Create Hand | creativity in motion

Creating with Firewalk Ash

As I reflected on my experience the next morning in my smashbook, I did so with a shifted sense of freedom, peace, renewal, and astonishment. As I worked, my fingertips smudged the images and pages with the sacred pieces of charred embers:

Firewalk Smashbooking | creativity in motion

Firewalk Smashbooking- Filtered (Click to enlarge)

To help the young soul, to add energy, inspire hope, and blow the coals into a useful flame; to redeem defeat by new thought and firm action, this, though not easy, is the work of divine man.”         ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Related Posts:

Dictionary Art Inspiration, Branch Strengthening, & Smashbooking

Adventure Visioning: A Page From My Smashbook

Through a Grateful Summer Lens: Honoring Our Light

Art Therapy Happenings and Goings On: twentythirteen fall on the go

August 19, 2013

I’ve been gearing up for art therapy fall happenings and goings on that I’m looking forward to this year… Lots of good stuff on the calendar! Check it out:

This week begins the first day of Art Therapy Studio I that I’ll be teaching for Ursuline College’s Art Therapy  and Counseling Program.  I’m very excited to meet the students and work together throughout the fall semester exploring concepts about the creative process, developing their unique self-expression, and symbolic language through art.  This course engages students in tons of personal art making in and outside of class, as well as time to reflect about their identity as an artist, which I believe is so essential in the on-going work of an art therapist. Students will be creating a portfolio of work, exploring artist mentors, and telling their own path as an artist through digital storytelling to help facilitate this discovery.

Next month, I’ll be attending Ohio’s Buckeye Art Therapy Association’s Annual Symposium (September 28 & 29) featuring  Dr. Harriet Wadeson as the Keynote Speaker. Dr. Wadeson “will focus on the use of creative self-expression in facing severe illness as an experienced art therapist and from the subjective vantage point of her own cancer diagnosis and treatment as highlighted in her recent book, Journaling Cancer in Words and Images: Caught in the Clutch of the Crab.” On-line registration is still open until August 26 to attend this 2 day event of art therapy offerings!

toplogoIn October I’ll be visiting Mount Mary University in Milwaukee again to teach a week-end class about Art Therapy Interventions and Strategies with Survivors of Domestic Violence. Content related to group work & appropriate themes, using art to help re-establish safety, build resiliency, manage traumatic stress, as well as art’s role to empower a visual voice in trauma intervention will be explored. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to spend time with Mount Mary’s art therapy graduate students and to share my experiences over this 3 day offering.

Also in October, I’ll be attending the Illinois Art Therapy Association Conference (October 26), Collective Rekindling: Healing Narratives in Art Therapy being held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  The Keynote Speaker for this conference is Dr. Lani Gerity, which is so perfect for the conference theme!  As part of the conference, I’ll be presenting a workshop on Art Journaling’s Visual Voice in Trauma Intervention. This hands-on workshop will explore the use of art journaling as a safe, contained space for processing emotional expression, promoting self care, and sharing ones personal narrative and intentions. Content will include themes and the benefits of art journaling as a visual voice and means of trauma intervention with youth and women survivors of trauma.  Participants will engage in creating their own mini art journal with mixed media to identify and support their own professional self-care practices and intentions related to working with trauma & loss issues.

I’ll also be presenting my art journaling and trauma intervention workshop at the 4th Annual Expressive Therapies Summit while in New York City this November. Check out my offering on November 10 and others related to Story, Journaling, and Poetry in Therapy available at this year’s Summit here. This year’s Summit includes over 175 faculty presenting on 7 Creative Arts over 4 days throughout NYC!

I hope our paths will cross to meet up or say hello at one of these offerings this fall!

*****

Related posts:

Group Strategies & Interventions with Traumatized Children and Adolescents | Online Course

Self Care through Creative Practice and Intention

On the Go: Change, Transformation, & Action through Art

[Buried Treasure] What Ought to Be: On Untangling and Putting Fragments Back Together with Art

June 11, 2013

The treasure hunt begins on 6/12 over at The Altered Page, as participating art bloggers come together to share past posts we love & to collaborate as part of Seth Apter’s Buried Treasure Project. The concept is awesome: Seth will be posting a list of all our posts so we and others can discover lots of artsy online hidden treasure and creative goodness.

I’m re-posting one of my favorite blog posts, What Ought to Be: On Untangling and Putting Fragments Back Together with Art from the Creativity in Motion archives in 2010.  I selected this post because it symbolizes many core beliefs I have about art-making’s ability to create transformation out of moments full of uncertainty and vulnerability.

I also decided to create some updated fragments of me to add to the box…

Fragments of Me: Twentythirteen | What Ought to Be: Untangling and Putting Fragments Back Together w/ Art | creativity in motion
****
What Ought to Be: On Untangling and Putting Fragments Back Together with Art | Originally posted on Creativity in Motion: 2/28/2010

Earlier in the week I was reading a post about what daily meditation can do for your creativity and wrote down these words that the author, Mark McGuinness highlighted: Focus, Patience, Calmness, Clarity, Insight, and Perspective with the intention to reflect on the state of my own mental clarity and what McGuinness described perfectly as “getting tangled up in thoughts”.

As the week went on, I lost track of this intention. What did follow was lots of tangling and static coming from many sources and by the end of the week, my mind felt like it was in tight knots unable to make sense of anything or what to do next.  Except for one thing: to make art.  When I am having a hard time understanding what’s happening around me or within, art-making usually helps me start to untangle everything and invite many of the qualities listed in McGuinness’ post.

This past week in particular, I was really thinking about themes related to shattering, fragmenting and scatteredness… feeling this within and wanting to do something constructive and meditative to make these pieces more containable and start to put them back together for my sanity and my ability to keep moving forward with fresh eyes, a clearer head, and creative mind.

I used several square and rectangle plastic “Fragments”  from Tim Holtz’s idea-ology and adhered the words I wrote down from McGuinness’ list and others important to my untangling process.   Holtz’s “Fragments” are small clear tiles that can be embellished by adhering patterned paper to, inking, or gluing on printed paper for creating “a concept or thought developed by the mind of what is desireable or ought to be“.

I also collaged a box to hold and contain these fragments of “what ought to be”.

Developing and containing these fragments through this process reminded me (again) of my core intentions, purpose, and helped “untangle” most of the “thought knots”, as well as put back and contain all the little pieces of me that were scattered everywhere and ought to be paid attention to for continued creativity, energy, and collaboration.

From My Smashbook: April Inspiration

April 21, 2013

Thanks to Artsyville’s Glue It Tuesday and the revival of a local Saturday art-making get together I enjoy attending, my smashbook has been filling up with lots of the things I love to stick, collage, and glue down during the month of April:

April Smashbooking: Gretchen Miller | Creativity in Motion

Here I’ve used magazine photo images sent by Lani in 2013′s Creative Pay It Forward, pages from a vintage Reader’s Digest book I discovered, dictionary pages, and other collage bits & pieces I’ve been collecting.  Looking for to this week’s Glue It Tuesday’s fun!

Adventure Visioning: A Page From My Smashbook

April 7, 2013
“Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.” ~W. Somerset Maugham

Adventure Visioning

 I started to play with doing some visioning in my smashbook. Using magazine photo collage, drawing & inking, I began to visually organize content & happenings for the next few months ahead by converting my to-do post-it notes and lists into image form. Above is a page for April, May, June, and July, which includes inspiration about appointments, proposal deadlines, projects, brainstorming ideas, upcoming events, bits & pieces of fun stuff, & more.

Twentytwelve On the Go Adventure Gluebook

November 4, 2012

Earlier this year I started an adventure gluebook to visually document some of my travels from this year and as part of the 6 Degrees of Creativity e-workshop Creative Goodness with Gluebooks.  I’m super excited that I’ve finally finished this book, which is made from four repurposed file folders.

#twentytwelve #onthego

The contents of the pages (as well as for the page’s fun pockets!) are collaged of mostly items I collected on the go which included, but was not limited to: receipts, maps, stickers, stamps, flight stuff (boarding passes, baggage tags, etc.), ticket stubs, business cards, food wrappers, thank you cards, mini art I created, pins, and print materials from local tourist magazines, brochures, or related to the events I was attending.

I also used my SMASH stamp to date most of the pages, distressed ink for some of the page edges, added a little hand stitching, as well as used the wonderful collection of paper and creative goodness I received in the 6 Degrees of Creativity 2 Paper Stash Swap.

Sometimes I took this gluebook with me while I was traveling to work on in the hotel, on the plane, or to stash stuff. I always had a quart size plastic bag (or two!) with me full of goodies and supplies.  Other times I worked on the pages when I returned.  Working on each page was a great way to process the experience and events.

May: Arts, Military + Healing Conference : Washington DC

I think my favorite gluebooking material for this spread was all the maps I collected from around the Washington DC area featuring the city, landmarks, and public transportation.

July- TLC Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly: Michigan

In the pockets for this spread, I added mini art that I created at the conference or inspired by the program.

September- Ohio’s Buckeye Art Therapy Association Conference

I started to use some of my paper stash swap goodies I received in September for this spread.

September- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Just before I left for my visit to SIUE, I received a portion of an Illinois map in another paper stash exchange that fit perfectly for this page!

October- Kansas’ Art Therapy Association Conference

I probably collected the most things while visiting Emporia!  My favorite gluebook addition here is probably the fortune cookie wrapper and fortune that I saved from the Chinese Buffet!

Birthday in Vegas

This page is dedicated to the week-end getaway we took to Vegas for my birthday and the various keepsakes I saved from this trip: stuff from our adventure to In and Out Burger, the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum, my filet mignon birthday steak, and fun fortune telling encounters.

October- Florida State University, Tallahassee

This spread pays tribute to FSU’s campus, which was so beautiful!

Gluebooking fun continues in a different form this week: it is the deadline for completed gluebook pages to be received for our exchange @ 6 Degrees of Creativity 2!  Stay tuned for photos and more sharing about this soon… go, gluebooking, go!

Strengh in Hand: Merging the Perception of Reflection with Reality

October 23, 2012

“In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine. ” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve been inspired by this art prompt from Lani and Susanna (thank you!) over at the 14 Secrets for a Happy Artist’s Life community that presents the challenge to find images merging the perception of reflection with reality:

Hand Reflection

On Sunday (also my birthday), I took this image of my hand surrounded my mirrors. The photograph reflects at the same time (via the mirror and camera lens) the outside/top of my hand, as well as the inside/palm of my hand.

The image of the hand and its meaning has a lot of wonder for me (to create, comfort, express, help, feel) but on this day my hand extends strength radiated by the light coming from my fingertips (like a superpower!) activated and visible only in the reflection.

Nelson The Traveling Sock Monkey Becomes OSM Operative

July 29, 2012

Remember Nelson, the sock monkey I made for my friend Donna this past spring?  He’s had an exciting summer making new friends, visiting new places, and sharing his travels.   Nelson even took a June trip back to Cleveland where I was able to meet up with him again and visit with Donna!  Good times…

Nelson in Cleveland: June trip

This week, I received exciting news from Donna that Nelson has officially become an Operative for Operation Sock Monkey (OSM) and will be accompanying her on an upcoming trip to Kenya. Yay! I am so proud!  While in Kenya to photograph an agricultural development project, Donna and Nelson will also take time during their trip to do some sock monkey making  workshops with youth in the community.

Nelson and Donna will also be arriving with a batch of OSM Delegates that will be given to children in need and help spread sock monkey love & joy!

Operation Sock Monkey Delegates Going to Kenya w/ Nelson

Follow Nelson’s updates in Kenya over the next 2 weeks and beyond on Facebook via his Nelson- Traveling Sock Monkey page. And check out this link to learn more about Operation Sock Monkey‘s good work and how you can help!  OSM is currently seeking sponsorships to send sock monkey delegates to camp around the world.

I’m looking forward to seeing more from Nelson’s and Donna’s new adventure together-Sending lots of love!

Safe travels!

Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt Then & Now

July 20, 2012

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”  ~Herman Melville

A project with a very special place in my heart marks its 25th anniversary this year: The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.  I was introduced to The Quilt while in college at Bowling Green State University and soon became a volunteer for the project when sections of The Quilt would be shown on campus.

Words cannot describe the amount of honor and emotion I felt to be part of this experience and how humbling it was to be surrounded by such love, sadness, loss, humor, life, grief, and celebration stitched, painted, glued, ironed on, and uniquely created on each of the 3 x 6 foot panels in memory of a loved one’s life who had died of AIDS.  It was overwhelming.

My senior year at BGSU I dedicated to volunteering and interning at a community AIDS service organization in Toledo, Ohio called David’s House Compassion that provided a continuum of services for individuals living with HIV and AIDS, including residential housing, case management, respite, home visitation, and more.  I have many special memories of spending time at David’s House (making and eating Saturday night candle light dinners), making home visits to drop off food, providing respite to family members at the hospital to stay the night with their loved one, or helping out and making some art in a support group with children whose parent had died from AIDS.  I learned so much from everyone I met at David’s House about life, death, compassion, gratitude, and respect.

There were also sad and difficult moments. Several of the women and men that I visited or spent time with throughout my work at David’s House died before I finished my internship. This experience of multiple loss was important for me to process through journaling, supervision, as well as spending one night on the floor of my small dorm room working on a fabric panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of these seven individuals: Arnetta, Bob, Frank, Jack, John, Nancy, and Neshelle.  I then mailed my panel to the NAMES Project in the Spring of 1995 to honor, celebrate, and recognize their lives and the significant impact they each left on my life.

In the Fall of 1996, my brother and I decided to travel to Washington DC to view The Quilt displayed in its entirety at the National Mall over three days.  To my surprise on the train ride from Cleveland, the stop in Toledo (to pick up my brother) also included picking up some of the staff I knew from David’s House, as well as surviving family members who were also in route to see the display and had panels attached to the same block my panel was sewn into. There were so many people who attended this display, which stretched from one end of the Mall to the other with a sea of fabric.  Again, the visual surroundings, emotions, and sensory experience was overwhelming. It is a moment I will always remember.

In Memory of Arnetta, Bob, Frank, Jack, John, Nancy, & Neshelle

In June 2012, The Quilt was shown throughout the DC area to mark the 25th Anniversary in various institutions, centers, and organizations serving as hosts.  The Quilt has become so large, several locations were needed to accommodate the space needed to show it.  The panel I created was on display as part of Smithsonian Folklife Festival in late June.

Click on this image to view a short video introducing this event:

Creativity & Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt [VIDEO]

Beginning July 21 through July 25, The Quilt will be on display again in its entirety through rotated stages on the National Mall in Washington DC , as well as throughout 50+ venues around the DC Metro area.  For those who cannot attend this special event, this year’s anniversary also launched the application and site AIDS Quilt Touch, which allows locating panels online through keyword search of an individual’s name and will track panels as they travel to other venues for future displays.

AIDS Quilt Touch | Block #4083

I was able to search for and locate (on the first try!) the block that my panel is a part of through the AIDS Quilt Touch website, as well as discover its recent showing at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. What a helpful resource through the use of technology to connect this community together, as well as create a virtual, worldwide environment for memorializing and still much needed awareness through the power, stories, and history of The Quilt.

You can read more information about the 2012 AIDS Memorial Quilt Display and 25th Anniversary here:

Learn how to host a display of The Quilt in your community herecheck out upcoming displays for viewing, or how to contribute a panel.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 670 other followers

%d bloggers like this: