Art, Love and Realness

We are Pod.

We are.

We.

My little Pod group formed randomly … or was it laced around some invisible design?

After Australia’s election in May, I felt a strong urge towards community, to be with like-hearted people. I sent out an email to maybe twelve creative arts therapists to get together, to lament, to make art, to see what emerged.

Art, Love, Realness
in the Pod
Sally Swain art-in-relationship
Transforming Grief into Gold

Four of us turned up on the day. We bonded immediately.

We became Pod.

Pod is for grieving, expressing our true feelings, making art and, importantly, eating too much cake. We’ve now met several times. We don’t necessarily talk politics or big picture stuff. We speak whatever matters to us at the time.

ART, LOVE AND REALNESS

was

my impassioned happy-slogan

in meeting three.

Pod gathering number four begins. We have cake on our plates. We have art materials at our fingertips. We have landed.

I slap down a bit of collage. It gives me a ground; a starting point. How about a pre-painted magazine page and a paint-dabbed tissue?

Art, Love, Realness
in the Pod    beginnings
Sally Swain art-in-relationship

I notice the letter W right there in the centre, on its side. Can you see it? I pause. W? What might that mean to me right now? Straight away the answer comes. It stands for ‘We’.

It stands for the ‘We’ of Pod.

It’s a reminder of community, of interdependence. It tells me I don’t have to try and figure out my life, my work, my struggles, on my own. Even as I write this sentence, I breathe out a sighhh. It is so easy to get caught up in individualism, where I think I have to solve problems in my busy head; where I have to be a self-made woman and put myself out in the world.

Do you relate? ‘Making it on your own’ is so embedded and idealised in our culture. Such pressure. Anyway, it’s a myth. Nobody truly succeeds on their own. Always, someone somewhere sometime is supporting us.

I write a little ‘e’ next to the W. We.

Art, Love, Realness
in the Pod
Sally Swain art-in-relationship

I paint a Pod. I write the word ‘We’ lots and lots of times. The word becomes weird and funny, but demands to proliferate.

Art, Love, Realness
in the Pod
Sally Swain art-in-relationship
We We We We We

Gold arrives.

Art, Love, Realness
in the Pod
Sally Swain art-in-relationship
Gold arrives

More white tissue beckons. Laying it down is a bit like a tourniquet. Ew. Suddenly I don’t like the picture. It looks like blood and a bandage. We-e-elll …Pod was kind of forged in blood. And a community of ART, LOVE AND REALNESS is incredibly healing.

Art, Love, Realness
in the Pod
Sally Swain art-in-relationship
Transforming Grief into Gold

I still don’t particularly like the picture, but I want to share with you the sustaining spirit of ‘We’. I want to live in the Creative Love Exchange.

(Here’s another post about seeking solace in creative community)

Along those lines, here’s a wee (We) community noticeboard.

Let me link you to upcoming offerings

of several non-Pod Sydney art therapists.

Penelope James: Sydney Art Therapy Group for Therapists in Glebe over 6 Tuesday evenings from 15th October   www.arTTi.com.au

Anne Buckingham: Art + Mental Wellbeing workshops at Lane Cove Gallery in September      info@gallerylanecove.com.au

Gabriel Lawrence: Embrace your Inner Superhero (for women) in Ryde on Saturday 14th September     http://www.into-arts.com.au

Romny Vandoros: is to co-lead one of her Artful Retreats…in Crete! October 1st to 4th.     https://www.artfulretreats.com/crete-4-days?fbclid=IwAR2nJKgrvf67-jnLhxqYK4ohJrrqz2d5MuzGl1n_isXpMX891JNJw4aTjZI

Phillipa Tayler: A Creative Look at Chronic Pain several Monday mornings in Willoughby https://www.workshoparts.org.au/course/ArtTherapyChronicPain

Roxy Taylor: The Benefits of Art Therapy in Residential Aged Care podcast  https://www.wisecare.com.au/blog/episode2

Oh yes. There’s me. Sally Swain: I have one or two spots in Creative Wellspring on Saturday 21st September in Glebe, Sydney.

We are ART THERAPY ABUNDANCE! 

with love, art and soul from Sally

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Lost and Found in the Forest

Sally Swain art painting collatge

Lost and Found in the Forest
Sally Swain © art

Welcome to 2019

I wish you a sense of foundness

at this moment of early January,

when some folk can feel lost in the wilds

of New Year, loneliness

or out-of-routineness.

Let me tell you a story straight from the Creative Love Exchange.

(Creative Love Exchange description here)

Some years ago I went to a Playback Theatre retreat in the Blue Mountains. I stayed in a little ex-train carriage in the bush. I couldn’t sleep. This is not unusual for me and my restless, anxious night-mind. I rose up, out of bed and walked away across the earth. It was a very not-city scene. There were trees and trees and crackly gum leaves underfoot. Careful, Sally, careful to not get lost wandering off the beaten track in the middle of the night.

The thing is, I felt completely safe. The moon was full. I didn’t walk far into the thicket of things, yet was wrapped in beauty; surrounded by a cathedral of moon and tree. I returned to bed and slept.

The next morning I saw a sign.

Caution: Do Not Walk in the Bush at Night. Do Not Stray from the Track.

Timid, urban, physically unadventurous me had done both those things, yet I felt safe.

I created a picture: Lost and Found in the Forest.

And…lo. Thirteen years later, an art therapy friend asks to purchase this painting for her sister who is turning sixty. At first I am unsure whether this work is for sale. Then I say Yes. I embrace the loop of giving and receiving.

You experience something. You receive the benefits of making art from the experience. Astoundingly, someone else would like to give you something in order to receive the medicines of the art you’ve created. There is an exchange of heart, of art, of goods, of services. It’s win win win.

In this case, several sisters club together to buy Lost and Found in the Forest. Apparently the girl in the picture resembles the twelve year old version of the birthday woman. I wait. The gift is presented. She loves it.

Lost and Found in the Forest.

Sally Swain art painting collatge

Lost and Found in the Forest
Sally Swain © art

Do you have any stories of the Creative Love Exchange?

Of being in the flow of giving and receiving via creative expression?

with love, art and soul from Sally

What grows in the garden of you?

What would you like to cultivate?

What would you like to prune or weed?

(Let’s have a jacaranda-coloured post, in keeping with the season)

small art trees Swain

The Seven Trees of Us
Sally Swain © art
very mixed media on a small strip of paper

I ting a Tibetan bowl and lead a guided contemplation for the six women participating in the Art Garden playshop.

We sit with four elements that potentially nourish the self-garden.

Soil

What’s your ground? What helps

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Late-Middle-Aged to Early-Old Crazy Art Lady

Goes to the Beach

Here’s my annual piece of recklessness.

I am poised to turn sixty.

turning 59

59th birthday. That was last year.

Poised? That makes it sound elegant and uncomplicated, which would be untrue.

Don’t get me wrong. I am exceedingly grateful to be a privileged, healthful artist, creativity coach and art therapist, with wonderful people and opportunities in my life. Yeah.

On the other hand, if you are a young sprite of ooo 37, or 51, even, there are quirks, aches and creaky crevices of the sixty year old’s mind, body and circumstance that you haven’t even dreamed of. Nor do you need to. That’s my oblique grumble for now.

At nearly sixty, I am ready to share with you my fabulous afternoon of a year ago. 

sacred sand sculpture

The Nest of the Sacred Egret – what can this mean?

I enthusiastically upheld my own recent tradition of random, spontaneous, organic and focussed outdoor art-making. The tradition involves an I-don’t-care-what-anyone-else-thinks-of-me attitude, which is refreshing for one who was an acutely shy teenager.

sculpture embodied beach

Bodily echoing the shape of the sculpture. Yes. Definitely Crazy Art Lady stuff.

I loved making this sculpture.

driftwood sculpture Swain

Driftwood and seaweed and

art beach spontaneous

Crazy Art Lady at Play

It truly was a case of

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Golden Thread

Grandmother, mother, daughter.

I am invited to run a creative playshop with three generations of women. My heart warms and swells with delight.

Grandmother, mother, daughter.

Not only that, but I’ve met the grandmother and mother before.

Not only that, but the grandmother, Bridget, was in my VERY FIRST EVER ART WORKSHOP in 1993 at the Women’s Academy. There’s a blast from the past.

 

Ohhh the threads run deep and golden.

intergenerational artmaking

Weaving Women’s Creativity
Intergenerational art-making

I will take this opportunity to say

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Creative Circle of Life

Art and Soulie Spot 9
Stories from the Creative Path

Sally McKern art

Child of the Universe
Sally McKern
© original art

Introducing Sally McKern, a wonderful woman who isn’t convinced she is creative, but you will see otherwise. 

Sally’s mother attended my first ever creativity workshop way back in 1993, when Art and Soul was called

Art for Heart’s Sake.

Sally contacted me this year to see if she AND her mother AND her daughter could come along to a playshop.

I was touched.

To me, this is the Creative Love Exchange

in action.

It’s the Circle of Life. 

Oh My Goddess Swain book

Greena – Goddess of Recycling
Sally Swain © original art
from ‘Oh My Goddess!’
Bantam, USA, Australia
1994

Here she is….

Creativity over the Generations

Part One

Sally Swain asked me if I’d like to write something about creativity and I said yes because I love Sally, but the biggest part of me has no idea what to write because in my day-to-day life I don’t feel very creative.  

I don’t feel like I have anything to say nor even

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What was Lost has been Found

Read all about it below

and let’s complete our celebration of One Year of Blogging in the month-of-May

But first…

Can you be lost and found at the same time?

Sure.

Here’s my paintage (painting + collage)

Lost and Found in the Forest.

Sally Swain Forest art painting collage

Lost and Found in the Forest
Sally Swain © original art

And here’s the story behind the picture.

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Are you up for a joyful arty challenge?

Random Acts of Travelling Sculpture

Random Acts of Travelling Sculpture
Love those Gloves
Sally Swain © original creation in Manapouri, NZ

Would you like to stimulate your creative juices in an easy, friendly, connected way?

Sally’s first ever Art and Soul Challenge

Random Acts of Travelling Sculpture

continues through the month of April.

Here’s the lowdown from (a still excited) Sally Swain:

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