Curating my Instagram feed

The daughter is working for an agency that looks after Instagram influencers and she has been encouraging me to look at my feed and think about how I post.

I have been watching free webinars too. This inspired me to begin keeping a bank of hashtags,

H suggested that I think about posting images in themes. It all seemed a bit much, but I found after deciding to choose a bank of white images. I was more aware walking around Edinburgh and I enjoyed thinking within the restrictions. It helps that the sun has been shining and its spring. I decided to think about 6-9 images.

Jon was given a white rose to raise his awareness in ovarian cancer

It also helps that the New Town in Edinburgh is stunning architecturally – I am not 100% happy with how I have placed the letting on my zines though ………

Day 2

Monika and I were working in Dunfermline today at the Carnegie Library which won awards when it was built in 2017 https://www.onfife.com/venues/dunfermline-carnegie-library-galleries

I had a few minutes after our session ended to take photos. The spring sunshine and the views inspired today’s Instagram posts of slices of images through windows.

The Abbey and gardens look great anyway but framing them adds a slightly surreal feel. Particularly in the stair wells .

I took a load more shots too I couldn’t help my self. Always a sucker for a bit of award winning architectural detail

Art journaling – around migraines

I have written before about my migraines. I had another stinker over the last couple of days that left me feeling disoriented and with my eyes feeling very odd. I listened to a Shelley Klammer art journaling webinar called ‘Diving Deep’ I haven’t even finished listening to Shelleys course and I was inspired.

I used the soft eye techniques flipping through magazines and collecting images and text. I wanted to work with something around eyes and glasses because of the disorientation. I am always touching my glasses – to make sure that I am seeing as accurately as I can.

The words just jumped out at me.

I added a bit more text in the distorted clocks because time seems to stand still, when I am in the full episode.

I wanted to represent the feelings of too much going on in my head. I added pen scribble and white paint to add more texture and oddness to the composition.

I made the collage in a book that I had worked in before. The page on the left had a hole in it – I was very pleased that serendipity played a part – when I closed the page one of the eyes was exactly in the aperture. The framed eye has a lot more impact that when seen within the composition.

Self Compassion dolls

Tess and Monika decided to run a session on compassion after the workshop attendees reacted to Tess’s doll silouhettes.

Monika and I are working with an art journaling for self care group in Edinburgh.

We wanted to do something on self- compassion. Last week we worked on emotions and sensations within the body. I felt that the group reacted quite strongly to the body shapes I produced. I chose an imperfect slightly rounded body shape to work. 

Because of the groups reactions, we thought it would be great to work on self compassion- being kind to their inner critic. I found a few resources on line that were really helpful

https://www.bjclearn.org/resiliency/PDFs/002104.pdf

https://self-compassion.org/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08322473.2018.1454687

The last link is an article by Patricia Rose Williams for the Canadian Art Therapy association journsl . Within the article is table of exercises and ideas for art projects.

‘For example, creating a simple wrapped doll with a variety of textiles and embellishments can become a powerful symbol of the self.’

I wanted to adapt this and make a doll that could be added to an art journal.

ACTIVITY: Practicing Self-Compassion

The purpose of this activity is to introduce the concept of self-compassion. It will allow participants to assess how they currently practice self-compassion and to begin thinking of ways they could become more self- compassionate.

Background

Self-compassion is defined as being kind and understanding to one’s self in times of suffering, failure, or when we feel inadequate. Self-compassion contributes to increased resiliency. People who practice self-compassion can take responsibility for negative experiences but don’t get overwhelmed by bad feelings.

Self-compassion researcher Kristen Neff identifies three components of self-compassion:

1) Self-kindness: being kind and understanding to one’s self in times of suffering, failure, or when we feel inadequate.

2) Shared humanity: Suffering and being imperfect are part of the shared human experience. Everyone suffers and everyone feels inadequate sometimes.

3) Mindfulness: Observing our negative thoughts and emotions openly and without judgment, but realising they are just thoughts and emotions. They are not facts.

• Ask the group what they think self-compassion is. After they respond, share the definition .

• Ask the group for their thoughts and feedback on the exercise.

• Does anyone feel they are already very good at self-compassion? Does anyone feel this is

something they need to work on?

• Why do we tend to be so critical of ourselves?

• What are some other ways we could practice self-compassion

1) Think about a time when a friend or family member was going through a hard time or felt bad about themselves. What did you do in that situation (how did you act, what did you say, what tone did you use)?

2) Now think about a time when you were struggling or feeling bad. What did you do in that situation (how did you act, what did you say to yourself about the situation, were you self- critical or kind)?

3) Is there a difference between how you treat a friend who is suffering and how you treat yourself? If so, why?

4)How could you treat yourself more like you would treat a loved one the next time you are suffering or feel “not good enough”?

For more information on self-compassion, visit Dr. Kristen Heff’s website:

About the Book

The writing activity above was adapted from “How Would You Treat a Friend?” at: the

http://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/#exercises

Sources/ More Information

On a paper doll I wrote down things that I don’t find easy about my self

I wanted to use paper to wrap the doll in, but wanted it to be more like fabric, so I scrunched it up to create texture, I wrapped a section of the doll in th paper and attached it using washi tape, so that it looked like a blanket, then I attached the doll to the page using comments about self compassion.

The above doll comes out of the red wrap so that I can use it for a teaching aid. I decided that I wanted to make another doll today – I get really bad migraines and after suffering for a few days I decided I wanted to make my own doll

I scrunched and coloured the paper with water soluble pastels and hand wrote out the statements, it felt more mindful and I had more control. I made a nest of paper scraps, wrapped the doll in ripped out coloured paper with the colours up against her body and stuck her in the nest. As an exercise this was a lot more satisfying for me. I like how messy it is ….. the top one is a bit toooo clinical

#appmashing

Who knew that was a hashtag! The cherry blossoms are still beautiful in Edinburgh. I try and get down to the Meadows when they are in bloom.

I wanted to celebrate where I am and what I have been doing so I decided to have a go blending some images.

There was a fab art panel on a wall near Middle Meadow walk so I tried layering that with some of my blossom picks

But my photos were to busy

Then I had a go at mixing with my stitching

But I handn’t fiddled with it enough – I love the way the sky shows through though.

I used layout and my iPhone camera phone app to copy , rotate and reflect the image to get a pattern. I used to use an app called Reflection to do this, but it started crashing all the time…….

Using up my grey scraps

I found a padded fabric bag when I was second hand shopping the other week. I always like sewing onto padded fabric – you can get really neat stitches ….

I decided to cover the bag in the grey scraps of denim fabric that were left over from my cushion cover.

It’s always tricky covering 3D objects in fabric but it’s got much easier since I started using quilting pins.

The grey/ blue design was working but I felt that the red zip stood out a bit too much – so I went back over my stitching again with variegated orange thread and red making circles.

I am quite pleased with how it turned out- some of my tension has puckered the fabric in places ….. below is the finished bag showing the inside fabric too

Day out to Aberfeldy

We got rid of our car last year and joined the city car club. We don’t hire cars very often but Jon decided we were going to have a trip out.

Today we went to Aberfeldy which is about an 1.5 hour drive north of Edinburgh

Firth of Forth Bridge

I was a bit worried that the mist wouldn’t burn off – but it was ok and I was also glad I took a summer dress with me 😂

We have been to Aberfeldy a couple of times before but I haven’t walked up to the waterfalls. It’s quite a steep climb but well worth it in the spring sunshine.

We had lunch at Kenmore which is on the shore of Loch Tay

Then Jon wanted to drive along Glen Lyon and up to Ben Lawers and back down to Loch Tay

Back across the Firth looking at the old road bridge and the rail bridge

Messing about with ideas around anger – using an exercise described by Cathy Malchiodi

Monika sent me a link to an interesting link through the facebook page ‘Psychotherapy Networker’

This three-part process uses the body as a foundation for exploring emotions and personal narratives: https://bit.ly/2G8EVjh by Creative Arts and Play Therapy Series at Guilford Press’s Cathy Malchiodi

The article describes how to use this process and describes examples of using it with a client. It goes into lots of detail and is a good read.

I wanted to have a go. Monika and I might use this idea with one of our art journaling groups.

The points below are lifted straight from the article

1) ‘ Show through colors, shapes, and lines what you’re feeling. Don’t worry about making it into ‘art

Wednesday Morning

I had woken up feeling very grumpy and in a lot of pain

I tried using red water colour pencils scribbling a circle really fast and then drawing squiggly orange lines- it wasn’t intense enough the colour of the pencils were a bit thin

I had a go using some gelato crayons I picked up in Seoul 3 yrs ago – I love the texture and rich feeling when you draw – it’s like spreading lipstick on to the paper ( I wish they came in more environmentally friendly packaging )

This was richer – but the paper was too small ( A4 – 10″/8″approx)

I tried A3

This was a better representational what I was feeling grumpy angry with lots of energetic pain – I worked very quickly blending the colours by only working strokes on top of each other – I missed my circles so I messed about layering the 3 photos in the Imageblender app

2) ‘Drawing the perception of that feeling in the body’.

( As I said I was very grumpy and in pain in quite a few places. I drew on a screen dumped image from Shutter Stock – I chose one that wasn’t sylph like ….)

I felt that these images weren’t expressing how I was feeling in a viceral way – my anger and the perceived pain were dissipating but I wanted a more vibrant image ……

3)  “What kind of story would that image tell me if it could talk? If it’s a worry, for example, what would that worry say?”

Initially I didn’t do this exercise, as I said my mood had improved during the exercise. I also had a bit of trouble working out what voice my pain would have. Seems a bit daft because there is a great example – I think I was having trouble making the pain talk as if it was in the first person ….

after a couple of hours doing other things this happened – (warning hubby says I am relishing my nasty vicious side in this piece , to be read with humour and a loud booming voice)

‘I am pain – running riot this morning eating into the muscles at the back of your neck,over the top surface of your brain.

You were stupid on Tuesday exercising and not warming up – I am making your back pay – shooting arrows into your hip- burning up your your muscles nipping and biting around your vertebra with every twist or turn

– for Gods sake lie down or sit still – then see what I can do after 20 mins without moving mwaaahaaaaaaahhhaaaaa

Lets bloat up your stomach until it’s so tight and throbbing you can’t think straight

– yes take that deep breath, I’ll catch your lungs and intestines on thorns as the air flows back in

I’m sewing needles through the skin of your left breast – can you feel it ache, as I pull the thread taught. let’s not forget your hands as I stick pins into your joints trying to distract you whilst you hold your phone just too long – oh yes – I feed on your internal screaming’

‘This is the three-part harmony starts the flow of embodied intelligence and becomes the foundation of trauma reparation and integration via the arts’

Thursday afternoon

Today my pain narrative doesn’t feel within me , when I re read what’s written on the page – probably because it was far too much fun making it as horrid as possible – I don’t feel that this matter’s too much , because making the art work took me out of my self and reduced the anger and pain ……