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.
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.
What a great couple of days making paper with this group!
It was an amazing opportunity to share my love of social media, creativity, and community building…. It was a great experience to talk about the possibilities social networking offers to connect all these passions together!
I’ve been able to creatively connect with soooo many through social networking– the art-based collaborations & gathering together that can happen online is always so inspiring!
How do you use social media to cultivate creativity, connection, and community?
Check out all the TEDx Ursuline College talkshere.
This week begins the last week of my 2015 creative daily practice of Creative Deed 365. I have so enjoyed doing this project throughout the last 12 months, both in the making & giving! Inviting others to join in this effort has been super inspiring and lots of fun to see and take in throughout the year…
This post is a little pre re-cap about the goings on of the project before it ends on December 31!
In previous posts I’ve shared how introducing a daily creative practice into my life has been such a huge benefit. I’ve written about how creating these little pieces of art helps slows things down and take pause in my day. I’ve also stated how those moments where I am most busy or active in my day are the times I feel like I get the most out of this process.
For this year’s collection of art I started using half sized index cards, then started to use playing cards- which I ended up really liking the most because of their texture and thickness. I used a lot of magazine photo collage or scrapbooking and printed paper gifted to me in stash swaps, as well as stamping ink, rub on/transfer lettering, & a variety of pens from gel, ink, paint & sharpies.
What really inspired this 365 was the intention to give away all the art I created this year. I really enjoyed this part of the project! It was exciting to release what was made and its accompanied message into the universe. Whether someone claimed the creative deed as their own or not, the spirit & energy behind its creation was “out there”. In times of challenge, stress, or moments of tough things going on in the world, I hoped that a creative deed helped bring some kind of light.
Equally exciting was where/how/when to release the creative deeds. My favorite public place were gas pumps. The most oddest place I sometimes would put creative deeds on were on the tops of garbage cans. I wondered if it would be an easy way for them to end up as trash? Surprisingly I enjoyed leaving creative deeds out during the winter months because it helped me get out & about in the bitter cold and snow more than I would have without this special mission. I don’t know if anyone ever noticed that I was leaving one behind. There were definitely times that I stayed around (mostly in coffee shops) and could watch the different reactions of someone discovering one. Sometimes they would be picked up, looked at oddly and put down- and other times welcomed with a smile and then claimed.
In addition to the public random places I left creative deeds, over the last couple of months I finally finished mailing out creative deeds to everyone who requested one through this blog or social media. I also mailed out some batches when inspired to friends and supporters of the project. From January to December I’ve slowly put these tiny pieces of art in the postal mail here in the US, to Australia, Europe, New Zealand, UK, and Canada. Below are some pics from some of the creative deed deliveries received in December. Awesome to see these captures made upon their arrival and in hands @ their new home!
I was super curious how inviting others to become involved in the process would work out and in what form. I created the Creative Deed 365 Facebook Group as a space for anyone interested in also spreading this form of creative goodness throughout the year. I had no idea how important this group would become to the process! Not only was it an inspiring, encouraging, and positive place for sharing our creative deed efforts, but I enjoyed seeing the variety of creative deeds everyone involved in the idea were making for others. I hope others did too. Social media through FB group primarily, but also Instagram with the hashtag #creativedeed365 became another way for ones creative deed energy to be released “out there”.
It was also just as fun to invite art therapist friends and colleagues this summer to join in on the #creativedeed365 fun while attending the national conference in Minneapolis. It was like a Creative Deed treasure hunt in the hotel we were staying at.
What was always a nice find on my end was when someone who discovered a creative deed would use social media to share the news, using the #creativedeed365 hashtag— again on Instagram and sometimes on Twitter. It was a nice feeling to know the creative deed was received and read the expressions of gratitude, surprise, and joy. The creative deed e-mail was also used on a few occasions to share finds as well!
I was also really delighted that Ursuline College, where I am on faculty in the Counseling and Art Therapy Department, became aware of this project and invited me to guest blog for their online publication VOICES last month. You can read this post here. In this post I was able to reflect on how the project started, the role of community & social media, and the creative goodness this effort has hopefully helped spread.
In celebration of the remaining days left in this project, I wanted to share my Top 10 favorite creative deeds and some of the quotes I posted with them:
Past updates, creative deed work, discoveries, and more from this year can be viewed here. I’ve been using Flipagram recently to document the last few months of offerings. December’s will be coming next week when this year’s project ends!
I thank everyone who has participated on some level with this project: as a creative deed maker, finder/receiver, supporter, through this blog and my updates….. 🙂
With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
“The labyrinth is a mandala that meets our longing for a change of heart, for a change of ways in how we live together on this fragile island home, and for the energy, the vision, and the courage to meet the challenges of the 21st century.“
~The Labyrinth Project at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco
One of my favorite places on the campus of Ursuline College is its beautiful outdoor Labyrinth. For me, this is a peaceful and calming refuge that I often use as a walking meditation and a way to slow down and pause- spring, summer, fall, and winter.
I recently was able to introduce one of my art therapy groups with Ursuline’s ArtSpace Outreach Program to the power of the labyrinth through a visit to the site, as well as engage group members in creating their own finger labyrinths to use as a portable and accessible meditative tool to manage stress, anxiety, and promote awareness.
This semester’s Art Therapy Studio class I’m teaching again for Ursuline College’s Art Therapy and Counseling Program is quickly winding down. Our time together over the last few months has been another series of artful Saturday morning gatherings! It’s a pleasure seeing students take time to create their own art and strengthen the important role of personal creative practice as artists and soon to be art therapists.
One of the requirements of the class, even before I started teaching the course has included students telling their “Art Story” through the media of digital storytelling (DST). This assignment provides students an opportunity to use (and learn!) digital video making and create a creative piece of work reflective of their identity as an artist.
According to Lasica, (2006) “Digital storytelling is a craft that uses the tools of digital technology to tell stories about our lives…. and can be a powerful, evocative, and emotional way of communicating themes and stories, often touching us in deeper ways than one-dimensional videos…”
The final videos and stories that students reveal in class are always delightful, inspiring, and grateful to view. Here are a couple of videos (shared with permission!- thank you!) created by students in this semester’s course about their journey as an artist:
Want to tell your Art Story? Using tips from this TechSoup tutorial, I recommend these steps and considerations to help guide students in the process of putting their stories together:
Step 1: What is your Art Story? I encourage students to brainstorm ideas about the story they want to tell about their journey as an artist, which will include showcasing their art work through the years.
Step 2: Collect materials to help tell your story– This can include images relevant to the art story you want to tell that is inspired by memories, creative milestones, keepsakes, and meaningful items, objects, and photographs. Art expressions and work can span from childhood, undergraduate, graduate, and also include historical pieces and periods of art or travels that have influenced this journey.
Step 3: Draft your narrative/script for voice over– Start working on what the voice narrative of the story will be in association with the images and visual content chosen. The story should have a beginning, middle, and an end. It is normal to be anxious about adding and hearing ones voice as part of the story, but it is important to have confidence in the words you speak. The inclusion of ones voice I believe is an important element to telling and claiming the story as your own in an authentic and natural tone. Reading your script to a friend or classmate for feedback can also be helpful.
Step 4: Prepare equipment– You’ll need access to a computer, laptop, or tablet that you can use movie making applications, such as iMovie (for Macs) or a program such as Windows Movie Maker Live (for PCs). Basic movie making programs are often already installed on many computers or can be easily downloaded for free. Newer computers often have a built in mic that you’ll need for the voiceover. Other equipment that will come in handy includes a scanner and a camera to capture your art in digital form.
Step 5: Try storyboard planning – The TechSoup tutorial recommends creating a storyboard with index cards to plan out what happens in your story and in what order. Using index cards makes it easy to move the sequencing of content around as you work on matching the visual material you’ll be using with your voice over script.
Step 6: Digitize material & media– This often involves scanning or digitally photographing art and images you will be using in your story, as well as cropping and sizing them appropriately. If you have art photographed on slides, some scanners have special attachments for converting them into digital form or your local photo developing store often can help.
Step 7: Record your voice over– Find a quiet and interruption free space to record the voice narrative of your story in natural, conversational voice that is clear and easy to hear.
Step 8: Add music– The addition of music will often inspire the emotional feel and rhythm of your story. Music that is without vocals and instrumental in nature works well. I recommend that students explore the site Free Play Music to find a genre or type of music that fits for their story.
Step 9: Edit, Add transitions & effects – For this assignment, students have the challenge of making sure their digistory is between 1 1/2 – 3 minutes, which I think is a good size. During this step, all the content (visuals, voiceover, music) start to come together in the movie making program. It’s also a good time to start adding transitions and effects between frames, as well as titles or text overlays.
Step 10: Share – It’s time to produce! Saving or exporting your movie project into a video form (often a m4v, mp4, or wlmv, wmv) will make it easy to share with others on video sites such as YouTube or Vimeo. Often raw movie files are very large and difficult to send through e-mail, but can be saved on USBs or dropboxes for easy archiving.
This exhibit featured a strong range of creative expressions (paintings, installations, drawing, textiles, ceramics, mixed media, photography & more) inspired by personal experiences and the concept of Post Traumatic Growth (PTG). PTG filled the gallery everywhere with images & artistic representations that transformed extreme struggle, adversity, or trauma into positive, internal growth deep with re-connection to purpose, attachment, and empowerment:
Here are a few interesting reads to check out & learn more about PTG:
What a pleasure it was to attend another opening of Healing Imagination — 2014 celebrates VI (!)– an Art Therapy Juried Exhibition at Ursuline College’s Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery.
It was great to see so much beautiful art on display in a variety of mediums & forms: painting, sculpture, mixed media, textile, collage, photography, and more from Art Therapy and Counseling faculty, students, and alumni.
I am grateful that we were able to come together and honor the importance and practice of art making as artists and art therapists in this way. To see the creative work of my colleagues, art therapy friends, and students in this collective showing is so energizing & inspiring. How wonderful that the creative process and power of art is so essential in our work, service, and in our own lives.
My contribution to the exhibition was my 2013 365 revo’lution project and 2014 revo’lution altered book. It was super nice to be reunited with both pieces again in the gallery. In my creative space where I keep my 2013 365 project, I often take a look at the piece of art I created 365 days ago. I’ll reflect on what the intention was, where I created the piece, and the materials I was using. Looking at last year’s tiny image also helps reframe the present and recognize areas of growth & transformation that have taken place since making the piece 365 days ago and how it has supported my 2014 revo’lution. So it’s been weird not having both pieces of art around! 🙂
While there have been small moments of anxiety separation from both of these pieces, it is refreshing to have my revo’lution projects visit this new space and fun to have others experience it outside of the virtual sharing and computer screens of social media and the Internet. Thank you to Ursuline College’s Art Therapy & Counseling Program for the opportunity to be included in this show, bringing us together in this way, and continuing the Healing Imagination tradition!
In case you’re in the NE Ohio area and want to check the exhibition out, The Healing Imagination VI is on display until August 1 at the Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery on the campus of Ursuline College. Gallery hours are Tuesday- Friday, 12 – 5 PM, as well as Saturday and Sunday, 1:30 – 4:30 PM.
Ursuline College’s Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program, in collaboration with Cuyahoga Community College’s Division of Arts and Sciences, announces its 14th annual arts and healing exhibition at Tri-C Gallery East. This year the exhibition, art. speak. heal: Honoring Veteran Stories will focus on veterans, their families, and the creative arts. The exhibit is also co-sponsored by the Buckeye Art Therapy Association and Cleveland Foundation.
Submitting art work for this exhibition is open until January 23 and 24. More information about entering art can be found here.
“Veteran Paper Workshop provides veterans with hand papermaking as a vehicle for self-expression and healing. Peace Paper Project facilitates Veteran Paper Workshop in collaboration with Art Therapists and Recreation Therapists to ensure that veterans experience the benefits of hand papermaking in supportive environments. Participants are invited to reconstitute their military uniforms into paper.”
Rachel Mims, a FSU art therapy graduate student and US Army Veteran contributed Peace Paper she made from her military uniforms and then overlayed with pulp printing of images from her training and deployment:
Rachel also submitted her very first art journal, a space that she used to cope with and manage her emotions and experiences related to her Medical Discharge from the Army and coping with life changing injuries she sustained during her service:
I used this art journal to help me get through all the difficult emotions that arose when I realized that my injury was not healing and I would be disabled for the rest of my life; this was the same time that my medical discharge from the Army began. I was supposed to lead by example but being injured meant I could not do most of what was required of me; this was very difficult for me mentally and emotionally – instead of being a great leader I was suddenly worthless (in the eyes of the Army at least!). The journal was my way of dealing with the difficult days and encouraging myself to keep going!”
Now in her Art Therapy Internship at FSU, Rachel, alongside with a music therapist will be providing student veterans with free music and art therapy as part of a project she’s helped create called The Veteran Creative Arts Therapy Initiative.
Meredith McMackin, a doctoral student in FSU’s Art Therapy Program, also submitted an image for the Ursuline/Tri-C Exhibit that she created during Peace Paper’s FSU workshop that honored her son who was killed in Iraq in 2007. Her handmade paper was made from the cloth of the dress she bought for his memorial service.
Titled Release, Meredith openly shares this in the piece’s powerful statement:
“…Cutting the dress into small squares, I released them into a vessel of water, which fed into a machine that slowly ground the fibers down to pulp. I felt a sense of ease and peace watching the fibers dissolve the tightness of painful memories and float freely in the cleansing water…. The finished piece symbolizes my son’s release into spirit as well as my own transformation inspired by his self-less gift of life.”
Much gratitude to Drew & Margaret of Peace Paper, Rachel, and Meredith for contributing art for this exhibition, as well as sharing the personal stories and inspiring work behind the images that will be on display. If you are in the NE Ohio area, the exhibit will be open through March 6 at Tri-C’s Gallery on the Eastern Campus. The Massillon Museum, The National Museum of Veterans Art, the Louis Stokes VA Medical Hospital, and more will also be part of this year’s exhibit.
In addition to the art exhibition opening on February 13, there will be a free community lecture that evening by David Peacock, Therapeutic Director of Valor Home in Akron, Ohio and on the following day, a panel about the value and availability of arts and healing programs for veterans and families will be offered, as well as expressive therapies workshops.
I’m also honored to be part of the panel discussion to speak more about The Peace Paper Project, as well as offer a creative workshop with Art Therapist Laurel Larson, MPS, ATR who works for Volunteers of America in collaboration with the Cleveland VA providing art therapy services at the Veteran’s Domiciliary in Wade Park.
Our workshop on February 14, In Honor, Service, and Mission: Artist Challenge Coins (ACCs) is inspiredby the tradition of Challenge Coins, commonly used in the military and within service organizations. A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion symbolizing achievement, membership, or recognition, as well as given to increase morale and community among belonging members. In the spirit of Challenge Coins, workshop participants will create and exchange mixed media ACCs as tokens of affirmation, service, strength, gratitude, and encouragement.
There will also be additional expressive therapies workshops to choose from focused on drama, creative writing, storytelling, and healing facilitated by Expressive Therapist Dr. Lisa Peacock of the Women Warrior Project and Vet Art Ohio, as well as Dr. Shianne Eagelheart, LIC, Founder of The Redbird Center for Healing. If you are a professional looking for continuing education, CEUs will be available. To register, download the workshop form here.
I hope if you are in the NE Ohio area, you will join us to attend this special event on February 13 & 14 or visit the exhibit while it is on display.
Everyone who signs up for the sock monkey swap will be randomly paired with another sock monkey maker. You’ll be making one sock monkey for someone, and someone will be making one for you. To sign up for the swap, e-mail your full name and a mailing address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 25, 2013. During the week of November 25, you will receive mailing info from me on where to mail your sock monkey to. Please note you are responsible for postage, which could be to an international destination. Please don’t sign up for the exchange unless you are committed to the swap and following through. All sock monkeys should be mailed out by December 16, 2013 to their new home.
I’m also interested in putting together a DIY 2014 calendar featuring handmade sock monkeys created by my sock monkey making friends…. More fun! Please let me know if you’re interested in submitting a photo by December 16 of your sock monkey for one of the calendar months!
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.
In 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.