Creative Wellbeing Workshops

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Creative Journaling for Wellbeing


Gioia here. Some of you might remember that I’m a big fan of creative journaling. So this month I’ve really enjoyed being a part of our New Zealand colleague Janet McLeod’s Create Wellbeing 30 Day Challenge, and have been trying to journal every day in October. I definitely did not make it all 30 days, but I did have some fun!

Gioia Gelli Print

Here are some journal pages I’ve made this month:

The first thing I did was to get some new bright acrylic paints to help inspire me, and then used my Gelli plate to create backgrounds in my journal, before I even really began.

The Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate is a new low-cost mono-printing plate that is easy to use, and helps me make a ton of cool atmospheric backgrounds in my journals (no affiliation,, check out their You Tube videos for easy techniques). Many household or natural objects can be repurposed into mark-making tools: brushes, bubble wrap, netting, cardboard, feathers, leaves, rocks, rubber or wood stamps.

After printing, I use wax paper between wet pages so they don’t all stick together, and wash up or write a bit in a different journal while the background pages dry (acrylic dries pretty quickly!).

Art therapy pioneer Don Seiden once wrote that printmaking supports sensory integration and fosters a sense of power and control. The act of rolling and stamping can release physical tension and produce a sense of rhythm and flow. I just know I really like printmaking! And once the background paint is dry in my journal, it becomes a safe place to draw some faces to express whatever’s going on in my head–and in my heart.

Here’s hoping that you too are using the strength of creativity to both express the stress and express the best! We hope to see some of you in Kansas City next week for the 50th Annual American Art Therapy Conference-we expect it to be a wonderful reunion and a real celebration of the healing power of art!  Here is our handout on Creative Journaling with more tips and ideas.

Positively yours, Gioia and Rebecca

Art Directive
Splash some paint on a page and doodle on top.  Or, first write about whatever is stressing you out, to start your background. Add some ink sprays over stencils on top, more paint, oil pastel marks, more writing, then use a white pencil or paint pen to bring back some highlights.  Just use whatever art materials are on hand, or get one or two new colors for inspiration. Try to let go and just allow–this art journaling is just for you!  But if you want to, share your results with us on our FB page. We’d love to see them!