Posts Tagged ‘altered book’

Be the Change

August 2, 2009
“When we are no longer to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves…”  ~ Victor Frankl
Making Meaning: Be the Change

Making Meaning: Be the Change

This week I spent time reflecting on change; thinking about efforts to make change outside of myself and how these efforts have influenced  change within myself.  Outer and inner change is not an easy process, comes with many challenges and for me,  an increased commitment to make meaningful decisions. The above quote from Victor Frankl inspired me to create a mini-altered book focused on change and meaning, as well as to identify key principles that have been important in my growth and being the change I want to be.   

Be the Change: Think / Energy

Be the Change: Think / Energy

Be the Change: Think and Energy- I have learned about giving more thought to what I put my energy towards,what supports my authentic self, and my intentions.  What opportunities and experiences will best utilize my strengths, ideas, spirit, and dedication?   

Be the Change: Relationships / Choices

Be the Change: Relationships / Choices

Be the Change: Relationships and Choices-  The relationships I nurture and the decisions I make also influence my ability to make meaning and take a stand to be the change I want to be.  Collaboration, choices, responsibility, and commitment all fall under these principles.   We reap what we sow.

Be the Change: Meaning / Empower

Be the Change: Meaning / Empower

Be the Change: Meaning and Empower- These principles are most important to me and my path to purpose. How and where do I want to make meaning?  Enstilling hope, trust, and having the courage to keep moving forward helps me create empowerment and resiliency. 

Be the Change: Action / Truth

Be the Change: Action / Truth

Be the Change: Action and Truth- To create change within or outside ourselves requires action coming from a belief rooted in truth and vision.

I’m sure there will more art and thoughts around this topic on my end, as meaning and change are important to the work I do and my every day life experience. Until then, the video and song below by Kat Edmonson also captures many of the reflections mentioned in this posting, as well as adds new ones to think more about.  How do you create meaning to be the change you want to be?


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BATA Book of Leadership Artfully Returns

July 27, 2009

Yesterday I received the altered book back that the Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA) Board of Directors have been working on in a round robin mail art exchange since January 2009.  I first made note of this project focusing on the theme of leadership in my post The Art of Leadership when I started off the book.  Since then, ten other board members have contributed to the book’s pages with their reflections, thoughts, images, photos, and quotes around this topic. 

As I eagerly looked at each page carefully, several themes surfaced about being a leader, what it means and feels to lead, what cultivates this, and helps it grow.  Art about what it means to be a leader, the leadership experience, role models, qualities of good leadership, and the impact one has in this type of role were just some of the few themes that surfaced throughout the pages.  Themes about integrity, trust, openness, creativity, and vision were everywhere from my fellow board members.  It is good to see us all on the “same page”. To view a slideshow of the book’s pages to see for yourself, click on the image below.

BATA BOD Altered Book- Art of Leadership

BATA BOD Altered Book- Art of Leadership Slideshow

I sincerely thank each BATA Board Member for taking the time to be part of this project, thoughtfully considering the theme, and sharing what leadership means to them through their images and writings.  

This book will be available to bid on at BATA’s Symposium Silent Art Auction September 11 and 12, 2009 to help raise money for our Legislative Fund and efforts to help license art therapists in the State of Ohio.

Creating Meaning, Soul and Art

July 5, 2009
I have started working on a new mini-altered book with the theme Art & Soul for BATA’s 2009 Symposium Silent Art Auction in September.  Below are pics of the pages being worked on:
Art and Soul Altered Book

Art and Soul Altered Book

Art Washes Away the Dust.....

Art Washes Away the Dust.....

The Soul Cannot Think Without a Picture...

The Soul Cannot Think Without a Picture...

Every Artist Dips His Brush into His Own Soul...

Every Artist Dips His Brush into His Own Soul...

While working on these pages, I started to think about the importance of art and the soul’s connection to sustain energy and life, as well as what contributes to soul loss.  For me; connection, creation, and providing service to others are some things that keep my soul growing, thriving, and living.  These actions bring me back to what has real meaning in my life.  Although this is not always easy. There are plenty of obstacles, stresses, and unknowns to face everyday.  Making choices that validate my authentic self and support meaning in my life are important, but sometimes difficult.  Soul loss triggers for me include when spirit, passion, intention, and connection have been threatened, damaged, or burdened with inclusiveness, control, disillusionment, and apathy. 
Art therapist and one of BATA’s Symposium keynotes, Bruce Moon dedicated one of his books, Art And Soul: Reflections On An Artistic Psychology, to restoring the soul, the idea of soul loss, and how to live soulfully with a focus on how art-making can be part of this process.  At the beginning of the book, Moon asks several questions:
“There are choices to be made.  Should we withdraw into ourselves out of anxiety and fear?  Scared by the loss of our familiar ways of being in the world, will we become immobilized, thinking only of ourselves?  Will we choose to live life in the shallow regions? Or will we take hold of the opportunities before us to increase our sensitivity, heighten our awareness, and live responsibly in the face of overwhelming change?  Will we seek restoration of the soul?”


Soul restoration for me includes art-making and reaching out through connection to discover the answers to many of these questions.  Creating art helps me find true meaning for what I am seeking, hiding from, need, or want to communicate and honor.  When in doubt, I create art to better understand myself, where I am going, where I have been, and what is going on.  Art helps feed my soul and keep me safe in times of uncertainty, confusion, and change, as well as a way to show my support, gratitude, appreciation, and admiration.
How do you use creativity to feed your soul and create meaning in your life?  

Gratitude Art Comes Full Circle

June 24, 2009
My Gratitude Book

My Gratitude Book

This week I received my original altered book back from the Art Therapy & Positive Psychology E-group round robin project.  I have been writing about this project and its process on and off since February and now with the return of my book, everything has come full circle.  I am thankful for the pages that Melanie, Emery, Rachel, Gioia, and Lani created in my book and want to thank each of them again for their contribution. The inspiring messages and images of gratitude, happiness, joy, and thanks were a treat to savor over as I went through my book.  This book will serve as a wonderful “gratitude” reminder on those tough days that pop up!

I think my most favorite part about this project was the element of giving/offering through the pages we all created in every person’s  book and then the final product of receiving our own book back.  Lots of good vibes being shared with the energy of creativity!

One of the many inspiring quotes included in my book comes from Lani’s page, which completes the book as the last page:

“AUTHENTICITY is a daily practice.  Choosing authenticity means: cultivating the COURAGE to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the COMPASSION that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit; nurturing the CONNECTION and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of what we are suppose to be and embrace who we are….” ~Brene Brown Ph.D.

To see more  from this project, you can view Lani’s altered book pages on her blog, as well as check out the pages I did on my previous posting  On Art and the Pursuit of Happiness

On Doing Art and The Pursuit of Happiness

June 6, 2009
Happy Life / Altered Book Page

Happy Life / Altered Book Page

The round robin altered book project that I have been participating in over the last few months is coming to an end soon.  This week I finished pages for the last two books and I look forward to receiving my orginial book back soon.  I have really enjoyed working on the five different books received from Lani, Gioia, Rachel, Emery, and Melanie who are all in the Art Therapy & Positive Psychology E-Group on Yahoo where this project was organized by Gioia.  It has been a pleasure to contribute to everyone’s book and create images and art connected to themes related to gratitude, happiness, and inspiring messages of hope, joy, and peace.  I will miss receiving a new book every two weeks to work on! 

As written in my previous blog postings, there seemed to be a theme throughout many of my pages related to growing and nurturing happiness.  What I learned the most during this process was the consistent reminder that happiness is truly in my hands: through the choices that I make, the relationships I nurture, and having an attitude and awareness of gratitude and thoughtfulness for the simple things.  Through this awareness comes growth, inspiration, and clarity about what is really important.  It is a reminder that I need daily to help keep things in perspective…and of course, making art about this is the best reminder of all that I can give myself!

Below is a short film featuring the pages that I did for everyone’s books as a way to bring each of the experiences I had together… Thanks to my fellow art therapists who were in this project with me for their inspiring words, images, and energy, as well as for Gioia for bringing us all together.  I am very excited to see what my completed book has in store for me!  

On a related note, in the e-group this week Gioia posted an interesting article featured in the June 2009 issue of The Atlantic titled, “What Makes Us Happy?”.  The article and video reports about research from Harvard University directed by George Vaillent over several decades on the lives of men they followed beginning in their college days at Harvard in the 1930′s to present day where many are now in their 70s and 80s.  The study investigates if there are important components to having a fullfilled, healthy, happy life and what factors contributed to this for those who were followed.  I found the study an interesting perspective on the pursuit of happiness.

Vaillent identifies that there are particular healthy responses that helped these men deal with the stresses and happenings of life, as well as protected them from psychological harm. These include “altruism, humor, anticipation (looking ahead and planning for future discomfort), suppression (a conscious decision to postpone attention to an impulse or conflict, to be addressed in good time), and sublimation (finding outlets for feelings)”.  

For me and my happiness formula, I translate this to: compassion, laughter, intention/growth, detachment, and creativity/making art!  What’s yours?

Creative Intentions on Leadership

May 17, 2009
This past week-end The Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA) sponsored a Leadership Workshop for Art Therapists in Cincinnati, Ohio facilitated by Cathy Malchiodito discuss the importance of transformational leadership and service in the art therapy community, as well as an opportunity to learn and explore skills important for art therapists to practice and become agents of change. I believe this workshop was very valuable  to those who attended and inspired a lot of my own art-making before, during, and after around the topic of leadership.

Before coming to the workshop, registered attendees received Where Leadership Comes From: A Leadership e-Zine for Art Therapists written by Cathy. The e-zine included information about leadership styles, destructive vs. creative systems, common needs for leadership, leadership characteristics, and intentions motivating service.  Cathy’s zine inspired me to do a mini altered book on some of these topics and content before coming to the workshop. Below are a few pics from this book.

Leadership Mini Altered Book

Leadership Mini Altered Book

Leadership is Knocking

Lead Well

Leadership Needs

Leadership Needs

During the workshop participants were invited to do art around the idea of intention. Our first image was to focus on an intention connected  to your own leadership: a phrase, quote, or saying that really captured this motivation.  Some intentions that were included in the e-zine that really spoke to me were: “No matter what the weather looks like, we have to go ahead now. Waiting any longer could be even more dangerous“… and “Real, authentic change emerges only from a place of deep focus and intention“.

However, the intention that spoke to me the strongest was the one I chose to do my first image about: “We don’t grow unless we are tested.”

We Don't Grow Unless We Are Tested Intention
We Don’t Grow Unless We Are Tested Intention

This intention speaks to my own experiences related to becoming more aware with what it means and takes to be a leader, my own growth in understanding this better, and the positive impact that these “tests” (opportunities, changes, or people) have had in my life. There are many things that I never thought I could do (or would do), but through these challenges I have grown in ways I would have never dreamed of.  Again…the theme of growth continues

The second image we were invited to create was a leadership intention related to the success of the group, organization, or system we work in.   My intention for this includes visioning hope, openness, and the freedom that exists in something new. I believe in the potential, energy, and ideas that will become inspired by this intention and through being a part of a collaborative effort in the world of art therapy. Again…imagining new beginnings…

Something New Intention

Something New Intention


May 7, 2009

In the last week or so, a couple of really interesting altered art projects have come across my computer screen that I wanted to share and pass on:

DSM Altered Book

DSM Altered Book

Altered DSM: Ron Huxley and some of his therapist friends created this altered book using the old DSM III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders) and posted the photos on a Flickr photostream.  I love this idea!  Thanks Ron for sharing this project!  FYI: The book is available to show in galleries or conferences.

Over on The Altered Page, Seth Apter and other artists posted updates, reveals, and photos related to DisCo – the DISintegration COllaboration.  123 artists participated in this collaboration where “art bundles” were left exposed to the elements outdoors.  There are many “before” and “after” photos posted on the Altered Page, as well as on the blogs of those artists who participated.  Below is a short film from one of the other artists, Lee Anne Ghilain and her reveal:

The next phase of the project includes the artists taking their disintergrated bundle and making it into a new art piece.  I know I’ll be watching to see what transforms!

I always love to see how others use altered art and collaborative projects to explore different themes and topics. Feel free to post and suggest any interesting ones you may know of!

Hopeful Messages of Growth and Art

April 26, 2009

I recently received Gioia’s altered book for the Art Therapy & Positive Psychology e-group round robin I am still participating in. It was such a pleasure and so inspiring to see the pages done before me from Gioia and Lani full of hopeful messages, imagery, and art.  Great reminders and good vibes to take in this past week while I was working on my contribution to the book.

Growing Happiness / Art Therapy & Positive Psych Round Robin

Growing Happiness

My spread dedicated to “growing happiness” was inspired by Gioia’s cover, which read “Happy Artists Grow Here”.  After finishing these pages and reflecting what I created for Lani’s book a couple of weeks ago I remembered that those pages too were about growing (See Imagine: New Beginnings Start Here). I see a theme surfacing for me within the different books I am working on and what I am working on with myself. Good stuff on growing, new life, nurturing, harvesting.  Something I need to think more about.

Imagine: New Beginnings Start Here

April 9, 2009
Hello again! Having returned home from vacation and going through our piled up snail mail, I was delighted to see that Lani’s altered book from the Art Therapy & Positive Psychology e-group had arrived. I was so excited! While I was away, I had been collecting and tearing out possible collage images from magazines (one of my favorite things to do!) that found on the plane, in our hotel room, and others places we were out and about.  Some of this collage material I was able to use in the work I did for the spread below.
Imagine / New Beginnings
Imagine / New Beginnings

Lani included an inspiring note tucked inside a pocket for the artists participating in this round robin to read. Lani’s note highlighted her perspective rooted in positive psychology that inspired me: “at our core, there is something magical and lovely in each of us (that needs nurturing,cultivating, and attending to)“.  She also asked the question: What can we do to help this grow? 

For me, making positive intentions, visualizing, collaborating with others, and making a plan to take action are ways in which I try to experience and practice this growth.  Right now I am actively imagining new ways to spark magic for myself and others to happen. The pages above honor this. And I look forward to witnessing what opportunities and beginnings come from or are attracted to this intention that has been released out into the world!

Grateful Me

March 21, 2009

In my post, Expressions on Happiness and Gratitude I wrote about joining an altered book round robin focusing on the theme of positive psychology and creating a spread around gratitude, happiness, strengths, and virtues.

The below pages for my altered book honor my thankfulness for health and the strength, courage, will, hope, and passion to do what I need to do to manage my health.  I am also grateful for those who support and help me when I most need someone to listen, give me a reality check, and keep me focused.

Graditude Page / Health

Gratitude Page / Health

I am really excited to see what the other altered book artists will contribute to my book and I am also looking forward to adding to their books with more expressions of gratitude and strengths.  Working on this project over the next few months will be fun and encourage grateful living in my life.  I hope to write more about my experience and my new pages as different books arrive in my mailbox.

P.S. If you want to check out what one of the other contributors has done for her pages, check out Lani Gerity’s blog: Lani Puppetmaker’s Blogspot (one of my favorite blogs!)  I receive Lani’s book next, so I can’t wait to work on it… More to come I’m sure…


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