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

 Social media is a powerful tool for self expression and engagement of all kinds…giving a voice for many and often a way to cast attention, influence, and respond to causes, values, and efforts we hold dear or reject.

Below are some links I have been reading, saving, and sharing from and on social media recently. Most are rooted in self-care, individual influence and responsibility, and creative community action through the arts. Many offer ways we can effectively activate resources, ideas, and our gifts both on and offline with others (and ourselves) as artists, creatives, mental health professionals, helpers, and human beings.

Self-Care:

Influence:

The Arts, Social Action, and Community Response:

Related Links:

Creative Resilience Link Round Up

20 Creative Quotes on Courage, Hope, & Possibility

Make Paper, Make Peace

Earlier this month Drew Matott and I taught another Peace Paper papermaking, trauma intervention and social action course- this one for Counseling and Art Therapy graduate students at Ursuline College.  It was fun to teach together again over 2 days and introduce the 26 students we had to the therapeutic benefits of papermaking.

Make Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motionMake Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motion

Students were introduced to the work and travels of Peace Paper, its history and mission to collaborate with the art therapy community, and a variety of examples about how papermaking can be used with many different populations- especially in relationship to trauma, loss, & recovery, as well as bring awareness to issues related to mental health, sexual assault, and bullying.

Make Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motion

Students made lots of paper over the course of the workshop– probably at least 150 sheets (!) and experimented with pulp printing, double couching, and book binding.  Paper was first made using Peace Paper’s Hollander Beater from meaningful articles of clothing or a piece of fabric that students brought and wanted to transform into paper… as a new beginning or as an act of letting go of something.  Students also were introduced to DIY papermaking without the use of a Hollander, to explore adaptable options in the art therapy setting.

Make Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motion

What a great couple of days making paper with this group!

If you’re interested in Peace Paper’s trainings and workshops throughout the rest of 2016, check out the tour schedule here.  News about Peace Paper and resources for papermaking can be found here.

Make paper, make peace!

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Peacemaking & DIY Papermaking

 

Craftivism Inspiration

A section of my summer course on art therapy, social action, and trauma informed care included introducing art therapy & counseling graduate students at Ursuline College to the role of craftivism and its possibilities to empower vulnerable populations, as well as promote important social causes and issues through do it yourself crafty goodness:

As Betsy Greer defines:

craft + activism = craftivism

“By advocating the use of creativity for the improvement of the world, craftivists worldwide taught knitting lessons, sewed scarves for battered women’s shelters, and knitted hats for chemotherapy patients…. In promoting the idea that people can use their own creativity to improve the world, craftivism allows those who wish to voice their opinions and support their causes the chance to do just that…”

~Betsy Greer, “Craftivism.” Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice (2007).

Craftivism can take on many handmade forms, including radical needlepointing, crosstiching, knitting, fiber arts, and lots more.  Here’s a great article: Yarn Bombing, Knit Graffiti and Underground Brigades: A Study of Craftivism and Mobility if you are interested in learning more about guerilla textiles in action.  Another great piece is: Craftivism: Art with Attitude which provides a nice overview about the power in creativity to be heard and help create a better world.

As published here before, my craftivist love is sock monkey making…. (!) introduced to me a couple of years ago by my sock monkey hero and art therapist Kat Thorsen and the amazing work of Operation Sock Monkey (OSM).

Craftivism Inspiration | creativity in motion

Students in my class became operatives and craftivists for an upcoming OSM mission by learning how to make a sock monkey delegate as one of their assignments.

Craftivism Inspiration | creativity in motion

Originally, our delegation group was scheduled to travel to orphanges and children’s hospitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg Russia for an OSM & Clowns Sans Frontières mission. Word from OSM Headquarters is now there’s a greater need for more sock monkey smiles in Cape Town, South Africa as part of the Sinovuyo Caring Families Project with Clowns Without Borders South Africa.

From the OSM website: “Sinovuyo is focused on the highest-­‐risk families with children ages 3 to 8 years: caregivers affected by HIV/AIDS or domestic violence. The programme aims to help parents and caregivers develop nurturing relationships with their children, prevent and reduce abusive parenting, while coping with stress from HIV/AIDS, poverty, and violence.”

Sock monkeys are used in storytelling and activities that promote parent/child communication and bonding.  Learn more here.

Craftivism Inspiration | creativity in motion
Destination: South Africa’s Sinovuyo Project

This group of sock monkeys look forward to meeting & helping families served by the Sinovuyo Project.  Job well done by all the students with their first Operative Mission!  Mission accomplished! I hope it inspires lots more sock monkey making & craftivism in their future….  🙂

*****

Related Posts:

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care

Sewing, Swapping, & Service

Operation Sock Monkey Making

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care

The last couple of days I’ve been teaching a workshop at Ursuline College with the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling Program focused on advocacy, empowerment, and the intersection of social action with trauma informed care through art-making.

Students were introduced to how creative expression through art therapy helps provide a safe place & voice for women & youth survivors of domestic violence, families living with homelessness, as well as the role of art-making for empowerment, peacemaking, craftivism and social action.

In addition to presenting about my art therapy work, the workshop’s content also included students learning about A Window Between World’s #icanwecan crowdsourcing campaign to create awareness and show support through art for ending violence and abuse against women. Students created their own pledge hands with messages of advocacy and empowerment inspired by this project, a population or cause in mental health they want to help empower.

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion
Pledge Hands of Empowerment & Advocacy

Students were also able to Skype with Drew & Margaret of Peace Paper to learn more about their current activities and projects using papermaking for transformation, trauma intervention, and empowerment, including Panty Pulping, working with survivors of domestic violence, military sexual trauma, and mental health advocacy.

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion
Peace Paper Project speaks to the class

Peacemaking through art was addressed through also presenting my group work with youth to explore concepts related to bullying, how to become a peacemaker, and art’s role in exploring conflict resolution.  Students also were introduced to Franck de las MercedesPriority Boxes Art Project and its role in activating messages of hope, love, and peace through art.

Our workshop ended with exploring the inspiring world of craftivism and Operative recruiting for Operation Sock Monkey and an upcoming mission for Russian children in orphanages and hospitals…we’ll be sending a delegation!

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion
OSM mission accepted!

If you’re interested in learning more about these topics, here are some helpful resources to check out:

It was great to spend these two days sharing my work and exploring these topics & projects with this group of graduate students. I look forward to reading and learning how each of the students incorporate the ideas and information presented in their assignments and future experiences!

Related Posts:

On the Go: Change, Transformation & Action through Art

Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity

Survivor’s Hand: Finding Safety through Art #ICANWECAN

Peacemaking and DIY Papermaking

INOCENTE: A Young Girl’s Story of Homelessness and the Transformative Power of Art

Special Delivery- The Priority Mail Art Project

On the Go: Change, Transformation, & Action through Art

I’ve been prepping for some art therapy offerings I’ll be teaching and presenting on this summer that highlight the use of art as a tool for change, transformation, and action:

In June, I’ll be teaching Advocacy and Empowerment: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care as an intensive summer course for graduate students in Ursuline College’s Art Therapy & Counseling Program. This course will introduce students to trauma informed art-based strategies and creative applications that can be implemented into a socially engaged therapeutic practice with individuals, groups, and in the community.  Students will discover how creative expression helps provide a voice for women & youth survivors of domestic violence, families living with homelessness, and learn more about the role of art-making for empowerment, peacemaking, craftivism, and social action.

Advocacy & Empowerment: Social Change and Trauma Informed Care

In July, at The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC)’s Childhood Trauma Practitioners Assembly in Clinton Township, Michigan I will be presenting the workshop Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity. This offering will focus on strategies important to facilitating group work about peacemaking themes with children who have been exposed to domestic violence, bullying, and relational aggression.  Participants will be introduced to sensory-based interventions, therapeutic books, and art expression that fosters peacemaking concepts, as well as cultivates possibilities for social change. In addition, content presented will help participants gain a trauma informed understanding about how these strategies and interventions promote safety, emotional expression, and coping.

I am looking forward to sharing my work, as well as other inspiring programs, projects, & initiatives with students and professionals interested in these topics. Lots of opportunities to get more involved with social action through art and the creative process!

And on a related note, I’m also thrilled to share this interview I did with Jocelyn Paige Kelly for Realizing Your Creative Life about using art for change and transformation. It includes some reflections on my passion for art therapy, my work with survivors of trauma, the artist trading card exchange Pocket Change, art based socially engaged projects that inspire me, and more.  Check it out! Thanks to Jocelyn for the invitation to contribute to this interview series!

Small Resources = Big Possibilities Matchbox Art

I recently accepted the creative challenge to transform an ordinary matchbox into some altered art for the Naropa Community Art Studio-International (NCAS-I)’s 2nd Annual Matchbox Art Auction Gala inspired by the theme Small Resources = Big Possibilities.

This event is an art-based fundraiser to help raise money for a group of art therapy students and their professors who will be traveling to Cambodia in May for a service learning project. Their team will be providing art therapy services with various organizations working with Cambodian women and children impacted by sex trafficking, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.  You can view some of the photos from last year’s trip and the 2012 team’s work here.

NCAS-I Small Resources = Big Possibilities Matchbox Art  Beginnings
NCAS-I Small Resources = Big Possibilities Matchbox Art Beginnings

Jessica Eves from the project’s Fundraising Committee sent me some basic materials for getting started: a matchbox of wooden matches in a muslin drawstring pouch, as well as a handmade paper bead, and a swatch of colorful fabric for some extra inspiration.

Playing with alcohol inks on my matchbox
Playing with alcohol inks on my matchbox

I started to do  a little creative brainstorming with some of my favorite mixed media materials: paper from my idea-ology stash, distressed ink, and discovered with delight that on the glossy parts of the matchbox, alcohol inks worked super well!

Fragment bits for  inside my matchbox
Fragment bits for inside my matchbox

For the inside of the box, I lined the bottom with some of the available wooden matches and then used distressed stain and metallic paint over them. I also collaged four square fragment bits to place inside the box, along with the paper bead.

"On Becoming" Matchbox Art
“On Becoming” Matchbox

On the outside of the box, I collaged this quote around its sides:

“And when that object is used to create a piece of art, it becomes a message for the future. A way to say,  “I was here.  I have something important to tell you.  Listen to me.” ~Lesley Riley

The top of the matchbox also includes another collaged fragment bit that inspired the title of this piece, “On Becoming”.

Check out some of the other matchbox altered art that will available at this year’s Art Auction Gala which will be held on April 12 at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.  Best wishes to NCAS-I for a creative, matchbox bidding night and for their trip & work this spring.  It’s great to be able to support their cause this way!

Interested in discovering more matchbox art inspiration?   Check out these resources and posts: (or add your own!)

Releasing & Reforming

I just returned back from the 2012 BATA Symposium, Releasing and Reforming: Art Therapy as Social Action in Dublin, Ohio and wanted to share some photos and inspirations from the last few days:

Breaking Rag @ the 2012 BATA Symposium’s Pre Conference Course

Peace Paper was honored to be part of this year’s Symposium and it was great to team up with Drew and Margaret again to introduce to Symposium attendees how papermaking can be used as a form of social action, trauma intervention, and transformation.  Thank you to the BATA Board of Directors, BATA President Michele Tarsitano Amato, and Symposium Program Chair Marshae Armante for inviting us and their hospitality. We enjoyed exploring the many ways papermaking can be applied to the art therapy setting, the work of art therapists, and the enthusiasm about these possibilities from attendees.

I also attended a breakout workshop facilitated by Michigan art therapists Margaret McGuinness, MA, MEd, ATR-BC, Kathy Schnur, MA, MEd, ATR-BC, and their colleague Karen Smigelski, MA, LPC about The Power of Words to Promote Change.  They introduced us to creating “Taglines” with polymer clay, beads, wire, and other creative embellishments to create messages & affirmations for cultivating kindness, as well as an intervention for responding to/exploring the impact of bullying.  The workshop reinforced how our words have power & energy that affect others, emotions, and thoughts.  Learn more about the workshop’s concept, their data on the power of words, and The Power of Words to Promote Change workshops being offered through WillowsEdge Counseling and Art Center.

Below is my “Tagline” I created during their workshop:

Tagline: Listen to your inner voice

I also added another spread to my Adventure Gluebook inspired by the Symposium with paper & goodies from last month’s paper stash swap, some items and handmade paper I picked up or received during the Symposium to use as collage stuff, and my SMASH label maker.  I think my Tagline could go inside one of the pockets or be attached to one of the pages tabs where it would be more visible. This gluebook is really starting to fill out nicely!  I look forward to continuing to work on it.

BATA Symposium 2012 Adventures Gluebook Spread