Artist, Art Therapy, Psychotherapy and Belief Statement

I believe all people have the need and ability to create. Using various art and therapy methods I provide a safe and empathetic environment, to encourage life-enhancing expression that brings wholeness, physically, emotionally and spiritually to people's life.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What is Art Therapy?

What is Art Therapy?
There are many different understandings of what art therapy is; and also many different ways art therapy is used. This makes explaining what art therapy is more confusing.

First, what art therapy is NOT:
Art therapy is not a way for the therapist to interpret your personality, your deepest longings, or uncover some secret about you.
Art therapy is not colouring.
Art therapy is only drawing and painting.
not only for artists

Art therapy is a relationships between an art therapist and an individual which integrates the use of an art activity to express emotions, experiences and thoughts. The art therapy exchange may focus on the art activity as a means of expression, or the art activity may use the art process as a means of metaphor, of working through psychological issues, and developing a therapeutic relationship.
Art therapy is also known as art psychotherapy, expressive art therapy, creative arts therapy. It can use drawing, writing, painting, drumming, dancing, drama, craft-making, clay and jewellery-making - most creative activities. Often art therapy uses several methods of creative making to process issues and deepen self-understanding. Art therapy is effective with anyone, not only artists. Actually, the art activity is within a safe, non-judgemental relationship, often empowering art where individuals felt non-creative.

When I facilitate art therapy, my presence is integral to the individual's expression, self-reflection, and therapy. I do not interpret what the images may say, instead it is the clients interpretation of the image that will provide the most therapeutic understanding and change.

Here are several articles on Art Therapy.

Art therapy with refugees

I believe art is wonderful way of healing, and expressing our humanity. Art therapy can help with your self-understanding and help you work through conflicts in a powerful way. Try it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Diva challenge 241 + Fall

This fall is going out like a lion - with a roar! So much business and important events happening in my families life. And in the moments I am tangling. On Monday I held a group of enthusiastic CZT from the Ontario area. Here is their tangle. CZTs are passionate about sharing Zentangle with whomever they meet. Bravo for sharing the view that art heals and you don't need to be an artist!

Then I took some time to do this weeks Diva Challenge - Cairn Stones of Health. It is very appropriate as tomorrow I will attend an Art Heals Health Conference here in Toronto. Art heals and helps integration which leads to health.

Tangle On!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Toronto Star Article - Zen Quilter

It has been an eventful week, and I'm glad I've been able to share it with you. First the go-ahead for my research; and then the article in Toronto Star / StarTouch on my journey as a 'Zen Quilter.'

The article is a succinct explanation of how both Quilting and Zentangle has influenced my life. We are all on a journey, and I hope to inspire you to include creative activity in your journey. 

I have also been busy pulling a quilt together for a local Fundraiser. The Toronto United Mennonite Church has a building and supportive housing project called The Aurora House; which will provide housing for victims of human trafficking.  
Here is my quilt Floral Blues, which I donated.

Art and Creativity are important in the human journey. Art and creativity heal through the process of expression and integration of experiences, thoughts and emotions. Art and creativity provide a means of relaxation and meditation. Art and creativity develop social and community bonds by providing a visual means of connection and understanding. Art and creativity provide enhancement and enjoyment to life through providing and experience of beauty, vibrancy and stimulation. 
How about trying some today?

Tangle On!
Deb  "Life Section: Do It Yourself Revolution."

Saturday, September 26, 2015: The Toronto Star.


The meditative creativity of Zentangle adds a twist to an old art

Deb Kopeschny’s handmade quilts do not begin with a piece of fabric or a needle and thread. They start long before that, in a meditative moment when creativity and spirit collide and her pencil captures it on a small square of paper.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Research, Zentangle Classes, Iamthediva challenge 236

Whoa! I have received word that my research proposal and my ethics review of my research proposal have been approved. It's been a wait. But I am rolling on. The next step in the masters thesis process is to collect my data. So If you would like to know more about my research study, I would be happy to talk to you. As an overview, my research study is part of my art therapy training I am required to do research for a thesis. I have been teaching Zentangle® for 5 years and I have seen its powerful effects on participants. In my thesis I will continue to explore the effects and experience of Zentangle®. The research question to be explored is: “What is the phenomenological experience of a mindful art activity, like Zentangle®, and its implications for art therapy?”

The first of the data collection will be a focus discussion group in October regarding a Zentangle experience. 

If you have never experienced Zentangle before, I invite you to attend a class Monday, September, 28 at the Harmony Community Centre in Oshawa, Ontario. For more information please see the link. 

I have not done the diva challenge in a while - due to practicum, etc.... let's just say Life?!! But here is challenge 236. I used it as a way to calm down from my excitement and work in planning for my research ... practicing what I preach.
Can you tell what I tangled on? One of my cookbooks, the Mennonite Community Cookbook. I was paging through and noticed some cook Pennsylvania Dutch sketches; they were my inspiration. Have you ever heard of Vinegar Candy? That's called making use of what you have. Another inspiration. And art-making - Zentangle drawing is turning simple lines and shapes into beautiful art.
Tangle On!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Art and Art Therapy: A difference?

Over 2 years ago Zentangle® and Quilting brought to my attention the importance of art to our health, well-being and spirituality. In the last several months I have been more deeply involved with sharing my passion of art and health with others in both the Seniors population and within the Spiritual community of Mennonites. My work at St. Clair West Services for Seniors has reinforced what I experienced personally through my creativity with Zentangle® and Quilting. Creativity and expression are fundamental to our being human. The ability to create through art, baking, quilting, drawing, woodworking, dancing, etc. are ways that we as humans imagine and process our beliefs and feelings. Some of us may 'feel' and 'be' more 'artistic' than others but we all create in some way.

To some, what seems like a simple and benign pastime, in actuality enhances and expresses our sense of self. To deny this activity is to sever our connection with self, community and God. From early times, humans have created as a means to express and explore meaning about life and the spiritual world. Art was and is a means of celebration and prayer. Everyone can be creative and express themselves – it is not about making representative and beautiful art.

What is the difference between art and art therapy? How does the activity of art-making change when it is within the relationship of art therapy? This is the question I continue to ask as I work. There are many great programs that provide safe and encouraging environments for art-making. The activity of the recreation therapist, the gerontology activationist, the art workshop facilitator, the choral director are important and effective relationships that promote creativity and self-expression. So how is this different with an art therapist? One current discussion within the art therapy world is how the use of colouring books is promoted. Isn’t the work with a colouring books similar to working with an art therapist? No. Working with an art therapist in any creative activity is different because it is the relationship and mirroring activity of being with another person in a therapeutic atmosphere. The art therapist provides a safe, reflective environment that promotes a deeper internal awareness of the process and the creative product. This enlivens self-understanding, recognition of ideas and the expression of self and promotes change in the process.

Dare I say, even Zentangle® within the relationship with an Art Therapist or counselor changes, because the mindful drawing is used to promote reflection and awareness, rather than focusing on the creation of beautiful abstract images. The art therapist is able to help the clients access their internal self-knowledge through the mirroring in relationship and the therapeutic presence. Art-making is an important and effective as a tool for self-expression and connection with internal awareness.

Growing heart - Acrylic. April 2015. Showing the influence on the counselor from the therapeutic relationship. 
In my last year, I created a workshop called “Contemplative Creation” which uses the frame of Lectio Divina and Zentangle® as a means of prayer and connection with God. I presented this workshop, along with an introductory Zentangle® workshop at the Mennonite World Conference in July. Both were well-accepted having twice the attendance as indicated (over 60 came to each when only 30 were expected). I was thrilled by the interest of the youth as well as adults. Using art as a means of expression and connection with God can have powerful and long-lasting impacts on people’s involvement with God. Every person has a unique way of learning and being in the world, and our ways of connection with God are not all the same. Using art provides another means of worship which can include and connect with God.

I will be teaching Zentangle® 101 on Sunday, September 20th 1-4 p.m. at the Harmony Community Centre in Oshawa. Tickets are available at . Info also at .

As well as more Zentangle® classes I am also planning a date to teach the contemplative creation practice, to promote meditation and spiritual connection through art. I hope you will join me and explore the world that art takes you.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Diva #200

Congratulations Laura Harms on your 200th challenge. What a feat... and I know you have lots more coming. You are an inspiration to all.

I must admit though; you said to do a monotangle. I kinda failed. :-}  I turn to swirls, like mooka when I need calming. Of course, I don't usually do just mooka. It gets filled in with all sorts of organic patterns. So it is what it is.

As you can see, organic tangles are my thing. Below is Week 2 of the Our Tangled Lives art journal. The aim was to incorporate a mission statement or quote that resonates with you. I developed my word of the year, "Embody" into an acrostic poem.  And then the frame is leafy things.

I am developing my art journalling. Generally, I just create art. I start colouring, and let a thought and colour take me. I don't plan much. Art is a process to me. It is not always about the end product. It is about what I feel and think while I am doing art.

This 3rd weeks art journal prompt is to create a snowflake from our initials, and use it as a string. The theme is "we are all unique". I agree, we are unique; although I find that we are more similar than unique, and this is what binds us together. In our minor differences, we find gifts and interests in knowing each other. These are the gems of life. However overall, we are similar, and knowing this helps us from becoming isolated.

Tangle On! deb

Friday, January 9, 2015

Diva 199 & Winter walks

The winter sun
breaks into the skeleton of trees
brightness shining among the dreary landscape
a warm pancake spreading over
the white and grey
hoping for the syrupy warmth
to fall on our shoulders
The sweetness of the sun only known within
the bitterness of the cold.

Everyday I walk among the barren winter landscape with Sadie, but this week I have an additional dog, my daughter's red doberman Arya. Walking two dogs is vastly different than one. Walking in the winter, despite its dreariness, and even without the glorious sun, there is a dreamlike, surreal quality that endears me  to it.

The cold makes the moments of the sun and the moments inside more enjoyable. I spent time early in the week competing Diva's Challenge from HeidiSue at TangleOoh!. A new tangle to try!

I made a mistake the first time I did the pattern. Can you find it? I love how mistakes can be turned into new variations. There is always possibility.

I am back to class and starting a placement. New challenges. And new possibilities. and new growth.
I hope you experience something new too.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy 2015!

Hello all,
It is the start of a new year. A new Intention. A new semester. New beginnings. It is refreshment in the midst of a grey winter month.

I started off this new year, right, I taught Zentangle 101 on Saturday, and it went very well. It was so much fun, and as always energizing to have others enjoy Zentangle and art. Welcome to the Zentangle world. Each person who comes to take a class with me, teaches me in a unique way. It is because of my students that I am pushed a little more to becoming a better teacher, to sharing myself a little more with others. My world grows, and I hope your world does too.

One of my past attendees asked me to purchase some Opus tiles. She saw them online and was very excited about them. I ordered some for her, and have a few more - they are 10" x 10" in the same Zentangle paper. It will be a joy to construct a large Zentangle Inspired Art. At the same time I ordered some "Bijou". At first when Bijou came out, I thought, "What's all the excitement?!" And even when I saw how small they were (2" x 2") I thought, "How can I draw on something so small?!" Well change of tune! I started drawing on a few and I love them! They feel so petite and compact, and yet jewel-like (how did the border customs know they were jewels - they charged me duty like they were!). Beautiful. They take a lot less time to complete than a regular tile, and I can only do 1 or two tangles on them. But they are so neat! the work is more compact, and cute. Here are my first results. Remember they are only 2 inch x 2 inch.

I have joined an art journal group through the CZT group. This is my first page for week one. We were to choose a word of intention for the year. I chose "embody".  While I journal regularly, I have never done a specific art journal. Which is interesting, as I have an assignment to keep an art journal for class as well. I started off thinking my word would be "Do" and for my personal year "Worthy"; but rethought having two words, and came up with "Embody" which is really what I hope to achieve by doing and believing in myself as I do. I made my own journal using printmaking paper sewn together (7 x 5.5"), and then Duct tape to bind the 5 signatures. Then I found, while cleaning out my sewing room, some fabric I Zentangled on, and covered the outside with this (to be shown later). The first page included painting with watercolour; Sharpie letters, and micron 3 tangled. I let the colour dictate some of the shapes. 

Onward... bring on the New Year! lets see what we can make of it, and how it shapes us. Stay warm and dry so that you can be creative.