Good Grief Cafe

Sally Swain original art painting

Here Am I
Swimming in a Teacup
Sally Swain © original art
purchased by a lovely member of Sydney Threshold Choir

Let me tell you about the Good Grief Café.

I rarely report on workshops or playshops in this here blog.

But I wonder –

Might you find it useful to read about bringing Art to your experience of Grief?

Good Grief Café is a one day workshop hosted by Sydney Threshold Choir.

(Link to this Brave, Big-Hearted Bunch of Women Here).

I was thrilled to co-facilitate along with the amazing Trish Watts and Beate Steller.

(Look for a bunch of groovy website links down the bottom of this page)

I was responsible for the Art thread of the day, weaving it in with other offerings.

Let’s take a glimpse at the Art thread:

Safe Space for the Holding of Grief

I led

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Middle-Aged Crazy Art Lady Strikes Again

This time, she’s more like Late Middle-Aged or Early-Old Crazy Art Lady.

She’s just turned fifty-nine. Fifty-nine.

How can that be?

Her Inner (and often Outer) Child

is seven.

art play beach

Beach character
What could his or her name be?
Sally Swain crazy-art-play with driftwood, feathers and seaweed

Two years ago

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Making Art Palatable

Swain small art

Even If It’s Tiny, Make Art
Sally Swain
play-in-progress

Or Should I Say Palette-able?

How to approach art-making when you’re daunted?

Chunk it down.

The vast blank canvas smirks at you. It might look innocent enough, all pure and fresh, but when nobody else is in the room, it snarls,

‘What makes you think you can paint on me? You’re not good enough. You’re not an artist and never will be.’

What to do?

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How to heal a heavy heart

(at least for now)

  1. Wrap your arms around the heart
Swain art paintage

Even if you’re sad, make art
Sally Swain © original art

2. Plant your strong feet upon the earth

3. Sit down

4. Know that the moon is there behind you

5. Sing mournfully

6. If you can’t bring yourself to sing, then hum or simply breathe.

That’s how to heal a heavy heart 

(at least for now).

On a day I felt sad, I

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Words in your Wallpaper Too

Finally. Part Two. Inspired by Maya Angelou.

Do you have an Artist Wound?

(ouch)

As a long time Creativity Coach, I sit with people in the casualty ward of The Creative Hospital of Life. I see the results of Artist Wounds.

Katoomba sign caution

Whoah!
Katoomba sign

Should we peek at places and spaces where the wounding words have seeped? Can you cope?

bricolage tissue watercolour painting

Dabflowers
Sally Swain © original art
picture made from other people’s leftover paint tissues, glue, watercolour, pen.
Quite 3 dimensional

Back in January, with Maya Angelou’s assistance, we uncovered the power of words. It’s now July, but it’s never too late to start afresh with your creativity.
See ‘Words in Your Wallpaper’.

Maya says,

“Words are things. You must be careful, careful about calling people out of their names, using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance. Don’t do that. Some day we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you.”

Words can seep into the blood vessels of your heart’s health, causing a joyful art-beat, or clogging up your (h)arteries.

collage power words

Power (with a bit of Flower)

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