Time Flies

It really does…
I am already nearing the end of my first semester in graduate school and lately everything has been very surreal to say the least. My internship is becoming more intense by the day, and with the end of the semester we are all juggling multiple papers and projects in the midst of Thanksgiving and the other upcoming holidays.

Like the figure in my painting to the left, I do feel in limbo at the moment…floating between the conflicting feelings of wanting to hibernate (following the natural slower rhythms of Winter) and feeling the need to speed up and accomplish more each day.

Each day I am trying to remind myself to take a deep breath and break things down into simpler parts. Since time will pass no matter what, I want to try and enjoy each moment that arises and worry less about the moments to come.

The Strand

In preparation for creating my first altered book in class tomorrow I made a trip to the famous Strand bookstore today and had a field day digging through their collections. It was a very cold day today and my tummy was growling but I could not be distracted from the rows of $1.00 books that awaited my exploration.

It was interesting to search for books that appealed to me on an artistic level, rather than strictly for their content in words. I found myself plucking out colorful and fanciful children books, an older book on Egyptian art, collections of fairy tales, and a very odd photography book of people in different bodies of water…

I will bring a few books to choose from during class tomorrow, and the others will rest at home in my studio and hopefully make the journey into an altered book in the near future!

Altered Books

An altered book is a book (can be found, bought used, or new) that is taken and transformed through any myriad of processes, including but not limited to: painting, cutting, collaging, stitching, gluing, or adding 3-d objects to it. The idea is to use the beginning book as a springboard for creating a completely new and personal piece. The pre-existing art and text in the book can serve as inspiration and often leads to free association and greater creative possibilities and explorations.

Next week in my Art Materials class we will be creating our own “altered books” and so the hunt is on for a book that I can use! Although any style of book can be used, it was recommended that we look for hard cover books (for a stronger foundation) and think about using a children’s book for the first time, as they are rich in imagery and text that we can really play around with.

In the coming weeks I’ll be working on my altered book and will post images of the book as well as thoughts on the creative process involved in the creation of the book.

In the meantime, our teacher shared a wonderful site of an artist that makes altered books, among other multi-media pieces. I was very inspired by her work and encourage you to check out her website:


Above images
upper left: Karen Hatzigeorgiou
13″ x 19″

lower right: Karen Hatzigeorgiou
The King’s Garden
13″ x 16″

Art therapy: a definition

Since I have started school, studying art therapy, many people have asked me to describe exactly what art therapy is. So, here is a brief description of Art Therapy, taken from the experts – the American Art Therapy Association….

“Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. Art therapy integrates the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms), and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy. Art therapy is used with children, adolescents, adults, older adults, groups, and families to assess and treat the following: anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional problems and disorders; substance abuse and other addictions; family and relationship issues; abuse and domestic violence; social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness; trauma and loss; physical, cognitive, and neurological problems; and psychosocial difficulties related to medical illness. Art therapy programs are found in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, public and community agencies, wellness centers, educational institutions, businesses, and private practices. Art therapists are masters level professionals who hold a degree in art therapy or a related field. Educational requirements include: theories of art therapy, counseling, and psychotherapy; ethics and standards of practice; assessment and evaluation; individual, group, and family techniques; human and creative development; multicultural issues; research methods; and practicum experiences in clinical, community, and/or other settings. Art therapists are skilled in the application of a variety of art modalities (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other media) for assessment and treatment.”(Here’s a little more information….)

How Did Art Therapy Begin?

“Visual expression has been used for healing throughout history, but art therapy did not emerge as a distinct profession until the 1940s. In the early 20th century, psychiatrists became interested in the artwork created by their patients with mental illness. At around the same time, educators were discovering that children’s art expressions reflected developmental, emotional, and cognitive growth. By mid-century, hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers increasingly began to include art therapy programs along with traditional “talk therapies,” underscoring the recognition that the creative process of art making enhanced recovery, health, and wellness. As a result, the profession of art therapy grew into an effective and important method of communication, assessment, and treatment with children and adults in a variety of settings. Currently, the field of art therapy has gained attention in health-care facilities throughout the United States and within psychiatry, psychology, counseling, education, and the arts. For more detailed information on the history of art therapy, please see AATA’s publication list for A History of Art Therapy in the United States.”

Where Do Art Therapists Work?

Art therapists work in a wide variety of settings, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Hospitals and clinics, both medical and psychiatric
  • Out-patient mental health agencies and day treatment facilities
  • Residential treatment centers
  • Halfway houses
  • Domestic violence and homeless shelters
  • Community agencies and non-profit settings
  • Sheltered workshops
  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Correctional facilities
  • Elder care facilities
  • Art studios
  • Private practice

The above information was taken from: www.arttherapy.orgI will keep posting interesting articles, thoughts, and other related topics to art therapy in my blog, so check back often!*Above Image: “Painting” Alex Grey 1998Check out his amazing work at: www.alexgrey.com