Gather. Envision. Create.

We Gather. 

We Envision.

We Create.

art journal Swain

Gather. Envision. Create.
Arts Therapy Conference 2017
journal cover

We are a mob of ooooh

300 or so creative arts therapists meeting for a conference.

We are from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and beyond.

I prepare a wee journal to help me travel through the sessions. An art journal. I paint an image on calico for the cover. A spiral Heart-in-the-Grass appears.

It seems I am still immersed in my Season of the Art Heart.

(see What’s with all the hearts

and What keeps me awake)

I set an intention.

art journal intention

Setting an Intention.
So valuable.

On the flight to the conference, I relish That Moment.
That Moment when you’re taking off over Sydney.

You’ve just flown

through scattered puffy fluffy clouds,


you can still see the bright blue ocean below.

City struggles shrink away. The free air of beauty opens up. In That Moment of perching in the sky above clouds, I spy a red ship.

Exuberance comes to me, accompanied by the words:
Art Therapy is a Beautiful Profession. 

I am proud and uplifted to be part of the arts therapy world. Sure. There are gritty difficulties. Battles, even, particularly to get the profession recognised and funded by the mainstream powers that be. There are politics. Politics are everywhere, aren’t they?
But essentially, creative arts therapists help to draw forth authenticity, strength, feeling, intuition and creativity. We attend to mental, emotional, spiritual health. We foster well-being in all its shapes, forms and senses … and that has got to be beautiful.

art therapy profession

Art Therapy is a
Beautiful Profession
Sally Swain
little art journal

My grand intention is met within the very first session I attend – a masterclass with Stephen and Ellen Levine. Wow. {I just found an interview with this ground-breaking pair. Haven’t yet read it, but hope to dive in soon}

A lot happens. I am busy in my art journal. I’ve inspired a peer to bring her own art journal. Another peer tells me she has Journal Envy. She wishes she had the oomph to bring and use one. 

To paraphrase Pat B Allen,

Art Journalling is a Way of Knowing.

Art journalling helps me learn. It helps me explore and respond. It allows me to absorb info and experience without straining my brain. It gives me an outlet and helps me stay present for the difficult, tedious or agitating sessions. (Not that there are many of those). Art Journalling channels my creativity.

Hurrah for art journalling!

{Please share your experiences of keeping an art journal}

To finish the conference, I find myself making an uncharacteristically simple image. A circle.
I make a mono print of the circle. This is fancy-talk for squishing the pages together, then re-opening them and seeing what’s there.

watercolour world

Monoprint of the Globe of the World

Later, the white shapes in the original circle look like bones.
By the conference’s end, my art therapist bones might be delicate, yet they are solid and held in the blue world. I am interconnected with creative arts therapists from around the globe. 

watercolour and pen Zen circle

Zen Global Bones
gently coming full circle by the end of the conference. We expand and deepen our community.


6 thoughts on “Gather. Envision. Create.

  1. Thank you Sally. Your monoprint of the world is sublimely beautiful. Lately I have been getting back to journaling after a break of many years. I’m sure this largely due to your inspiration. Thank you for being an Art Therapist and may the Art Therapy profession be fully acknowledged in our society for the crucial role its practitioners play. An artless life is a heartless life of strife I say! Much love to you and yours dear Sally Xoxo

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  2. Sounds like a lovely event to attend at this time of year; a chance to refuel after a busy year. Do you have time for respite after the conference or is it straight back to work for you?


  3. Thanks for encapsulating the conference and so much more with your beautiful words and images, Sally. I am grateful to the Art Therapy Profession for opening my eyes to how powerful making art can be in our lives to enrich and heal them. Love, Linda C.

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