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My Love for Process Art

CARTWHEELS turns 1-year old this September but my journey with process art started about 10 years ago.

I remember spending hours copying pictures from storybooks and colour when I was a young child. My most memorable artwork were 2 giant sketchbooks which were filled with pictures of clothes - a childhood dream of being a fashion designer.

Art in school was not as memorable though, I found the lessons boring and getting Bs was not that great a feeling for someone who loved art. And then in secondary school, the system didn't allow me to take science and art and being an obedient student, I quietly accepted being streamed into a science class.

Very soon, I totally stopped creating , even my favourite cross stitching activity was abandoned altogether. I don't know what happened but I just stopped. Perhaps it was the stressors of adolescence, of studies, of family, of life. Sometimes I would DIY a card or two for friends but nothing on a regular basis.

When I became a social worker, art slowly crept back into my life because I found creative expression to be an empowering tool for unlocking the emotions of some of the youths whom I worked with. After 4 years, I decided to change careers and I applied for all kinds of jobs. Amazingly, I got accepted to be a process art instructor at an art studio for children - without an art degree and also without any experience working with preschoolers. I got to be trained on-the-job and it was my first time ever discovering and learning about process art. I started to love it - I love seeing how a process art activity can bring out a child's uniqueness in creating and the wonderful conversations of fantastic ideas that fill the studio.

Process art truly became part of my life when I had my own children. Staying home to take care of my firstborn was a huge challenge. In the first year, I was just overwhelmed with meeting his basic needs and then gradually I started engaging him with some of the process art activities I did with my studio kids. It didn't start out all perfect and smooth sailing because making art of part of my home was a new habit and rhythm that I had to create, so there was a lot of trial and error, unlearning and learning, hits and misses.

Despite living in a small home of 69sqm at that time, I was determined to make it happen because process art brought so much joy to our home. I changed the layout of our furniture so that we could have a creative space. It was tiny but cosy. In a society that focuses so much on results, the open-ended nature of process art brought me and my child so much freedom and fun in creating. Through process art, we talk, we bond, we play, we learn, we reflect, all at the same time.

After my second child was born, I made a promise to myself to engage my children in a process art activity once a week because I know their early childhood is the time they will be the closest to me, to home and probably the only period in their life that they can create art as much as they want to. So one afternoon a week, there are now 3 children engaged in process art at our creative corner.

Through children and my family, I re-discovered my love for creating and have been experiencing the joy, hope and peace that comes with it. And I hope this rhythm of creating to flows throughout my home and my community. A big thank you to my husband and children for their inspiration, encouragement and support! Thank you everyone for celebrating with CARTWHEELS!


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