Sunday, February 15, 2015

#112 out of a thousand ways to have a happy artist's life, love who you are, it's a great place to start.

"Creating Magic" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

Gretchen Miller challenged me to participate in an art chain, to post art every day for five days over on FaceBook.  Well, I've been doing that for a couple of years now, but I thought why not go through my archives and see what resonates the most right now.  So what I discovered is that creating art every day as part of my daily practice, has made me happier, braver, and more resilient.  Each day along with the art there will be a little text of encouragement, a reminder to engage in creative and meditative practices, to remember that we can imagine new, richer possibilities, to bring more color into the world, and to allow the daily practice to be a door that opens on to all sorts of possibilities.

With my fairly comprehensive background in art therapy, masters and doctorate in the discipline, I keep coming back to the simple idea that by making art, and doing our very best, we learn to feel deeply happy, to pay attention to our life and the things that matter, we actually learn to love who we are a little more every day.

A daily art practice can create a restorative, kind, and creative environment for ourselves and we can then create a restorative environment for those around us.

Ysaye Barnwell tells two related stories about her song, “No mirrors in my Nana’s house.” She had a friend who lived with her grandmother. There were no mirrors in her grandmother’s house. "How did you know how you looked in the morning," Ysaye asked. Her friend told her, "I looked into my Nana's eyes and I knew I look just fine, the beauty that I saw in everything was in her eyes. I never knew from her that my skin was too black, or my nose was too flat, or that my clothes didn't fit." The second story was about a distraught child who went to her grandmother after being teased in the school yard. “Someone called me such and such” the little girl said. The grandmother responded, “If you want to know who you are you look into my eyes.” Ysaye suggests we should get our perceptions of ourselves from people who love us, by looking into their eyes, by listening to them describe us.

I would take that a step further and suggest that we get our perceptions from our internalized Nana's, from that kindly part of the self that can comfort and reflect back to us that we are really alright just the way we are.  In her song "Wanting Memories" the voice is of a young adult reflecting on her childhood and the values learned from her Nana.  After her Nana's passing she wants to be able to see the world with the same love that she saw in her Nana's eyes.  She wants to access that love and wisdom that she has learned from her Nana. 

I think all of us want to access that love and wisdom that we learned from those who loved us unconditionally.  It's what helps us grow more resilient every day.  Love who you are, it's a great place to start.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

#111 out of a thousand ways to have a happy artist's life, share the inspiration.


"Art is a Staple" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

The Guardian had a nice feature, photos of their readers favorite literary quotes in their own handwriting.  That got me thinking that text in the form of quotes in Morning Pages would be such a friendly thing to share on FaceBook, instead of funny/snarky memes.  What if we created our own memes, with our art & favorite inspiring quotes, things that possibly others might enjoy as well? I thought I'd try it with today's morning pages and guess what?  It makes me pretty happy!  Just like a warm coat in winter!

Monday, February 02, 2015

The Edith Kramer workshops at the 2015 Spring Institute


Photo from Herschel Stroyman
Our workshops from the Summit got great reviews and are back on the road. We will be appearing at the Spring Institute, April 10 - 12, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Alexandria, VA.

Saturday April 11, 2015
9:30 am  -  5:15 pm
Art as Therapy, Art as Life: Hands-on Lessons from Edith Kramer


Lani Gerity, DA, ATR
Martha Haeseler, MA, ATR-BC
Susan Ainlay Anand, MA, ATR-BC, ATCS, LPAT

Pioneer art therapist Edith Kramer worked with various materials and art techniques to help people deepen their experiences with themselves, the art materials, others, and nature, all while making art. Some of these techniques originated with Florence Cane or Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, others with her teacher Johannes Itten. Some were Kramer’s own. This team of longtime art therapists, students of Edith Kramer, have spent their working lives using art to build strengths and resilience, much in the way that they were taught by Kramer in her workshops and her course “Art for Art Therapists.” Registrants will participate in Kramer’s collaborative and strength-based techniques for promoting well-being, strengths, and inner resources. Learn how art therapy can support emotional, psychological, and social well-being, as well as how it can optimize daily functioning in the lives of clients, patients, therapists, and communities.

Registration is available separately for both Saturday and Sunday Kramer-oriented sessions. Attend either or both.

Eligible for Credits: NBCC, ASWB, ATCB


Sunday, April 12, 2015
1:00 pm  -  4:00 pm
Living Lessons from Edith Kramer: Sculpting Possibility with Clay


Lani Gerity, DA, ATR
Martha Haeseler, MA, ATR-BC
Susan Ainlay Anand, MA, ATR-BC, ATCS, LPAT



This team of art therapists, students of art therapy pioneer Edith Kramer, have spent their working lives using art to build strengths and resilience, much in the way that they were taught by Kramer in her workshops and her course “Art for Art Therapists.” Kramer worked with various materials and art techniques to help people deepen their experiences with themselves, the art materials, others, and nature, all while making art. She developed a rich repertoire of ideas about working with clay while working with blind children in New York City. In this half-day workshop, participants will have the opportunity to explore these collaborative and strength-based techniques that will help them integrate Kramer’s core concepts through working with clay, including: how clay work can support emotional, psychological, and social well-being; how clay work can optimize daily functioning in the lives of clients, patients, therapists, and communities. Through these experiences, which focus on clay in the art room, participants will learn a broad range of clay-based interventions that enhance strengths and independence.


Eligible for Credits: NBCC, ASWB, ATCB

 
Edith Kramer Self Portrait