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Art for Mothers @ Safe Place

In about 4 months' time, it would be my 4th year volunteering at Safe Place. Safe Place is an organisation that empowers women and families with unsupported pregnancies to make life-giving choices. Although I go there only once a month, sometimes I would see some of the ladies there for about a year. It's a strange bittersweet feeling when I see them. I feel happy knowing that they are safe and I get to facilitate art activities for them, but at the same time, my heart aches for them because after all, it's not a 'home'.

flower to the heart safe place

Whenever I meet someone new at Safe Place, I always explain why I'm there. The main inspiration of why I go there every month: Making art helped me to cope with being a first-time mum, it is a form of rest while struggling with the mental and physical demands of motherhood and also a form of healing through 2 miscarriages. And I emphasise that my art sessions are not art classes, there is no right or wrong and there is no fear of making messes or messing up.

expressive art safe place

Making the Process Visible

Of course, there is always some resistance at the beginning but that is perfectly normal. Not everyone uses the paintbrush regularly and not everyone likes making mistakes. But I always wait for them to be ready and encourage them throughout the process. When it comes to art making, there is always a natural tendency to comment only about the outcome but I am mindful of making the process visible to everyone at the table, such as "It's really good progress that you made the first mark on the paper, and I know the next few marks will come to you gradually."

We go through art activities that use our five senses, we take time to explore and experiment and then we share our thoughts on the process. Sometimes when the ladies are comfortable enough, they also talk about their reflections on their lives and motherhood. I believe that the art making itself is a therapeutic process, not every activity has to end with a deep reflection, not every meaningful experience can be translated into words.

salt art jar safe place

I know the ladies always appreciate my time there with them even though they don't tell me. But one day I received a message from the volunteer manager and she said,

"The girls told us that they enjoyed your art sessions a lot and asked if they can have more of your visits. In other words, they appreciate your time with them."

My hope for these mothers is that they would remember my art sessions and in their own free time or when they return home, they know they can make art for joy, make art for rest and make art for healing - making art would be a part of their everyday life.

If you would like to support the work that I do, you can either buy a product from my shop or buy me a cup of kofi.


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