Friday, September 30, 2011

Art Alchemy: about my history

A decade ago I put together some creative workshops, using relaxation techniques, music, writing and art to foster people’s creativity. I found it was a catalyst for people to reflect deeply upon their lives and so I decided to study psychology. This provided me the understanding  in order for me to create a safe sanctuary for others.

Now I run creative workshops which offer the option of simple relaxation through creativity or more in-depth reflection. I also facilitate individuals with their personal growth through visual journaling and counselling.   

Art Alchemy: finding your inner gold.
Photo taken by Siobhan Noffke. You can see her work here at

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Counselling: of the bereaved

Size 12 X 12 cm, Chalk pastel, by Morag Noffke 18.03.09
You can read about the explanation of this drawing here

Last Wednesday I went to a seminar run by Nechama. Counsellors from all different walks of life were invited. “It is a volunteer-based organisation which provides emotional support and counselling for persons of the Jewish faith who have suffered a bereavement or loss. It provides a nurturing and caring environment for comfort and growth. Through care and compassion, they support the bereaved and their families through the grief process. See Link Nechama

The theme of the seminar was: I am with him in his sorrow.

As the loss of family and friends is all around us all of the time I think it is good to be equipped to comfort others.  People are unique and come from different backgrounds. The more one learns about other cultures, grieving, rituals and practices the easier it will be to convey understanding and empathy.

I learnt new things and I feel enriched, refreshed and encouraged for going. What I like the most when I go to a seminar is when I feel personally and deeply touched by what the speakers have conveyed.  Here is a poem I wrote in response afterwards…

The Nechama of the soul
"I am with him in his sorrow."
This is an inner strength
rooted in the Divine.
We know we will not be consumed
like the burning bush…
to comfort means to be
with them
in their sorrow
accepting them on their journey.

(Like the counsellor does: the place to express feelings)

the child’s grief is a silent grief
and their actions speak louder
than words
the girl who knew who her dad was
just couldn’t understand why
he went away
While she tried to
make sense as a six year old might
with questions and tears and tantrums
her mother became unintentionally unavailable
and her child’s loss went ‘unnoticed’
the ripple effect
reached across the years
to meet the older grief.
Older grief is gentler
sudden-ness of tears
simultaneous attachment

(And that’s where the counsellor comes in: the place to express feelings now)

The whole world died:
father, mother
and herself too
were never the same.
feelings of shame
and foolishness were fostered
because she asked her mother 
where her father was
over and over again…
of course the parent gets sick of hearing the question
and thinks that expressing the frustration and the anger are bad
the parent worries 
that the child is naughty
how long?
They ask
will it be bad?
will it feel bad?

(And here is where the counsellor comes in: the place for the child to express feelings now and to remember that…)

when a loved one dies
the relationship will continue
in one’s life
one will feel the tug on the soul
like a kite
and will engage with it
The ways to connect
are to talk about them, 
remembering their images
be observant of them,
re-uniting with their words
Don’t let them fade away
Allow them to live on
in one’s memory
one’s creativity
and the fabric of one’s life

Size 30 X 24 cm, Oil Pastel,  by Morag Noffke 03.03.09
You can read about the explanation of the drawing here
We all loose loved ones and at times we need someone to listen to us. It is good to know that we can ask for the help we need.

Art Facilitation 02.9 (termination)

This is a photo taken during an adult group I ran last year.
Here people have been grouped together to share a page by
contributing  to the frame.
Communal drawings

A nice way of ending of a series of workshops or sessions is to do a communal drawing. Sometimes I get the group to do one drawing together; other times I get them to share a page.

This is my last post of this facilitation series and it is about saying good bye. The theme of the day was the ‘umbrella’ of love.  I am not going to explain how to draw umbrellas as I assume everybody knows how already. The aim of this session was about the termination of the series. I wanted to end off in a quiet manner and to remind them of the care they could ‘ask for’ in future: so I got them thinking about how, just as an umbrella protects from the sun and rain (‘storms’ of life), kind and loving adults (parents, teachers & other adults who care) can protect them from difficulties and care for them. 
They created a shared or communal drawing: part individual, part group which reminds them of their group work.

Here are two examples. As I would like their identities to remain anonymous I have had to crop the frames where the names were.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Art Alchemy

What is Art Alchemy?

Finding your inner gold through an art process infused with personal growth.

Alchemy originally refers to a medieval forerunner of chemistry 
which was concerned with the attempts to convert common metals into gold. 
I believe we all have the ‘gold’ deep within us. 
Often we feel we can’t find our gold.
Through the practice of creativity and art 
we can tap into unexpressed territory and embark on a personal journey. 
It is the process of art-making which matters, not the product. 
Through processing we discover our gold.  
Art alchemy is therefor about finding your inner gold.

Art Alchemy: finding your inner gold.
Photo taken by Siobhan Noffke. You can see her work here at