Sunday, September 27, 2009

Save the date for Altered Books-Exploring Creativity and Identifying Strengths

Altered Books-Exploring Creativity and Identifying StrengthsGioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC and Rebecca Wilkinson, MA, ATR-BC
Saturday, January 16, 2010 10:00 AM-3:00 PM $45

(4.5 CEC's available $15 administrative fee*)
Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts
1632 U Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
202 483 8600

All healing can be perceived as a creative transformation of one thing into something else.
Healing and art are a single process.” Shawn McNiff

Come explore the world of altered books, an art form where old books are recycled into new works of art. In altering a book, we might draw or paint on the pages or cover of the book (gasp!), or add magazine images, stamps, or stickers. Using mixed media collage--books can be adorned with fabric, leather, beads, wire or found objects. Techniques such as cutting out niches, making pockets and doors, transfers, texture building can be used. Inspiration may strike when the artist finds a word, letter, or image that becomes an interesting background or focal point that generates a personal artistic response.

Altering books provide a symbolically rich means of exploring reflection and transformation, especially when we make art intentionally for healing and to engage in growth and change. Creative endeavors often increase a sense of engagement, of being in the “Here and Now,” which in turn increases positive emotions—expansiveness, acceptance, and hope. We will use our altered books to record and capture some of these positive emotions as we identify our strengths and participate in a positively life-altering day!

Objectives 1) Attendees will be able to list three ways that altering books can be used to explore therapeutic concerns.

Objectives 2) Attendees will be able to list three strategies for using creative endeavors for increasing positive emotions.

Snacks will be provided. Lunch is available from healthy, reasonably priced restaurants in the neighborhood.

Contact Smith Farm Center
To register or for more information call 202-483-8600 or visit
1632 U Street NW | Washington DC | 20009
Metro accessible | Red & Green Lines | FREE Parking available

NBCC Provider #6327
*Smith Farm is an NBCC Approved Continuing Education Provider an may offer NBCC approved clock hours for events and programs that meet NBCC requirements. Events and programs for which NBCC approved clock hours will be awarded are identified in the Smith Farm calendar. Smith Farm is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Binding Together

"By Hand"-Artwork in Shaped Book Swap, 14 Secrets Moderator's Group, Lani's book, art by Gioia & Annabel

Joining Creative Communities through Art Therapy

Lately I've been trying to define the pieces of my art therapy practice I am most passionate about. Questions about how we can use non-traditional materials, collaborative projects and innovative practices to enable creative communities excite me! I love leading and participating in collaborative projects such as altered book round robins, book arts projects, artist trading cards, swaps and exchanges, and other studio community building practices. In my recent article about the 14 Secrets art exchange group, I led a group of writers who looked at the important features of building studio cultures that reflect the values of inclusion, empowerment, and the promotion of creativity. I wonder what part of my own personal strengths were used in that process? Or what strengths do I use when I help build positive studio cultures? If I can get really clear on that, I will really be moving forward! Because I think it is through using those strengths I can best increase love and justice in the world, in a way that might increase our communal happiness.


Chilton, G., Gerity, L., LaVorgna-Smith, M., & MacMichael, H. (2009). An on-line art exchange group: 14 secrets for a happy artist’s life. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 26 (2) 66-72.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today my blog honors September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, by posting this letter from them that I got today:

To All Our Friends and Loyal Supporters,
Today marks another solemn anniversary for the members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Yet we recall how even as the swords of injustice and violence pierced our hearts, some found the strength to say "NO!" to the powers moving to respond with savage revenge. Today we ask for your continued support to end the wars that have been carried out in our loved ones' names and restore the rule of law in the U.S.
We are deeply troubled by arguments that the war in Afghanistan is "the good war." In response, Peaceful Tomorrows published the report, "Afghanistan: Ending a Failed Military Strategy." With your help, we will continue to raise the voices of 9/11 family members to oppose military action that causes tragically high numbers of civilian casualties, and support diplomacy and humanitarian aid.
Nonviolence in Iraq
As Peaceful Tomorrows continues to work for the end of war and occupation in Iraq, we are honored to help spread the hopeful message of La'Onf, ("No Violence," in Arabic) the growing network of Iraqi organizations dedicated to nonviolence.
Guantanamo Prison and the Office of Military Commissions
Peaceful Tomorrows' Guantanamo Committee is working hard for a just conclusion to the prison closing, to ensure legal and fair trials for those charged, and to see that our nation rejects all forms of torture and complies with international law regarding the treatment of prisoners.
The International Network for Peace
All of us have been inspired by our friends in the International Network for Peace [INP], a partnership of 17 organizations founded by individuals directly affected by political violence and war who, like the members of Peaceful Tomorrows, have chosen to work for nonviolent solutions to conflict.

Thank you for the support you have given us over the last eight years. We will continue to work for Peaceful Tomorrows for all.
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Nominated Twice for a Nobel Peace Prize
To send a contribution by check, write to:
Peaceful Tomorrows P.O. Box 1818 Peter Stuyvesant Station New York, NY 10009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Some of my favorite ATCs

ATCs, Artist Trading Cards, are small pieces of artwork created to trade with other artists. The dimensions of the ATC must be 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches, but otherwise, there are not a lot of rules about how they should look-though they are always traded, never sold. The initial ATC project, was initiated in 1997 by Zurich, Switzerland artist m.vänçi stirnemann, and ATCs are now traded globally. Just Google it for swap groups! It's a lot of fun, and you can even give your ATCs away without anyone knowing... Some of my positive psychology and art therapy students did so when we had them do a Secret Good Deed. This exercise was adapted from Christopher Peterson’s work at the University of Michigan. Students were asked to do something kind for someone else without attracting any attention to themselves or taking any credit whatsoever. Art therapy students were been encouraged to use their artistic skills if possible in the completion of the good deed....they had a lot of fun with this, and learned a lot, too.

Ribbon Cutting of the Institute for Continuing Education of the American Art Therapy Association!

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Gioia Chilton is a registered and board certified art therapist.


Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC

Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC