ReCreate – Creative Arts for Families

Art Conversation

Last weekend I was involved in “ReCreate” – A fantastic first for the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle – bringing together families from across the diocese to engage in workshops, worship and outdoor activities.

I ran two workshops on the theme of “Creative Arts for Families”. My colleague Robyn was already running a couple of Messy Church workshops, so I pitched mine as a slightly more sophisticated use of Art within a church context – sophisticated yet simple.

All I took with me was a big sheet of paper (A2) and a pack of 15 Caran D’ache Neocolour 1 wax pastels – artist quality wax crayons basically.

I ran an “Art Conversation” – a technique I learnt as part of my Art Therapy training. It’s a great exercise – a very versatile too. Participants take it in turns to use one colour crayon to “speak” on the paper. The attendees at the two workshops were sceptical, most claiming to be “not creative” but surprised themselves with the energy that they could apply to the paper. The result is a conversation that is both community building, creative and fun!

Not only did the participants engage in deep conversations about spirituality (the theme for the conversation was “Child of God” – but we quickly went off topic as the colours and shapes started to appear on the page), they were also made aware of their role within this conversing community.

It became inspiring for the groups as we were reminded that as creative spiritual human beings we are tasked with bringing to life a world that we can’t yet see…..



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A  while ago, I took part in a fantastic exhibition organised by Engedi Arts

It was a new perspective on the Nativity Story; focussing on the risk taking elements. Here’s my piece, entitled “Life Script of Hope”.

LeftBank Advent 2012 [Web-Ready] 032

The rest of the exhibition can be found at Leftbank Adventurous.

The accompanying text:

In my current training as an Art Therapist, we have been exploring “Life-scripts” (similar to post-modern, post-structuralist ideas of being born into a subject-position. A somewhat pre-determined role, shaped by our parents, history, culture etc….)

The Magnificat, the proclamation Mary made before Jesus was born, became the theme to his life. I wanted to explore the adventure our human life-story goes on; through the different cultures, times and spaces. How are we shaped by the story that pre-exists us? How might we use “hope as a state of mind” (as described by Václav Havel) to make our story better? My artwork is an attempt to depict the development of a life story, beginning before birth, and changing, developing as it moves through time (yet all the time connected to it’s origin). 

I have appropriated the aboriginal style of dot painting as the foundation layer for the artwork. Aboriginal art represents “origins” in a general sense. This aboriginal image is covered with “scripts”; extracts from newspapers, printouts of statistics about births; unmarried mothers and infant deaths. All of which could influence our concept of “risk”, how we view the world and make our choices. 

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Babies are the most wonderful creations……

This is what I have been working on recently…….!
Orla  2 days old

I can’t take the credit for the main bulk of the work, but I have been entrusted with her development for a while! This is the beautiful baby that has kept me from writing blog posts. And here she is more recently, enjoying rice cakes…..

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Together in One Place revisited……

Catching up with Artillumina…..I promised some pics of the Pentecost Celebration, Artillumina-style, so here they are:
Ezra and Martyn working alongside each other on their “Living Icon” pieces.

The finished pieces:
Ezra aged 5 “Living Icon”

Catherine “Living Icon”
Catherine Living Icon

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Together in One Place….Pentecost Celebration at All Saints Anglican Church Nelson Bay.

It’s been a while but Art:Illumina is back! ….and what better way to get back in the swing of things than a celebration of Pentecost in the beautiful All Saints Anglican Church at Nelson Bay. Sometimes called the “birth of the church”, Pentecost is a great way to celebrate new beginnings. (It seems even more relevant to me because the reason for my absence from the Art:Illumina role is that I had a baby!…I promise I will share some pics soon, but whilst she’s sleeping I’m going to get some paints out!)

The workshop is running on Saturday 4th May 10.30am-2pm at the church. Contact details are on the church website

I will post some pics after the event…until then, peace

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Illumina 40 – available for download!

The lenten course “Illumina 40″ is available for download as a printable pdf. There is a small fee (USD$3) which is to cover admin. It took a few weeks to put the course together, and of course, there’s nothing stopping you doing the same….or you can save the time and just download this one – ready to go immediately! Once downloaded, you can use the pdf to printout as many copies as you need for your groups, or email round as necessary.

This a pdf version of the full artillumina “40″ art journalling course for lent. You can use this file for your church or community group. The pdf can be printed or emailed as required, but please don’t sell on to anyone else! Thank you.

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Station 9 Womb (Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem)

luke 23:28-31
Creative response by: Rachel Yates

The bible passage is very bleak – it’s hopeless, warning perhaps of the dangers of following the “Laws” of the religions at the time (that might lead to a barren womb; that is, a place that bears no offspring, no-one to hand down the Christian teachings to.) These are the same laws that led to Jesus’ conviction of blasphemy. “Blessed are the wombs that never bore”. What sort of a world would it be if we were to say this? A world where we suffer watching our children struggle with life? Where we wish they had never been born into such suffering? Where negative ideologies hinder their growth and prevent them from living a free, fulfilling life?

I wanted to create an image that celebrated the feminine. The bible passage is very much about the female (often a symbol of the church, or bride of Christ). To represent the feminine, I chose the womb image. Perhaps the womb is like a “church”, nurturing the people within it to become spirit filled followers of Christ.

I like the idea that craft represents both the contemporary feminine and the traditional feminine. Craft is something good that connects our generations. Perhaps the strips of fabric represent not just “craft” as a phenomenon that does this, but also the ideologies we pass on to future generations. Sometimes good, sometimes negative. How might we avoid passing on the negative ideologies to our children?

Jesus allegorical statement to the daughters of Jerusalem is full of meaning… significance for both the men and women of the church. I wanted to create an image that harnessed the idea of the “green tree” – perhaps a metaphor for Jesus himself – representing a spirit filled, growing, life giving tree. I wanted to suggest that we are living differently, we are trying to live like “green trees”, full of life, spirit, energy that we can use to gently show the world that there is still love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things. My artwork became a prayer: let our church be like a womb that nurtures God’s children, and lets them fulfil their potential, to grow and flourish beyond the cross.

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