My art is therapeutic and multiple: pushing paint, imperfections celebrated in ceramic, tactile mediations through textile and fiber musings, sacred and spirit connections built up in three-dimensional collage, and emotional release and redemption found in language exploration
altered book process notes this altered book was created for as a response piece, a visual way to process my experience at my first art therapy practicum site, working with clients with diagnosis of dementia or stroke, and often both.
At the beginning of the semester, I was cautious, even anxious in my methods. I was afraid of imposing my own ideas and wanted to be open to the needs and interests of the residents. I began to struggle when I realized that approach was neither welcoming nor comforting to participants with this level of dementia. It seemed that the residents, especially Mt (a pseudonym) thrived with more structure and more focus on the community rather than the individual. I initially struggled with understanding the mission behind the art therapy program at UH. However, I soon witnessed their approach to art therapy, especially under the compassionate guidance of my first mentor and supervisor, DQ, supported and celebrated the quality of life and dignity and vitality of their residents, truly Gerotranscendence.
With that, Mt helped me learn how to better balance sophistication and whimsy, minimize my words used to form questions, and practice a more mindful, in-the-moment thought process. She taught me that silence is OK and that we speak volumes in our eyes and on our faces. Most importantly, Mt brought me the gift of being proud of, and thankful for, my abilities and always tapping into, stimulating, and trusting the emotional intuitive brain.