Studio Workshops

Belfast castle forest20180926_133928

Started the session off in silences we had to walk thought forest and observe everything picking up things that drew our attention. On the way we had different stops

  • Draw the trees
  • Drew the lines meeting the sky
  • Drew the river
  • Drew the lines on the ground around the tree
  • Final stop stand in the trees close you eyes and breath in nature

this was an interesting excersise as it really opened our senses to our surroundings taking in every detail.





Next activity was to get into groups and create something in our spaces it could be three things that each done or 1 that we done together



My group had 4 people we decided to have a walk around our area and pick up things that drew our attention and brought them back to a pile that pile ended up being our centre piece we made a cave inside a rock mushrooms pine cones we swept around it added ferns we decided to make a path and at the moment the wind blew a fern away and path was created. We sat back and looked at what we had done it was like we had protected the rock cones and mushroom made a safe shelter a womb somewhere safe for them I realised that that kind of what we have been doing. We decided to write these words down and get everyone to hold hands and 1 at a time open a piece of paper read out the word walk the path and join the group it was very special being part of this there was a feeling a calmness togetherness and openness’s.

Our art making felt very natural nothing was forced everyone was heard all ideas where brought together we where working as one we where present in the moment no thoughts for what’s next.

Other groups


Studio at the wall

This we had to walk down a path pick up a pine cone and post it thought a hoe in the wall with our wish for the future then move on under a tree branch with flower drawings we sat tougher looking at a piece on the floor that had to me different arrows we sat together in the middle of this path there where other paths that where blocked it was like this is us now and our journey could take us down any of these we need to clear our own way.


Studio along the main path

They made a heart out of sticks yarn and ferns there piece was about friendship and being together each person in there group had a fern crown each person was asked to come and get a fern and make a crown that we where together and are creating friendships.

Studio around the campfire20180926_16033020180926_160521

We where lead into the camp with a line of ferns we all sat around the campfire at a different fern on each fern was a twig with a symbol, which split us into group

  • Swirl we had to make animal noises this was fun and we all got carried away lots of laughing eye contact and being silly together
  • Circle we had a mantra to say 3 times “we believe in ourselves”
  • Crosses we had to have a group hug
  • Line we where asked to move with the wind

This studio brought everyone together we where free to play we got to be in contact with each other but we where also individual and united by the tasks

Take a leaf studio


We where all asked to take a leaf and write a wish or hope for the future we then went on a journey under an arch of good fortune thought the forest to a the tree of good intentions where we put our leaf on the tree.

This session was very calming but had all your senses open we connected to nature and each other.

Who could we use this with families, people of all ages, it had been said that most people do this to remember a loved one or have experience some type of loss


I later in the week used some of these ideas at work I had a group of clients that where disruptive and had potential for challenging behaviour so we went for a walk around the river walk they where not open to getting dirty did not want to collect things so we walked and looked at all the colours the types of flowers we used our noses we walked a little bit of the path looked at nature close to us and nature across the river bank. They where engaged answering questions asking questions pointing animals out flowers trees colours. I got them to sit on a bench close there eyes and listen to the wind breathing in thought there noses out thought there mouths then I got them still with eyes closed to move with the wind which they did I then got them to listen to the river and do the same. They all done it you could see them coming down you could see there body language relaxing we sat in silence for a few minutes and then slowly opened there eyes and in there own time started to walk it was at this point some of the group started to pick up sticks and another started to see pictures in the tree bark and another discovered that the flower heads when ripe pop. We waked back to the weavery in a different mindset than when we left.


Eco- art therapy

  • Can be used to connect with the rhythms of the earth
  • Build a relationship between art and where it is from
  • A studio is not a room it’s a space that you create it’s the approach that you take a studio can be anywhere
  • You can find nourishment in nature and doing art work
  • It has the potential to be inclusive as can be for anyone any age
  • Can connect adults back to there childhood
  • Gives adults permission to be a kid again
  • Seasons life and death
  • Darkness and light growth and transformation everything is evolving
  • It is real
  • Uses all the senses touch smell taste


work from the Royal Ulster academy exhibition ulster museum 2018

Theme of talk how can visual journals be incorporated into art therapy sessions?

1st what is a journal An art journal, or artist’s journal, is a book kept by an artist as a visual, and sometimes verbal, record of their thoughts and ideas. Art journals generally combine visual journaling and writing, to create finished pages. Every imaginable style, media and technique is used by art journalists.


where could you use these?

well anywhere field trips to museums, nature walks, galleries there is no limit where you can use these


what could you use?

Repurpose books eg novels, magazines, newspapers, old painting, make your own, scrapbook style, scrolls, notes to self


we looked at black out poems what is a blackout poem A blackout poem is when a poet takes a marker (usually black marker) to already established text–like in a newspaper–and starts redacting words until a poem is formed. The key thing with a blackout poem is that the text AND redacted text form a sort of visual poem. (do your own blackout)

what you do is score out the words that you don’t want you will only be left with the word you do like choose part of the sensations that you like only use the words that have meaning to you it can be in any form a list of words that mean something to you have meaning to you observation etc

we were shown an example that was from a newspaper that was done my tutor on the way here. Quite amazing how a poem came from an article and did sound like a poem. I feel that is even helpful for myself that finds in hard to write words down that it takes a bit of the pressure off as the words are already there you just have to choose the words you want. Makes is less intimidating to write a poem i will defential us this for myself and on clients that find it difficult to use words


A sample of poems from instagram

we also spoke about instagram poems we could link this to our blog

instagram poems use words and photos this would be easy to do and could be done anywhere on a walk in the bus it quick and easy (add examples) so you are using an experience using photography and words this is like a media journal.

could this work with clients

yes according on their age and how much they are into social media at the minute this would probably only work for the younger generation as well this is very much part of there life now. most people have phones so taking photos is very accessible and there are many apps out there to edit photos.


we had a talk from Rachel about the work that was in the exhibition called in between the lines.


Rachel said that she enjoys textile and clothing she is interested in the story they have the history of the person the journey that each item has been on. She spoke about having items that her relatives had that she has received that she keeps them. She likes to take them apart and put them together again maybe in a different was repurposing them. she likes to mend old pieces


to take the time to take care of the items to care for them like you would do a person


In the exhibition Rachel and 6 other arts used old books taking care of them to darn pages back in to repair them but to hid the fact that they have been repaired. They also repurposed old books into other things like a jacket


the exhibition was displayed in libraries.


we made an accordion book out of an A2 piece of sugar paper which was fun and quick to do.


This is a good idea to work with clients to make there own books to write their own story to make it theirs.


what else could you do

  • if you had a group make cards and add their own message to it and then put them places where others can find them.
  • carry around a book and tear pages out as a confort safe reassuring thing this could work with a client that i work with that when she becomes anxious scraps and picks at her skin maybe she could destroy a book instead of her body?
  • another could be to get people to bring in items from there home break them down and recreate something else from it this could work with 10-12yr olds that are finding it hard to break away from childhood
  • could college into old books cut parts out
  • sew into books print paint scrap press etc

Books are portable personal to the person that owns it holds a lot about that person it is a very powerful thing that can be taken anywhere and there is not limit to what you could do with it.


we had a look at Fulauna sketch books they are amazing have a huge range of techniques in they bursting with inspiration she put a huge amount of work into them. i love the pages that keep folding out like the according books i like that they are hidden within the sketch book. she has used many different materials it really tells a story full of colour and experiments. this would be great to use with a client that manybe has to much going on in there head things could be put down onto paper etc and then put into sections to help them arrange their thoughts.

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