In my Saturday morning supervision group which currently includes five art therapists working towards obtaining their Art Therapist Registration (ATR), we started working on a group Prayer Flag Project, as a means to engage in more art making and explore implementing this idea and intervention with various populations and settings.
Something about prayer flags have always fascinated me– perhaps because it is intention based, perhaps because the intention/mantra of the flag created is also connected to mutual sharing with others, or perhaps because it is an extension and symbol of hope. Perhaps all three and then some.
Several years ago, I did an art therapy workshop for The Center for Therapy through Art (now The Art Therapy Studio) about The Art of Prayer Flags. As a quick introduction to the purpose and some of the symbols behind prayer flag making I thought sharing this presentation from the workshop would be helpful:
The prayer flag format for our group’s project was inspired by a workshop I attended last year at the Buckeye Art Therapy Association’s Annual Symposium facilitated by Emily Johnson and Cathy Malchiodi about creating intention based mini-message flags for exchanging. As presented in this particular workshop, the art technique included using a square styrofoam plate to create a design connected to a wish or intention, followed by printing a series of fabric squares with ink.
In today’s group, we used the styrofoam carving/printing concept with acrylic paint on roughly 6 x 6 inch cotton fabric squares. Instead of attempting to design words backwards on the styrofoam, rubber stamping letters and ink were available to use for highlighting the intention of the flag. Throughout this project we will each create six flags, then exchange our flags with one another to create a string of intentions, wishes, and hopes inspired by members of the group.
I also recently discovered The Prayer Flag Project, a collective project started in June 2011 to spread peace, good will and kindness, one flag at a time through contributing artists and the project’s blog. The project had some good tips listed under their tutorial section, including dating your flag, adding bits of printed text from books related to your intention, and to make journaling/writing about your flag part of the process.
It will be fun to see this project and process develop over the next few weeks and I hope to share the final results when we are all done!