a holding environment

a holding environment, created as part of art therapy counseling theories courework, 2010 [about]


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about a holding environment: on the first day of october in 2010, i went to the woods with my
camera and a bowl that I had made years earlier... a bowl made from a terra cotta clay that i had
mixed with mica... a bowl which i had shaped by hand, burnished when leather-hard, fired when dry
with red cabbages and orange peels in a sagger (a holding environment placed within the kiln), and
then polished while warm with golden, fragrant beeswax. that october day, i placed the bowl among
the rocks in the shallows of the river and put a bit of river water into it. i took photos as the vessel
"held" the sky with its passing clouds. with the river water flowing around it and sitting gently within
it, i felt that the vessel also embraced my woundedness and my joy.

this art task, in which we actively engaged with donald winnicott's theory of a "holding environment"
and its place within art therapy, was one of many such tasks assigned during the art therapy
counseling theories course that i took at ursuline college in pepper pike, ohio.

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