Thursday, 19 December 2013

Coming soon

We've had a great year in 2013 on the groups blog. Next year we hope to bring news from the male survivor group and 'where to next' from the women's group. Wishing you all much chocolate and tinsel. SECASA

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The final day of the TOTEM project

These are a collection of postcards we made on the final day of the TOTEM project. It was so relaxing sitting around the table together drawing, painting, making and talking.  Some works are collaborative and made by passing the postcards around the table so each person added a little bit to the postcard as it made its journey around the table.
Before we knew it, we had quite a collection.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Margaret about expressing anger

Art group participant Margaret talks about how creativity and clay helped her find a way to express her anger and other emotions as well as learn how to create something beautiful to keep.

We acknowledge and thank Sam Berry for the use of his music "Good Teeth".

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Maurice talks about TOTEM

Maurice is a single parent of an eleven year old daughter. Both are participants on TOTEM, an arts project for parents and children affected by sexual abuse.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

TOTEMS in Progress

In this project we have been creating sculptural totems from wood and some found objects. Parents and children worked together to cut the timber, drill and glue. At first it was quite hard, especially trying to get the work to stand up and balance. But it soon became easier and everyone has loved the process of adding more and more to their work. I thought we would take two weeks to create these totems but it has been hard to stop! They are now painted … more photos to come.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Gayle and Sarah - reflections

Gayle and Sarah, two participants from the 2012 mosaic and clay projects, reflect on their contributions to the publication "Perspectives in Coping and Resilience". Gayle shared her beautiful artwork for the cover and Sarah allowed some of her correspondence and interviews with artist Anne Riggs to be included in the chapter "Out of the Shadows, Into the Light". 

The use of video filters

Amongst the most common responses victims have to their past are feelings of shame and guilt.For a variety of reasons many are not comfortable being filmed and identified.One way around this discomfort was to film through a filter which enables women’s expressions and body language to be experienced by the viewer but without the participant feeling overly exposed.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Cranbourne work in progress

In the second half of this group we have been making mosaics. In these photos of works in progress you will see a beautiful shaped mirror. This is a group piece - everyone is contributing to this work that will be placed permanently in the Cranbourne SECASA.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Mother and daughter talk about participating in TOTEM

Mother and daughter talk about participating in TOTEM, an art group for parents and children affected by abuse.    The new arts program was funding by the Flora and Frank Leith Trust to support families.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The simple things in life

Anything that represents nature is sublime to me. There are endless opportunities to capture some unique beauty. In particular, photography involving flowers has become really powerful over the last year.

My GP introduced me to her love of flowers and insisted that often its the most simple of things in life that we take for granted. My GP is an integral part of my support team and she has enabled me to appreciate something which I never looked twice at. If there is anything I have learnt through photography- its that focussing on a range of art objects in day to day life is the best way to 'heal' because it means you can look towards the future in small ways every day!

Being involved in the SECASA art groups has given me the opportunity to try new things and allow myself to be creative again after years of negativity. I am thankful for the enormity of adjustments that being in these groups has impacted on my life.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Doing mosaics in the Totem group

One of the key reasons for running TOTEM is to give parents and children time out to have fun together. And creating artworks is a great way to have fun!

In this project parents and kids are recycling old placemats and putting a mosaic on top to create a beautiful new placemat for the table at home. Everybody loves smashing the tiles and learning how to use the tools to create their unique work of art. Parents have been excellent in helping kids learn to use the tools, and kids are excellent in fitting small pieces onto the placemat! This project has already taken two weeks, as we are encouraging makers to take their time and do the best creative work possible for them. Some have finished - as you can see, and some will grout theirs next week. Don’t they look great!

Creating art together is fun - there is always lots of laughter in the room and there is time to help each other, and find words to discuss how the art day has been for each of us.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Monday, 12 August 2013

Pots from the Totem group

These are some of the colourful pots we made in this group. The first step was creating the coil pots and then when they dried, we painted them using special ceramic paints that withstand the 1100 degrees of the kiln.
They were fired, then glazed.

Sometimes the participants find learning the skills tricky at first. We talk a lot about giving things a go, practising and also trying different ways of doing things. And having fun in the process. Most of us have to try things lots of times before we become good at things - and art is a great way of learning about practising and having fun. There are lots of laughs in the group - more and more as we get to know each other.

At the end of each class we look at the work and admire it! Then parents and children write something about their work in their art books. Gwendoline and I encourage them to find words to describe their work as well as how they felt about doing it. You can see here that one young participant is enjoying the class! 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Some mosaic mirrors from Cranbourne

During the second half of the Art Program we switched from working with clay to working with mosaics. The women were keen to try different forms of art making and have loved working with the colours and shapes of mosaics.

These mirrors are their first works - as usual, the primary object of the exercise was to teach women skills in cutting tiles, using tools , sticking and grouting. We have really enjoyed this phase of the group.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Simone's Story

Simone talks about the burden of  "secret" her abuse as well as some of the huge negative impacts of being abused.  Coming to the group was hard but enabled her to explore her anger and make new friends.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

I am a mosaic star

I am a mosaic star is a guide for those new to mosaics written by Anne Riggs, artist for the SECASA art for recovery groups.  It offers techniques, ideas and inspiration.


Relationships with others are crucial to us as human beings.  We are pack animals and need others if we are to survive and thrive.  We are happier when we have meaningful and reliable relationships in our lives, such as with family, various communities, with friends, work colleagues, even animals.

Experiences of sexual and other abuse can deeply affect relationships – and those affects can continue into new relationships.  It is common to hear victims of abuse talking about the difficulties they have with trusting others, with forming and keeping friendships, or with finding caring a partner.  It is also common to hear that existing relationships are difficult.

In this collection of artworks, participants from the Cranbourne Art Group and TOTEM group have explored the theme of relationships.  The wonderful thing about art making is that is a place to dream and a place to feel.  It is the place to explore what is now and what may be possible for the future.   It is place to touch those tender feelings of wanting to find and feel love, to share our lives with others – even though right now might be a lonely time.  It is the place to express the gentle side of our character and the joy and comfort found in our relationships with others and our animal friends.

I love showing participants the work of artist Kathe Kollwitz for her talent in expressing the deep feelings of the mother, Andrew Whammond for his quirky and heartfelt paintings of human emotions, Alberto Giacometti for his amazing skills with the human form in clay.

Art and artists are always at the centre of these classes encouraging and guiding participants to explore, feel and express.