Next Question… Defining “tools”

Pencil art

Pencil art (Photo credit: Nalini Prasanna)


To provide easy access to basic creative tools for local patients, residents of long-term care facilities, foster children, and other members of the community who may not have access to such tools.

It’s a start, but some things still need to be addressed.

A comment left on the last post got me thinking not only about adaptive devices (designed for those with difficulties holding and writing with pens/pencils/etc.), but also that there are probably many special considerations to be made when making these “kits.”

What tools should be included in the “standard” kit, and what other specially designed tools might be needed?

I’m thinking the sketchbook/journal is a given! Also- a pencil with eraser and sharpener, and a decent ink pen should automatically be included. Since the scope of recipients has widened, feasibility should be considered as we think more about materials (i.e. maybe not the ridiculously expensive specialty colored pastels one of my art teachers made me buy once… Ouch!)

Something that allows for the inclusion of color- crayons, colored pencils, markers, or even watercolors.

Unless something changes my mind, I’m adverse to markers (they dry out too fast, and even I have a hard time being perfect about getting the cap on completely every time) and crayons (they melt and get messy). Even though they wash out and are wonderfully expressive, I’m concerned with mess with watercolors as well.

I don’t know what the costs would be, but I do know that they make relatively inexpensive watercolor pencils. These are a favorite of mine, since you can use them as both regular colored pencils (if you don’t add water) or, as the name implies, get a pretty cool effect by adding water with a “pen” designed to only add water. This “water pen” however, might cost a bit more and be a bit to complicated for people with certain disabilities- I’m not sure.

Perhaps this leaves me with a regular pack of colored pencils. Just your standard rainbow colors. Easy, cheap, and the sharpener for the regular pencil would work on these too (preferably a sharpener with one of those plastic tops to catch the mess?)

Pen, regular pencil and eraser, pencil sharpener, and colored pencils. 

So far all I can think of are adaptive devices to go along with these for certain groups- since the supplies are all about the same diameter, probably only one, interchangeable device would be needed per kit.

Anything else? Anyone in the healthcare field (HCP or even a previous or current patient or former or current foster child?????) have any specific concerns that might arise with the above materials? And does anyone have a suggestion about the size of the books? 

Comments are so greatly appreciated you don’t even know!!! PLEASE comment!

Best wishes,

❤ Amy

UPDATE:

Found this awesome blog post- definitely helpful and food for thought.

http://creativityintherapy.blogspot.com/2013/01/media-choices-in-therapy.html

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Supporting Research?

It has come to my attention that, though I have an intuitive sense of the importance of art in the healing process, maybe some more solid research would flesh out my ideas a bit.

So here’s my findings from today (I will keep posting as often as I find good sources and I have the time)

(Click on the title to see the original source)

From: The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature

-“Engagement with creative activities has the potential to contribute toward reducing stress and depression and can serve as a vehicle for alleviating the burden of chronic disease.”

This comes from a brief paragraph that points out that two of the leading chronic conditions in the US, heart disease and diabetes, are associated with “psychosocial stress.” This is kind of key- I think that many of us, myself included, tend to think only of the direct psychological benefits of creativity, not of the indirect physical benefits that are probably greater than we have yet discovered. A person with diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), but not with any obvious psychological disorders, would still benefit greatly from a reduction in stress. I began thinking about the demographic of people for Sketch4Health in a more limited sense- those with conditions that created great stress, rather than those with conditions worsened or partially caused by stress.

I will be honest: this article examines a few different types of arts used for theraputic purposes, but I mainly focused on the “Visual Arts” section- since that is what I am trying to help with.

“Art helps people express experiences that
are too difficult to put into words, such as
a diagnosis of cancer”

Under the visual arts heading is a chart summarizing the findings of several studies on the effects of creating art. ALL of the studies found positive results. Benefits included distraction, increased positive emotions and reduced depression, and increased focus on self-worth and social identity.

Also:

If you haven’t already, check out the video I came across the other day, it is very inspiring! Comment below!!! And follow the board on Pinterest if you want to help gather visual ideas!

Why a Creative Outlet is Important for those with Chronic Conditions

So this site is just starting up. It’s starting from an idea I originally called the Sketchbook Project, but I like the name Sketch 4 Health better. My ideas have less to do with helping developing artists (not that that isn’t important- in fact, I find the lack of funding for the arts rather despicable, but that is another story…), and more to do with helping people that may need some art in their lives, but do not have the means (economical, situational, etc.) to access a more formal service such as those provided by art therapists.

Ideally, I would wish that all people with chronic or otherwise traumatic health issues would have free and easy access to professionals trained in encouraging creative expression. I believe in the accessibility of art– both in its creation and in its display. If Art is not freely available to all, how can we claim that Free Speech is free? Not everyone can express themselves as easily in words as they can in other ways, ways such as dance, music, and visual arts that can transcend language barriers and cultural restrictions. I am not a dancer or a musician (THAT is a fact! 😉 but I am an artist. I consider myself neither good or bad at what I do, and often I do not like to label what I create as Art. That being said, I can do only what I can do, and that is to help provide a means of visual expression to those who lack a creative outlet. It will not be life changing for everyone, maybe not anyone, but it may help some, and even helping one is reason enough to try.

I need your help. I am NOT asking for money! I have to make that absolutely clear, because, right now, I don’t really have a firm grasp on what I am actually going to do. When I say help, I mean ideas, insights, thoughts, words of encouragement even.

So please comment.

You don’t have to follow (though I would LOVE it if you did), leave your name, or even ever come back to this site. But if you have any thoughts on this project, no matter if it is only a few words, PLEASE, please, please take the time to comment! All comments are moderated, but I will try to make sure that you only have to provide the information you want to.

Thank you so much!

Much love and best wishes,

❤ Amy


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