I set aside a day over Thanksgiving weekend to try something new--constructing a series of 25 postcards, destined to be sent to 25 different places around the world. Art Therapy Without Borders had set up a world-wide exchange, asking people to sign up in order to create and send postcards about how each of us practices art therapy in our neck of the woods. The goal of this collaborative art project is to allow community members from the Art Therapy Alliance, International Art Therapy Organization and Art Therapy Without Borders to create a greater sense of connectedness throughout the world, as well as, to see how practices differ from country to country or even state to state.
I wondered where to begin. I could collect medical packaging for collage. That would give people a good clue about where my art therapy is located. (I didn't get too far with this because the wrappers are routinely tossed.) I also considered taking some of the drawings that children leave behind and adding them to the collage mix. The truth is, in the back of my mind, I knew that I would end up utilizing my "everything but the kitchen sink" method, where I grab papers and cloth and treasures from every part of the studio. I just wanted to pretend that I might be a more thematic and organized this time. But wait--there could be an organizing principle: the baby press.
I had received a baby press for the hospital during the last holiday season (courtesy of those good people who ask us for wish lists.) It had been sitting captive in its crate for the better part of the year. Never enough time or tools during the day to unpack it.
What better activity for Thanksgiving break than to get my sister and her big red truck to help me haul it to my studio and put it together? I could test it with these postcards. She was game for the adventure, and we wrestled the crate up my studio stairs and began to unpack it. Before long, with the help of various hex wrenches, we assembled it. Fabulous!
Filled with anticipation, I laid out 25 cards in rows and got to work. I cut up leftover postcards from earlier shows, a rice paper kite and slivers of the book that I had been altering. Throughout the process, I tried to suspend my own sense of judgment, that nemesis on alert, whenever I'm in artist mode. Instead I intended to follow the direction of my fingers and eyes, inviting in the critic only after the composition was basically there.
I wanted my images to allude to the art therapy work I do--not to spell it out in words and images (enough about that was written on the back)--but rather create a riddle for the viewer to solve. I've created a slide show of the postcards which you can see below: