Tag Archives: animals

The Gifts of Visual Therapy

“Have you ever heard of poetry therapy?” read my text to a good friend about an ad I had just seen. My latest copy of Spirituality & Health magazine advertised a poetry therapy retreat. As I got in my car to run errands, I marveled at the many modes of therapy available to us today.  With wilderness therapy, art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy, and now poetry therapy, there is a method of healing and rejuvenation for just about everyone!

One kind of therapy that really helps me (and it’s practically free) is visual therapy, which I don’t even know if it’s a real thing. Google only gave me medical “vision therapy”  and a personal shopping and wardrobe organizing blog as my search results! To me visual therapy is the therapeutic benefit or result of seeing something of great beauty and wonder. I often feel joyous, inspired, motivated, moved, or at peace when I see something beautiful, like a colorful sunset, an exquisite piece of art, or just looking out over an expansive ocean. When I really stop and think about it, there are countless moments of this kind of splendor all throughout a single day, even at work (which naturally can feel so mundane at times).

With the small amount of research I’ve done on art therapy, I think this visual therapy differs in that one is experiencing positive feelings as a result of seeing a piece of art or a breathtaking landscape, rather than creating a piece of art with the guidance of a professional. Art therapy can bring a greater understanding of one’s own trauma, challenges, struggles, and life experiences through the art making process.  And like art therapy, visual therapy is a balm for the soul.

In no certain order, here are my top modes of visual therapy:

1. The tapestry collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston

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2. The Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

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The Portland Japanese Garden

3. My mom’s garden in summer

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4. Squam lake, especially Church Island

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5. The colorful process of making vegetable soup

6. Photos of our beautiful planet and its many inhabitants, both human and animal

7. Ancient architecture… i.e. the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, the gothic and renaissance cathedrals of Europe, Machu Picchu, Buddhist monasteries and temples, etc.

low angle shot of the temple

Photo by Jake Young on Pexels.com

8. Watching a ballet or theater performance

9. Waking up to the enchantment of freshly fallen snow, especially when you don’t need to go anywhere.

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10. A library with rows and rows and rows of books

11. The stars

12. The ocean

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13. A smiling baby

14. Horses grazing in their pastures

15. The first page – and the last page – of a very good book

I think that one thing that completely gets in my way of experiencing visual therapy is simply not being in the present moment. Worry and stress, over past or future, are most certainly killjoys to the rapture right in front of us.  Any kind of overthinking or over-analyzing is also sure to distract us from noticing these simple yet glorious moments.

I hope that this is a year of inspiration as we all experience the many awe-inspiring moments of this beautiful world we live in. What would you add to this list? And if you’ve heard of a term that describes this “visual therapy”, or any books on this sort of topic, please leave me a comment below. I would love to learn more!

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In the creative spirit,

Laura

 

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This Takes Time

I wanted to do a blog post like a week ago, but life happens as it always does and I just couldn’t get to it.  So here I am now, sharing last weeks news:  I am was at the halfway point on my current tapestry and so very excited about the progress I’m making and how it’s turning out!  Check it out….

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I’m weaving it sideways, by the way, so you’ll have to turn your head.

Seeing as though this was last weeks news, I’m now about an inch away from finishing, not including weaving the hem.  I’ve really learned a lot about using hachure, hatching, and color combining to get that lovely, blended look.  I can see similarities between this weaving and my paintings, which is something I’ve been trying to bring to my tapestries.  You may not be able to see it in the photo but there is a lot of depth of color and a real liveliness to the scene.  I think this piece marks a cornerstone in my subject matter.  I’ve always loved animals and storytelling, and have worked with this imagery off and on since childhood.  My thesis for my undergrad was on the interconnectedness of nature and spirituality.  I think this will always be the overall theme of my work, now I’m just fine tuning it.

Two reasons why I chose the title for this post: The first and obvious one is that tapestry weaving takes a loooooooong time.  A fellow tapestry artist posted on her blog a while back a photo of a weaving by a different artist.  I can’t find the photo or who the artist was, but trust me, it’s great!  It’s a simple tapestry that just says “This Takes Time”.  Can’t get more obvious than that.  I could have painted this weaving in a day or two, but the process of finding colors, winding bobbins, pulling warp threads, and working slowly and methodically has such a captivating quality for me.  Even though I still enjoy painting, working with fibers bring my creativity to a whole new level.  Weaving is challenging and rhythmic in it’s linear format, and you have to remain focused on the area you’re working in while keeping in mind the whole picture.  When I sit down at the loom, I set down my worries for a while and focus on what’s in front of me.  Line by line, inch by inch, my creation creeps up the warp threads and takes on a life of it’s own. 

Some big changes have been going on in my life that require patience, understanding, and time, the second reason.  My weaving allows all of this to happen, simply by being in the present moment and taking everything one day at a time.  A lot of time passes and a lot of changes occur while I’m working on the same piece.  I can look at a finished tapestry and remember working on a certain area or using a particular color during a period of uncertainty, or excitement, longing, joy.  I think this is the connection that a lot of artists have with their craft, an outlet for processing the ups and downs of life.  I know it’s true for me.  I can work things out in my head (which never works) or at the loom.  It also helps to look out the window and see this…

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I’m looking forward to sharing the finished tapestry with all of you next week.  Bye for now!