Archives for January 2013

Birthday Celebration!

Last week a new leukemia patient came in to clinic with her mom. She has been kind of shy since diagnosis but we’ve gradually gotten her involved at the art table. She was excited to put  a little sculpture  in our show at Carroll Square.

The tiny red bird’s nest on the right side of the podium is by the birthday girl!

She  just turned five on Tuesday, so she was all excited about her birthday. Her mom prompted her to tell me what they had done to celebrate–“I took my family to see the art show!” She was grinning from ear to ear.


Tracy’s Kids at Carroll Square Update

The Tracy’s Kids at Carroll Square show is looking really good. As promised, here are some pictures from the reception. They were taken with Tracy’s phone camera, so they’re not the best quality, but we hope you’ll enjoy them!

Happy New Year from CNMC!

Every New Year’s Eve, the art therapy room atChildren’s National Medical Centercloses for one day so that the art therapists can THOROUGHLY clean the room. Not only is this a great and necessary way for the Tracy’s Kids art therapy program to start out fresh in the New Year, but it also gives the art therapists a chance to truly appreciate the sheer volume of art that can be made by our patients and families! As a part of the cleansing, we sift through all of the artwork made by the hundreds of children who visit the art room each year. Stacks of paintings and piles of masks and mountains of model magic… Going through everything provides us with MANY great reminders of the wonderful things that happen in the art therapy room. We get a chance to laugh and share wonderful memories of the work we have done with children and families throughout the past year, encouraging us to continue our commitment to the mission of Tracy’s Kids in the coming year! 

We start 2013 with a clean art therapy room – one with plenty of space for all of the new and amazing things that will surely happen here in the coming year.

It’s like starting off with a brand new, blank canvas!

And we are all excited to see what will happen next!

Happy New Year!


New Year’s Resolution: Make More Art!

I recently spent some time reflecting on this last year and realized that while I worked hard as an art therapist, I neglected my “artist self” by not taking enough time to create my own art. As a resolution for 2013, I am going to try to make time (hopefully every day!) to engage in the creative process.

While this may seem like an easy resolution to stick to, making art is not always an easy or pleasurable task. It can be very agonizing to find the right composition, complimentary colors or to work within one’s own artistic limitations.  It takes courage to start a painting on a blank canvas, flexibility to adjust to a new art material, and confidence to know when the artwork is complete.  These are all parts of the struggle and joy that can go into making art.

As an art therapist, understanding the challenges of making art gives me an appreciation of the incredible work that I ask my patients to engage in every day. Engaging in my own creative process reconnects me to my intuition and feelings, and it often helps me to more deeply connect to my patients’ experiences at the art table.

A little space at home for art

Latex Free

Latex allergies are very serious, especially in hospitals and clinics.  The medicines and blood products given to the patients can actually increase their likelihood of developing this allergy.  For that reason there are no balloons in art making at the clinic.  This limits the piñata s, balls, bowls, and heads created out of paper mâché or plaster cloth.  I have found that large, latex free gloves work almost as well.  the gloves are difficult to tie and not as strong as balloons which is why i go with The largest size I can find.  First you tie knots in the fingers of the gloves right at the base.  Then you turn the glove inside out.  Now blow the glove up and tie a knot, which is the hardest.  I have found a piece of string or wire wrapped tightly works better than a knot.  This also helps as a hanging sting for while the ball is drying.






The layers of plaster cloth or paper mâché need to be thin and allowed to slightly dry between the layers.  The gloves are not as strong as the balloons and will become disfigured if applied too heavy or deflated too soon.

Happy mâché-ing!!