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We make Art in order not to die from the truth. Nietzsche
While Expressive Arts have always been a focal point of our work, we now give them a central place in recognition that working with art materials extends language in ways different and often better than just writing or telling. Using narrative arts processes, also transcend cultural differences and spoken language and bring us together no matter our differences. Our experience in working with the trauma story has been moving us in this direction for years -- using arts materials is often more appropriate and sensitive in terms of the age and cultural context of the artist. Stories often will come forward in the language of the arts more easily than in more linear approaches. They also ground the artist in the body and empower her/him through the skills s/he develops and can use in tough spots in the day to day. If you work with us you will experience different arts processes from which you can choose as part of your on-going Self Care program. We encourage Self Care to build resiliency, and strengthen the part of the brain/nervous system that provides calming hormones. It is this part of the brain that has been silenced by the flight or fight hormones of survival in which the trauma survivor lives. Our program and ongoing Self Care helps in working through tough day to day moments.
We use any materials that allow maximum expression for the artist/ story teller in developing the personal narrative: Along with the equipment to create tiles, you can use any number of materials; feathers and paint, yarn and sticks, mask making materials, beads and bone, glue and goo, clay, found objects and those things that are hammered, chewed,tossed and shaped by hand and baked, found, made, cycled and recycled.
We work with artists who are educators and trainers in all matters of traumatic stress, to help you wrap and bead a talking stick, or create in images and words a pillar, or a mural to give concrete expression to your life. These objects work hard -- they are not just a decorative -- though they are that too. They offer a place for restless spirits to dwell. We use cross-cultural rituals for peace making in the individual and for the community. Jim Famolero, the Ashlar Arts Program Director, is currently working on a personal and community memorial project. His pillar is called The Healing Pillar of Wham, Bam, Pow and illustrates the story of his war experiences in Afghanistan. Just about any material goes in Jim's pillar and begins with his handmade tiles.
Contact us for information on how you and your community can become part of this process.