This is 11th SECASA calendar published showcase the work of participants in the art classes I run there for women who have been sexually abused. They also show others that recovery after abuse happens, and that women can find meaning and purpose – and joy! The work this year is mainly ceramics, and again different from previous years’ work. Participants really love working in clay, and find it very soothing and relaxing. This year participants enjoyed experimenting with materials which lead to some beautiful discoveries in the different clays, textures, and glazes. Down load calendar here SECASA 2020 Calendar.
The teacups on the cover were created by Ro, who I recall saying that a cup of tea usually helps most situations!
I have been running the groups at SECASA since working with them to do my PhD so many years ago now; SECASA has continued to fund them because year after year the research tells us that the program is effective, much loved, and profoundly contributes to women becoming less isolated, more engaged, and less impacted by mental illness and the abuse which shaped their lives.
Each year I invite a woman from each group to write a reflection about her participation for the calendar. Here are Mischa and Sara’s thoughts on the 2019 groups :
Having experienced trauma can leave you feeling imprisoned by feelings of fear, vulnerability, frustration, anger, disappointment, loss, isolation and having little self worth. It sometimes feels like you have been robbed of the good things in this world yet still having to pay a high price of imprisonment of many negative and overwhelming feelings.
Art has allowed me to embrace the feeling of freedom. To escape into a safe space where there is no expectation to achieve but instead explore new ideas and thoughts that may have been buried for a long time.
Removing all pressure from yourself to perform and be perfect opens up a platform to redefine your own thoughts and feelings by using art as a free flowing tool to explore challenging areas in one’s life. The therapeutic nature of painting and working with clay in my hands allows me to connect with my body and be present. Art has allowed me to not be so constrained by what’s in my head but to allow the creativity to freely flow out of my heart and through my hands to create something small but magical in so many ways.
The SECASA art classes were certainly a wonderful experience for me. Anne made everyone feel so welcomed and guided us through the interesting world of clay and wonderful mosaic process. She showed us many artistic techniques and allowed us to follow our own creative journey with the foundations she taught us. It was so rewarding to place all our pieces in the middle of the table, enabling us to view each other’s creations and gain ideas and inspiration from our unique artistic process.
Each Monday I anticipated, with joy and excitement, continuing with my pieces and receiving my finished work from the kiln.
The group of ladies was so lovely – warm, friendly, funny and real women. We all became immersed in the artistic space provided and produced beautiful meaningful pieces or with our own individual purposes.
I found it truly amazing to be part of an art program which empowered women to explore their creativity, discover a love of art and be able to express it through a variety of mediums all within a safe and fun environment.
I hope that these art projects continue to be available to women so that they too can benefit from the uplifting joy that art brings.