It's mid-October and I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do for the Art Therapy Without Borders (ATWB) international postcard exchange project for which I recently signed up! No, I'm not an art therapist, but through Paper Bridges I work with plenty of them. Thus, ATWB's Gretchen Miller thinks I have something to offer the international group's project. Having watched so many art therapists in action, I think I have a unique perspective to share. I am so excited! Thanks, Gretchen!
So, what I plan to do is take small pieces of the some of the paper past Paper Bridges workshop participants created and make something magical. Not sure what that means just yet, but in lieu of my lack of other ideas, I think this is a good start! I have beautiful blues, yellows, purples, greens, khakis, creams and even a lovely pink!
Meanwhile, we are working on our 2011 workshop schedule. If you're interested in bringing Paper Bridges to your town or college, contact us soon so we can discuss details and help you plan an exciting, heartwarming event.
Peace and hugs,
Our Fourth of July weekend workshop was awesome! Military vets and community members brought items of sentimental value in to make peace paper!
Jeanne, a local web designer, brought one of her husband's favorite T-shirts in. He just lost his job and this T-shirt represents a job he held for many years that brought him joy. During the workshop, Jeanne pulped the shirt, made paper, bound it into a book and wrote inspirational messages throughout the pages for her husband. She called it a prayer book and hopes it will bring him inspiration during his search for a job that brought him as much joy as the one the T-shirt represents.
Jennifer, a newly engaged graphic designer, brought a box of receipts that she'd accumulated during her college years. Her dad had warned her of identity theft, and she simply tossed everything into the box. She now shreds her bills (or gets them electronically) and doesn't keep them. So she pulped the receipts and made some amazingly beautiful art pieces that she plans to frame. She she it was awesome releasing the stress she toted around for so many years in a box!
Wow! How exciting for us. Forty-three participants shared their weekend with us March 27 - 28. We cut and shred military uniforms, loved ones' clothing, and other sentimental items. One lady pulped a pair of jeans she'd worn when she was about 10 sizes larger! She said it was invigorating. She's using the paper to make a scrapbook of photos to help her savor the "new" body she's wearing these days.
Several participants recently lost their mothers and siblings. They found it therapeutic to transform something their loved one wore into something upon which they can create art.
"I can't express how good I felt doing this," Ann of Cleveland exclaimed. She's been struggling with the loss of her mother March 30, 2009. "I am sold on the beautiful effects of this whole process."
Getting Involved and Staying Involved
As an artist and activist I have always felt strongly about issues of war. This may be my upbringing as one of my biggest inspirations throughout my entire life has been and is my father. He will attest to the fact that it was his Catholicism that taught him that the war in Viet Nam was unjust. My convictions were also formed by the society I was raised in. My high school and college years coincided with the Bush Administration and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I became old enough to vote my friends became old enough to enlist. They didn't come back the same - some didn't know why they went at all - I feel an obligation to them.
Why Make Paper?
People are asking, "why paper?"
After serving just over two decades as a US Marine, I can honestly tell you that I've witnessed some strange, beautiful, sad, compelling, and traumatic events that have contributed significantly to the way my mind works. I've found myself getting passionate about things that some time before, I'd never thought about twice. I found that memories and images often collided and sometimes it contributed to my inability to focus on even the simplest of things. Fortunately, I was a correspondent/photographer for much of my Marine Corps "career," and I discovered the creativity involved with that often helped me relax and focus on the task at hand.
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