The Art of Emotional Resilience

April 17, 2014

 Last week I had some art therapy fun while visiting Wisconsin again.  My first stop was a return to Edgewood College in Madison to spend some creative time with Janice Havlena and her students (ECATS- Edgewood College Art Therapy Students). Since my last visit to Edgewood’s campus in 2011, the art therapy department is now part of a brand new building (The Stream!), which includes an amazing papermaking and mixed media studio inside and a beautiful view of Lake Wingra outside.

edgewoodbuilding

During this visit, I facilitated an art-making workshop with the ECATS focused on making a mini book of strengths.  Janice had a great stash of abandoned art slides, which we re-purposed into an accordion style book. The plastic slide mount surface was also perfect to introduce the joy of playing with alcohol inks!  🙂

edgewood1

edgewood2

If you want to learn more about how to create your own accordion slide mount book, check out this past post.

slidebook4

Identifying a variety of strengths were explored on the altered “pages” of the slide mounts , inspired by these Signature Strengths.  Remembering and activating our strengths can be a helpful way to empower us in times of challenge and distress.

It was awesome to witness the student’s books take form with these positive reminders.  Many thanks to Janice and all the students for hanging out and making art together!

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After my visit at Edgewood College, I headed to Milwaukee to attend this year’s Spring Art Therapy Symposium, The Image Has It: Art, Practice, and the Brain at Mount Mary University, also sponsored by the Wisconsin Art Therapy Association.  The Symposium’s keynote featured Lukasz Konopka, MD & Chris Belkofer PhD, ATR-BC who spoke about their neuroscience research and its implications for art therapy.

I also attended a variety of other inspiring art therapy presentations from Noel L’Esperance, Lori Mackey, Lynn Kapitan, and Bruce Moon…

mmusymposium

I was excited to be able to offer a workshop introducing trauma-informed themes, prompts, and the use of art journaling as a safe, contained space for nurturing and strengthening emotional resilience.  We made mini-art journals (also an accordion book style!) to safely contain inside a matchbox to explore the importance of social support and community:

SafePassageArtJournal

groupSafePassage

If you want to create your own mini matchbox art journal, here’s a simple how to PDF that you can download and print out:

artjournalmatchox

I really had a nice time while in Wisconsin on these art therapy adventures!  I’ve returned with new inspiration and energy, which is always a great win-win!

******

More Inspiration & Resources!

On Resilience, Strengths and Gratitude [Art Journal Pages]

Self-Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

Happy Artist’s Life Art Journaling and More Creative Goodness

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5 Responses to “The Art of Emotional Resilience”

  1. Kelley Fewer Says:

    These little books have sparked several ideas…off to make something; thanks for the inspiration!

    Shine on!
    Kelley


  2. Gretchen, in your previous post, the slide frames were blank. Were they blank for these art pieces? Or was the alcohol ink used to cover the photo image left inside? Thank you for sharing!


  3. Great question! The plastic slide mounts I used in the how to post were empty and did not contain any film inside so I used different paper and collage for filling the insides….(no alcohol ink/doesn’t work well on plain paper)… The ones from Janice’s stash in this post did have film inside the slide mount, so some of the students chose to incorporate this into their book design (or collaged over it, pop it out of the frame if they didn’t want to use it)— Because of the film’s slick surface, alcohol inks can be used on them too!


  4. So much inspiration in one post! Thank you!!

  5. ahhtmasphere Says:

    Excellent post, Gretchen. I enjoyed reading and found it enjoyable and educational.


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