Art Making, Community Outreach

Art Supply Swap

8998418by Kat Dison

Magdalena Karlick and Kat Dison share a vision of providing a safe space to draw people together and experience creativity.  Their goal of spreading the arts was honored last weekend through a community art supply swap that was sponsored by the Santa Fe Creative Arts Center, New Mexico Art Therapy Association, and Southwestern College. With this additional support from the Santa Fe community, the art swap acted as a vehicle to tentatively establish an open art studio for the Santa Fe Community Arts Center.
The art swap provided an opportunity for artists and art therapists to get together and replenish their studios by donating, exchanging, and purchasing art supplies. Several New Mexicans heard about the art swap on the radio, read about it in the paper, or were simply drawn in from seeing children painting outside in the Railyard on a beautiful spring afternoon.




Inside the future site of the Santa Fe Creative Arts Center were two rooms filled with donated ar

t supplies that people were able to either purchase or exchange for other media.
Adjacent to the swap rooms were live entertainment and performances from local art enthusiasts.  Jenny Bradley played her violin outside the entrance, which attracted onlookers and welcomed them inside. Devon Ludlow entertained audiences of all ages with his clown performance and puppet shows, The Free Range Ramblers got the crowd dancing to their dynamic folk sounds, and Mariana Marachlian granted everyone an ear-to-ear smile after witnessing a children’s choreography performance.

The Art Swap continued to accumulate donations throughout the day and successfully raised over $200 that will contribute to the purchase of additional art supplies, the offer of free art instruction, and the promise of open studio space to everyone in our community. It was a successful Sunday afternoon in the Railyard district, and a confirmation that the Santa Fe community is enthusiastic to support the opportunity of free expression and eager to begin a non-profit art studio.








Art Making, Photography, Reflections

Stop Motion Animation in Art Therapy

3548065by Katie Hall

I recently created this stop motion animation for a class at Southwestern College. This course assignment inspired me to pull together my childhood interest in moving images with my current love of the expressive, fluid process of art making.

As I tapped into my inner child, the directions I could go with my imagination felt limitless and full of possibility.

I am excited to share this project and continue my experimentation with this, because I envision it to be a potentially healing art therapy technique. I see it as a way to formulate meaning and gain perspective on one’s narrative by integrating layers of imagery into one whole and complete visual expression.


The process of making the animation can be easily utilized in art therapy sessions. I used my IPhone camera and voice memo device, IMovie on my laptop, and then converted the movie to Quicktime. I stopped to take a picture after every mark I made. In this way, the process is time consuming but can also bring an aspect of mindfulness to the experience. It is extremely rewarding to see the hundreds of still photos come together to form something new in the end. I feel like this could be used with both individuals and groups. With individuals, this project could focus on a time period, particular experience, or problem in the client’s life. Dreams and fantasies could also be animated and imagery could be built up naturally without a direct focus to observe the unconscious mind. Groups could work together creatively to help build a new way of seeing and develop a sense of empowerment in their lives as well.

I believe this technique could be creatively explored in many different ways. Any medium, including paint, charcoal, clay, cut paper, pastel, shadows, photography, melted wax, etc. could be used. I appreciate the versatility of this process and the way that it highlights the metaphor of the flow and constant nature of change in life. The imagery is never permanent and continues to morph and transform. Similar to the way of capturing one mark at a time, we are all in a process of becoming. I feel being able to see our life experience as if it were a movie can be a great way to pinpoint negative patterns. This can provide clarity and open doors for real change to occur.



Art Making, Mandala, Mindfulness, Self-Love / Self-Care

Mindfulness through Daily Mandala Practice

1361542566by Michelle Daly, LPCC, ATR

Cultivating mindfulness through mandala-making has been a gift and a teacher for me.

I begin each day with the creation of a mandala that evokes intention for the day, and I end each day creating a mandala image that incorporates expression of gratitude. This ongoing practice seems to enhance and deepen mindfulness. It is with an open heart and mind that I journey through each day, and in relation to this practice. I wonder what is to come, staying mindful and deeply grateful for the integrative ways this process touches my life. It is part of me; I am part of it. We are in relationship.


This relationship assists me with conservation of internal focus and clarity while supporting openness and receptivity to that which is – day after day. I am grateful to all who have supported me in this process – and to those who have not. For, it is through this reflection that I deepen into inner wisdom and practice movement toward depth of center, expansion, and wholeness while also maintaining solid ground and stillness within. This is a practice that helps me to integrate that which comes into my field – moment to moment. This meditative practice has nurtured and nourished me in difficult times, helped me to gain clarity and understanding in the face of challenging, confusing and chaotic times while also allowing me to loosen up as I encounter rigid patterns, tense moments or situations.


As I reflect upon this ongoing practice of daily self-care, currently a ritual to open and close each day, I appreciate the depth by which this mandala practice continues to serve me and supports me in serving others in a more authentic, centered present way.

Art Making, Mandala

A “CD Mandala” Adventure

by Laura L. Lansrud-López

A few months ago I came across this extraordinarily cool image of assorted CD Mandalas posted on Flickr by Mônica Chaves while perusing Pinterest (a favorite hangout of mine).

1361335482Many of us are likely familiar with using CD’s to create perfect-size circle templates for drawing and painting a mandala. These, however, appeared to be painted directly onto the CDs, capturing an iridescent effect. (You can see more images of Mônica’s CD’s here)

I was inspired to attempt it myself, but unable to locate directions or instructions on how to create this effect I thus decided to run an experiment and document the results.

First, I located some expendable CDs and gathered together black 3D fabric paint, left-over plastic stain from one of my 4-year-old daughter’s craft projects, a black sharpie.


Initially I tried to draw the mandala freehand with the 3D fabric paint. That was a bit of a disaster, so I pulled out a ruler and created a template on a white paper surface.

This allowed provide some additional guidance and structure for the design.

I attempted to draw the mandala outline directly on the CD with a thin sharpie. I imagine with practice and a steady hand this step may become unnecessary.


Once the mandala was outlined in 3D fabric paint, I let it dry overnight.



The next step was to color the mandala with my daughter’s plastic craft stain. An added bonus to this experiment was my daughter’s enthusiasm about painting with me. She insisted I include her painted ornaments in this picture:
(NOTE: you may want to consider purchasing higher quality glass stain as the viscosity of the stain in these small containers varies from clumpy to fluid. However, this may not bother a 4-year-old.)


Voila! My first CD mandala:


What I learned:
1) Practice will likely improve my skill and develop avenues for greater creative expression,
2) Never underestimate the value of using quality materials,
3) The joy of making art side-by-side with my daughter was championed only by my joy in watching her enchantment and wonder of casting “rainbows” with the CD Mandala.



Art Making

PLAY: Creating and Destroying


by Magdalena

With my son, Judah, we build houses for his cars, animals, and trains. We stack blocks higher and higher. I make corners, and attempt to connect his sides so our creation doesn’t topple right away.

And then… the blocks come tumbling down when he is ready to destroy. Playing and creating with Judah has taught me a lot about letting go of creation, a topic that all parents have to grapple with in many ways. Destruction is an important part of new beginnings. I used to get caught in the feeling of loss when he would knock over my neatly stacked tower, and now I get lost in the vast space of rebuilding, recreating, and starting again.

I use these lessons when I work with clients. Destruction is a necessary part of living, and starting anew. This can be acted out through play, art, words, and life action. Whether or not my clients are aware of it, I pay attention to their destruction, and know that it has it’s place.

Art Making, CEU Offerings, Reflections

3926830by Magdalena Karlick

Let’s go for a walk, and pick up with permission
pieces from the earth, resting branches, fallen leaves, rocks rolled with time,
or shells that once were homes.

What history do they hold?
There is room for more, from me.

Let’s whisper into the rocks.
They can keep our secrets, our emotions, our wishes.

Shells can be held as they once held life.
Stones can lay cool in one’s palm or with a deep warm from the sun.
Rocks can be thrown in anger, wind and quake have done worse.
Branches may be broken, as they have been before.
Dried petals fragile with time, reminiscent of what once was, c


an be gingerly moved.

Touch, feel, place, throw
The natural world calls to us, holds us, and wants to be felt.

Recently we had the first in a series of Art Workshops at Southwestern College, “Rocktray: Nature as a Medium,” led by SWC grad Karen Wennberg, and current Art Therapy student, Nicole Morgan. They led us through theory related to Sandplay, Art Therapy, and Ecopsychology. They wove experiences of connection between pieces of nature and memory. We discussed how to make personal altars, and imbue natural objects with moments, or have them represent archetypal guides, witnesses, or guardians. We discussed how to externalize difficult feelings into these objects, so as to release or minimize discomfort. We experienced how this is personally helpful as well as an accessible offering to our clients.

Collection of Natural Objects














My Rocktray creation: Free Association Writings:
Tidy space, messy container
Picked off advertisement
Was messed with paint and earth
Natural Space
Calm center with spiraled petals 
On a bed of l
ong thin shoots of leaves
No longer bristling, laying comfortably under.


I  was inspired by the dried avocado in Nicole’s altar. I came home from the workshop, ate some avocado and saved the skin to dry. And this is what I made:


This is to help.
To help us move, cradled in taught skin
Floating lightly on protective wispy eyes,
Keeping striking snakes at bay.

We hold our seed within.

We protect our selves with hope, 

and calm movement through the unknown.


This was made with an avocado skin, an apricot pit, chicken feather, and peacock feathers on a dish rag.




See more photos from this workshop, here.
To find out about future workshops, or information about leading a workshop, click here.