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Studio Notes from 82b

Spike Island Studios.

Being an Art Therapist in the pandemic is hard work. We are in crisis, a mass trauma caused by illness, job loss, extended loneliness, and a state of inertia which has become a ‘normal’ feeling. This is a heavy and slow weight that has being drawn over all of us. During this time, I have been supporting others to look after their wellbeing, which has not been easy. It has meant that I have had to take extra care of myself.

Every day, I have to be still for some time, to witness how I am, noticing the feelings and thoughts in my own body, accepting them and baring them, in order to help others to do the same.

This mass crisis has the front of being boring as we sit at home in our bathrobes and slippers, I often find myself thinking, this is not how I thought the apocalypse would happen! Behind this is the fact that our connections and rights to freedom have been removed, we are disempowered and in a quiet grief.

I have found in the quietness, our inner dialogues become louder, the noise we usually push aside with the business of our lives. I have noticed this in myself and in others. Old traumas resurface, I find myself face to face with myself more often, whether I want It or not. This can be viewed as a curse or an opportunity to go deeper into the self. Learning to understand where your relationship to anxiety comes from and why you respond to it in your own certain ways. I am presuming that anxiety

is something that we are all sharing at this time, as so many people have shared this with me.

As I observe myself, I too have the role of observing others. I carry their emotional weight with them, with the view that at some point they can find the strength to do this themselves. All of these additional emotions require a release, so I find myself in my studio, where the clay, the inks, my general practice give me what I need and require.

Recently I have been doing figurative work, I visit this now and again. Maybe this is the need for human connection, while also connecting to my own body through the sensory experience of the materials.

I have found once I have made some work, I often look at it and I wonder where it has come from, I follow my haptic perception and try to not become too cerebral about it, as I believe it ruins the visceral quality. Once I have done it, I feel calmer, like the anxious energy has been removed from my nervous system, like an exorcism, this energy is now contained in something else.


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