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Art for Mental Health

    Creating concertina collage books to share with children enriches my own happiness levels.

    Collage art is a gentle activity. It is inexpensive. It is an art practice which repurposes, recycles, reuses, and recreates.

    Collage art is versatile, engaging and playful. The collage art process is a great way to spark new ideas and stimulate thought. Browsing through a selection of images, you are engaged in thought and reflection. Each image can have multiple levels of meaning.

    When I first started creating the concertina collage books, rather than impose my own texts on the images, I invited young readers to generate their own narratives about what they saw on the page.

    Not only did this encourage them to use their imaginations, but it was also a lovely way to share and generate discussion with a child as they identified the colours, counted the objects and formed their own story for what the images represented to them.

    My focus is on creating concertina collage books for children using paper, cards, magazines, and photographs from my private collection.

    Earlier eBooks in the Barossa Nanna series gave easy-to-follow instructions for paper collage art along with a short story about who and what was behind the idea for creating that book.

    More recent books focus on the adventures of Tui the Cavoodle; collage art with speech bubbles.

    There are many academic studies about the mental health benefits that can be derived from participating in creating art.

    The creative process of making art provides healing and life-enriching benefits.

    Creating art for your mental health does not require an art degree. The creative process is not about the perfection of art.

    Art helps people to better understand who they are through exploring and experimenting with new techniques while encouraging play with colours and materials.

    Creating art allows an individual to let go of their worries or anxieties and focus on the creative process.

    ‘Flow’ is a state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity. To achieve ‘flow’ or to be ‘in the zone’ stimulates greater enjoyment and satisfaction.

    Art is a safe and healthy outlet to express fears, insecurities, sadness, anger, any other emotions.

    Heather Gordon

    14 September 2023 (RUOK Day)