The past year has been an incredible journey, but it has also been a personally challenging  and difficult time. Training as a therapist means noticing and thinking about my own psychological defences, as well as thinking about clinical theory in relation to others. Being in my own personal therapy which can be uncomfortable and frustrating as well as helpful in the long run.  Training and continuing my work at the hospital was exhausting, I was so tired that the summer break was about resting and healing. I hoped to do some making over the summer but truthfully I felt uninspired, I allowed myself this time. Speaking to a friend I said that I felt I needed to withdraw for a while. In the last few months I have moved house and changed job, but now things feel more settled I hope to start making again.

In the moving process I decided to let go of some of my old sketchbooks, many of them were full of memories of studying my first degree. All of the fun we had and the passion I felt for art. I realised however that in order to make something new, I needed to downsize my sketchbook collection. I felt that keeping all of them was like keeping older parts of myself, it was time to renew and let go. A scary but exciting thought.

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I managed to fit the sketchbooks that I am keeping in this box.

I also went through the art work that I made in the experiential group as part of the course and photographed it. The group was important to me and helped me to think about difficult issues over the year.

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Untitled

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Being an Island

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Feeling Fragmented

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War and Racism

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Feeling Ill

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Fluid Boundaries- Feeling Overwhelmed

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Therapist Trying to Reach Their Client

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Untitled

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Therapists Touching on Depression

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Heart

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Tiara of Qualified Therapist

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Community Art Projects

September 6, 2015

I have volunteered the last 2 Saturdays with a local mental health charity, last week I led a workshop that involved decorating masks, but this week I was able to take more of a back seat and make some of my own art along with others who use the services. The Art Psychotherapist that ran this week’s group got us to focus on the theme of Aboriginal Art. Indigenous Australian art or Australian Aboriginal art is art made by the Indigenous peoples of Australia and in collaborations between Indigenous Australians and others. It includes works in a wide range of media including painting on leaves, wood carving, rock carving, sculpting, ceremonial clothing and sand painting. We used cotton buds to create our own dot paintings, I enjoyed building up layers with dots and using both bright and earthy colours together.

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Here are some masks that I made to bring to last week’s session as an example. I used both fabrics, wires and paper mâché to give the masks more interesting shape and movement.

   
   

Art Therapy Groups

July 10, 2015

As part of my job as an occupational therapy assistant with psychiatric inpatients, I help to run  Art Therapy groups every Monday with an art psychotherapist. While patients in the group are encouraged to use art to think about themselves or their current feelings, I also make art work to model to others in the group and to encourage others to try different art materials. Many of the adults that we work with may not have engaged in any art making since school, or even in any art making at all. At the end of the art making time patients are invited to share how it felt to make the art, and to discuss it as much as they feel comfortable to. I however, use the art making time to doodle and to think about group dynamics. My own work is not usually shared with the group, but if I am asked to share it, I discuss my enjoyment of using different art materials as well as their therapeutic and mindful qualities. I made these doodles in art therapy groups over the last two years but only recently thought of sharing them, some of my doodles are probably still at work somewhere, while others may have been thrown away. I like that they were made in a short amount of time, and that making ‘good’ art work was not a priority.

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Working on the same theme, I used a postcard from the Wellcome collection to inspire some ink drawings on wet paper. The postcard showed a section of a plastinated slice of a human body that can be seen as part of the permanent collection in London. I considered all of the naturally occurring patterns and shapes in this image, this also helped me to develop some new layers in my paintings. When looking at medical specimens and diagrams in both the human body and other parts of nature, I find that certain aspects appear to be intrinsically linked. This imagery has helped me to symbolise aspects the mind, neurones, and mental health in my work, and the differing experiences of consciousness in us. I like the idea of using some of these drawings for screen printing later on.

C0051409 Plastinated body slice with frontal cut

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This textile piece was originally two of my acrylic mixed media collage paintings, I had added layer after layer but it just didn’t seem to work. I decided to strip the canvas from the frames then use voil, net and other fabrics to add more depth to the work. I have used the same reoccurring circular shapes that relate to mandalas, cells and neurological processes. The collaged images are surreal and dreamlike, as the piece is a continuation of my work looking at psychosis and dream experiences. I have used collaged letters that do not read or spell anything out, this is to create a sense of confusion.

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