The more I engage in creative practice the more I realise the value of following my own flow. I pay attention to my process, noticing what curiosities I hold, what feels important, and what impulses are arising. If I begin to doubt, or worry about the 'how', then I experience stuckness and frustration. If I am able to follow those promptings of my soul, then I feel in flow. I've come to deeply value the capacity to listen to my inner voice and to allow that to unfold. Sometimes it requires great trust and the courage to take a risk.
Recently, I participated in a two weekend immersion in eco-printing. In this simple method, natural materials such as leaves, onion skins or cabbage, are laid upon silk, then bundled tightly around a copper bar or tin can. The whole bundle is then immersed in boiling water for a few hours to activate the dyes in the natural materials. Particular intention can be given into the bundle. After some time, we un-bundle, paying attention to our own responses and experiencing through journalling and in conversation with others.
As someone who is not particularly textile-oriented, I find eco-printing to be an access point to working with material. In the workshop, I felt drawn to a pristine white wedding dress. After trying it on, cheekily calling myself a princess and prancing about, I realised I had somehow marked it with some dirt. I realised the dress was mine and that I had to work with it.
As the process of creation unfolded, I found myself experiencing cycles of curiosity, possibility, fear, stuckness, action, and excitement. During the process of making, the dress taught me about the gifts that are present when I am able to follow myself and take risks. When I follow my flow, it works somehow. Each new risk required a level of skill I didn't believe I had, however I continued to follow that impulse to see what would occur.
The flow on is that I can translate this learning into my life. I felt a strong emotional response to an experience yesterday and didn't know how to respond. I felt fear, and then was stuck. Eventually, I realised that I could take a risk through taking action. I initiated a conversation, and found my flow again.
This is the beauty of art therapy. It brings such rich awareness to our patterns. It shows up our learning edges and, with compassionate and open attention, we can begin to relate differently in life. What a precious gift!
My deepest gratitude to Jacqui Grace and Rebecca Funk who held this process in such love and trust.
Chelle is a practicing art therapist, researcher, and multi-modal creative. She regularly dives into the unknown to discover what is ready to be born, deepening her trust in the abundantly creative source. For Chelle, art is a means to inquire, express, and transform. If offers the capacity to soothe, making space for new perspectives and ways of being.