Vividly lighting up the bodymind

How very art therapy

They are still setting up for opening night of Vivid when I’m on my way to Sydney Writers’ Festival. One sculpture captivates me.

I see drawn outlines of the human body, with words written inside.

Write, I mean, right, up my alley.

Vivid Harbour Bridge

a Vivid artwork pre-lighting
check out the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background

On closer inspection,

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How to tend a hurt heart

Creative Wellbeing in a Time of Trump

I cannot pretend. I cannot send out a glib, pretty message disconnected from deeper realities. I want to speak with you directly, from my heart to yours, and hopefully back again, in a loop of realness.

I wish to inspire the feeding of creativity, the gathering of community, the radiating of authentic connection.

heart art collage Swain

Sous
Sally Swain © original art

But here comes the Old Steam Train of Doubt … choo choo … puff puff … TOOOT!

Don’t

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Swoosh, Trickle, Sputsput, Ebb, Flow

OK folks. I’m gonna get all formal on you. Well – a bit more – how to put it? Staid? than our usual chatty approach.
Can you cope?
I’m sharing with you a piece I wrote for the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association newsletter. I hope you gain something of value from reading it.

Sally Swain art

SAATflower

It’s all about the ecotone.

The what?

The ecotone. A place full of life, bubble and vibrancy.

Read on if you feel inclined…

Swoosh, trickle, sputsput, ebb, flow.
Where the Sand Meets the Sea

Written with gratitude for Lynn Kapitan’s ‘Arts Therapies in the Ecotone: Contact, Collaboration and Creative Entanglement’ ANZATA conference keynote address

Swoosh, trickle, sputsput, ebb, flow.

What happens where sand and sea meet? Do they decide they don’t like each other, only to end this encounter? Does the sand lose its sense of self as the sea rushes in? Does the sea sacrifice its watery essence? I’m no scientist, but it seems the constant contact leads to elemental connection, interdependence, change and aliveness. Sand and sea affect each other, yet

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One breath, one brushstroke, one paper towel at a time

Awash Sally Swain © original art

Awash
Sally Swain © original art

Aged care. Hand-washing paraphernalia and paper towel dispensers are everywhere. 

Use the paper towel in art, I say.

I attend the inaugural Creative Ageing Conference. Afterwards, I am awash with ideas and tears.

There’s the macro:

Windows fling open to the wide open sky of amazing creative ageing projects around the globe.

And there’s

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The Joyful Art of Grieving

Joy? Grief? Huh? How do these fit together?

Let’s look at Hiromi Tango’s work.

Hiromi Tango

Nature/Nurture (Green) 2015
Hiromi Tango
neon and mixed media

This wondrous, brave artist threads together

loss, wool and plastic

to create vivid sculptural installations.

Her current Sydney exhibition, Fluorescence, encapsulates Tango’s grief for her

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The Creative Love Exchange

What is it? It’s when you stand in the flow of giving and receiving, feeling creatively alive. And it’s win-win-win.

You do something you love

You share it with others

They benefit – sometimes way beyond your reckoning

You receive the glow

You do more of what you love

One Leaf is Many Leaves

One Leaf is Many Leaves

I was sorrowful. It was the week of the Anzac centenary, destructive storms around Sydney, the execution of two of the Bali Nine and… the Nepal earthquake. Working as an art therapist in aged care, I see more Nepalese people than I ever did before in my sheltered Sydney world. They offer intimate personal care to the frail elderly here, while their families are suffering severely back home in the hills. A tough call.

I gave myself creative space – art-making time. I reached for the grey, allowing paint and tears to flow. I gave myself permission to not know, to not know how these pictures would turn out or IF they would turn into anything in particular.

grey wash of paint and tears

Painting, weeping, following the brush of my heart …. eventually, I noticed shapes and forms emerging.

A guitar appeared in one picture. Wraith-like figures appeared in another.

a wraith there

The paintings became more defined, more present. Crying stopped and thinking began. What if I were to bring gold and white decorations to the images? What if I could put them for sale on Facebook and donate the full proceeds to earthquake survivors?

But what if the paintings are no good? I don’t usually show my raw work so soon after creating it. What if no-one likes this idea? What if it’s crass to mix money and Facebook friends? Continue reading