Tag Archives: Art Therapy

Breaking Plates: Uniting Survivors

Dear Featherhead Friends,

I think I may be ready to finally share with you the details of the Breaking Plates show that I wrote/produced with three other wonderful women.  It was such an intensely personal labor of love that when it was done (last month), I was done.  This really should have been written soon after the event, but sometimes you just need a little space, you know?  Anyway, allow me to tell you what Breaking Plates actually was and how it got started…
Earlier this year, Beth called for a girlfriends get-together.  She’d had an extraordinarily awful start to the year and just wanted to break some shit.  We went to her house with the sole intention of writing out our troubles, negativity and sorrows on old plates and smash them.  We also burned some writings and photographs.  It was merely meant to be a way to get things off of our chests and kill those monkeys that cling to your back, but this night evolved into so much more.  
I should probably mention now that all of us have experienced sexual abuse in our lives, we aren’t friends because of that fact, it’s something that showed itself after we’d already known each other.  That in itself goes to show you how many people experience abuse…in a handful of my friendships, I’ve found several survivors and that’s not even all of them.  I personally know 25 (and likely more) people who have experienced sexual abuse.  25.  And that is just in my circle.  How many survivors do you know?  I’d bet at least one and I’d also bet that you know others that just haven’t shared that part of themselves with you yet.  This is a huge global club that my girlfriends and I belong to.  It’s a club that often hides itself in silence, but that silence just creates more silence and we were sick of being silent.
This was the plate night…we had a lot to break.

After we had run out of plates, we sat around admiring our work and drinking wine.  I remarked on how awesome all of the shards looked with the broken writing and said that we should try making some art with them.  Nicolle added that we could see if we’d be able to display our art pieces in the gallery at our favorite local hangout and everyone jumped on board with the idea.  After we got the okay from the gallery, the beauty of evolution took place, our night of breaking and then art making turned into us each writing a monologue to be performed on the stage of opening night of the art exhibit.  Then we decided to try to raise some money from the night and donate it to the women and children of Harbor House.  This one spontaneous night of breaking plates had all of the sudden turned into a huge production.  We became sponsored by The Women Playwrights Initiative.  We held auditions and found wonderful actors to donate their craft to the night.  We had posters made and hung them up all over town.  We had a plexi-glass box built so that our guests could break a plate for a donation to Harbor House.

We packed the house.  (but sadly there was no photo taken of our spectacular crowd)  Aside from a few hard to hear moments for the guests in the back, everything went so well.
Angela (our fabulous director) and Doug (my love and wonderful narrator in between monologues)
1. Your Honor  2. What it Feels Like for a Girl  3. The Apple Tree
4. The Shelf   5. Call To Action 
Beth selling plates
Following the Call To Action, our guests followed us out to put their donations to use and break some plates.  They were given Sharpies and wrote on them just as we did.  Some of them wrote the names of their loved ones that they were dedicating their plate to.  Some may have written a bit of their story or just their name and others wrote ours in support of what we did.
The box just couldn’t handle all of the love & support  🙂
Doug, myself & Kristen (she read my poem The Shelf in the performance)


Your Honor by Elizabeth Klunk
What it Feels Like for a Girl by Angela McDonald
The Shelf  by Me

The Apple Tree by Nicolle Avery Masters
Bustier by Kelledy Francis
I made this wall piece…it’s hard to tell, but our figures (while breaking plates or standing in victory) are popped out in 3D fashion as is the frame.  It turned out pretty cool.
We wrote/broke more plates w/ some color for the art wall as well.
Close up of Break the Silence
This is how we decorated the tables in the performance room
Beth, Angela, Me & Nicolle

This was a crazy ride.  Stressful with nerves galore…a little bit of drama…but all in all, soworth it.  We were all very proud of our accomplishment and bravery….telling your story in such a public way is not for the meek, that’s for sure.  I know it’s a night that we will never forget.  A night of demanding “No more!”  A night of breaking plates and breaking the silence.  xoxo, Jenna.


Today in the Studio…

Here’s a little tid-bit of what I’ve been working on today.  It’s part of an assemblage art piece that I will be contributing to a group art installation at my favorite local cafe/bar.  More info on that later….

She’s far from complete, but so far, I’m happy with how she’s turning out.
~ Jenna ~

Art Therapy or Coincidence?

I had a little bought with insomnia awhile back (sometime last year), so I made this little sleeping fairy because all I could think about was getting a yummy full nights rest. 

I majored in Psychology and minored in Studio Art.  My plan was to pursue a Masters Degree in Art Therapy after, but about a week before I graduated, I had a minor nervous breakdown…..breakthrough.  I was finally able to take this Masters level class on practices in counseling techniques and it was an incredible class.  I was really good at being a pretend therapist!  Anyway, many questions were posed and the more I thought about what I was about to venture in to, the more I realized that it was not what I wanted to with my life in that moment of time.  However confident I was in the thought that I would make an excellent art therapist (and I still believe that to be true), it wasn’t the right path for me then and I’m so glad that I listened to myself.  Even though I spent many years after trying out two separate paths (that weren’t right either), I am finally in the best place ever.  With the support of my husband, I am making my way in this world as an artist and I am so happy and excited to get all my ducks in a row and start selling….more details on all of that coming soon.

I wanted so badly to be her.  Sleeping on a fluffy white cloud.  She’s just a little colored pencil doodle that turned into something sweet.  Her wings are a really cool seed pod that I found…I love incorporating random odds and ends and bits of nature in my work.
I slept the night I finished her and my insomnia stayed away for awhile…and has only popped up a few times since.  So, I ask…art therapy or coincidence?  I don’t think it’s coincidence.  I am definitely a believer in the power and effectiveness of art as therapy and am very passionate about it.  The thought still crosses my mind every now and then of going back to school to pursue it and maybe someday the time will be right for me.  After all, your never too old to learn and try something new.  All I know is, I made the right decision then and I know that the time is not now and if it never is, then that’s okay too.  

5/15/11 – I just found out that this little post was added to today’s issue of Art Therapy London (an on-line paper)! … yay!  http://paper.li/atherapylondon/1305115327