“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.”
Expressive Arts–Altered Book
Altered Books by Catherine
“Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism.”
What is an Altered Book?
Altered books can be created for any theme or intention imaginable. For example, the altered book you see in these pictures was from a group I facilitated where the theme was to create pages reflecting personal inspiration. I used fabric, paint, found objects, words, and scratched out designs.
Suggested themes for Altered Books: “Who am I?” “Things that push my buttons.” “My personal goals.”
Expressive Art Activity – Inner Child/Outer Adult
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
What is an Inner Child/Outer Adult Activity?
Using a shoe-box, make a collage that represents both the adult and the child in you.
Materials you can use:
Fabric, acrylic paints, images cut from magazines, catalogues, or downloaded from the internet, beads, dried flowers, feathers, old jewelry, objects from nature, etc., let your imagination run wild.
You can use watered down white school glue, or modge-podge (they both dry clear) to adhere your pictures and other light weight items. For heavier items a hot glue-gun works great.
If you are going to use acrylic paint anywhere on the box, you will first need to cover the area with white gesso. White gesso is put on in a thin layer over the shoebox, and left to dry before painting or adhering pictures or objects. You can find gesso at craft and art supply stores, or on the internet. The cheaper ones work just as well.
Start by thinking about your life as an adult. Cut out words, pictures, and images that remind you of all the diverse aspects of your adult self. Paste them on the outside of the box. This is what people see when they meet you now.
Next, think about the child inside you, the child you once were. Cut out words, pictures, and images that reveal the feelings and thoughts of that child. Paste them on the inside of the box. These represent the tenderer, vulnerable parts of you.
- How did it feel, so far, creating this representation of your inner child and outer adult?
- Were you able to let go when you cut things out of the magazines, or looked for items to use in your representations? Were there things you wanted to cut out or use that you didn’t? Why?
- What feelings are expressed in the various items/pictures/words you chose? How do you feel when you look at them?
- Do the items you chose, and their placement, make sense to you? What connections do you see in them? Is there anything you chose, that doesn’t make sense or that you don’t understand?
- Is your creation complete? Is there anything missing?
- What, if anything would you change, leave, or add?
Additional things to think about in your writing:
How do you feel about the idea of the child within?
What kind of relationship do you have with the child within now?
How would you like this relationship to change in the future?
“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
Expressive Art Activity–Creating A Personal Vision Board
What is a vision board?
A Vision Board is created by an individual or group to illustrate—or envision—what one wants in this life. It is a collection of hopes/dreams, and no restrictions are placed on the images and/or words displayed on the board. A Vision Board is, basically, a collage of all the things you would like to have, do, or become. By using your Vision Board on a daily basis you focus on your goals and dreams on a continuous basis; in this way you are feeding your subconscious mind, giving it something to look for (the goals you want to achieve for the particular area you are addressing in your Vision Board).
A Vision Board may be a combination of life areas such as career, finances, family, self-growth, health & healing (physical, psychological, emotional healing), or it may only highlight one life area such as health. It is like the “request” you wish to place with the Universe. It is particularly important when you look at your Vision Board to really feel as if you have already achieved this goal or goals. Imagine and feel yourself in the position of having achieved those goals; notice how this feels.
You can add power to your Vision Board by using inspiring affirmations or words with power such as “love,” “freedom” or “independence.” By using these positive self-statements, you are creating new neural pathways in your brain and body.
So where do you start when creating a Vision Board?
Think about what you wish to create for yourself in this life. What is important to you? What goals do you want to achieve? What is truly make you feel happy and fulfilled?
Make a list of all your different goals. Then think about how you can translate this visually into an image.
Set a time limit (no more than one hour) and start looking for words and images from magazines, anything that stands out (even if you don’t know why). Do not censure yourself, but allow your intuition to work for you. Be creative. You can embellish your Vision Board with other objects, such as feathers, ribbon, beads, photocopies, items from nature.
Next position and place the images/words onto poster board. Start at the left side of the page, and position the images that correspond with goals you hope to achieve first, then lay out additional images that move thorough your time line.
Create maximum exposure to your Vision Board.
Make sure you display your Vision Board in different places so you see it often, whether you are always conscious of seeing it or not.
Expressive Arts—Safe Place Activity
This is a simple art project that focuses on creating an imaginary safe/calm place. It is important to have such a place so that when you’re feeling scared, insecure, anxious or depressed, you can mentally go there. If you are stumped about what to create, think about different, places (real or imagined), colors, or images that make you feel good. Use whatever you want to create your “place.” Collage photos from magazines, words, your own drawings, or images from old greeting cards onto a poster or matte board to create your mental sanctuary.
It is helpful to write a story about your place that incorporate the colors, sounds, tastes, smells, sights, and tactile stimuli that is present there. By tapping into all of your senses, this place can be more deeply embedded into your brain by creating specific neural networks that can be “refired” when you wish to return to this sale/calm place.
Now, this won’t work if you just create the “place” and forget about it. Create your “safe place” with the thought in mind that this is a place where your soul desires to go to be safe/calm.
No one can follow you there and nothing can harm you there. Take time every day to visit by closing your eyes and experiencing all the sensory aspects of your place. Post your artwork so you can see it on a regular basis to get it firmly planted in your mind’s eye. You can take a picture of your art depiction, and keep it in your wallet or purse to use when not at home.