Art Therapy Association of Vermont workshop: Panel Books
This past week has been crazy busy. I somehow ended up volunteering to teach 2 bookbinding workshops within 5 days of each other. My first workshop was held this past Saturday for the Art Therapy Association of Vermont (ATAV). As I’ve mentioned before, I have a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy. I believe strongly in the value of book arts as a medium for therapeutic work. My background in art therapy clearly influenced me in my choice of creative work. Since I’m currently a non-practicing art therapist, my main tie to the field has been attending ATAV meetings.
The structure I decided to teach to the members was the Panel Book, which I had already taught once to the Book Arts Guild of Vermont back in October. There were only 4 people there, which helped relax me a bit. I was able to give folks more individual attention than I usually do.
I tried to think of reasons why the panel book in particular had possibilities for art therapists:
- It would be a good structure to use in a group. Each panel in the book was the size of an artist trading card (ATC). You could have group members process a particular theme in their artwork in ATC format and then swap cards with other group members. The ATC’s would then be added to the panels.
- You can follow progress on particular issue. The book could hold as many panels as a certain number of sessions. Have the client process a theme or issue in each session and then use the panel format as a time line to review progress.
- There are different ways to view content. When opened, you can read a panel book from the front or the back. When closed, you can turn the pages like a traditional book, which changes the sequence to include both front and back panels. It could help a client to literally look at something from a different point of view.
I’m sure there are other applications that I haven’t considered yet. In general, I just dig the fact that the panel book has movement. Movement is good in therapy. I went into the workshop with my usual performance anxiety. Presenting workshops does seem to be getting easier over time. I’m still waiting for the day when I can go into a workshop and not be nervous at all.
I’ll leave you with the following photo. I don’t even remember someone taking this shot and when I found it on my camera I laughed. Somehow I got glued.