Beyond vision boards
October 10, 2017 1:57 PM   Subscribe

My therapist recently had me make vision boards showing the life I want to create. So I cut a bunch of stuff from magazines, got out the glue, found some old heavy cardstock posters from a dumpster behind Gamestop for grounds...and it was really satisfying, and fun, and actually inspirational.

Can anyone suggest any other inspirational art projects?

I'm thinking visual arts but I am open to anything.

Cost is a factor.
posted by Archipelago to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
Once I made a "before bed" picture book for myself. It was basically collage like an inspirational board but just images I found soothing and/or pleasant. No words, just pictures. I was surprised how much I liked it and how relaxing it was to look at before going to sleep.
posted by purple_bird at 2:00 PM on October 10, 2017 [14 favorites]

You could paint, cross-stitch, draw, or collage mottos you find inspiring.
Note that "inspiring" is personal; my friend does great watercolours with beautiful, flowery lettering of phrases like "Aw, screw this" or "I'm taking my ball and going home".
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:05 PM on October 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

A worry box. Get a small cardboard box. Decorate the inside with all your worries. Decorate the outside with things that help you cope with those worries. Keep it under your bed.
posted by SyraCarol at 2:09 PM on October 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

I got Eric Carle stickers for my calendar. Hahah, this sounds ridiculous. When I have a good day, I give myself a sticker. So satisfying!
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:10 PM on October 10, 2017 [26 favorites]

A lot of The Art Assignment's assignments are inexpensive conceptual projects with potentially (mild) therapeutic qualities, e.g. the ones about imaginary friends, what's your problem, complaining, and so on.
posted by Wobbuffet at 2:19 PM on October 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Word Wall — This is sort of like your vision board, but with words. I get a huge piece of paper (like a roll of newsprint), tack it to the wall, and splatter words across it. Passages that inspire me, phrases that remind me of things I learn in therapy & am trying to practice, quotes that capture something beautiful and/or true about life. I either write them in fancy calligraphy-style lettering, or print/cut them out from somewhere—it's a mixture of both.

"Spellbook" — A beautiful notebook in which I copy down (inspiring, beautiful, thought-provoking) quotations from books and articles and other people. Flip through it whenever you need to.

Worry Box — as mentioned above! To go one step further: I write my worries on slips of paper, and periodically take them out of the box and burn them.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 2:39 PM on October 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Steal like an artist - the workbook
posted by ouke at 2:43 PM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I used to cover my school folders and notebooks in a similar collage from magazine cutouts and then cover them with packing tape. Seeing them almost every day and knowing I'd made them was very inspiring.
posted by soelo at 2:49 PM on October 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Silver RavenWolf suggests making a "vision backdrop" on a wall that faces a large mirror. So when you look in the mirror you can see yourself live amongst the images of your goal/desired life. I thought that was kind of cool.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:22 PM on October 10, 2017 [7 favorites]

Make postcards! Collage images and words in 4x6 index cards. Send them to others. Or yourself.
posted by songs_about_rainbows at 3:28 PM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Voodoo dolls (scroll down).
I discovered these when I was very frustrated with someone I desperately wanted out of my life. I didn't even sew it, just used pieces of an old T-shirt, stuffing it with whatever was handy and forming it by wrapping it round and round with thread. It was very therapeutic. Instead of sticking pins in it I found a suggestion that said to throw it in the trash and let the garbage men take it far away.
They don't have to represent people, and you don't have to throw them away. They can be ideas or problems/phobias/whatever. They're just really fun to make.
posted by BoscosMom at 4:26 PM on October 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Exploding boxes. There are lots of examples and tutorials on YouTube. They're usually made as gifts but I bet you could make some really interesting inspirational ones.
posted by BoscosMom at 4:49 PM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

For the last 30 years, I keep some form of nice writing journal. I stick stuff all over it that's relevant at th time, and i put poems and bits of writing on each page and draw, collage, paint each page, add little maps if it's a travel experience. It's really satisfying to see these on the shelf and pulling them down to have a flick through from time to time. The poetry is always nice to read again, and it's nice to see what things I was seeing around me at the time.
posted by honey-barbara at 5:54 PM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

A tiny altar! I made one a while back when I was mad about how much I was having to travel for work...I don't really use it as an altar, just a tiny decorated tin with tiny things that calm me. Examples here...
posted by lemonade at 6:17 PM on October 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

Make a mobile. You can see things relating in three dimensions and in a classic tree hierarchy. I did this and it was fun.

My approach was to start with making a list of stuff, then grouping it into categories, then making super categories; that's your structure. Then I printed out the words on card stock (chosen to be "right" and evocative/visualizable - just use your list and tune it a little), cut them out in reasonably-sized squares, and made that into my mobile; I added a small charm or something to each one to give it more weight.

Next phase: on the back of each square (after the mobile is created), you can draw an image that matches it.

Eventually, you could make a second/replacement mobile, with just the charms or 3-d versions of the images you drew. That would be cool.
posted by amtho at 6:20 PM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Similar to vision boarding, but I really liked this exercise that I learned about from an AskMe comment. It could easily be turned into an art project if you used images rather than just words, or stylized the words in different colors/fonts.
posted by capricorn at 7:15 PM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

You might find creating SoulCollage cards to be fun and satisfying. I did some a few years back and loved it. Now that I'm reminded about it I may have to start again!

Here is an overview of what SoulCollage is all about. There are a few loose guidelines about creating cards but as the author of this article states, there are really no hard and fast rules. You can literally cut cardboard to whatever size you decide upon and glue magazine images to them in whatever manner you find pleasing. If you want, you can then use the deck for introspective readings on yourself. Or, just have a bunch of pretty art cards!

Speaking of which, artist trading cards are a thing as well. You make your art in a tiny 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 size, using any medium you wish (collage, paint, colored pencil, mixed media, etc.) The cards were originally meant to be traded, but of course you can just do them for yourself and collect your own.

The Kindness Rocks project involves painting small rocks with inspirational messages and art, and leaving them for strangers to find. You can get a big bag of rocks for just a few bucks at Home Depot (in the gardening/landscaping section).
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:44 AM on October 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I just made my first zine and had fun doing some collage for that project. It was a great creative exercise.
posted by toastedcheese at 9:49 AM on October 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Something I did for a couple of years was a photo-a-day project, limiting myself to using only my cell phone camera and editing apps. At the end I had many okay photos, about fifty nice photos, and a handful of "okay, great shot!" photos. The idea is not even to look for inspiration, just see something in your field of view as if it was within a frame and then snap it. The results can be entertaining or even surprising, especially when you look at them a year later, but since you're not expecting them to be, this is very low-pressure.
posted by seyirci at 2:16 PM on October 11, 2017

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