A Bethlem Gallery showcasing the innovative arts in health initiatives across Europe, 2 – 25 October 2013
10 October World Mental Health Day
“To celebrate world mental health day 2013 the Bethlem Gallery is staging an exhibition of postcards made by artists staying and working in hospitals across Europe. Flight of Ideas is an international collaboration between innovative arts practice, studio spaces and galleries based within psychiatric healthcare in Croatia, France, Italy and the UK. All four organisations are unique within their own countries. Flight of Ideas celebrates their shared ideals framing them within the context of each nation’s system of mental health care. These differing institutions all facilitate creative activity as part of the recovery process during a person’s time in hospital and support professional development of these artists beyond the hospital setting.
(Work from a French contributor, left, and from Terence Wilde, right)
At the heart of the exhibition are the artists themselves. Their extraordinary talent will be presented within the size of a postcard but is broad and varied in the range of style, media and technique employed. Artists working within the hospital environments range from having formal arts training to the self-taught. Their work shows, better than any document, their identity as artists and their right to lay claim to that status.
Flight of Ideas is produced and hosted by the Bethlem Gallery, a well known contemporary gallery space in the grounds of the oldest psychiatric hospital in the world still functioning today. The gallery and museum’s regular exhibitions and events have made it a vital contributor to the UK’s debate on creativity, mental health and art history. It is an important access point for the general public, patients, hospital staff and media to meet and communicate regardless of whether they are within or without the world of mental health care.”
Opening Event: Wednesday 2nd October, 3 – 6pm
Exhibition continues: Thursday 3rd – 25th October
Opening times: Wednesday – Friday 11am – 6pm Gallery and Museum will be open Saturday 12th October 11am – 5pm
Address: The Bethlem Gallery, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX
Nearest British Rail: Eden Park / East Croydon
Website: http://www.bethlemgallery.com | http://www.bethlemheritage.org.uk
Posted in Art Therapy, Bedlam, Bethlem, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, BPD, Depression, Mental Health, psychosis, PTSD, Schizophrenia
Tagged anxiety, art therapy, bedlam, bethlem, bipolar, borderline, bpd, depression, exhibition, inpatient, madness, mental health, psychiatric hospital, PTSD, terence wilde, wellness
It was my intention when I started this blog to show all work that I am sent without it being juried or censored. However, some work may be contentious or triggering, and this is something I want to be able to protect my more vulnerable readers from. The work featured on this blog entry may be considered triggering so please do not read on if you are in a vulnerable place.
Posted in Borderline Art, Illustration, Lex
Tagged blood, borderline, bpd, collage, design, illustration, lex, marie-louise plum, mental spaghetti, wax
A good friend in mental health sent me a link to a website called Better, Drawn. It’s a fantastic site, full of high quality submissions. Basically Better, Drawn is a website for “comics drawn by people with experience of living with long-term mental and physical illnesses.” Below is their explanation of who and what they are, and also a link to their submissions guide in their FAQ.
“Better, drawn is a place for people to share stories about long-term mental and physical illnesses, told in the form of short comics. The site is a way for people to write and draw about their experiences that might otherwise be difficult to talk about openly. In fact, we think that sometimes things can be said better when they’re drawn.
Submissions are open to anyone with experience of long-term mental or physical illness to share – whether or not you see yourself as a comic artist. So, if you have experience with these kinds of health issues, or if you are close to someone who does, then you might like to consider submitting a comic for the site. You can visit our FAQ to find out more about how to send us your work.”
Posted in Art Therapy, better drawn, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Comics, Depression, DID Art, Digital Art, Eating Disorder, Illustration, Mental Health, PTSD, Schizophrenia
Tagged better drawn, comics, depression, drawing, drawn, illness, illustration, mental health, mental spaghetti
Portugal Prints (Westminster Mind), an innovative mental health project based in Central London, are having an exhibition from 7th-9th December.
The opening night of the exhibition is this Thursday 1st December where you will have the chance to meet the artists, view their open studio and card making demonstrations. If you are free between 2-5pm then I recommend you get on down there as it will be aces. I won’t be able to get along until later but that’s okay as there’s also an evening private view from 5-8pm, so there’s really no excuse to miss out!
Check out the flyer below and I hope to see you there.
Posted in Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Depression, DID Art, Eating Disorder, Fundraising, Illustration, Mental Health
Tagged art therapy, artists, card making, demonstration, london, mental health, open studio, portugal prints, westminster mind
Mara McWilliams’ website is a tour de force. Through her site www.maramcwilliams.com, I have stumbled upon a great bubbling vat of creativity that, at many points, springs directly from her experiences with mental disorder. I say at many points as although lots of her paintings and writing come directly from ‘that place’, sometimes hugely creative during manic episodes, lots of her articles and work is reflective on what it is like living a life with bipolar disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder, anorexia and self-harm.
Mara has learnt over the years to go with her bodys’ flow and work with her disorders in an organic way. She speaks wisely of ‘taking responsibility’ as a bipolar woman. This is an interesting way to look at mental disorder, as if it is a tool to work with rather than something that, although it can, blights ones life and can only destroy it. While we can’t all be in control all of the time with mental disorder, it is refreshing to read about someone who has got to a level where they have learnt about how to cope in their own way, and protect themselves from the attack of mental disorder.
In any case, Mara’s website is an essential resource if you want to peer into the mind of someone living with issues of ‘teh mental’. She has some brilliant articles that you really must read, including using art therapy for good mental health.
A bio from Mara’s website…
“My work revolves around the concepts of hope, healing, and expressionism. I believe that by feely sharing emotion through color choices and brush strokes, we become in touch with our true selves. Creating art is almost a meditative process for me that is motivated by my spirituality. Due to technology, we long ago stopped needing the artist to accurately represent reality. I see my responsibility as an artist to give the viewer the opportunity to see worlds that before might have previously been shut off to them. Giving the viewer a different perspective on life, is perhaps the biggest honor an artist can receive.
As an openly Bipolar woman, the recurring goal of my work is to inspire other individuals with mental illness. I want those with a mental illness to know that there is a life full of wonderful possibilities after diagnosis.
I want others like myself to find the beauty in their unique mind and utilize it, like I have with my art. Art creates freedom and hope in my life. It is my goal to share the process of self-discovery and letting go that allows one to live a more stable life full of contentment.”
Isolated Woman 2
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Anorexia, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Depression, Eating Disorder, Mara McWilliams, Mental Health
Tagged anorexia, articles, bipolar, drawing, journalism, mara mcwilliams, mental health, painting, poetry, self harm, writing
Posted in Art Therapy, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Depression, Illustration, Mental Health, Zoe Smith
Tagged a-z, cartoon, colouring, drawing, illustration, lunatics lexicon, mental health, mental political parent, pens, zoe smith
It’s a relief it’s over. Only because I thought I would be rubbish at conducting the workshop. But as it turns out it went really blooming well.
On Saturday 8th October I ran a workshop as part of the Scottish Mental Health Art and Film Festival in Edinburgh. The workshop was predominantly for mental health service users, however anyone was invited to take part. After a brief (and very nervous) ramble about who I am and what I do, I led the class in an illustration workshop. And boy, did they work hard. Three solid hours of drawing!
The idea behind the workshop is to illustrate a day in the life of a mental health service user. It doesn’t have to be a generic day, and it doesn’t have to involve waking up and getting dressed…it doesn’t have to be literal. I wanted it to be a memory, or a feeling, it could be an abstract piece of work that does not stick to the lines of the comic strip. It can be colours or words or shapes. Or it can just be a stickman and it can just be a boring day. It’s about what you feel, how you feel being a mental health service user. And a person.
I took a whole load of materials up from London (in the heaviest bag known to man) so everyone could have a go using different pens, inks and paints. As well as a massive stash of pencil crayons and brush pens the artists got to try out dip pens, acrylic inks, marker pens, charcoal and pastel crayons as well as using mixed media such as collage.
Ultimately I would like to publish a graphic novel of collected strips from mental health service users. If this is something you would like to be involved in, please get in touch.
Some photos of what we completed at the workshop follow. If you would like to see all the photos from the day, including some of the exhibitions installed at the same venue, please click here and scroll through pictures to the right.
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Art Therapy, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Dementia, Depression, Drawing, Eating Disorder, Illustration, Mental Health, Oil Painting, Oil Pastels, Organisations, Painting, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Watercolour
Savannah Borderline recently submitted some work to the website. Savannah is an 18 year old girl diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. You can read about her diagnosis, living life with mental health ‘difficulties’ (I hate this expression but struggle to find the right way to describe how we get by), and how she gets through the mh system without going totally loopsome on her blog, Life of a Maybe Borderline.
Savannah enjoys painting these characters for her fiancé, who she describes as “an obsessive computer gamer”, because she’d rather paint for someone who’ll appreciate it. I guess I should have said somewhere on the blog that I will happily take copied artwork, and that it is every bit as important as original artwork because of the therapeutic process you go through to produce a finished piece. Savannah writes on her blog “I like drawing and painting, I enjoy creating things. I am a generally creative person, it’s so therapeutic and rewarding. Creativity leads to feelings of accomplishment.”
Please follow our lovely Savannah on Twitter, friend her on Facebook and don’t forget to read her blog.
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Art Therapy, Borderline Art, Mental Health, Painting, SBorderline
Tagged abuse, borderline personality disorder, bpd, lifeofamaybeborderline, mental health, pd, personality disorder, PTSD, self harm, trauma
“Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc., is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit incorporation organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and networking purposes to promote, develop, and support international art therapy initiatives and the work of art therapists worldwide. ATWB was founded in April 2010 to meet the need for an organization dedicated to a global art therapy community; the exchange of information, news, media, and resources; the development of online educational opportunities; and the advancement of collaboration and research. Our core mission is to encourage the use of art in service to others in need through art therapy, art in healthcare, and art as a form of social transformation.
The Art Therapy Alliance and International Art Therapy Organization have formed this umbrella organization to consolidate our programs, but still provide the art therapy community with a vital social network dedicated to education, research, information exchange, and service to others.”
All text and video taken from http://www.atwb.org/.
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Art Therapy, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Ceramics, Dementia, Illustration, Mental Health, Oil Painting, Painting, Schizophrenia, Watercolour
Tagged art therapy, artist, bipolar, borderline, drawing, group therapy, medication, mental health, mhuk, nhs, painting, schizophrenia, therapy
I found a great Facebook Page the other day – Art Therapy Alliance. In their own words they “embrace social media & connection online to promote art therapy, the work of art therapists, & build community.
The Art Therapy Alliance is an online professional group for art therapists on LinkedIn and fans on Facebook founded by Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC. Our website, Twitter, and Facebook fanpage feature resources, groups, blogs, and more related to the field of art therapy worldwide.”
Penny Saylor talks about some of her art work while standing in front of a picture she painted of her daughter, Kandace Merrill, from when she was a child. Saylor and her daughter have their artwork on display in the lobby at Community Mental Health of Muskegon and a reception was held on Wednesday evening for the pair. Chronicle Photo by Matt Gade.
If you take only a cursory scan of their fanpage wall you can see various news items regarding health and wellbeing (not all directly mental health related) including the current exhibition of clinically depressed artist Penny Saylor from Michigan, USA, and Donna Mitchell, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder three years ago.
Penny Saylor talks with Chris Erickson about her piece called “Dreams” during a reception at the Community Mental Health of Muskegon on Wednesday afternoon in the lobby. Saylor and her daughter Kandace Merrill are the feature artists in the Gallery at CMH Muskegon. Chronicle Photo by Matt Gade.
The Art Therapy Alliance fanpage is interesting, informative and a great resource to further your experience of art, creativity and mental health service users as well as art therapy and how creating art can be therapeutic. In August-September 2010 the ATA set up an artist trading card swap project. Here is a video about the project and some of the cards traded. It’s a lovely concept and one that builds interaction between artists who are also mental health service users.
Photos in this article copywrite Muskegon Chronicle.
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Ceramics, Illustration, Mental Health, Oil Painting, Painting
Tagged art therapy, bipolar, bpd, depression, illness, mental health, pd, stigma, trauma, wellbeing