I recently began publishing on Steller, the mobile storytelling app that allows users to share photos, video & text to share experiences and moments:
Blog of Registered Board Certified Art Therapist Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC
A new 6 Degrees of Creativity collab has been launched! A Creative Deed Postcard Art Exchange called “Art-filled Hope”- Learn how to get involved and contribute below:
“When all else seems lost and steeped in hopelessness, the magic of creativity can still keep you going.” – Jyoti Arora
Earlier this summer at the national art therapy conference in Baltimore, inspiration for a new creative collaboration was sparked during a 6 Degrees of Creativity meet-up, as well as a focus group I led on social media’s impact on creative motivation. These initial dialogues resulted in art therapist Nancy Lautenbach and me to brainstorm ideas for a new creative collaboration. In the spirit of the Creative Deed Project launched by 6 Degrees of Creativity in 2014 and Nancy’s viewing of The Big Hope Show at the American Visionary Art Museum while we were in Baltimore, we are excited to announce a postcard art exchange called “Art-filled Hope”.
The project: Create 3 handmade postcards with original art that will be sent through the postal mail to three different individuals…
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From the archives– A Top Read today on the blog and one of my favorites! 🙂
During a recent art therapy supervision session, I was re-introduced (thanks Mary!) to the technique of taking a basic file folder and re-purposing it into a mini book that could be used as an art journal. I wanted to remember the folding sequence and steps involved, so I decided to do a quick, short how-to video and thought other creatives would also be interested in trying this fun, easy, and inexpensive idea. Materials you will need to get started include a file folder (with side tabs, not a middle tab) and some glue:
Here’s some written steps:
1. Start with the tab in the upper right hand corner.
2. Fold the folder up from the bottom straight across so the tab curves line up. This will create four pockets inside of the journal.
3. Next start with the right side and begin to fold this into the middle, making sure…
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For lots more artsy quotes and images , check out this collection on Pinterest.
I had a great time at Lani Gerity‘s workshop this past week-end at the Mid Atlantic Play Therapy Institute: Visual Art Journaling for Teens and Adults in Treatment: Creative, Messy, and Contained.
The day was an artful exploration of resilience building, flourishing, intention setting, strength reflection, and lots of creative goodness to fill our handmade art journals that we made from hanging file folders, basic manila file folders for the signature pages inside, and a simple pamphlet stitch to bind it all together.
I really enjoyed using the various supplies I brought in my mobile art stash– as well as sharing them with my tablemates so they could experiment with them in different ways. It was very inspiring to work in this community. We even did a table exchange of mini art in the form of artist trading cards, index cards, and craft tags to honor the concept of art as a gift, one of Lani’s prompts to explore practicing kindness and sharing joy with others through our art. I was lucky to be gifted this art from Mary during our table exchange:
Upon returning home, as I was unpacking my supplies, handouts, and art from the workshop, I reflected on Lani’s teachings from the day prior and the power of art making to help us cope in distressing and challenging times.
This reflection also prompted me to summarize a list of 3 good things (so many to choose from!) from content introduced during the workshop- and ways to help instill hope, gratitude, and self-care into our lives:
Thanks to the Lani, all the participants I met at the workshop, and the small group of fellow art journalers that I worked with throughout the day. I look forward to incorporating content we learned into my groupwork and adding it to my art journaling ideas and inspiration.
Behold some of the daily photos I’ve taken and re-worked for Illuminate 365 over the last couple of months!
It is inspiring to see them together here. With springtime gradually awakening during this time I have enjoyed capturing and symbolizing aspects of the season to reflect on the illumination theme. A time for re-growth, renewal, as well as gratitude for days that awaken with and contain so much more light, even on the darkest days.
I am starting to put together some supplies that I want to take with me as I prep for an upcoming workshop I am attending soon and other on the go adventures. It’s been awhile since I really assessed my traveling art stash situation. This was a good excuse to restock materials, get some new ones, and organize/re-discover existing creative goodies I can use while on the go.
This month Lisa Sonara also shared this inspiring post about art supplies and journals she packs when traveling and it gave me some great ideas and new suggestions to consider.
In June I am looking forward to attending an art journaling Master Class facilitated by Lani Gerity. I was excited to receive her list of suggested art supplies to bring to compliment the basic supplies that we’ll be using.
I took one of the tips that Lisa offered about using a cosmetic bag for art supply storage. I usually pack my art supplies in my carry on so I tend to use pouches and organizers that can easily go in my bag, won’t weigh a ton, and I can use in the airport or on the plane. I was super surprised what I was able to put into the little black pouch above!
During the workshop we’ll be creating our art journal from basic office supplies, so I tried to include some of favorite materials also in this same category. I also included some materials that I use in my art therapy groups with teens and adults or in my own creative work. Here’s what I got in the bag (with a little room to spare!)
-Crayola’s Glitter and Metallic Markers (a favorite material of choice in my groups- available at Target!)
– Various blank artist trading cards, index cards, craft tags, smash pad papers
– Alcohol prep pads (love to use these for smudging and distressing)
– Double sided tape dispenser, glue sticks (of course!), liquid glue tube, mini wite out dispenser
– Glitter glue, plastic junk mail card (for spreading paint, glue)
– Various colored ink pens, MÅLA felt markers, white ink pens
– Black cotton cord and twine, thread & needle
– TSA approved scissors (important!), jet black StazOn ink pad (must have!)
– Washi tape
I also re-discovered a collection of mini ink pads that are perfect to bring along (one of my most favorite materials to use in my own art journaling), but will probably put them in their own small ziploc bag that will go into my suitcase!
I am still working on gathering collage material that I want to bring. I have a ton of magazine photo collage stuff and different textures and patterns of paper that I could choose from. It was suggested by Lani to look for images that are connected to the population we work with. Of course I’ll also be bringing my stash of dictionary pages and rub on transfer letters to use as well…..
Excited to discover what develops from this workshop! 🙂
May launches Mental Health Awareness Month, and today, May 5 recognizes National Children’s Mental Health Awareness (CMHAD) sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) is one of the organizations supporting tonight’s national event in Washington, DC.
In honor of spreading awareness about this day, this week I put up a display of artwork from some of the teens I’ve had in my art therapy groups this year. Preparing this display and reflecting on this year’s CMHAD theme of “Finding Help, Finding Hope” inspired me to think about it’s meaning and connection to the work that happens in art therapy. So much about the act of making art is about hope. Despite the challenges and experiences the clients I work with are facing, the creative expression that takes place when they are in art therapy provides a life affirming moment in the here and now to share ones self, emotions, and experiences. Their art helps to make sense of, create meaning, or to re-frame what is often so very hard to do with just words alone. For many of the youth I work with, the art they create often helps them discover or imagine a new beginning, a fresh start, a sense of comfort or safety that they long for. Art making in art therapy offers a place of acceptance, refuge, and support. And as art therapist Bruce Moon reminds us in his book Art-Based Group Therapy: “making art in the presence of others is an expression of hope”. It is a privilege to be able to witness the youth I work with find help and hope through the power of art therapy.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of art therapy in children’s mental health, check out this post The Important Role of Art Therapy in Supporting Children’s Mental Health that I did for the American Art Therapy Association last year.
SAMHSA also has free publications you can order and electronic downloads on a variety of mental health, recovery, and trauma related topics for all ages available here.