Art Therapy

During the 1990’s I met a wonderful group of people who were interested in taking the process of art making to nonprofit organizations. The goal was to show the organizations how to develop their own art programs and get them started through hosting workshops. A grant was written through two University of Wisconsin professors called “Expanding Visions in the Arts”.

I did a series of workshops working with Prevent Child Abuse Wisconsin. Recognizing the incredible value of art making for everyone led me to pursue a degree in Art Therapy from Edgewood College in Madison Wisconsin.

A central concept of art therapy is transitional space. The idea is that working with different types of art medium like collage, doodling, painting, working with clay, gives us a way to see and understand what we are experiencing in our lives. The artwork we create gives us a transitional space to take what we are feeling- often very undefined – to a place where we can look at it. The focus is on the process not the product. It’s not about what we create. It’s about how we experience the insight our creative process provides and then integrating that insight into our lives.

What’s the point? …  We all need a place to make art.

For me “Art Therapy” is woven into everything I create. Here’s an example.

I created silk fusion material and arranged it on a piece of black fabric. It looked like an open book. I liked the nuances of color and texture in the silk fusion. I started playing around with the words open book and wrote this poem –

A hiker’s footprint frozen on the trail

Open Book

When someone says –

My life is an open book.

Their take –

Transparency of all I am.

My take-

You are A Novel,

A Mystery,

A Science Fiction,

A Fantasy,

A Poem,

An Essay,

All to be interpreted by the reader.

A book is not read by the cover,

If that is all you are opening.

Covers are only personas –

What you want others to see.

But what you want us to see –

An open book –

Gives each reader their own take –

When they read beyond the title,

And go undercover.

Undercover – the personas we all have - and what is underneath the surface fabric of our being. It is what interests me.
It is my point.