ARTLABS are creative experiments in self-expression, where I show you my process and suggest how you can try it yourself.
ARTLABs are written up like laboratory reports because they are EXPERIMENTS. In the creative process no outcome can be guaranteed.
There is no failure, only data.
I believe in approaching life with curiosity, as playful experiments that we learn from. We are natural scientists, in that we all have beliefs about the world that we test and revise as we find out more information. Being open to new results stops us from being stuck in past patterns that no longer serve us. I invite you to join the community and share the results of your experiments.
Writing and following an ARTLAB does not require technical scientific knowledge but I will explain the purpose of each section.
What is the purpose of this act activity? Art can be fun and healing on its own, but in art therapy it helps to have a focus to direct the process and ensure we are reaching our goals. The aim sets the boundaries and expectations to a manageable size to tackle in the art activity.
Materials matter. The sensory and emotive qualities of the material affect what can be expressed and processed. Materials are chosen specifically to match the aim as a guide. I will suggest materials and substitutions if some items are rare or expensive. I want you to feel free to use whatever you have on hand, and what feels right to you.
You have a focus, materials, you have the space and time, now what do you do with them? I’ll share the steps that I followed to create results so that you can try the process at home.
What did you create? With finished artworks I’ll share a photo as an example, but your results may look entirely different (but be equally meaningful).
In activities that involve continuous art making (such as transforming a lump of clay) you may want to stop occasionally and take a photo for your records, as long as it doesn’t interrupt the process too much. You can compare the photos to remind and compare the stages at the artwork changed.
In art therapy, the process of art making is just as important as the artwork itself. But after finishing the artwork I like to take the time to reflect, to see if there are any deeper insights to be gleaned from the activity. I’ll share the discoveries I made about myself or my situation that I found in the art. Sometimes I’ll be curious enough to create additional artworks to explore those insights further.
The themes that emerge from the artwork and lessons learned will differ between people. This is part of the experimental nature, we can’t control what will show up. But whether the result is a deep realisation or simply the catharsis of expression, it is most important what it means to you.
In summary, what was learned from the art activity? Where to from now? Sometimes the process answers one question but raises many more, which become the new aims of future experiments.
Try this for yourself and share your insights.
For deeper reflection, I might suggest a few reflective questions to ask about the art activity.