Creative Insights: Karen Wallace

Hi there and welcome. I’m Karen Wallace and I am an Art Therapist. Yes, Art Therapist. If you find that people respond differently when you say you are an Artist, try saying you are an Art Therapist. I have been asked if that means I work with tortured artists (assuming all artist are deeply troubled), make the people who come to see me into artists, or use color to heal people. Even though making everyone who seeks therapy into an artist sounds like a wonderful magical power to have, my job is a little more realistic than that. Therapy is something that gives you skills to solve life problems, heal emotional or psychological issues and makes life more enjoyable. Art therapy can be understood as being creative in the therapeutic process. You can think of it as being creative or artful about working with emotional, psychological, and/or physical issues. It is not about doing “good art”, what matters is: Does it give you a new perspective, help you get in touch with your feelings and/or help you make changes? Even if you are not doing art as therapy, you most likely have experienced feeling calmer, happier and more relaxed while creating art in your studio. Getting in the flow and connecting with your creative spirit is enjoyable and healthy. I will be writing much more about this. I will talk about how making art can help with emotional and physical problems, how it can reduce stress, and lead you into new ways of thinking. It will be so enjoyable that you may not even notice that you are doing therapy! I am also an artist, art instructor, educator, and Focusing Trainer. I have worked in fashion, ran an organic gardening business, had my own gallery and a few other things along the way before I started my career as an Art Therapist.  I have lived in Europe, North Africa, Australia and the Gulf islands in Canada and these days you can find me in Regina, Saskatchewan Canada. I have a private practice with adults and children. I also facilitate many different kinds of creativity and art therapy groups for example: The Archetypal Journey, Learning to Love the Body You Have, Claiming Your Ruby Red Slippers, Soul Garden and Honoring the Mother. I teach Focusing and Focused Centered Art Therapy internationally. I plan to draw on my rich background of experience to bring you the best of my world of using art for personal and community change. I teach Art Education at the University of Regina helping student-teachers learn how to bring Mixed Media and process art into their classrooms. So, if you are an art teacher, I will have lots of great ideas for you to use in the classroom. If you are a researcher or art student, I do Art-Based research and practice a research method called Bricolage and plan to blog on this subject along with many other ideas. In my own mixed media work I have worked in many media such as paint, clay, paper, cloth and right now I am making Archetypal Theatres. My work has been shown in many galleries across Canada. I am looking forward to this new adventure working with a great team of women and getting to know all of you in this new community of artists. Until next time, bye for now.

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2 Responses to Creative Insights: Karen Wallace

  1. Andi says:

    I knew it was time for me to seek therapy when I stopped making art. I understand what you’re saying though about people’s reactions to being told that you work in the arts. There’s a combination of awe, puzzlement, and something indefinable. BTW, one of my best friends (who just happens to also be my former studio mate) studied Art Therapy in college. I’d love to take some classes but there are no programs nearby.

  2. kwallace says:

    Andi, Hello. Where are you located? I am teaching a Focusing and Expressive Art Therapy Workshop at Valley Ridge Studio in Madison Wis. in August that addresses this topic. It is called “Learning Focusing to Help Free the Artist in You.” If you are interested, here is the link. http://www.islandnet.com/~kwallace/workshop.htm
    Warmly, Karen

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