In the previous episode, we met Inger Kristine Steinsland who reminded us of the power of spontaneity, visual simplicity and play. We chatted about removing the toxic culture of fear and the possibilities of problem solving through design. She also reminded us that the journey is the destination and today’s guest agrees.
Allow me to officially introduce you to today’s guest: Amelia Hutchison.
Amelia is an art therapist and podcast host. She holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and a graduate diploma in Art Therapy from the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute. She helps adults and teens use creativity to navigate experiences like grief, trauma, and life transitions. Amelia offers individual art psychotherapy, creative support groups and mental health workshops. Her podcast, Art Therapy IRL, explores art therapy in the digital age.
In our conversation, Amelia and I (and special guest co-host, Nat Lumby) discuss using art and creativity to gain agency and feel empowered in the face of challenging emotions. We discuss enjoying the process of making, leaning into getting messy and removing the need for the word ‘talent’ from our artistic vocabularies.
Key Ideas Discussed:
Working with folks who want to use art and creativity as a way to feel more of a sense of agency, empowerment, etc.
As a child, art was a secondary language to process trauma
Art gave her breathing room to make sense of things that were fairly senseless
Art was always the release for big feelings, big changes
Art and design as a way to build community, connection and care; how to use art as a catalyst for change and for justice
Art therapy is dynamic and flexible and different for every person
Art and using materials to be expressive can help a diverse range of individuals with so many different challenges
Art is for those who aren't "talented", too
Kids are unapologetically artistic and we have a lot to learn from them; kids haven't been censored or afraid or learned that their art should look a certain way
Art therapy is about getting to a place where you can just enjoy the process of making
Art therapy is like play in that it's freeing and it's a different way to approach art than we normally do
Art therapy is about noticing what's going on in your body in the process or act of making (reading between the lines; noticing subtleties and layers)
Picking up on sensory information along the way, slowing down, thoughts coming through, sensitive to everything that happens along the way
Art therapy is a place to make a safe mess and unlearn some of the cultural conditioning
"In my own experience as a child and in adolescence, I knew that the process of painting felt good but I didn't love the pressure of trying to make something look good." - unlearning process in art therapy school
Her art practice is now a lot 'craftier' (in a good way)
Art therapy moving into a digital space has worked to a great extent; more accessible
Art therapy is learning to think in metaphor and use different visual metaphors
Among many insights gained, Amelia reminds us that the process of making art can be healing. In the next episode we meet Billi-Rose, a makeup artist who shares Amelia’s feelings about the therapeutic qualities of being present in one’s craft.
About Our Guest:
Amelia Hutchison (she/her) is an art therapist and podcast host. She holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and a graduate diploma in Art Therapy from the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute. She helps adults and teens use creativity to navigate experiences like grief, trauma, and life transitions. Amelia offers individual art psychotherapy, creative support groups and mental health workshops. Her podcast, Art Therapy IRL, explores art therapy in the digital age.
About Our Co-Host:
Natalia Lumby is an educator and researcher with a passion for packaging, design and sustainability. Currently she is the Associate Chair in Graphic Communications Management at The Creative School, where she has been teaching since 2008. Her research interests are largely in sustainable business models for the food and beverage industry, with a focus on packaging. When not working, her heart feels full when she can play creative dabbler, with her current focus being modern calligraphy.
Music (public domain via Free Music Archive): Chad Crouch - Rainbow
Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle