Flamingo!

During a recent visit to the clinic’s art room, a very creative six-year-old immediately began gathering materials – several giant paper towel rolls, some masking tape, and pink construction paper.  This young lady always has a very clear plan of what she wants to make in the art room, but this was obviously going to be an extra-special creation. 

Our young artist worked quietly and very intently at the art table, never looking up. Eventually, she gathered a few more materials, including orange and black paint, extra-large googly eyes and a bunch of pink feathers.  The art therapists waited in anticipation to see what she was going to create that morning.  A few helping hands, careful placement of tape and a couple of strategic scissor snips later…

Flamingo1

And we had a bright pink flamingo, with a smiling orange beak make its debut in the art room.  It is has been great fun to have our friend, the flamingo, sitting on our counter and watching over the creativity that happens in the art room everyday.

It’s coming together…

Between a busy art room full of patients, siblings and other family members out of school for Spring Break and making our usual visits to inpatient rooms we have been on our toes these past few weeks!  During a few spare moments we have begun to put together pieces of our collaborative canvas project from Creative Arts Therapies Week.  It has been so fun to see how smaller pieces of artwork born of so many different visions can come together to create something entirely new! 

Here is a glimpse of our progress! And we’ll show you the final project very soon… Stay tuned!

MuralPieces

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

How Art Therapy Found Me

My journey to art therapy was a winding road and then a final “aha!” moment. I was the recipient of art therapy before I ever realized what it was. Growing up primarily overseas, coupled with the normal angst of adolescence, lead me to rely on art making as a way to cope with, explore and understand my experience. I journaled, collaged, painted and sculpted my way through high school and then went on to take many art classes in college. I saw art as a way of life, but was not certain if it could ever be a way of making a living. After college I went into the world of fashion design, which I enjoyed for several years. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the parts of that work I enjoyed the most were some of the foundations of art therapy- creating, collaborating, and sharing ideas.

I finally came upon the field of art therapy a few years ago when a family member was hospitalized for a long period of time. The months spent at my love one’s bedside, hearing the experiences of the neighboring patients and getting a window into the world of healthcare got me thinking about how I could use art as a tool for healing. After some research I had my big “aha!” moment when I found the incredible field of art therapy.

After a lot of hard work, I graduated with my M.A. in Art Therapy from The George Washington University and have been privileged to work for Tracy’s Kids since May 2011. Often staff and parents will say to me, “You have the best job ever” and I certainly agree!