Artworks from Nature, Selections from Nicola Shaw

Nicola Shaw is an Academic Counsellor at a United World College (the Robert Bosch College) in Freiburg, Germany. The mission of United World Colleges is to “make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future” (https://www.uwc.org/about).

Below are photographs from her work with art therapy clients and selections from her own portfolio. The quotations inserted between the photographs are by Nicola.

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Artworks above: The nature of motherhood within art therapy. Photographs by Nicola Shaw.

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“This client was part of a 5 weeks art therapy program focusing on transitioning year groups within a high school setting. She used a different natural setting in each session where Nature became the Co-therapist.The work with the tree in the meadow was a group collaboration creating an ‘island’ with everything on it and within it to meet their needs for an imaginary year long stay.

“The polaroid, peeking out of a tree in the forest, was used as she created a shrine to herself and her strengths. We found ourselves in the forest for a session creating some poetry/writing/artwork to create our ‘hero or heroine poem/song/calling’. She created the artwork with charcoal found in the forest. The plate has her ‘garden of her soul’ creation, after a text was read out by Ian Siggons Hedingworth. (sp) She worked in the garden. She spoke of how the moss was a carpet she could weave into. The client stood in a closing ceremony releasing flour into the wind with the pond as a symbolism of her inner feminine heart.”

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“Another client worked on transitioning between year groups at high school level. She went from feeling ‘raw’ to feeling ‘tethered’ and ‘visible’ during the Eco Art Therapy programme. As a therapist she made me (perhaps subconsciously) really have to ‘look’ at her work, in and around it. The plate resembling her soul had softer earth taken from the ground after she dug down for quite a while. The work was echoing her spoken sentiments.”

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“Working on creating a ‘garden of their soul’ and returning to their inner feminine and inner child’s needs. The setting was a large garden with a pond in the centre, symbolic of their inner self”

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“Below are responses as a therapist after the sessions for the Eco Art Therapy Groups with adolescents that were working on Transition. It was mainly an affirmation how Nature was the co-therapist.”

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