(L to R) The six participants felt that they had a fruitful Bodyscapes Healing Art Workshop at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center in Oakland, CA
In July, I conducted workshop number 6 at WCRC. This is the third year in succession for our enlightening Bodyscapes processes and we have grown from strength to strength. All participants were first-timers to Bodyscapes. This year, I reached out to the Sister to Sister Group and a Latinx Lunchtime Support Group, making a small presentation to both groups to encourage them to come to my workshop. This produced three participants!
A first time experience was the presence of a Spanish-speaking translator and two interns which added a welcome element of help. Also it provided some peer camaraderie for me — the interns were recent graduates in Expressive Art Therapy.
(L to R) Spanish translator, Angela Castillo, with interns Stephanie Walpole and Maria Latzou, enjoy observing, assisting and taking part in the Bodyscapes workshop conducted in July. The interns just earned their Masters’ Degrees in Expressive Art Therapy. I found these young women through an ad I placed in the California Institute of Integral Studies, and I was very pleased with their response.
This year, Penni Hudis, the Interim Executive Director of WCRC ,attended a Bodyscapes session. I met Penni a year ago, and she has been incredibly supportive. This was the first time she had taken part in my workshop — in fact, she had never taken an art class before! I coached her, and she was delighted with her resulting drawing. So this was a first time for both.
Penni Hudis, Interim Executive Director of WCRC, experiences first-hand Diane’s Bodyscapes, for the first time — and found it a powerful and positive experience. Penni had never drawn before, and was astonished at the resulting artwork she produced!
Margo Salem chooses vibrant red pastel to begin her drawing. She is drawn to making strong statements, also evident in her poetry.
Something else new was the Innvocation — we formed a circle holding hands in a way to bring the participants closer, a transition time, to put aside the outside world and evoke the creative muse. The Innvocation is a way to honor the artists’ bodies living with cancer, and to create community with WCRC members past and present who have come to that building for 40 years to share their experiences of living with cancer.
Christine Cahill, living with the effects of radiation treatment, applies pastel to create a soft watercolor effect in the background of her drawing.
The Innvocation importantly voices the concern of participants who come to Bodyscapes with apprehension about their abilities to make art. The Invocation assures us that the muse will lead us mindfully, and with joy.
Margo Rivera-Weiss, a professional artist herself, participates in Diane’s Bodyscapes for the first time. Margo is a mainstay employee at WCRC, and it was an honor to work with her.
This was the longest workshop to date: 12:30-5:30. It produced a slower pace that was less intense, and therefore we could spend more time editing the poetry. This year, Bodyscapes is moving toward a spoken word poetry engagement which means that every artist is going to read her poems out loud to the audience at the opening reception. We worked on our poems with a focus on finding the refrain – the core essence of the poem. I am excited about this added aspect of Bodyscapes.
During the time of reflection following the drawing activity, Dee contemplates the poem she wrote to accompany her drawing.
The women involved all told me that they were glad they were part of this, would try to return, and would recommend it to friends! They all wished me well, and they look forward to us gathering again for the opening night reception on September 15, 6-9, at WCRC. And you are all invited!
Breast cancer treatment not only removes a body part but can also take away self confidence, feminine identity and faith in life. Last Saturday, July 8th, women from WCRC’s community came together at my free Bodyscapes Healing Art Workshop. Complicated emotions—fear, despair, anger, and bewilderment—were transformed into positive healing energy through poetry and drawing. The Bodyscapes Technique helped us to connect with our inner and outer realities, our bodies, minds and spirits. These Bodyscapes drawings are powerful tools to show how women deal with the important issues of lives lived with illness, wellness, fear and hope.
The Red & Orange House is back at WCRC. Thrilled to collaborate with this great organization which serves so many women living with cancer. They serve from a kind, loving, and non judgment space–with lots of art experiences to aid healing. This year, I have reached out to the Latinx community and the African-American communities to join me to learn how to express their rich stories through poetry and pastel drawing.
Free workshops will be conducted Saturday, July 29th. Art exhibition opening–September 15th 2017.
No experience necessary. Register online at http://www.wcrc.org
Lori, Toby Symington from The Lloyd Symington Foundation, Carolyn and Diane
I am embarking on a workshop unlike any other I have ever done, using the funding many generous people contributed to Generosity.com. Previously I’ve worked with female cancer patients and teens receiving dialysis. Now I am working with a very different community: people who are living with HIV/AIDS. Many are men who never expected to live this long, after being diagnosed in the 1980’s, as all around them they saw friends die.
Most are men (some women) who were diagnosed in the 1980‘s who never expected to live this long. Now in their sixties, they come together to celebrate still being alive and meeting others who share their history and reference points. Their personal journeys, being positive (Poz), have made them very aware of how it feels to live with suffering in body and spirit. They engaged in the Bodyscapes process eagerly, so willing to use it as tool to explore where their bodies have been- housing the virus for so long- and where their bodies are going- now that the virus and aging are colliding.