Only In Art Therapy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly… First story: Saudi Arabia

If you’re reading this and you are a patient of an art therapist or have been or if you are an art therapist, and have a story of an incident, please let me know and I will post it here.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, whats’ that?: Basically there is great news and exciting things going on in the field of art therapy, like an article in National Geographic about art therapy with veterans with PTSD and photos of their masks, and bad and “ugly” things, like annoying portrayals of art therapists in current Tv shows and movies, as well as a lot of misconceptions about what the scope of what we can do is and whom we work with. I will use the pronoun “they” when talking about patients to further protect identities.

With the not so great news stories, I will follow with the question: So what can we do to change this NOW? because we’re in a better place today than ever before with respect for the profession, but not enough…
I’m not satisfied!

I will start this series off with a great story I found on Facebook linked to an article about art therapy in Saudi Arabia: Using Art Therapy with Former Jihadists, turns out it is a very effective modality for lots of reasons:

http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/using-art-therapy-to-open-the-minds-of-jihadists

What’s Your Art Story?

Originally posted on creativity in motion:

What's Your Art Story?  | creativity in motion

This semester’s Art Therapy Studio class I’m teaching again for Ursuline College’s Art Therapy and Counseling Program is quickly winding down. Our time together over the last few months has been another series of artful Saturday morning gatherings!  It’s a pleasure seeing students take time to create their own art and strengthen the important role of personal creative practice as artists and soon to be art therapists.

One of the requirements of the class, even before I started teaching the course has included students telling their “Art Story” through the media of digital storytelling (DST). This assignment provides students an opportunity to use (and learn!) digital video making and create a creative piece of work reflective of their identity as an artist.

According to Lasica, (2006) “Digital storytelling is a craft that uses the tools of digital technology to tell stories about our lives…. and can be a powerful, evocative…

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Some Favourite Colouring Pages

Originally posted on Wildersoul Colouring Book:

circle8 tuatara head bw 660

Tuatara with the spiky hairdo!


dial 3

This reminds me of a sunflower! How about you?


fly free USL

I quite liked Quentin Blake’s illustrations, and this one brings him to mind. Fly free!


Some might like a theme of colouring pictures, and there are some themes available from the menu at the top of the blog. This here is an eclectic collection, as I randomly select some favourites from my Media Library to share all over again!


copy of mandala3 bw 660px

Last one! I enjoyed colouring this one. Hope you do too!

copy of mandala3 col USL

~WilderSoul

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Writing 101 Assignments: Serially Lost, Serially Found: Lost and Found in Neverland

I physically lost a blog post a week ago because it was in my journal! It was already a post about losing and finding, so I will start with typing out that post. This is part of the second “series” of posts. The first series for the class that inspired me was the series for Loss. This is a series about the “lost and found” we all have in our hearts, as well as losing important items in the physical world…

Lost and Found in Neverland

I lost my Hello Kitty hat
on a cold day in October 2013.
That hat was a happy pill.
A gift to everyone on the streets or subway
Who saw it and smiled.
The white knit hat with cat ears
and pearlescent sequined glasses
(did you know Hello Kitty is nearsighted.)
Even the neon orange whiskers
were on that hat.
And an orange bow.

I must have left it on a crosstown bus.
Hello Kitty is good for crossing over,
transitions, goodbyes.
I didn’t want to say goodbye to that happy hat.
I felt like a Mad Hatter in it.
The night sky was on
when I realized i lost the hat.
I was so torn apart
and frustrated with myself
I may have even cried.

I felt like a happy child with it on my head.
For under 20$ I got a hat with magic powers,
transformer powers.
I felt great waves of longing for it to come
back to me.

Suddenly a lightbulb split my hatless unhappy head open wide.
Yes I missed that hat, but I knew I could hunt it down on Ebay
If I wanted to replace it with another one.
But my friend who died the month before was gone
forever.
And not coming back.
There is no Ebay for lost beloved friends.
She is somewhere in a Neverland, stuck in the Lost and Found box.
Not the Neverland of Peter Pan.
The Neverland of dead people
who left too soon
and did what we never wanted them to do
to get there.

I got that Happy Hat back, or at least
one that looked exactly the same
and it still had the magic powers
to stop people on the street
and bring a smile to a grey day.

My friend is gone in that Neverland.
I wanted her to never go there,
But she did anyway.
we all have that choice.

That lost and found bin is in your heart,
the permanent place the love for K.
will always be found.

Idea: Business Proposal for “Color Yourself Happy”

This is seriously the kind of business I would quit my private practice to own while continuing to be an “artist in residence” at my own bar! Why not dream big to spread a little color and glitter to this sometimes grey world!

What: Color Yourself Happy will be a kind of “bar” atmosphere where people over 18 come and can purchase coloring pages and pens/pencils and materials of their choice to sit at the bar or in the lounge area and color.  It will have a cozy feel to it with tables, booths and a bar with stools. Non alcoholic beverages and limited healthy snacks available for it to feel more like a “social” creative atmosphere. You have the option of bringing in your own materials, but there is a fee for spending time in this very creative comfortable atmosphere. Doodling and large communal coloring murals also an option. There’s a coloring menu!

Why: A lot of adults like to color in beautiful mandalas and other types of designs, such as in the very popular “Secret Garden” coloring book, by Johanna Basford, sold over a million copies. 

Many people who choose to fill themselves with drugs, food, alcohol, sex, unhealthy relationships, etc. could come here to do something that is soothing and feels good but feels better for your health. We fill the empty hole with extremes, sometimes even exercise. Now when you’re lonely about to go buy a bottle of wine or whatever filler, you pass by the coloring bar and can go in there and spend an hour or more coloring and even meet other people. Depressed and isolating yourself? Instead of drinking or doing drugs alone or after or before indulging, come here and sit alone coloring among other people. They will leave you alone if you want, but you get to leave your house and add color to your dark sad daily life.

You can’t overdose on coloring. It’s cheaper than other forms of coping; it’s a healthy habit and it feels like you’re going to a cool neighborhood bar. Drop by after a 12 step meeting to relax. Stop by after work to have some healthy time to yourself. Stop by before or after partying. No judgments about what you do outside of here!

When: when you feel desperate, when you feel fine and want to have fun, when you’ve been out and still want to stay out or to get out of your house. The bar opens around 3pm in the afternoons and is open until 3am (maybe?) and more on weekends. Weekends will have a 1-5pm children and families allowed time. Rest of the time only adults.

Who: It’s for anyone, unless you’re too drunk or dangerous to come in. Otherwise all who can pay are welcome. Prices range from 10$ up, depending on what you order. Who works there? The owner is me, an art therapist and artist. I will hire artists, art therapists, art students and art therapy students. There will be an option for those who want to go to a private booth, not for a lap dance, but for an informal art therapy session in private with an art therapist or an art therapist in training. Sessions 20 minutes, half hour, or 50 minutes. Range of prices. 

But mostly it’s a coloring bar. There will be some music, perhaps live but always quiet, allowing for people to converse. 

There will also be a private room for parties and celebrations. You can have an adult birthday party, a baby shower; parties have options for bringing your own food and beverages. All art and coloring materials supplied. Parties will have options for other materials like painting and collage.

The bar will also have materials for doodling and making your own art as well as ways to collect your pages and make your own book for a fee if you come often and want to.

I would also have rotating art on the walls by unknow artists and people who work there as well as patrons!

Would you come here this evening? What would make you want to try it out? What would you want to do in here? Would you be alone or with others?

Where: downtown NYC somewhere!

Serially Lost: How many beautiful pens by Retro 51 will I lose?

  Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk
Limited Batch 2003
Full-Time Flavor 2004-2012

“From the moment that this oatmeal went
There’s been no end to fans’ lament.
If you’d “sowed more oats” before the reap
We wouldn’t have buried it quite so deep.”

This is all in the context of my misplacing things a lot, and, it seems to be very particular things. The Retro 51 pens are the most crazy. I discovered this pen many years ago when another pen enthusiastmily in my fa gave me a couple of them on different occasions. At some point, I got excited about them. At that point I had an old red marbleized one, a cork pen and matching cork pencil, and a very pretty bubblegum pink one. Then I found a leopard print one and started to get obsessed with these pens. the design is simple, retro and beautiful, and they keep coming up with cool patterns and textures for them. The first one I lost was the bubblegum pink one. I got that one when my gifted gave me a shiny red one. I didn’t like the red color and already had a red one, so I went to the Fountain Pen Hospital, cool pen store down the street from me and exchanged it for this great pink one. I remember losing that one mostly because I remember frantically looking on the internet for a replacement one as I loved the color so much, and it had become my favorite pen. I snagged one probably on Ebay and payed around 28$ to replace it. I had my head on with that one, as I at some point decided to leave it in my studio and use it there. It is in my studio and with the leopard print one it stays there, the only place these pens are safe from being lost.

I now cannot find a photo of it, but here is a photo of the cork ones, which I never lost, mostly because I forgot about it for a few years and only recently got it out with it’s pencil partner when looking for several other ones in a frantic attempt to find a few of them: This pen now resides in my studio, and the pencil is precariously traveling with me in my bag, in great danger of getting lost! This is an old set, and they are of course out of stock, so I luckily have a rare set that I have yet to lose

http://www.monstermarketplace.com/pens-and-leather-executive-gifts/retro-1951-tornado-deluxe-vino-pen-and-pencil-set

Coninuint my saga of my growing relationship with Retro 51 pens, a few years ago, I found a really cool Limited Edition “Bloom” pen, which I gave as a gift to my Retro 51 family member; I liked it so much, I ordered one for myself. I think I lost that one twice; I have memories of frantic searches and snagging a replacement, but get this: I lost the replacement one. I can’t even remember when or how I lost it, but I was so annoyed with myself; I had to give up. By then I had expert skills at trolling the internet and knew all the pen stores and pen blog sites,so I gave up. Recently I found the Retro 51 blog and commented on a post. The guy from the company actually gave me a phone number to call, so I called them, still a year or so later desperate to find this beautiful red pen with flowers on it. A person from the company actually called me back and did a search for me to no avail. I then confess that about two weeks ago, I texted the family member I gave it to and described it, asking her if she wanted to trade it for a different one. Rightly so, she said she likes it and wants to keep it. I’m the fool who gave it to her and then gave myself two copies of it! Here’s a photo of this pen that feels like The Pen in my life; the one that got away…
There are only 500 of these that exist, so I am very jealous of the 498 ones out there and the two that I lost:

Continuing my ridiculous saga of this pen obsession, which you can understand more when you look at their website: this company has something cool going on with their retro look. Limited Editions have become a big thing in the past few years. I’ve actually gotten obsessed with the concept of the “limited” edition. Ben and Jerry has Limited Edition Ice cream flavors. I still remember one of them that I got obsessive about finding and figuring out which places still carried that flavor. Ben and Jeryy actually have a “graveyard” filled with their Limited Edition flavors, what a great idea to have a “graveyard” for objects that are purposefully “ended”, as a way to torture the consumer and make the obsessive collector happy they have something special! This week Target had a crazy crash on their website due to the new designer they are collaborating with,; it was similar to the 2011 fall Missoni for Target, which was very limited. I confess to loving Missoni, and I scored on that one as I was very crazy, went online the moment it came out, and even as late as a year ago, found a pair of gloves from them under the 20$ or so they charged just by looking on Ebay. I was happyy to read about this craze from a distance, and to not have had any interest in running to Target or their website for this round of Crazy Designer Collaboration. Here’s the Ben and Jerry graveyard: the little poem at the top is about the flavor I obsessed about for a few years of its existence! They not only have the graveyard with tombstones of ice cream flavors, they have a separate link to the most missed flavors. They have a great flair for feeling the enjoyment of the Limited Edition: There is something almost sexual about this whole idea of tasting something, or having something, that then becomes extinct and gets taken away, that only a select few get to keep!
http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/flavor-graveyard

Retro 51 have a series of Limited Edition pens. Since the “Bloom” pen incident, I have bought a few more of these pens, mostly in the past six months or so. The next one I remember getting was the Pinball one, called a “Popper” pen, this one is “Flipper”. I think the Popper series is one of Limited Editions. So this one is still hanging out on Amazon and in other stores. There are 750 of them, of which I have now bought two.

I got this one a while ago, very excited as Pinball itself is a very vintage retro game that I loved playing in college. I manage to keep this one for a while, during which I discovered another “Popper” called “Splat” Snapper. It immediately seduced me as it is a comic book graphics design. There are 750 of them out there. I resisted buying one, as I felt guilty about my recent purchase of the Flipper, so I decided to ask one of my relatives to give it to me for a holiday present, which ended up being a late birthday present that i just recently scored. This cool pen which you actually push down to open instead of rotating the top, I have managed to take with me on my spring vacation and kept in two different bags without losing it. Since losing the Flipper one right after my vacation, I put this one in my studio. IT’s there right now, and I think I need to leave it there until I learn how to hold on to these pend hns.

These limited edition pens are their Pop series and have a history which they explain on their blog, if you’re actually crazy like me to want to know about this idea of torturing people with a 500 or so limit!
http://retro51blog.com/2012/01/31/the-tornado-pop-series/
Right before getting the Splat gift pen I had suddenly realized I lost another pen recently purchased. This one is from another Retro 51 collection named “Vintage Metalsmith”. I bought the “Roosevelt” when I was obsession about trying to get the Bloom Popper and failing; it was meant as kind of a replacement pen, some device I invented to feel less guilty about spending so much time and money on these pens and losing them constantly. I’m not sure how long I had the Roosevelt, as I actually lost it but did not even notice I lost it until a while later by which time I had no ideaa where it was. I had taken it on my week off in December I think but it disappeared at some point. Meanwhile I found out about the “monochromatic” ones. As an artist, this appealed to me that the pen is dipped in color and the whole thing is that color. OF course I got the bubblegum pink one:
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_vintage.html
By the time I had my spring break upstate a few weeks ago, I had spent a frystrating time looking for the Roosevelt and the flower one and getting those last two. So I brought a bunch of pens and art supplies on my trip, including the Pow, the Flipper and the monochromatic pink one, as well as my newly dug up cork pencil; I knew I was tempting the Fates. Could I hold on to that many Retro 51s and carefully use them?

The answer was no. I got home and as usual, had “forgotten” about “checking” that I had them all until some time last week when I realized I had lost my Flipper pinball pen. I was so enraged at myself that I shared my loss with a patient who has a lot of so-called “anger management” issues; the share was about me being annoyed at myself and super frustrated and feeling angry right before seeing this patient, who I’m sure was amused to see me so pissed off because he commented on it.

I then in secret proceeded to find one of the 750 online that I think cost a few dollars less than the first one I got. I received it in the mail this monday at my studio and it has not left my studio.

I am happyy to report that i have refrained from getting the following other Retro 51 pens that tempt me. The bamboo one: that was hard; I almost bought one but managed to stop myself!
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_bamboo.html
The “stealth which is kind of monochromatic black one:
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_deluxe.html

And I now almost lost this whole post, which I better save or I will go nuts!

writing this post caused me to really look at their whole website, and I discovered just now that they have started making tiny little pens, so cute. I will not buy one. I will not buy one. I will not buy one. I will just check how much they cost…
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_elitebpandpc.html

Worst of all, going to the blog post on their website about the Limited Edition Popper series, I saw the very first ones, so pretty and floral, and now I’m thinking, where the heck could you find one of those?

Luckily the pen industry seems to have no graveyard, no place to get second hand pens. Ebay sells Retro 51 pens, but only the ones that are recently out. No pen collector seems to want to part with their old Retro 51s.

So anyway, now I am trying to hold on to the lovely pens I have, the pink, the leopard print, the cork pair, the old red one I left in my house, and the special Flipper and Splat. I am attempting to keep the monochromatic pink one in my bag with the cork pencil. Who knows how long I can hold on to them, but I like to draw and write in my just found journal with these writing implements, so I will carry only one or two on me, and keep the rest safe. I will attempt to avoid purchasing any more for at least six months. Let’s see if that lasts…