Did you ever spend time as a child doodling the day away in your journal, expressing your dreams, hopes and fears in paper and paint, collage and colour? Art journaling is good for the mind and spirit. It opens you up to new possibilities and ideas, and helps you to deeper explore your thoughts and emotions without judgement. In fact, according to Psychology Today, “Among creative art therapy approaches to trauma intervention, visual journaling has been used in a variety of ways to help survivors not only cope with hyperarousal and distress, but also as a means of stress reduction and self-regulation.”
But somewhere along the way, some of us lose that sense of childlike creativity, curiosity and wonder, and art journaling becomes nothing more than “that hobby I dabbled in as a kid.” But it doesn’t have to be.
Recently, the staff of Soothe Downtown Spa let their creativity run wild during an art journaling workshop led by artist member Janet Peter (who has worked in fibre sculpture, mixed media and printmaking, and is best known for her paper maché mummers) and Coastline Consultants (a local consulting company dedicated to promoting wellness in the workplace).
During the session, participants embarked on a journey of self-discovery as they used a variety of media to express themselves and create beautiful, one-of-a-kind art journals. The workshop proved to be a meditative experience that gave staff the chance to connect with their creativity and indulge in some self-care, while getting back in touch with their inner child.
“One staff member said upon entering, ‘Oh, I love art supplies!’ We were pensive and very engaged in our activity,” says Gloria Williams, owner of Soothe.
“It was unusally quiet for us. I mean, I have offered yoga and meditation sessions with the staff which were quiet, and we have our soft spa voices on at work. But otherwise when given the opportunity, we like to talk, to each other. We hardly said a word. Everyone was very involved in their project. It had us processing events and feelings around those events.”
Williams says supporting the arts is a boon to the business and staff, as well as the artists themselves. From placing ads in programs for local events and festivals, to hosting staff drum circles and having a local musician perform at their grand opening, Soothe’s support has taken many forms.
“I am interested in supporting, and sometimes participating in, community art projects – music, dance, literary art, fine arts, storytelling and theatre. It is also a benefit to my business to have such opportunities. For example, we showcase artists’ work on the walls of Soothe, up to 30 pieces (pending size) at a time. Thus far we have had a gallery show for Paddy Barry Photography, Christine Weeks McLean original paintings and prints, Dominique Hurley original paintings, and presently Danielle Headrick original paintings. A local photographer is scheduled for July at which time we will change it up,” Williams says.
“Clients love seeing new pieces and sometimes they become attached to a particular piece after a few visits and purchase it. It’s a win-win. The artisit gets exposure and we get awesome colour on otherwise bare walls.”
Participating in activities like the art journaling session and bringing artists like Janet Peter into the workplace “opens the mind, heals the soul, makes the space more open, brings balance and makes it light,” Williams says.
“I like to keep connected with what is happening locally in the community. I have a deep respect for art, the way it fills the senses, and of course for the artists and the creative spirit.”