Where I've Been, Where I am, Where I'm Going

Thanks to guest blogger Michelle Saleeba we have another fantastic piece for you to get in touch with your creative side.

Gather your supplies:

  • Journal or single sheet of paper/card
  • Selection of acrylic paints
  • Brushes, foam rollers & sponges for spreading paint
  • Plate or palette to spread paint on
  • Selection of magazines or collage source material that have meaning to you
  • Water soluble pastels and/or pencils or markers for adding detail over dry paint
  • Craft glue 
  • Lead pencil and ruler
  • Decorative paper or tape for segmenting pages (I’ve used a plain black electrical tape from a hardware store)

Introduction

With Therapeutic art activities it is the process, the reflection, the visualisation, the emotional experience that are important NOT the final outcome.  We aren’t aiming for a product here.  

You don’t have to have any art training, you don’t need to be able to make realistic drawings.  If you really feel your piece needs a person in it – stick figures work!

There is no right way to do this only your way.  Take ownership of the process.  And remember no-one need see your work unless you choose to share it. 

Often people feel a little overwhelmed at having to use art materials they’ve never previously worked with.  Or the idea of sitting quietly and reflecting can seem weird and awkward.  That’s completely OK most of us feel slightly anxious when we try something new…..don’t fight it, this is play time and the more you make space in your life for creative and emotional play the easier it becomes.

Reflecting

For this creative therapy exercise it is helpful to spend some time quietly centring yourself and gathering your thoughts.  Leaving behind the stress and carry on from our day to day lives and allowing our self to be really present and engaged with the creative process.  

So get comfy with all your stuff spread in front of you and close your eyes for a moment, focussing at first on your breathing.  Gently aiming for an evenness of breath, in and out.  

Bring your attention to your past – which ever aspect of your past that jumps out at you.  All of it, a specific significant event there’s no right focus here.  Do you have a particular colour that you associate with this time in your life?  With your childhood say or all of the time leading to now?  This is the colour or combination of colours that are going to be the background to the first part of your page.

As you are visualising the colour/s of where you’ve been you will likely have images, words, faces perhaps even sounds, smells and tastes that come to the front of your conscious mind.  Gently acknowledge these – they will guide you in your choice of collage materials.

When reflecting on your present what are the aspects that you are most grateful for?  Those that you would like to change?  Is there a colour that defines your present situation?  A symbol, taste or sensation?

Looking to the Future is a visioning exercise and here we have the opportunity to place our desires, hopes and dreams on the page.  It’s an opportunity to think about the aspects of our life we want to work on or change and how that might look

Engage with the process

Please read through the whole process before you start 

Step 1- Segmenting

Divide your page into 3 sections using your lead pencil.  

If you want straight lines and structured segments use the ruler – if you prefer fluid and loose go freehand!  

Step 2-Laying down the colours

It’s time to use the sponges or foam rollers to colour the Where I’ve Been segment.

We are creating a background here with the intent to place elements on top so it works best to apply the paint sparingly.

Spreading the paint too thickly or using loads of water will increase the drying time.  You can always use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process if you need too.  

Step 4-Rip Tear Cut

Turn to your collection of collage materials and recalling the images etc from your reflection start selecting anything that really speaks to you and fits with what you visualised.  Rip or cut whatever works for you.

*TIP-you want to keep yourself moving quite quickly here – don’t get sucked into reading articles!  It can help to give yourself a time limit!

 (In the example at the top of the document I asked participants to aim for 8 -12 images and/or words per segment.)

Step 5- Collage

You want your painted segment to be dry for this bit.  

Start to arrange the collage elements representing your past on the painted segment.  

Glue them down using your craft glue.

Step 6- and repeat x2

You need to follow the above process through again for Where I Am and Where I’m Going starting with a reflection for each aspect.

Step 7 – Pushing apart pulling together

Now define the three segments of the piece, you can use your tape here or another medium that you prefer such as permanent marker.   

The phases of our life are both separate and dependent on each other.  There are lessons and experiences we choose to leave behind and others to carry forward.  To demonstrate this using your pastels or markers add text and illustration that symbolically links the aspects that you choose to carry through from one part of your life to the next.

For example you may draw arrows or ladders leading from one section to the next. Or perhaps an arrow points from one aspect of your past to the future but the destination is unclear.  

Michelle Saleeba is a single mum to two independent teenagers and perhaps more simply a gorgeous German Shorthaired Pointer called Otis who still likes going with her for walks at the beach!   

She writes, paints and journals and tries to get on the yoga mat as often as possible.   

Michelle facilitates creative therapy support groups for women that incorporate meditation as well as visual art and writing usually in the safe container of a journal.  

Michelle is also an accredited personal trainer and offers exercise programs and training sessions for wellbeing as well as anxiety and depression management.

Connect on Facebook

For more information about creative support groups or personal training with Michelle contact the Henry Street Centre in Fremantle on 9433 6957 or email michellesaleeba@msn.com or visit her website www.michellesaleeba.com


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FREE Father's Day Craft

We have a lovely Father's Day craft for you and your children to do at home.

Simply print off our free printable tree template and using some paint and your children's hand prints make a memorable keepsake for Daddy.

You could even go the extra step and frame it if you like.

Your child will be delighted when it takes pride of place on the fridge, Daddy's desk at work or even his bedside table.


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Toddler Tuesdays - Week 12 of the 12 weeks of winter

Welcome to week 12, the final week of ‘The 12 Weeks of Winter’.  Spring is right around the corner and i’m sure everyone is looking forward to some more reliable sunshine.  This weeks activity for ‘Toddler Tuesdays’ is Teddy Bears Picnic.

You will need -

  1. A blanket to use as your picnic rug.
  2. Some stuffed toys or dolls to invite to the picnic.
  3. Some unbreakable cups and plates and children’s tea set would be ideal.

Instructions -

For morning or afternoon tea invite your child to the Teddy Bears Picnic.  Have them assist you to gather the items and set them up in the lounge, family room or another area of your home that suits you.  Serve up your child’s morning or afternoon tea including a drink and make sure there is a little something for each of the guests.  This is an open ended imaginative activity so be fun and creative.

Focus -

Imaginative play is a very important step in development.  Semi structured activities such as this provide a comfortable framework of language your child can use to play.  Mealtimes are a regular occurrence so your child should already feel familiar with that process.  Adding the teddies and change of setting can encourage development of additional language using describing words and instructional words.

If you have not already provided some feedback about our ‘Toddler Tuesdays’ activities we would love to hear from your now.  Please go right ahead and leave a comment here or post an image or comment to our Facebook page.  If you enjoy the activity we would encourage you to share this post with your friends.


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Toddler Tuesdays - Week 11 of the 12 weeks of winter

Welcome to week 11 of ‘Toddler Tuesdays’.  You can find more of our ‘Toddler Tuesdays’ activities here, we hope you are enjoying them.  This week’s activity is Rainbow Fish.  You may already be familiar with the children’s book, The Rainbow Fish, if not you may like to extend the activity by borrowing this book from the library.

You will need -

  1. 1 paper plate.
  2. Gluestock.
  3. Scissors.
  4. Coloured spots - you may like to cut out magazine pages as spots, wrapping paper, coloured paper, or these spots we have prepared for you here.  You’ll need quite a few spots, especially if you have used a large dinner plate sized paper plate.
  5. Marker pen.

Instructions -

Have all of the items ready for your child at the kitchen table or toddler table before presenting the activity to your child.  The ability of your child will govern how much assistance you provide to them with the activity, encourage them to try each step.  First cut a wedge shape from the paperplate, the wedge will then be glued on as the tail of the fish and the opening become the fishes mouth.  The coloured dots can then be stuck all over the fish to create a rainbow fish.  Finally give the fish an eye using the marker and you are all done.

Focus -

This activity has a heavy focus on fine motor skills and co-ordination.  When your child is cutting encourage them to keep their thumb on top.  If they struggle with that concept you might like to draw a smily face on their thumb and remind them to make sure they can always see the smile when cutting.  Even removing the glue lid and twisting up the glue encourages hand strength and fine motor control.

If you try out one of our activities please let us know what your toddler (and you) thought.  Feel free to leave a comment here or post an image or comment to our Facebook page.  If you enjoy the activity we would encourage you to share this post with your friends.


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Toddler Tuesdays - Week 10 of the 12 weeks of winter

Welcome to week 10 of ‘Toddler Tuesdays’.  You can find more of our ‘Toddler Tuesdays’ activities here, we hope you are enjoying them.  This week’s activity is sensory play with your very own goo!

You will need -

  1. A large plastic container or ice-cream container
  2. 2 cups cornflour
  3. 1 cup of water
  4. A painting apron or old clothes
  5. Optional - 2 drops of food colouring
  6. Optional - towel or plastic sheet to cover your floor or table

Instructions -

You may like to do this activity in an empty bathtub to contain the mess, or use a towel or plastic sheet to cover your table or floor.  Have all items ready but don’t mix your goo together just yet.  Depending on the age and ability of your child they may be able to do all of the mixing themselves or you might need to do this for them.  Place the cornflour into the large contained and add your food colouring if you are using it.  Next add the water to the container and start mixing using your hands.  This may take some time.  Encourage your child to play the mixture as they are mixing and to describe what they are feeling if they have the language for that.  If they don’t you might like to commentate for them.  Once it’s all mixed together let them have some free play.  You will find that when you move the goo quickly and compress it, it will hold together and once you stop pushing it will become runny again.  This is an open ended task governed only by imagination.

Focus -

This activity encourages the strengthening of fine motor skills and co-ordination using sensory play to manipulate the goo.  Touch is the focus of this sensory play.  Many prems have sensory issues so it’s important to work within your child’s limits with this activity.  Some may like to stir with a spoon but not like to get their hands grubby.  Some may be ok to touch it but only using gloves.  Work with what you already know about your child to make this activity fun for them.  You may need to model getting grubby so they are comfortable with that.  As this activity is open ended it is an excellent base for imaginative play and language development.  Encourage the use of descriptive words whilst playing.

If you try out one of our activities please let us know what your toddler (and you) thought.  Feel free to leave a comment here or post an image or comment to our Facebook page.  If you enjoy the activity we would encourage you to share this post with your friends.


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