Monday, December 27, 2010

New Resources for the New Year:

Here are some great new links I'm looking at:

My friend Robert has a great e-newsletter:
http://www.intentionalhappiness.com/

He told me about the Realize2, a cool new Strengths inventory:








http://www.cappeu.com/

I'm also reading one of Robert's books on my Kindle:


Joyful at Home


Happiness sneaks up on us when we are not looking for it, doesn't it?  I was spending time at home the past week with friends and family, and made some small paper houses...

so fun and sweet.  I used my microfine glitter to add shimmery snowfall and thought up new details like a puff of pink rice paper "smoke" from the chimneys.


I hope you are also finding small moments of joy this December.
Warmly, Gioia

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Creative Wellbeing Workshops, LLC is born!

I'm so thrilled that we are now stepping forward and  launching our new business: Creative Wellbeing Workshops, LLC is born!  Our dream of getting to do this work in more places and with more people is becoming a reality!  Though I've been busy studying creativity, art therapy and research at my doctoral program at Drexel University http://www.drexel.edu/artsTherapies/research/studentResearch/ Rebecca and I have also manged to get our LLC and we are IN BUSINESS!   We wrote this snazzy press release, what do you think? Let us know-and, if you need speakers and would like your organization to be happier & more creative, send us an email! 

Press Release for Creative Wellbeing Workshops, LLC
November 2010

Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC and Rebecca Wilkinson, MA, ATR-BC have just launched their new business, Creative Wellbeing Workshops, LLC. Creative Wellbeing Workshops provides interactive training and workshops that blend the cutting edge research of positive psychology, the “science of well-being,” with the benefits of art therapy.

Gioia and Rebecca started this work several years ago, after being introduced to Positive Psychology by Lani Gerrity. Rebecca and Gioia were struck by the relevance of positive psychology to art therapy and the complimentary potential of the two fields.

Positive psychology is the study of positive emotions, positive character, and the positive institutions and communities that facilitate their development. Positive psychologists suggest that the prevailing model of psychology, with its focus on illness and symptoms, does not reflect a balanced view of human potential and that focusing on strengths, increasing positive emotions, and identifying meaning and hope may be more effective in increasing wellbeing. These principles fit naturally with art therapy which has long been valued for its ability to showcase and develop clients’ strengths and to improve quality of life.

Gioia and Rebecca have suggested a new term, “Positive Art Therapy” which combines the healing potential of art therapy with the empowering focus of positive psychology. Positive art therapy utilizes the creative process to enhance positive emotions, identify and develop positive character and strengths, and foster positive communities. They are looking to partner with other art therapists, artists, mental health practitioners, positive psychologists, community organizations, educational and governmental institutions, who are interested in promoting the connection between creativity and wellbeing.

Creative Wellbeing Workshops works with individuals seeking to feel happier, more engaged, more creative, in their personal and professional lives; with organizations and employers wishing to foster greater job satisfaction and higher productivity in their employees; and with mental health practitioners who wish re-energize their practice by incorporating state of the art research on well-being and creativity into their practice.

Gioia and Rebecca, who have been friends since attending GW in the early 90’s, are enjoying the new direction their work is taking them. “We love doing this work and our participants can tell. They really enjoy the fun we have together—and it’s really fabulous seeing the transformation that people undergo as they explore these new concepts.” Visit Gioia and Rebecca’s website at http://www.creativewellbeingworkshops.com/
, or contact them directly at either r.wilkinson@creativewellbeingworkshops.com
 or g.chilton@creativewellbeingworkshops.com. or 202 352 5225.

References:
Chilton, G. & Wilkinson, R.A. (2009). Positive art therapy: Envisioning the
intersection of art therapy and positive psychology. Australia and New Zealand Journal of Art Therapy, 4(1), 27-35.

Gerity, L. (2007). The Artist’s Happiness Challenge Condensed Version.


 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Get Creative with Rebecca!


CREATIVE JOURNALING

Rebecca Wilkinson, MA, ATR-BC

Saturday, October 30th, 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



"An art journal is a space for questions that may no have answers,

a place for thoughts that may otherwise not have a home, a safe container for emotions so that they do not have to be loose in the world"

Kelley Brown artjournaling.blogspotcom



In this workshop, we will explore the world of Creative Journaling, a process originally developed by art therapist Lucia Cappachone which combines journaling techniques with artmaking. Journaling allows people to clarify their thoughts and feelings and can serve as a problem-solving tool. Journaling about traumatic events helps one process them by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved, and by engaging both hemispheres of the brain in the process, allowing the experience to become fully integrated. We will engage in creative artistic and expressive journaling exercises to explore and gain insight.



Be sure to bring a "journal" to work in. This can be a traditional bound book such as a blank lined journal, a blank drawing book, a hand made book, or an altered book. It can also be non-traditional such as a deck of cards or index cards. All other materials will be provided.


Objectives 1) Attendees will be able to list therapeutic benefits of writing and journaling.

Objectives 2) Attendees will be able to list three strategies for combining journaling and artmaking techniques to heighten therapeutic impact of journaling.

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

www.SmithFarm.com heal@smithfarm.com

1632 U Street NW
Washington DC
20009

Metro accessible
Red & Green Lines



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.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Creating Altars to Honor Resilience

 Creating Altars to Honor Resilience



With Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC and Rebecca Wilkinson, MA, ATR-BC



Saturday
September 11th
10AM-3PM
$45

In this workshop, we will explore challenges we have faced and honor the process that helped us survive and even thrive in the face of adversities. We will create personal altars using an inspiring collection of found objects and treasures to honor our resilience and perseverance.
Materials provided. 4.5 CECs available, $15 additionalNBCC Provider #6327



*Smith Farm is an NBCC Approved Continuing Education Provider and may offer NBCC approved clock hours for events and programs that meet NBCC requirements. Processing fees may apply. Events and programs for which NBCC approved clock hours will be awarded are identified in the Smith Farm calendar.
Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts
1632 U St NW
Washington DC
20009

202-483-8600 Phone
202-483-8601 Fax
heal@SmithFarm.com

Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts is a Washington DC-based, non-denominational, 501(c)3 nonprofit.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Visioning in a Journal

In January I got a new journal and some inspiring books, and posted a spread from the journal called "all good things in 2010." Now my journal is filling up and I can more fully see what's ahead! I've journaled about big decisions like going back to school to get my Ph.D. in Creative Art Therapy http://www.drexel.edu/cnhp/creativearts/Drexel-CAT-Ph.D.brochure.pdf, and little moments of gratitude while on vacation.
I discovered a wonderful book and web site, The Creative Entrepreneur, by Lisa Sonora Beam
http://www.thecreativeentrepreneur.biz/
 http://lisasonorabeam.com/ and have been doing many exercises from there:




In this process, I've been amazed how freinds, helpers and guides have been arriving in my life.  My business partner, Rebecca Wilkinson, kept saying to me, "We have to do the visioning work!" and I didn't get it, until reading the creative entrepreneur book. I was then able to understand "visioning work" is also known as "strategic planning," and Lisa's step by step process was one I could hold on too.   

Rebecca and I are now dedicating time to grow our vision and plan strategically.

Then, I found incredible information and support though Laura Dessauer's "Fill my Pratice Now" system

and continued to use my journal as I listened to her wisdom and brillance.  Her ideas came to life as I used the journaling work to en-vision the future.  

Increadably, I also was inspired this week by joining in the advocacy work of Americans for the Arts http://dc.broadwayworld.com/article/Arts_Supporters_Take_to_Washington_for_Arts_Advocacy_Day_20100413
  


with my friends pictured above as well as colleagues at the American Art Therapy Assocation http://arttherapy.org/.  I think that many good things are quickly multipling in 2010!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Altered Books Workshop Saturday May 1, 2010

Altered Books
Exploring Creativity and Identifying Strengths

Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC
and
Rebecca Wilkinson, MA, ATR-BC



Saturday, May 1, 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 identifying strengths and increasing positive emotions.



Objectives 3) Attendees will be able to list the three therapeutic benefits of identifying strengths and 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
http://www.smithfarm.com/
 heal@smithfarm.com



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.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"What's it like when you feel better.."

Rebecca had some great suggestions for a novice art therapist on a list-serve we are both on, and she's let me share some of her ideas here, too. She talked about how when she does art therapy with people who are in crisis, her goals include helping people understand the connection between mind and body, helping people feel support and connection, and focusing on feeling that their lives are increasingly meaningful and enjoyable.

These sound like pretty good goals for the rest of us as well, so I thought I’d pass along her ideas.


Rebecca says that she asks people, "What is it like when you feel "better"….often with a warm up discussion about what it's like when it's "worse"--She asks, "How would you know that things were better, what changes would you experience, what would others observe, has it ever been better and if so what was different in your life, and, if not,  what would it be like?". Then, "If you felt better, what would you be doing, who would you be with, where would you be, what would it look like?”
Something to think about.


Rebecca continued: "What gives your life meaning? We have all had tough times, how have you survived the dark night of the soul? Who are the people that help and support you?"

What are your strengths and how have they helped you survive? (Imagine a friendly person in your life, how would they respond if asked to list a strength of yours…mightn’t they say, "friendly," "funny," "kind," "observant," "helpful to others", etc...).


What are the things for which you are grateful even in these troubling times?

Make some art about what comes to mind…

To address improving the body-mind connection, Rebecca suggests focusing on breathing, and do a sort of mental body scan in which you close your eyes and just note and observe the body starting with feet up through body and head, also attend to  breathing—this is based upon work of Jon Kabat-Zinn—then respond to the process by making art either in a mandala or an outline of the figure. Identify, using color line and shape, the areas where you experienced sensation or not, drawing colors and lines to represent that experience. If there are areas of concern or pain, people can modify the drawing to "make it better".

You could do a drawing like this, in your journal, at home, or even on your lunch hour…I think there might be benefits like Reecca sees at her work.  Because we have found, art can be a door to happiness.  What's been your experience?

Enjoy the spring,


Gioia

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spirit Dolls, Altered Books, and Happiness


Hi everyone- Smith Farm tells me April 10th's Spirit Dolls workshop is sold out! Isn't that great? I'm looking forward to working with the artists who attend, making little dolls to embody strengths they'd like to call into their lives...a neighbor gave me her old bead box a few months back (Thanks, Dawne!) and I'm going to get to offer all these wonderful broken jewelry bits to be recycled into positive intention art. I might have to make a few myself!

We are going to do another of our altered books workshops, which sold out in the fall. Altered Books: Exploring Creativity & Identifying Strengths will take place May 1, from 10AM-3PM, and is $45 at Smith Farm in DC. Come explore an art form where old books are recycled into new works of art. Altering books - with paint, collage, beads, found objects, anything! - provides a rich means of exploration, reflection, growth and change. We will use our altered books to record and capture positive emotions as we acknowledge our strengths and gifts. Materials provided. 4.5 CECs Available* To register, call 202.483.8600 or email darien@smithfarm.com. And you can always take my on-line course for only $25, "Altered Books in Art Therapy" under Art Therapy Theory, Practice and Techniques offered by the American Art Therapy Association here: http://arttherapy.trainingcampus.net/UAS/Modules/TREES/windex.aspx AATA members get a 28% discount! Then, on a Tuesday evening, the 4th of May, Rebecca and I will be giving our lecture The Art of Happiness: Positive Psychology and the Arts for FREE at Art at the Center, 2804 Sherwood Hall Lane Alexandria,Virgina http://www.artatthecenter.org/ from 7:00-9:00 pm. Just be sure to RSVP to http://www.artatthecenter.org/ Come if you'd like to increase life satisfaction, meaning, and engagement for your clients and yourself and discover what makes people of all ages happier, and how to increase personal and professional happiness. Who is happy? Why be happy? Can creative endeavors contribute to happiness, and if so, how? These questions and more will be explored through an introduction to Positive Psychology, the science of happiness. Positive psychology seeks to help us identify and build upon character strengths as tools to increase well being. We will explore the connection between Positive Psychology and the arts and define strategies for using creative endeavors to increase engagement, mastery, and flow.

Objective 1) Attendees will be able to define happiness.
Objective 2) Attendees will be able to list two strategies for implementing Positive Psychology practices to improve life satisfaction.
Objective 3) Attendees will gain experiential knowledge of a creative practice designed to increase engagement, mastery, and flow.

This would be be great lecture for art therapists, counselors, mental health professionals, parents, and really anyone interested in improving happiness in themselves and those around them.

Rebecca and I have been asking for feedback from people who've attend our lectures, and GW student Kelly Heartland told us our teaching was“incredibly empowering and even life-changing. What a gift for me! What a tool to share with others! It truly expands one's perspective.” Wow, Kelly! I am so glad. And when we last did this lecture at Smith Farm, Cynthia Hart wrote me after to say it was, “one of best lectures I've attended in a long time, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.” Us, too! We are proud of the work we are doing as registered and board certified art therapists, and it's so exciting to have taken next steps and co-authored Positive Art Therapy: Envisioning the Intersection of Art Therapy and Positive Psychology, which was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art Therapy last October. It's so fun to get to share the best of this information with you, so I hope you can make it to some of these Spring 2010 events!
Warmly,
Gioia

Friday, March 12, 2010

One way (there are many!) to create Spirit Figures…

Here's a bit of a start in case you can't make it to the workshop... Find yourself a wire and a bead that the wire fits through. The bead will be the little figure's head, so slide it to the midpoint of the wire. Twist wire a few times to hold the bead in place & make the neck. Loop & twist wire into arms and legs. Wrap any extra wire around the torso. At this point, some folks like to put a unique bead, bell, shell or rock inside, or write a poem or intention on a special scrap of paper to tuck inside. You could really tuck any object that means something to you within the torso. Select some fabric and a fine gauge wire. Use the fine gauge wire to wrap around the fabric to hold it in place, and cover body and arms and legs if you want with more wire wrapped fabric. Add details like hair, and decorate to suit yourself!
This little figure could use some more embelishment I think! But she's sure got some wonderful hair, created by a puff of unspun wool stuck on her head. Perhaps some more face would be nice, I'll have to see...
...what will your spirit figure look like?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Only a few spots left open in our Spirit Dolls for Strength Workshop!

Spirit Dolls for Strength
Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC and Rebecca Wilkinson, MA, ATR-BC


Saturday, April 10, 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

“If you want to transform a situation or a relationship, focusing on strengths is often more effective than focusing on problems”
Fialkov & Haddad, 2009

In this art-based workshop, we will create small spirit figures to identify and celebrate a quality or virtue that we would like to increase in our lives. Using simple doll making techniques, we will wrap shiny wire and sparking beads with unique fabrics and found objects to embody qualities or virtues that we value--appreciation, gratitude, joy, hope, optimism; freedom from anxiety and depression; health, and humor.

“When well-being comes from engaging our strengths and virtues, our lives are imbued with authenticity.” (Seligman, 2002a).


Together we will explore our sense of play, delight our senses, and create spirit dolls which invite our strengths and virtues to come to life.

Objective 1) Attendees will be able to identify and list strengths using Peterson and Seligmans’s Character Strengths and Virtues. Objective 2) Attendees will be able be able to list three ways that making spirit dolls can be used to identify and examine strengths. Objective 3) Attendees will learn wire wrapping, simple doll making technique, as evidenced by constructing one or more doll.

Snacks will be provided. Bring a box lunch. Lunch can also be gotten form healthy, reasonably priced restaurants in the neighborhood. Contact Smith Farm CenterTo register or for more information call 202-483-8600 or visit
1632 U Street NW Washington DC 20009Metro accessible Red & Green Lines FREE Parking availableNBCC 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.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Joyful Fused Collage Artist's Books

Cover

Inside Pages

Cover
Inside Pages


This book ties closed with shiny ribbon, and says, "hope more' when opened.





These photos are not as luminous as the scans but show the pages better-books are a challenge for me to photograph. I wish you could hold them, and turn the pages yourself. There are very soft fabrics right next to the hard crunch of the fused dyed paper towels-I like that. Again many thanks to Traci Bautista for the inspiration-these books are sort of the opposite of her "Book of Ruins" (page 106 of Collage Unleashed, published by Northlight.) Hey, Northlight, come publish me!-I am getting ready, with more hope, more joy and more discoveries.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy St. Valentine's Day!







This is adapted from Traci Bautista's super easy fusion dyed transparent collage (her "Collage Unleashed" book is a must have.) Project has a few steps: First get ordinary white paper towels, scrunch up and dye with whatever you have-watered down acrylic paint, watercolors, leftover Easter egg dye, etc. Let dry. Then put down a big sheet of slick paper like parchment paper or contact paper to work on top of, and layer paper towels scraps with glue. Mix up white glue and water to the consistency of cream and lay down a layer of your glue and water mix on the slick surface, then rip up your paper towels, and paste them together in layers with your glue and water. Wait overnight to dry, peal up and you have this cool fabric like paper --with one side kind of shiny! Cut in heart shapes and hang with wire. Yum!



Friday, February 5, 2010

Hope in the Darkness

Hope in the Darkness

Here's a directive dedicated to the people of Haiti:
Using dark gray construction paper, and your choice of oil pastels; chalk pasters or even metallic crayons, draw an image of what hope looks like to you. Recall a time in your life when you experienced difficult events and circumstances. In the midst of your troubles, what gave you hope? What helped you believe in a positive outcome? Use any image that comes to you to make a drawing. Images inspired by spiritual traditions are welcome. However you choose to use the materials is fine, as there is no one right or wrong way to complete the drawing. Then after you are finished, maybe quite a while after, journal a bit, writing whatever comes to mind, being real kind to yourself as you do.


With love, Gioia

Monday, January 18, 2010

The dragonfly teaches skillful action while maintaining a free and joyful sense of being...

A few years back I researched symbolic meanings of dragonflies for an art project. I love how the Internet makes researching potential meanings so easy..I found a lot, and learned dragonflies represent the powers of light and transformation, and the ability to see through illusion. They are thought to bring prosperity and harmony. The dragonfly totem is said to teach skillful action while maintaining a free and joyful sense of being. Dragonflies are associated with illusion, dreamtime, and water & springtime. Also considered a messenger, the Dragonfly can bring instruction on breaking through illusions (especially those that are self-created), gaining power through dreams, imagination, revealing one's higher aspirations, and depict a carefree nature.


From An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols by J. C. Cooper:

Dragonflies
- can share butterfly symbolism of immortality and regeneration
- in some Native American cultures- whirlwind, swiftness, activity
- in China - summer, instability, weakness
- in Japan - the national emblem of "Dragonfly Island", also representing irresponsibility, unreliability. Traditionally known as katsumushi or the "invincible insect", the dragonfly was a favorite symbol of strength among Japanese warriors. The dragonfly on the front of a 17th century Samuri helmet is done in gold lacquer with black and red markings.

English names include Jacky breeze, heather-flee, balance fly, and water dipper.
Apparently, when Spain began to colonize the New World, the Latin Style Christian Cross found great acceptance among the Peoples of the Pueblo Villages, (most of whom did not really embrace this European Religion), mostly, it is believed, because of its resemblance to the Pueblo Indian symbol for the Dragonfly, one among many mythical beings pertaining to water, always a primary concern for agriculturalists like the Pueblo farmers.

Celtic names include spearadoir (in English, mower) and snathad mor na sciathain (in English, big needle of the wing).

In Tahiti, "all insects were regarded as mysterious agents of the gods and spirits, notably, butterflies, moths, crickets and dragonflies" wrote Teuira Henry in her book, Ancient Tahiti.


The Dragon-fly

by

Alfred Lord Tennyson:

"Today I
saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse
rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates
of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;

Thro' crofts and pastures wet with dew,
A living
flash of light he flew.”


These symbolic meanings were researched on line 2/17/05 by me, but remember the only person who can really tell you what your art means is you. So I found the quote that really meant something to me, today, was the part about the dragonfly that teaches skillful action while maintaining a free and joyful sense of being Animals symbols that come to us through the creative process are gifts from the unconscious and we want to treat them as such. These images are from artwork I made in a dragonfly shaped altered book swap made with some 14 secrets friends. This artwork was done in my friend Gena's book. I like how the scanner photographs them. My former student Kate B. taught me how to use the scanner as a camera, and I love how you get the feel of the fibers attached to the book. When I made the dragonfly fairy or goddess, inspired by artwork my friend Lore and done in Gena's book, I felt visited by a messager and blessed throughout the art process which became skillful action while maintaining a free and joyful sense of being...
my wish is for you to create in this way...flowing: skillful action while maintaining a free and joyful sense of being...
Gioia
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Gioia Chilton is a registered and board certified art therapist.

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Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC

Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC