Touch Drawing Community

Hi all....
I think it would be so helpful if we could learn from each other something about our settings, populations, fee scales, workshop formats, etc.

I am in Sarasota, FL in the winter and Cortes Island, BC from May to September. In Sarasota I teach Touch Drawing with Victoria Domenichello-Anderson at Ringling College of Art and Design, in the Art and Healing certificate program that we created together. A 7.5 hour "Introduction to Touch Drawing" course is required as part of this certificate. A "Touch Drawing 2" is an elective. In Intro to Touch Drawing, we teach it as 3 sessions, or one weekend. We do one in-depth TD experience, followed by a combination of artistic development (mounting, painting, etc) and expressive arts processing (writing, story, movement, sound, etc). We touch on the applications of TD. In Touch Drawing 2 we do another in-depth drawing session, and introduce Inner (partner) portraits and more applications of TD.

In addition, we teach Touch Drawing every 2 weeks at Expressive Arts Florida, our business (myself, Victoria, Tamara knapp and Elizabeth Bornstein). We charge $30 for a 1.5 hour session, and that includes supplies. See the event listing "Touch Drawing, ongoing".

On Cortes island, I have done several demos, and one 2 hour workshop. In doing the demos, it is always a struggle to get people to get a sense of the process, rather than "simply" the technique.

I love touch drawing; it is one of my own most preferred art forms
I love to do it, teach it, and learn more about it!
looking forward to hearing more from all of you!

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Replies to This Discussion

Kathleen, Thank you for activating this discussion. I think this group can be one of the more vital places in the community. I am just back from some intense work travel and one of my focuses ths fall is to get more people joining the groups and talking. I love hearing the different ways people structure their TD classes - with approaches I wouldn't have thought of. It is so much more exciting than trying to control who does what and how. I look forward to being part of this and having it be a long-term discussion.
Kathleen - It's great to hear all that you are doing! I am looking for help starting a group. I've been touch drawing for several years and have been interested in starting a group for awhile. I also have good experience facilitating creative art and expression for small groups of girls and women. I was employed at that time with a large non-profit but I have not connection with them anymore and have nothing else to "attach" myself to. I"d love to get ideas and help with this. I have to admit I am not good a the business side - promotion - and that is how I think I cab get myself known. I am offering a free twice monthly class at a local bookstore. They are advertising it in their newsletter and I am trying to get the local paper to put in my press release. I have finally made some flyers and will put some up today - Sunday - the class meets Tues!
I am going to see if the night school is interested in a class for the summer.
It is wonderful to hear of all the places you are facilitating.
Just read my reply and noticed several glaring spelling mistakes! I couldn't figure out how to edit it! This probably doesn't bother any one but me.
I've now facilitated a few sessions of Touch Drawing and have found that at least finitially even just a loose outline helps me stay more present by reducing my anxiety around "what do I do next...". I have the facilitator handbook which is an essential guide when starting out and I used the information there, as well as my own TD experiences to create a short "cheat sheet" for myself. Soon enough, the process becomes familiar enough that it is easy to add and delete bits and pieces as the different groups call for it. Some groups need a bit more guidance, others are readily able to tap into the spirit of this modality. I'll share my own basic outline here for anyone who wants to take it and modify it to fit your own personal style and setting - and I'm sure I'll keep modifying it as well...

I do 3 hour sessions and charge $35, including materials. I ask people to bring a journal.

What to bring/Setting up the space (20 minutes):
- music (iPod, Dock)
- table protection
- paints, tissue paper, rollers, boards, paper towel
- smocks/aprons
- milk crates, boxes?
- bring some samples of TD - un-enhanced, mounted, etc.
- if there is a white erase board, write out supplies, Deborah's website, music, and any other information that could be helpful to participants
- camera (though I have yet to use it)

Intro (15-30 minutes):
- instruction of myself, talk about TD and how it came to be (point out website, etc.), brief explanation of the flow of the session, and the process - if at any point you need to take a break, do so. If you feel the need to stop and journal, do so - take care of your self
- meditation to set the intention (and this varies according to the group I have): invitation of the spirit of Touch Drawing, blessing of the supplies, the images come to us from our higher selves with our highest good in mind, they always come with the spirit of healing us and others, be open to receive, don’t put effort into “trying” to feel a certain way - if you are frustrated, bored, tired, sad, allow those feelings to flow through you onto the paper
- demonstration of the process
* talk about samples
* amount of paint, rolling it out
* internally driven as opposed to concerned about the end result
* image after image, unlimited and flowing
* each part of the process is meditative
* silent, I may give some prompts but trust your own intuition, stay within and notice when you want to be distracted

The process, with possible prompts along the way (60-90 minutes):
- perhaps with your eyes closed, focus on the physical experience of moving your hands on the paper, let go, explore different ways of making marks
- focus in on your body, notice what you feel and sense within, allow the drawing to reflect those feelings or sensations, particularly if you have pain somewhere
- if you would like, notice how you experience your face from the inside - perhaps again with your eyes closed, allow that image of your experience of your face to be transferred onto the paper through your fingers
- you may want to move with the music for a while and after a while bring that movement onto the paper through your fingers
- you may wish to ask a question and explore a dialogue with your images or you can allow a situation or a relationship to come to your mind and just allow feelings and images arise to be released
- spend a few moments just gazing at the paper - be open to “seeing” an image in the paper or the ink that may bleed through (like watching clouds and finding images in them)
- bring to your awareness a person or a situation in your life or in the world that you would like to be supportive of in some way - draw in the spirit of healing or love or any other intention you would like to offer them
- close with a few drawings where your focus is on gratitude - for this time you've given yourself, the images that came through, the group, or anything else

Ending the process (45-60 minutes):
- have everyone roll out the paint on their board and brayer, put away paints
- have everyone go through their images (add title & number, date) and journal about them or the process, maybe one image in particular wants to be explored more through written dialogue
- group sharing about the process and witnessing each others work - I emphasize that we aren't trying to interpret anyone's work. I frequently quote Shaun McNiff at the beginning of the session by saying that "it is actually none of our business what the images are about once they arrive - we don't have to try to 'figure them out'. By being here they are already doing their healing work." Shaun has also called it "image abuse" when we get too attached to our images... I've appreciated that concept and have found that it tends to relieve expectations about what we are making as opposed to what flows through us.
- talk about the applications of touch drawings (mounting them, etc.), including hanging them at home around where you can be with them, encourage people to pay attention to their dreams or emotions in their waking life. Mention that some potent releasing, healing and emotional work gets done and emphasize self-care and self-awareness
- how to take care of images - storing them
- meditation to close the session

I have yet to facilitate a session where someone hasn't had a strong emotional catharsis through this process. Often, this includes people gently crying through the entire session - either out of joy, gratitude or grief. Being comfortable with strong emotions and creating a safe space where people can release old pains and hurts is probably one of the most important skills as a facilitator. We can't be responsible for other people's journeys but we are responsible for how mindful we are about setting this experience up for others.

I'm getting ready to start a battered women's group and plan to do TD with them at some point into the journey. On the other end of the spectrum, I will also be doing TD with a group of women in a "Mary Magdalene - Celebrating the Sacred Feminine" group... I'll keep you posted on how the groups go!
Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. It is very helpful to see someone's experience that is tried and true. We all have so many different approaches, and can learn so much from each other.
I am looking forward to reading about how these groups went.


P.S.-.I just love the Saun McNiff quote.
Hi Angel-Rose, I just want to send you a hug as I read slowly down this SO interesting discussion!
Tanjarrita thank you for your post, I did not know Shaun McNiff , I look forward to learn more about him. I also am on the verge to start to teach groups and I feel so scared. I know I just need to start and it will be fine. To read you gives me courage.
Tanjarita, Some how I missed this when you posted it - what a wonderful, rich sharing of how you craft your TD workshop space! Gavem me some new ideas, too.

How DID the other grops go? Blessings, Deborah
I have just read your wonderful translation of your workshops. THANK YOU for such thoughtful sharing. I am doubting my abilities and so hearing of others approaches is supportive. Please continue to inform us of your continued work. I did one class at a domestic violence shelter and had a rich experience. The 5 yr old boy who really dove into the process left the room silent when he commented about the angel that he had drawn for them...

Hello Kathleen
I just want to acknowledge you for your generous heart. Thank you for starting this important group. I guess that I will share my struggle. I have shared the process informally with friends and have found that some remain in their heads and difficult to help them let go. I have wondered whether it is my language or lack of words to describe the process. I guess that it is more about trying to translate how I dive into the process, and creating a safe container for their journey. I also think that there are some people who are simply more intellectual and have a difficult time finding a different place to reside. Any suggestions there?? I am off to visit Mukti to get some direct experience in this very topic.

Hope that you've had an inspiring year. It was great to see you last summer!

Hello to all of you who have written your experiences, what you are offering and your struggles, I enjoyed, and appreciated each and every reply. I have facilitated both individual sessions (usually around a health or emotional issue) and have facilitated groups at my home, both in my art studio and outside. I am an options person, so this spring I decided to put together a 1/2 size flier with March, April, May, June dates for a one-day TD retreat (10am-5pm - I charge $65. which includes all supplies) I offered a Saturday date and a Monday date for each month. I had no sign-ups for March, April - I had 3 sign-ups for May (I had thought to have a minimum of 4, but decided I would do it, because I love offering TD and sharing the process. One day before the retreat in May, one of my participants called and said her husband just got out of the hospital and she could not leave him - she was bringing a friend, and the friend cancelled too. I called the remaining person, apologized and she signed-up for my June retreat. I held my June retreat on June 21st, Summer Solstice, which was on a Monday. I had 8 women in my workshop - 3 of them took off work to come on the Solstice. It was wonderful and I will attach a photo of these beautiful women. What I learned is not to offer so many options on one flier. Probably only one (maybe a Sat. and Mon.) for the month. I think when people say all the options to do the retreat they put it off. Also I feel that the women were very interested in doing TD on the Solstice, so I will include Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Fall Equinox retreats. In the past on Deborah's TD site I read about the women who draw with the full moon, and I would like to try that soon. I find that I love including the out of doors - Nature in our day - so I tend to offer workshops spring to early summer and in the early fall. I have noticed that about 75% of the time with my participants, there is one person who has an inner struggle most of the time during the process, and get something out of the experience, but leave feeling this is not the medium. I do try to assist them and encourage a letting go of expectations - the wonderful thing that also happens sometimes, is the magic does seep around the edges and they do let a little of it in. In my workshops I drum, sound, sing, and play rhythm instruments. In addition to the drawing sessions and witnessing, their may be journaling, movement, singing, resting and lots of Magic.....It is my intention to come to the Gathering in 2011 and I look forward to meeting some or all of you in person. Grace Wood-Wills

The group picture is So beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story and your strength. Your perseverance is an example of courage that I will remember. I have a tendency to not keep trying after a rejection or a failure. Your story shows me that I could make a different choice and learn from my mistakes.
Thank you!
Hi Shemaya,

I had a private session yesterday with a client who was in her head. The meditation at the beginning did not help so I suggested dancing. We danced with our eyes closed ( to give her the privacy she needed ) breathing all the way to the tummy and moving the pelvis. I told her that when she was ready she could move slowly to her table and start the TD session. I suggest that she keeps moving her body slowly with the music as she work.
She found it very helpful when I suggested to breathe all the way to her tummy as I was breathing too.
I find dancing and closing the eyes helps a lot with "brain oriented people", music too.

Hopes this helps...






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