Witnessing Resilience and the Will to Survive

I’ve created a scene using sculpture to reflect the process I often experience when working with children and adults.The giraffes are watching the birth of starfish in varying stages of loss, pain and regrowth. The resilience and determination is often so great that one can only give thanks for being allowed to witness such spirit.
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Altered Selves

In my work as an Art Therapist and Licensed Counselor, I am helping adolescents and adults dealing with substance abuse issues.  We have been creating “altered books” as a means for journaling and self-expression. I have come to see the altered book as a metaphor for the physical body, and its alteration from substance abuse.

I am using hardcover books – cast-offs gathered from friends and the local Goodwill thrift store – that my clients have reinvented and redefined to hold words, images and transformed paper; the altered book releases feelings and communicates ideas. Covers are collaged and fixed with Mod Podge, and then about 1/3 of the existing pages are torn out from the book to relieve the binding and allow space to add new works.

This has been a powerful art experience for everyone. While there are wildly creative and endless possibilities, here are a few images from my own journal just to give the idea. A special thanks to those friends who have rallied to collect books for this ongoing project.

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the sunflower house

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Happy Holidays

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Autumn at Home

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Mama Earth Vertebrae

Prouts Neck Beach, Scarborough, Maine

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Cannon preservation

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A Carronade is a short smoothbore cast iron naval weapon introduced circa 1778 by Carron Foundry in Scotland.  The weapons have a short range, and ships with these became easy prey to those mounting rifled long guns, so after the War of 1812 the cannons were mostly discontinued.  The Confederacy used some during the Civil War.

IMG_4219The inscription “1723” denotes the weight.  This Carronade, a “32-pounder,” sits now at the big house, and the salt air will deteriorate the metal.  We needed to do some preservation work.

Having absolutely no knowledge of metals, I did some research.  The Superintendent of the Richmond  National Battlefield Park recommended painting the cannon.  We shied away from that.  Oil seemed a safer route.   The gun department of a local hunting outfitter advised that we not use any of their oils; they argued that metals have changed and modern oils would be risky.

So I called Dereck Glaser, a Master Blacksmith and founder of the New England School of Metalwork.  Dereck’s recipe was equal parts Boiled Linseed Oil and Thompson”s Water Seal, with a bit of Japan Driers added.  It worked great!  Dereck’s webs sites are: www.dereckglaser.com and www.newenglandschoolofmetalwork.com.

Here are before and after photos:

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