Archive for the 'daily creative practice' Category

Ecopsychology, Self Care, and Creative Practice

February 25, 2018

Last week was the opening of Tending the Flames: Burnout and Resilience in Helping Professions exhibit, sponsored by Tri-C Gallery East, Tri-C’s Creative Arts and Art Therapy Program, Ursuline College’s Counseling and Art Therapy Department, and the Buckeye Art Therapy Association. The theme of this year’s exhibit is dedicated to how caregivers and helpers use art and the creative process to manage the stress and experiences related to this role, as well as nurture and strengthen resilience.

Part of the exhibit’s opening included a community lecture by local environmental philosopher and Lake Erie Institute Director Dr. Elizabeth Meacham, who spoke to attendees about the role of nature and ecopsychology in helping restore wellbeing, health, and recover from challenging circumstances or pressures associated with taking care of others. Dr. Meacham provided simple strategies to invite a daily nature practice in our lives and work, such as but not limited to:

  • Remembering to take outdoor breaks – go for a walk, visit your favorite nature spot;
  • Find a favorite tree in your environment that you can visit daily and feel, interact with;
  • If you are unable to get outside, have nature objects such as rocks and leaves indoors- pause and take in their sensory based qualities through touch and smell;
  • Tune into and engage your senses through imagery, breath, sound, and smell

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Meacham’s teachings, check out these resources:

If you are interested in learn more about the role of ecopsychology in art therapy and burnout, check out this True Calling podcast, Art Therapy, Ecopsychology, & Curing Chronic Burnout with Registered Art Therapist Lanie Smith or her post, Nature as a Portal to Self: How Eco Art Therapy Can Help You Reconnect and Heal.

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For this exhibit, my supervision group created a mandala inspired by this year’s theme, working on what we titled a “Self Care Compass”.  Our image included a contribution from each of us about what helps guide our work and self care as art therapists.  Themes of interacting with nature, practicing mindfulness, flexibility, and grounding ourselves in hope and growth were explored in our collective dialogue and expressed in the art we created together.  Self care is an important, ongoing discussion in supervision, whether it is activating ways to take better care of ourselves, balance our daily lives and relationships with our work responsibilities and commitments, stay present and connected, or cultivate compassion satisfaction instead of compassion fatigue.

Self care compass- oil pastels, paint sticks, markers on craft paper | Leah, Skyla, Jessi, Lacey, Gretchen, 2018

My 2013 art journal about self care as an art therapist and trauma practitioner was also on display at the exhibit, focusing on themes related to gratitude, affirmation, strengths, and mindfulness in connection to facilitating trauma informed care. It was so inspiring to see all the works of art and creative expressions that filled the gallery in the spirit of the exhibit’s focus.

Self care through creative practice project | gretchen miller, 2013

If you are in the area and interested in checking out the exhibit, it is on display until March 22 and located on the Eastern Campus of Tri-C in Highland Hills, Ohio. Gallery East is in room 135 of the Education Center and open daily. Call 1-216-987-2475 for more information.

Related Links

Self-Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

Creative Action Link Round Up: Self-Care, Responsibility, Community

Exploring Covenant Based Caregiving with a Creative Twist

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways & Creative Offerings

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Artist Dates, Creative Field Trips, and Artful Adventures: 18 Ideas for 2018

January 8, 2018

Last week I was scrolling my social media feed and stumbled upon a daily dose of creative goodness from Sharon Burton.  I always look forward to seeing Sharon’s posts pop up- they are full of inspiring ideas, people, quotes, and images to nurture our creative spirit.  Sharon recently founded Spark Your Creative to help others discover and strengthen their creative gifts.  Sharon posted an encouraging invitation to think about scheduling Artist Dates for the new year, something she already practices and shares weekly. I thought to myself, “I want to do this!” and make a 2018 commitment to taking creative field trips and going on artful adventures- on my own and with others on and offline. I started to brainstorm some ideas….. with regular creative activities and practices I want to do more of, as well as new possibilities and experiences that I would like to do/try/enjoy over the next 12 months:

1. Art exhibits: In 2017, I had the amazing opportunity to experience Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room- The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away at The Broad when I was visiting Los Angeles.  This summer, six of Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms are coming to the Cleveland Museum of Art. This is definitely a must do local creative field trip in 2018! Is there an exhibit or artist you want to see this year?

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrored Room @ The Broad, Los Angeles (2017)

2. Visit studio spaces.

3. Saturday Art Nights- with one of nights dedicated to playing with alcohol inks and watercolor on Yupo paper.

4. Take an art class.

5. Have an art movie night.

6. Organize my creative space and art materials, supplies- I realllly need to do this.

7. Blog more- One of my social media goals for this year is to begin regularly blogging more again! I’m trying out this editorial blogging journal to help support content, planning, and scheduling.

8. Replenish my magazine photo collage stash- I always find the process relaxing and inspiring! Made some progress on taking time to do this already! Doing another paper stash swap this year would also be fun!

9. Take a visit to Michael’s with my new giftcard. I would like to venture out for a visit to Blick this year too!

10. Take $5 to spend on items to use for an art project at a dollar store.  See how far you can stretch it. (#81 of Julia Cameron’s 101 Artist Date Ideas)

11. Bob Ross Art of Chill Board Game Playing- We recently played this during a Saturday art night and once we got all the rules and concept figured out, it was a fun time….

 

12. Follow, connect to, and be inspired by more art, artists, creatives, and art communities/organizations on social media.

13. Learn a new art technique or media.

14. Discover new artist blogs and revisit my favorites.

15. Organize a local art therapist meet up to hang out, make some art, and have fun together!

16. Create a new creative offering online.

17. Remain socially engaged in arts and art therapy advocacy through reaching out to, visiting with, and building relationships with legislators, policy makers, and stakeholders.

18. Invite spontaneous opportunities for creative connection and mindful moments of creativity!

What kind of artist dates, creative field trips, and artful adventures do you want to take in 2018?

 

Gratitude Round-Up: Creativity, Resilience, & Well-being

November 23, 2017

I thought today would be a nice time to re-share some of my favorite archived blog posts about gratitude, creativity, resilience, and well-being. I enjoyed re-visiting these and I hope you will enjoy this round-up too:

These posts continue to guide me about the importance of having a gratitude practice and the role of creativity in helping support and express what we are thankful for– especially in times of uncertainty, stress, or conflict. Not just today or when times are tough, but beneficial for our well-being everyday.  A wonderful opportunity for us to activate daily creative practices with an attention to gratitude.  🙂

Make & Do Show & Tell

February 20, 2017

I wanted to offer a quick show & tell of some images from my Make & Do 365 journal.

I have found that this daily creative practice has taken on a new level for activating self-care and creating an opportunity of creative refuge. I’ve worked my way through filling the journal’s pages for plans and wishes… and currently finishing pages dedicated to the section on dreams. I use the valuable creative time I have committed to this journal and to myself as a way to connect to a sense of mindfulness, hope, and peace of mind – a process and act that I continue to have much gratitude for and hold sacred.

Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion

img_9029 Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion Make and Do Show & Tell | creativity in motion

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Make & Do 365

January 10, 2017

Happy 2017!   I hope your year has gotten off on a creative start!

I wanted to introduce the 365 project I decided to work on this year: Make&Do 365.  Right now I am using a journal I have had for awhile now, Things to Make and Do by Nikki McClure.  My intention is to work in it everyday through art journaling, altered art, doodling, and whatever other creative inspiration happens.

The journal is divided into several themes: plan, wish, dream, build, explore, learn, make, grow, give, and find. Great prompts to help guide me this year. Since January 1 I have been working on the pages dedicated to planning.  Seems super appropriate with the beginning of a new year ahead and thinking about & getting ready for what the next 12 months hold!  Enjoy!

Make & Do 365 | creativity in motionMake & Do 365 | creativity in motionMake & Do 365 | creativity in motionMake & Do 365 | creativity in motionMake & Do 365 | creativity in motion

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Reflections on 365 Making

December 31, 2016

Today marks the completion of another year of daily creative practice with my annual 365 project…. after being so curious what it would be like to take on this kind of challenge, I am so glad I embarked on one in 2013 on New Year’s Day…. Each year and creative undertaking since has graced me with something new to explore over the last 4 years… Towards the end of my first 365 project, I reflected on the discoveries and reminders it helped inspire.

I am re-visiting this list today to make some updates and to reflect more on honoring the lessons that continue to keep me committed to this important process:

Reflections on 365 Making | creativity in motion

1. I’m always amazed and astonished by the containment of small holding spaces in art making. Working within a small space has helped me make each 365 project manageable. Time and time again the power that this small space holds in its message, form, and process is awesome to witness.

2. Remember to slow down.  This reminder is only one of the important lessons that my 365 projects has gifted me. Taking time out to stop and pause for a moment to work on the day’s image is so important.  Sometimes it might feel like there’s no time or things are just so busy that taking this time seems impossible… but engaging in this process helps bring a grounding, focus, and presence that I have come to value and appreciate every day.

3.  Appreciate each day. Each creative piece and image is an expression of gratitude for another day.   It also allows me the opportunity to be thankful for the moment, which is important to recognize and not take for granted.

4. Trust the process. There are definitely some days that I have struggled to find time or don’t feel as connected to the image I have created in comparison to others, but at the end of the day it all works out.  The process of creating everyday outweighs the emphasis on the product. Just like art therapy!

5. I really do have 20-30 minutes everyday to create. Probably one of the biggest surprises after 4 years of consecutive creating!  It’s still true!  Some days it may have been 10 minutes, sometimes longer than a half an hour, but there was always time within each of the 1460 days.

6. Community: It has been inspiring to connect to and support others working on their 365 projects or daily creative practice through social media… 🙂

2016 also brought a couple of opportunities to share my 365 projects, which I enjoyed contributing to:

I thank everyone for their support and encouragement with this process over the last four years! It has definitely helped– ❤  I am looking forward to launching another 365 project for the new year ahead. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Happy creating in 2017- What are some of your creative goals to focus on in the next 12 months?

 

 

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Steller: Storytelling Meets Social Media

September 17, 2016

I recently began publishing on Steller, the mobile storytelling app that allows users to share photos, video & text to share experiences and moments:

Steller: Storytelling Meets Social Media | creativity in motion

Steller: Storytelling Meets Social Media | creativity in motion

I am curious to see this growing social media platform continue to grow and as a way for artists, creatives & art therapists to share their voice! 🙂  What do you think about its creative possibilities?

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3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop

June 14, 2016

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.

creativity in motion

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.

3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop | creativity in motion

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:

creativity in motion

Art as a Gift

 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:

  • Three Blessings Exercise– Dr. Martin Seligman suggests this practice as a way to foster well-being and decrease depression.  This exercise encourages us to make note of three things (for one week) what went well throughout our day and to reflect on why they went well (i.e. “why did this happen?”). According to the research of Dr. Seligman, focusing (and dwelling) on our blessings (what is good, going right with life) helps increase our well-being and decreases anxiety, depression that dwelling on bad events can actually make a lot worse. Lani puts an art-based spin to this exercise by suggesting to create art about three good things (collectively in one image or in separate images).  In one of Lani’s Happy Artist’s Life Workshops a few years ago for 6 Degrees of Creativity I even made a Pinterest board to collect images and content inspired by things that made me happy.  Re-visiting this board made me thankful that I created it— and maybe it is a good time to start adding to it again.
  • Daily Creative Practice– Citing the work and practice of art therapy pioneer Edith Kramer, Lani shared that creating art everyday helps guide skillfulness (mastery). This type of practice has a direct connection to nurturing our resilience, regulation, and inspiring us to be and do the best that we can.  I love that this reminder was included as part of the day’s offerings- and very much agree with these findings!
  • Sensory Relief Art- This prompt (originally to create an image representing a mini vacation and to incorporate the senses) inspired a collage that was connected to the importance of self-care, focusing on the here & now, and finding refuge & breathe in this space. I used a photograph of an old collage I created, pieces of torn (blue) magazine pages, distressed ink, and paint pens. Lots of relief in this image!
3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop | creativity in motion

Self-Care © 2016 gretchen miller

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.

Related Posts:

Happy Artist’s Life Art Journaling (VIDEO)

The Art of Emotional Resilience

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways and Creative Offerings

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Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup

June 3, 2016

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.

Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion

Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motionIlluminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion

Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion

Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion Illuminate 365 Awakening & Renewal Photo Roundup | creativity in motion

Related Posts:

Bring On Illuminating 2016!

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365

April 5, 2016

It is now month four of my 2016 project: Illuminate 365.  Uploading all the photos and captures I’ve taken everyday over this first quarter was a wonderful (yet, a little overwhelming!) opportunity to reflect on the images, concepts, and messages they each convey.  This creative adventure has become a daily treasure hunt for illumination- revealed through rays of light, shadows of darkness, nature’s beauty, the morning sun, ordinary objects, warm candlelight, and many, many different places both outdoors and inside throughout this year’s winter season and now the fickle springtime that is upon us….

Many days honor inspiration such as, but not limited to: hope, grace, passion, courage, and creation…. other days provide a reminder or awakening of guidance, validation, and encouragement…. or a time embrace slowing down… while other days help me recognize that you cannot appreciate the light without the presence of darkness… each of the images below are all are sacred pieces and moments of this journey so far… (in no particular order):

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion My Daily Treasure Hunt for Illumination: Illuminate 365 | creativity in motion

I’ve taken all these photos on my iPhone- experimenting a lot with app filters (LiveCollage, iLeaker, Instagram, LightEffects) which is quite fun.  Another treasure hunt that accompanies this project for me is discovering quotes and inspirations that connect with the image.

As the spring starts to completely bloom and begins to give way to summer, it will be nice to take notice of a refreshed landscape with a greener scenery outside and the impact of longer, warmer days ahead. 🙂

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