What have I been up to in the past 3 years?
I took a sabbatical from arts education and community arts projects to rest and restore and learn. In that time I have continued to develop inspirations into tangible expressive art workshop offerings.
Story Stick, Mosaic, & Shadow Mask Processes
I discovered the story stick process during a summer weekend with friends. We were created with paint, yarn, and sticks, guided by the theme of ‘a pivotal life story’. I was impressed by the rich personal stories revealed through such a simple process.
I went on to facilitate story stick workshops at festivals, therapy support groups and ran a workshop series - Each workshop was centered around a theme: self-care, grieving, mindful breath reminder stick, vision stick, and stories of our life journeys.
Building on the story stick idea I developed the Community Story Stick which I facilitated with members from Toronto’s Center for Social Innovation (CSI)
The mosaic project, made with painted cardboard, continues to evolve. I was invited to present this process with BAM ( Books Art and Music. The theme of the event was Climate Change, and the intention of the mosaic making was to demonstrate the impact of our choices, and that we can make a difference with small actions, collaboration, and using recycled materials. The result was a beautiful earth designed mosaic that kind of took its own path with the layout. A true reflection of working with people and the twists and turns of life.
At the beginning of Covid, I joined an online art group through the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) and we are into our 36th week of creating together! The group requested that I run a shadow mask workshop with them. Previously, I had not considered running expressive arts workshops online; I particularly didn’t think it would be effective with the shadow mask concept.
However, I knew from previous shadow mask-making workshops that the preliminary sketches made before making the mask were powerful in themselves. I gave a shadow mask sketch workshop as a test run with a few friends, and yes it brought powerful, evocative insights and openings to participants.
Presenting virtually had a learning curve. I’m usually a very somatically oriented presenter. My body language helps me to convey the shadow understanding and creating process, and seeing participants' body language helps me to understand how best to guide people. However, I’ve learned to manage the technology, to hold space, and create a safe container for the participants' experience.
Several months later, I have now delivered several online shadow mask sketch workshops, I’ll be offering a number of online shadow mask sketch workshops in 2021. Check out the events page to see the schedule of upcoming shadow sketch workshops, or contact me directly to organize one with your friends or group.
Some Covid Silver Linings
As we all know, when Covid landed in early 2020, the world plummeted into challenges and changes in all areas of living. As much as I enjoy lots of time alone, I found myself facing deep issues: emotional avoidance, unproductive choices, and behaviour patterns. Not to mention, I was surrounded by a huge collection of art supplies I have gathered over the years that weren’t getting used!
Looking around, I decided to choose what I actually work with and let go of all that does not serve my growth and creative expression. Let it go, Let it go, Let it go! It has been such a relief to let go - and yes I still do have plenty of supplies. Also, I’ve been left with plenty of imagination bursting at my seams and plenty of enthusiasm for the work I love to do.
The Covid certainly made possible alternatives I did not imagine. I have always imagined being able to travel around the world with my work. Now, here I am able to do that: in my home, working with people internationally. So astonishingly amazing!
Blessings Grace and Love