Expressive Arts Coaching, Consulting, and Education

I design original Expressive Arts Coaching, Consulting, and Educational sessions for clients following the phenomenological methodology taught at the European Graduate School. The approach of this work is interdisciplinary and ‘intermodal’, designed to guide participants through multiple art forms in one session (visual, audio, verbal, kinesthetic, performative) as a means of ‘decentering’ from habitual ways of thinking and perceiving. This work is rooted in the belief that the study of elusive knowledge relies on an indirect route through aesthetics and experience. The role of the EXA Coach/Consultant/Educator is to provide the framework for discovery for the participating group rather than the content of that discovery, thus promoting ‘poiesis’: the act of making/creation which brings a new understanding into being that did not exist before.  In contrast to the traditional art therapy methodology from which it stems, Expressive Arts work is phenomenologically focused rather than psychologically centered, recognizing the whole of each individual’s sensorial experience as valuable information for themselves and the greater whole. Each session concludes with ‘harvesting’ the group’s creative explorations and providing each other with ‘Aesthetic Responses’. An Aesthetic Response presents its recipient with feedback that stays on the surface of the work rather than attempting an interpretation, promotes questions over statements, disregards the aesthetic appeal of any artwork as relevant to the discussion, and views each artistic creator as the expert of their own work rather than the outside observers. I conduct collaborative arts-based research with participating clients with the resulting work from these sessions.

Upcycling Trash into Art

Waste pollution is one of the most pressing challenges we face globally.  I feel passionately that our best chance at confronting this enormous environmental issue is through creative, outside-of-the-box problem-solving. By utilizing out-of-date encyclopedias and instruction manuals as sketchbooks, I have found inspiration in interacting with printed imagery and the aesthetic qualities of text as I develop my own artistic exploration. Using old books as sketchbooks enables me to minimize my environmental impact while simultaneously empowering me to converse with the beauty of human inquiry and research from the past. In my collagraph print work, I utilize found material to give it another life and purpose past its initial practical use. Collagraph printing allows me to engage everyday items, such as plastic bags, tin foil, cling-wrap, tape, and fabric to explore the visual potentials of their textural qualities. My collagraph print work can be seen in the illustrations of the children’s book, When the Little Engine Couldn’t, created in collaboration with Ilan Salzberg and Katie Olson. I have focused on imparting my passion for incorporating trash into the arts throughout my years of educational work with youth and adults, mainly in the refugee communities of Denver, Colorado, USA, and Tel Aviv, Israel. For my Master’s Degree in Expressive Arts in Coaching, Consulting, and Education at the European Graduate School in Switzerland, I am developing educational curriculum which intertwines visual art, movement, and scientific study. My goal is to help students grow in their awareness of the impact that our actions have on the health of our planet’s many environments.

Rust and Lace Metal Plate Etchings

I am perpetually intrigued by the ways in which individuals integrate into their sense of self the portions of their identity which they cannot control and did not choose. I explore this subject in my intaglio work by combining architectural imagery with the printing of metal plates which I have either imprinted with lace or rusted with acid. Rust is a biological process that naturally creates color, form, and texture. I utilize rust to represent the nature-based parts of ourselves: the immeasurable quantity of biological processes which continuously shape our reality, such as gender, skin color, and body shape. In lace, I observe the intricacies of a man-made pattern that is passed down through generations. In my prints, I invite lace to engage the questions of inherited social values and cultural structures such as language, religion, and worldview. I find architecture fascinating for the way that it profoundly impacts our inner sense of self and personal history, though it was mostly built, often before we were born, by strangers outside of our individual decision-making or knowing. In my mosaic compositions of architecture, rust, and lace, I create a space for contemplation about how we as individuals actively construct our unique identities by organizing and reorganizing our complex relationships to the unchosen aspects of ourselves.