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Today was our fourth group art therapy session and consisted of just one creative exercise which took up most of the session’s given time span. The art therapy facilitator instructions were to make a fantasy, mystical creature of our selves out of polymer clay. It was not to have any human likeness. Once we had achieved this, we were then to make a home/shelter for our creature that would include all the creature comforts we thought we needed to live. We were provided with varying materials to use to make the home/shelter consisting of – different sized boxes, printed paper, felt, wool, glitter, magazines, pens, pencils, felts, paints ect. Whilst at first this task seamed like child’s play it quickly became apparent that participants were endeavouring to go about producing creations that significantly interpreted the project brief given.
MY FANTASY, MYSTICAL CREATURE OF SELF
For myself, I decided to firstly use a brown colour for the torso of my creature. It then gained orange feet, a white face, red nose, black eyes and brows and three colourful feathers set at the back of its head. During my story telling to the group, I said that my creature was colourful because of my love of colour and my creature also had the ability to chance colour to reflect its environment as needed.
HOME/SHELTER FOR MY FANTASY, MYSTICAL CREATURE OF SELF
My creatures home/shelter started with a small box which had an open lip and when put on its side led to look like a balcony or like an entrance into my home. Within my home I included small fluffy balls which represented food. Then I made a bed out of fine wool that I glued to a circular rug like shape. The back of my home inside the box, I lined with dark rock patterned paper, and the sides and balcony/drive with a rock patterned paper to represent the Australian outback. At the sides of the entrance of my creatures home, I cut out small trees and glued them onto the box which represented my love of nature. At the end of the balcony/drive, I placed a dark blue felt lagoon shaped object with sparkles to represent fresh, clean water.
At the back outside of my home/shelter, I used paper that had blue sky and clouds and then I glued a fluffy, yellow ball of wool which represented the sun. At the back outside of my home/shelter I glued a picture of a cactus with glitter. At the very top, I glued a picture of a bull’s silhouette against a raging sunset I also included other creatures which were representation of family and friends. In summary I ensured my fantasy, mystical creature of my self had a home/shelter that provided me with:- shelter, food, a warm bed, a home that I felt good and safe in and then I surrounded myself with family and friends. I said to the group when we were sharing our story about our creations, that for me, my fantasy, mystical creature of my self and the home/shelter was a representation of what is important to me – it is what I have built-in my real life for myself and my family. That I was the sum of all those who are in my life and without them I would be alone and life would seem meaningless…
Once we had completed our mini projects we then shared our story about our creatures and their homes/shelter. It was just so interesting and revealing what was shared during this part of the session. Whilst an activity like this can be seen as child’s play, it is very apparent when participants share their stories, including myself, that much more is going on in our minds. What could be seen and heard is how differently we all had interpreted the brief and how powerful the stories were that we had shared!
What also becomes evident during these sessions it that at times carers feel unheard, unseen and their needs, desires are put on hold whilst they endeavour to care for their loved ones in their day-to-day lives. But having a place where they can have time for themselves such as attending an art therapy session, gives them a place where it’s just for them and where they do not have to share their time with another – for just a little while at least…
At the completion of the art therapy session we packed up and headed across to the local restaurant for a bite to eat and a friendly chat. It’s a great way to finish up on a positive note and it always works for me…
NB: For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy Group Sessions 2015“, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions. Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular session. I hope you will understand.
Whilst you are here – please check out my home page! My Art Therapy Journey – A window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytelling…by Karen Robinson