Posts Tagged With: Art Therapy

Beasts of Burden

“Creative expression requires an ability to work with feelings and channel them. Frustration, dissatisfaction, and even a sense of desperation may help you access an eloquence you never knew existed” Shaun McNiff

It’s been 4 months since we went into lockdown and it’s starting to take its toll. People are tired, anxious and irritated and at a deep subliminal level there is a sense of collective unease. The upside is that in this time I have learned so much about myself, my community and the world at large. I have also been reminded about the role creativity plays in keeping us all sane.

Something strange happened in my Zoom drawing class this week. A kind of wonderfully weird and unexpected awakening. We were all busy drawing animals, a theme we have been working on for a few weeks now, and the atmosphere was quiet and focused as everyone beavered away on their drawings.

Then, from out of the silence came a voice, “My baboon looks angry”, to which there was a reply “My leopard looks sad”, and then from the other side of the screen, “My elephant looks confused”, rounded off by “My giraffe doesn’t know what’s going on”. We all laughed in unison, but in that instant, there was a recognition that we were not laughing at our animals, but laughing at ourselves and that our animals were channeling our grief.

As images of the drawings started to come through onto our Whatsapp group, I could see that my students were right. These animals were indeed confused, irritated, perplexed and all pretty fed up.

It struck me in that moment, that these sessions are more than just about learning to draw. Sure, they are relaxing and fun, but more than that, they unknowingly offer us a space to channel our angst about this chaotic situation we find ourselves in. They offer a release for the internal turmoil and in so doing, help us to recognize not only what is going on inside of ourselves, but that we are not alone in how we feel. Recognizing this, allows us to laugh and feel reassured that what we are feeling is normal, given the circumstances.

There is a release that comes with being able to draw together, a therapeutic outpouring of emotion, that leaves us all smiling and feeling lighter after every session.

Here are a few of our beloved animals, who are carrying the burden for all of us:

If you would like to join my online Beginner’s Drawing Course, please let me know.

You can find out more about me at www.sallyscott.co.za

Categories: Drawing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Building Castles

Every once in a while, I am delighted to come upon a rebel with a vision; one who just knows what she wants to do despite going against the grain of my best laid plans. The person I am thinking of came into my drawing class four years ago, anxious and unsure about her abilities. For the first few weeks she would arrive at class and hover at the door of my studio, not sure whether she had the courage to come in, and I had the feeling that if I let her slip through my fingers, she would sprint back down to the gate and disappear into the night. She had just come through a difficult period of her life and was venturing into the unknown world of the arts in her brave attempt to heal.  Despite her fears, she stuck with the classes, and gradually over the years has found her way back to her lovable self, a responsible yet mischievous rebel, who is now full of sparkle and confidence.

Lisl Griffioen

Lisl Griffioen

About a year after Lisl started the classes, she announced to the evening group that her daughter Anna, who was then 6 years old, wanted to know when she would be good enough at art to be able to draw a castle. Until she could draw a castle, Anna doubted whether her mother had any talent. So, the castle and all that it represented, loomed on the horizon for the next couple of years, and from time to time, we reminded her of her challenge, testing to see whether she felt she was ready to accomplish the feat. She would laugh, shake her head and say no, not yet…but one day.

Then at the beginning of last year, after a frustrating evening of drawing  red peppers and oranges, she suddenly announced that she was ready. The castle was to begin. Before the evening was up, she had sketched her daughters’ castle and planned exactly what she wanted to do.

Lisl's sketch for Anna's castle

Lisl’s sketch for Anna’s castle

Construction began the following week, and through the weeks and months that followed, we watched with interest as first the landscape and then the castle began to materialize. We laughed affectionately with her as she threw herself into the task of creating a castle that would meet her daughters’ approval. Piece by piece the walls and turrets went up, the windows came down and then went up again. Throughout the process she watched herself and her response to the challenge, noting where she felt she was tight and interested to see when the colours flowed with ease. It soon became clear that the process of building her castle had become one more step on her road back to herself.

Construction of the castle halted a couple of times, whilst Lisl valiantly tried to conform to what the rest of the class were doing, but these forays never lasted long and soon she would return to her castle. Unfortunately, due to multiple responsibilities and a heavy workload, Lisl had to miss quite a few sessions over the past few months, but whenever she has appeared at the door with her bright and cheery smile, laughter has always followed as her castle makes its appearance. We have all become so used to seeing the work in progress, watching her persevere with stoic determination, that it’s got to the point that it’s difficult to imagine her working on anything else.

So we were all a little thrown last Tuesday evening, when the final piece of glass was inserted into the window frame, and a year after it was begun, the castle was declared complete!

Anna's Castle

Anna’s Castle

So now we wait to see how Anna responds and whether, as a nine year old, she even remembers why she wanted a castle? Does it actually matter? The important thing is that her mother heard and honoured her call, and in so doing, healed and learned a whole lot more about herself. We, in turn, have had lots of laughs and have enjoyed being fellow travellers.

I suspect that this castle in it’s gilded frame is going to become a symbol that represents a whole lot more to Anna than what she originally intended.

 

Categories: Drawing, My Studio | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wild Women at Work

“Wildlife and the wild woman are both endangered species”  Clarissa Pinkola Estes

…which is why I’m playing my part in ensuring that neither become extinct!

Over the past few weeks six women from Grahamstown have tapped into their wild, creative side by attending one of my Red Shoe Workshops. This project began as part of my commitment to the support and upliftment of women. Shoes are a powerful metaphor for the journey we take through life and after making a pair of my own, I saw the healing potential that lies in this creative process. The workshop is fun and deeply therapeutic, with the objective being for participants to leave the workshop with a sense of achievement and a renewed belief in themselves, knowing that their shoes are as unique and beautiful as they are, and a true reflection of their souls.

Meet the participants:

Daksha

Daksha, learning to do machine embroidery

Virginia

Virginia

Karen

Karen

Bev

Bev

Ann

Ann

Leela enjoys the treat of having time to focus on her creativity

Leela, enjoying having time to focus on her creativity

The three day workshop was spread over two weekends, and the participants quickly overcame their anxieties and launched into the project with gusto. As is often the case with workshops like this, the ladies were not sure what they would end up making or how they would go about it. However, the structure of the workshop is such that the participants moved through each step of the process with ease and by the end were able to look at their achievements with pride, and in some cases, a little amazement! After years of teaching beginners, I have learned to recognize resistance and fear for what it is and guide the participants forward through the process of choice and decision making, encouraging them to make connections and gain insights into why they choose what they do.

Click on the images below to see some more of the action:

And now meet the shoes…

The class of October 2013

The class of October 2013

When asked what she would say to others who might be considering doing this workshop, Leela said “Do it for the joy of discovering or rediscovering yourself. Laugh and be at peace with the essence of you.”

Categories: Fibre Art, Workshops | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Red Shoe Workshop

The Red Shoe Workshop aims to empower women by bringing them together in small groups to make shoes or slippers, through which they tell their stories. These fun, creative workshops have been enormously popular and the outcomes have been amazing. The workshop is suitable for women of all ages, from all walks of life and no previous artistic experience is needed. The beauty of the workshop is that it offers flexibility and can be for each participant what it needs to be, meeting each individual at their point of need. It is held in a safe and supportive space, in an atmosphere of respect and understanding, and offers participants an opportunity to express themselves in a truly creative way.

I will be holding another Red Shoe Workshop in my art studio on the 6th/7th and 13th/14th September. This fun, therapeutic, three-day workshop is not to be missed! There are only a couple of spaces left, so if you’re in the Grahamstown area and keen to join us, please book your place now!

red shoe workshop poster small RGB

Comments by Previous Participants:
“Sally’s Red Shoe workshop is incredible, and I would highly recommend it to you. The workshop is inspirational, in that it encourages you to look at your life from a fresh and unique perspective. It lets you explore your womanhood, your life and your belief systems in a warm and supportive environment, where you can laugh and cry with other woman while not feeling judged. I encourage you to take part in the Red Shoe workshop as it will let you grow as an individual and spiritually in ways you never thought possible.” Lindsay Clarke

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“The Red Shoe Project is a highly innovative approach to self-expression. It does not come with the self-congratulatory smugness of so many find-your-true-self-and-be-free workshops – which is one of its many virtues. The playfulness and spirit of adventure that permeates this workshop liberated me to explore redness freely, to release the stress of goal-oriented activity, and to watch with considerable curiosity (and entertainment) what emerged from my hands, my machine and my red fabric. Even when personal pain surfaced as I sewed alone, the workshop’s overriding sense of playfulness provided sufficient support for me to feel safe – and to sew some more.” Gill Rennie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlease contact me if you would like to know more.

Categories: Projects, Workshops | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.