Friday, July 22, 2011

Workshop with Kate Church in Chester

Kate Church's amazing and fun Art Doll work here
Hooray, I'm getting my supplies together (Soft Pastel Chalks, A small amount of metallic powders, Sculpting tools, Paint brushes: 2 small liner brushes, one with a round end, and one with a more pointed end, Also one thin bristle brush from the dollar store, stubby, not wider than ¼ inch. It will be used to stuff legs and arms, Two wooden blocks, 5 inches square by 1 and ½ inches deep, Tweezers,  Knife or blade tool, Straight pins, Needles and thread) for a workshop in Chester with Kate Church.  See her amazing work here and make sure to come back to this blog and see what comes out of the workshop.  Wooo!  Can't wait.

Another fun, fabulous piece by Kate Church!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Back from Washington DC

"Lifting the Veil" collage by Lani

What an amazing time in DC!  The Dalai Lama was in town, so the streets were filled with many blissed-out Buddhists, my favorite kind of people!  We had a super time at the National Portrait Gallery, looking at some amazing self-taught art.  I wish I could have stayed longer in the Asian and African Galleries.  Oh my, so much lovely visual stimulation.   Susan Anand and my presentation went very well, no technical or any other kind of problems thank goodness, just that the room was too small for all the folks that wanted to be there.  I'm working on a zine for all who may be interested in the ideas so if you didn't make it into the room, no worries.

I'll also be presenting some of this material at the Expressive Therapies Summit in NYC in November, in an all day puppet, book, and story making workshop.  Should be an awesome conference.  You can find the course listed on Sunday the 13 of November.  Register early!  Want a free paper puppet template?  Click here!

Paper Puppets in NYC

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Getting ready to present "Learning to Love Us More Every Day"

"The Curious Vagabond" Collage by Lani

Susan Anand and I will be presenting our intercultural adventures in Mississippi and looking at resilience strategies that are helpful in life in general, but how focusing on them can create moments where cultural barriers can lift, those lovely "moments of gift" that Peter O'Conner talks about.

The slides are finished, the paper is printed out, I believe I'm as ready as I can be.  I'll be bringing some altered dolls (more shipwrecked doll babies), journals, and jewelry.  I'm excited, and hope to see you there!

My aunt and uncle and some other missionary kids with their Ah-ma.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Art journaling and the balance of serotonin (naturally!)

Collage by Lani

All of us have a type of chemical in our brains that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another, neurotransmitters called serotonin, which is totally tied to mood.  If serotonin is being absorbed and produced at the right levels then we feel good, we have a feeling of happiness, joy, peace, contentment, etc.  However, if our serotonin levels are low then we may struggle with some negative feelings like anger, sadness, loss of joy, tiredness, anxiety, stress, exhaustion, etc.  While blood levels of serotonin are measurable, we still don't know for sure if the dip in serotonin causes the negative feelings, or if the negative feelings cause serotonin levels to drop.

However we do know that we are feeling the overall positive feelings there is a related serotonin increase in the blood stream.  So what can we do to take good care of the balance of our serotonin levels?  What simple activities increase serotonin in our blood stream, without a prescription?

When a person receives a compliment, or when their work is recognized and appreciated, it feels good, and the serotonin levels are balanced.  The person giving the compliment also has a serotonin related positive feeling.  When we are in an encouraging and positive environment we are generally more satisfied and happy than when we are in a neutral environment.  (And of course when we are in a negative or toxic environment we are more discouraged, exhausted and stressed out.  Our serotonin levels are dropping in that situation.  If you find yourself in a toxic environment, just take a walk, walk yourself right out of the situation, because exercise is also excellent for your serotonin levels.)

So try a daily dose of recognition and appreciation for all you do for yourself.  This is where an art journal comes in handy.  You can review the pages you have finished in your journal and always find something in your work to compliment yourself on, some lovely use of color, some wonderful shading, some brilliant insights...  Complements are always possible.  Try it out!

Better yet, take your art journal outside and combine it with exercise.  Want some lovely nature inspired art making ideas?  Try the Make Art of Life blog entry for June 30.  Teresa Van Lanen has some other good ideas on her blog, so enjoy exploring.   Thanks to the Art Therapy Alliance for the link!