Archive for the 'creative places' Category

Creating Peace of Mind

May 24, 2014

In early 2011, I received an e-mail from Matthew Kaplan, Co-Founder and CEO of PeaceLove Studios introducing his Expressive Arts program in Rhode Island and an invitation for the Art Therapy Alliance to partner with their efforts to spread the word about the benefits of art expression in mental health and wellness, as well as their inspiring story and mission. You can learn more about Co-Founder Jeffrey Sparr’s story and the inspiration for PeaceLove here.

I loved the energy, intention, and passion of PeaceLove’s initiatives to create awareness and advocate for mental illness through creative expression and leveraging social media to raise awareness about their message to Create Peace of Mind.  It’s been a pleasure to use the power of my social media network in this positive way to contribute to the PeaceLove community and develop an online working relationship that supports one another, builds community, and supports creativity in mental health.

I’ve always wanted to see the PeaceLove Studio space in Pawtucket and meet the entire PeaceLove team and its community in person and off the grid! This past week I was so grateful to have that opportunity and then some:

Creating Peace of Mind | creativity in motion

PeaceLove Studios: #createpeaceofmind

In recognition of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, PeaceLove debuted their first ever Mental Health Wellness Speaker Series.

The series featured nine speakers who each shared their story and contribution to creating peace of mind in their own life and in the world.

Creating Peace of Mind | creativity in motion

2014 PeaceLove Mental Health Wellness Speakers

  • Jeffrey Sparr- Artist and Co-Founder of PeaceLove shared his story of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and how painting has helped him manage his illness and create a creative voice of courage to answer his calling as a teacher, mentor, speaker, and advocate.
  • Alison Bologna- Founder of Shri Studio talked about her work with creating the only outreach-based studio in Rhode Island offering yoga and character-building classes in shelters, schools, prisons, recovery facilities, hospitals and more.  Alison passionately spoke of support, respect, honor, and inspiration as the values that guide the studio’s mission to create a life affirming space of positive energy and abundance for those it serves.
  • Waylan Tucker is an Artist and Mental Health Advocate who shared his story about living with Bipolar Disorder and the role daily art making over the span of five years had on his recovery, confidence, and managing life outside the pages of his sketchbook.
  • Katie Rich- Writer for Saturday Night Live and Past Second City Mainstage Cast Member spoke about her own experience with Panic Disorder.  I really enjoyed her message about focusing on the “loves” in/of your life & work and to keep doing what scares you.
  • Hillary Salmons- The Executive Director for the Providence After School Alliance (PASA) shared her innovative work with at-risk youth and highlighted the importance of us all to capitalize on our talents & strengths.  Hillary also emphasized her open approach to “sharing our toys”, collaborating, and working together to reach success. Very inspiring!
  • Andrej Suskavcevis- CEO of the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) highlighted the power of creative expression to create community, support, a sense of accomplishment, relaxation, and passion.  He invited the audience to reclaim their creativity with CRE8TIME: “a movement to raise awareness for the need to devote more time for creative expression, and provide a forum for you to share your experiences – the joys, lessons, and results – with the creative community at large.”  Love! I’ll be sharing more soon about CRE8TIME in an upcoming post on the 6 Degrees of Creativity blog.
  • Amy Kinney- Program Director for PeaceLove Studios shared her story of transformation and recovery that was supported by her creative expression as she worked to explore and discover her outside and inside self.  Amy’s story also included how her experience led her to help others through advocacy and creativity. Having met Amy briefly last fall in NYC and reading her book, Unraveling My Purple Sweater (a visual story about her depression and art-making),  it was really nice to hear Amy speak about not only her experiences, but how she is helping others through the creative process.

Creating Peace of Mind | creativity in motion

Following the amazing Speaker Series there was a big party for lots of hanging out and an art opening in the PeaceLove Studio space. This was much fun and a great opportunity to continue connecting and be inspired by themes of community, service, creativity, and creating peace of mind.  During this time I was able to meet Gail Ahlers of Ahlers Designs who created the beautiful PeaceLove Pendant Necklace I purchased earlier in the day, visit her studio space a couple doors down from PeaceLove, and learn more about her work and some of our common interests with using art for empowerment. What a pleasure!

One of the things I enjoy most is meeting people I have collaborated with or supported online.  Visiting PeaceLove’s space, meeting Matt & Jeff, seeing Amy again, and connecting with so many supporters of their growing community and the invited speakers was an amazing, amazing time.  I look forward to visiting again and continuing our collaboration!

Make, Swap, & Meet Up: San Antonio Art Therapy Artist Trading Card Exchange

May 1, 2014
Posted previously via the Art Therapy Alliance and 6 Degrees of Creativity Blogs:

Coming this Summer….. An Artist Trading Card (ATC) Exchange and Meet Up in San Antonio, Texas co-organized by Andrea Davis, LPC, ATR-BC and me….

Make, Swap, & Meet Up!

This Artist Trading Card (ATC) Exchange coincides with the annual American Art Therapy Association Conference this July in San Antonio, Texas.  If you’ll be at this year’s conference, you are invited to participate and spread the word to others who might be interested in this swap and networking opportunity.
Meet up in a fun, creative way with others from the art therapy community to swap some art!
San Antonio Artist Trading Card Swap | creativity in motion
ATC Exchange Overview:
  • You will create 3 Artist Trading Cards to exchange with 3 other community members who are participating in this exchange in San Antonio. Create 3, Receive 3!
  • Please make sure your ATCs are created prior to the swap.
  • Your ATCs can include the same image, but all must be original.
  • This swap’s theme: Art Therapy Dreams: What wishes & dreams do you have for art therapy and your work as an art therapist?
  • The dimensions of your ATCs should be 2.5″ x 3.5″.  Tips, examples, techniques, and more can be found via this how-to.
  • On the back of each ATC you can include your name, city, state, and contact information in the form of a blog, website, or email.

 Exchange Site: Participants will bring their ATCs to the Conference’s Marketplace of Ideas (Exhibit Hall) on Thursday, July 10 during lunchtime.  A great time to eat lunch, meet up, swap, and network together!

Gather to Meet up/Network/Eat lunch: 11:30-12:30
ATC Swap begins at 12:30.

To Sign-Up: If you’ll be in San Antonio for the Conference and are interested in participating, (or have any questions) please e-mail me at info@arttherapyalliance.org with your name and e-mail address to sign up.

See you in San Antonio!

 

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

Giving Your Dream Wings through Creative Practice

April 7, 2014

“…Those with imagination have wings…”

It’s an honor to be part of Andrea Schroder’s special Blog Hop launching this week…..

Give Your Dreams Wings | creativity in motion

The Give Your Dream Wings Blog Hop is a peek inside the process of how inspiring people make the magic happen. We’ve got some of the internet’s most inspiring bloggers sharing how they give their dreams wings – what they do that supports, nurtures and encourages their tender dreams to come to life. This is happening in celebration of the new e-course of the same name by Andrea of the Creative Dream Incubator.

The Give Your Dream Wings e-course shows you how to nurture and grow YOUR dream, for free, in only 10 minutes a day. You do not have to wait until you have more time or money! Click here to find out about the free e-course, and to read the other (super inspiring!) posts in this Blog Hop.

For me, creating art in the form of visioning collages, revo’lution making, or spending dedicated time on my 365 project has helped bring clarity, energy, and inspiration to those intentions & dreams I want to collectively manifest/receive/return in my life, work, and relationships.

3x5 365

3×5 365

As this year’s 3×5 365 project heads towards Day 100 this week, I am excited about this milestone (all over again)!

Give Your Dream Wings | creativity in motion

3×5 365 :: Day 75

Tending to this creative process everyday- whether it is 10 minutes, 30, or whatever amount of time I have- is important to me… and worth it for overall well-being, growth, and understanding.

Give Your Dream Wings | creativity in motion

3×5 365 :: Day 94

I continue to enjoy witnessing these artful, soulful messages surface for reflection and as a guide for my dream-filled adventures!

******

Related Posts:

The Altered Image: Ready to Create & Fly

Ready for Revolution Art Journaling eBook Now Available

Flying Free: Encourage, Wonder, Learn

 

The Joy of Art Abandonment

April 3, 2014

I was very excited to finally receive the new book, The Art Abandonment Project : Create and Share Random Acts of Art by Michael deMeng and Andrea Matus deMeng this week after promptly pre-ordering it back in February as soon as I read about it via this 14 Secrets Challenge.   (Thanks Lani!)

Wow! So much creative goodness fills this book’s pages!

The Abandonment Art Project

The Abandonment Art Project

Art Abandonment has a simple concept (but is so much more!) : to make art and leave these art expressions or creative happenings behind in various public spaces & places for others (to hopefully) discover and find.  Often these random acts of art share (but not limited to) visual and written messages of kindness, encouragement, and hope.  Art made for abandonment serves as a creative offering that extends beyond our individual artist self, but instead serves others, strangers, communities, and the universe.

This book is an inspiring how to guide about the wonderful purposes behind art abandonment, what it means to become an art abandoneer, ideas & examples of  art abandonment projects & challenges, helpful material and location considerations, as well as the meaningful and joyful impact art abandonment can have on those who stumble upon its gift.  Colorful photos of abandonment art and lovely testimonials from project participants and recipients also add to the book’s contents.  If you are interested in joining the Art Abandonment movement and meeting other Art Abandoneers, learn more about Michael deMeng’s Facebook group.

I’m looking forward to introducing & recommending this book’s creative goodness to participants involved in 6 Degrees of Creativity’s Random Acts of Art Adventure, as well as The Creative Deed Project.  It is a perfect companion for enhancing our creative fun and art journeys.  I hope keep sharing more inspired by this book!

*****

Related Posts:

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

26 Paper Hearts

Operation Random Acts of Creative Kindness

Guerrilla Art Meets Gratitude for Thanksgiving

November 27, 2013

On this Thanksgiving Eve, I’m super inspired by this news article I discovered today about the Gratitude Graffiti Project.

According to thegratitudegraffitiproject.com, this creative effort launched in New Jersey last month is “a forty day practice of purposeful appreciation of one’s life through interactive art.”  The project prompts participants to mindfully respond with an artistic or written response of about what you are grateful through post-it notes around town, community gratitude walls, sidewalk chalking, and storefront window marking to engage in the thankfulness together.

Check out #gratitudegraffiti on Instagram to view a growing collection of cool photos from people capturing the project:

Guerrilla Art Meets Gratitude for Thanksgiving | creativity in motion

I got out my post-it pad tonight to contemplate and honor what I am most thankful for in this moment….

Guerrilla Art Meets Gratitude for Thanksgiving | creativity in motion I honor loving kindness in my relationships, work, joys, frustrations, health, creative adventures, and so much more– I am truly thankful for the energy and patience of unconditional loving kindness I have been so very lucky to receive and grow from this year….  <3

I look forward to sharing/posting this note of thanks with the world tomorrow somewhere on my way to/from my family’s Thanksgiving get together….

What would you share on a post-it note in the spirit of the Gratitude Graffiti Project?

******

Related Posts:

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

Artful Adventure Treasures from Chicago

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Gratitude

Artful Adventure Treasures from New York

November 13, 2013

I just spent a few days in New York City where I attended some of the 4th Annual Expressive Therapies Summit.

Newlandscape

Expressive Therapies Summit

This year‘s program included over 200 faculty and 130 sessions over 4 days across New York City. There was a lot going on!

summitmeetups

Creative Meet Ups & Connecting

One of my favorite things to do is to connect with and meet up with art therapists, students, and virtual friends I have met, collaborated with or follow online, which this conference allowed plenty of opportunity for, including a Networking Meet Up at The New School on the first day of the Summit! It was great to meet many in person from the Art Therapy Alliance and 6 Degrees of Creativity communities who were also attending the Summit.

TNH

Thich Nhat Hahn Exhibit

One of the meet-up opportunities for the Art Therapy Alliance community included visiting the US debut of “Calligraphic Meditation: The Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh” currently on display at abc carpet and home.  The display , works of calligraphy, and their inspiring messages were beautiful.  I am grateful I was able to see it and take it in with other art therapists!

On the last day of the Summit, I offered my workshop focusing on art journaling & trauma intervention with women survivors of domestic violence, as well as using art journaling for professional self care. It was a very nice way to end the Summit: a room full of brown paper bag journal making that provided the time & space to explore and honor self-care in relationship to trauma work.  Many thanks to everyone who attended!

SummitWorkshop

Art Journaling as a Visual Voice for Trauma Intervention Workshop

Some themes and prompts I introduced for consideration in relationship to professional self care were inspired by these topics and inspiring work:

Self-Care Proclamation/Mantra: Christine Arylo
Anchoring/Safe Place: Kathleen Adams
Gratitude: Laura van Dernoot Lipsky
Affirmations, Strengths: Martin Seligman
Relaxation Inspiration: Lani Gerity
Vulnerability: Brené  Brown
Mind Mapping / Cluster Writing
Relational Enrichment: Bruce Perry’s 3 P’s

You can also learn more about these themes in relationship to art therapy & professional self-care from my past posts about Self Care through Creative Practice and Intention.

Much gratitude to the Expressive Therapies Summit and its team for an inspiring time and bringing us all together!

*****

Related Posts:

Artful Adventure Treasures from Chicago

Art Journaling: Brown Paper Bag Style

Trauma Stewardship, Gratitude, and Wordle Making

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

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