Making art is a bit like dancing in public: it’s fun to do, but nobody is really sure how good they are. If you’re looking for a therapeutic hobby, you might do well to start an art class. There are thousands of enthusiasts of contemporary glass art and pottery who would love to try their hand at creating an art piece: why not give it a try? Modern art has such a range of techniques, and art teachers embrace imperfection. The point of making art and of art therapy is to access your inner artist and to explore the sensory world. Why not take a class in a subject that you have always wanted to try?
Contemporary art can be interpreted dozens of ways, but it can be divided into denotative and connotative categories. Denotative refers to art that expresses the essence of a subject without much comment: catalog pictures of shoes and appliances would be considered denotative photographs. When we get too caught up in making realistic, strictly denotative art, we tend to lose some of the joy of creating. Connotative art can serve a social purpose, work to communicate cultural values, and can take a straightforward approach while maintaining an element of whimsy. Artists go through years of training, and people tend to put too much pressure on themselves to produce realistic work. We can’t walk into a newspaper and start writing journalistic articles: that takes years of training as well. So it’s nice to approach art with a sense of exploration.
Art therapy has been used for decades to help people explore their feelings. Making contemporary glass art can take extensive training, but we can all work with smaller pieces of glass. The way that we arrange the glass pieces can mirror problems that we are having at work or at school: are you creating angry pieces without realizing why? Glass sculpture is a medium that beginners can tackle with the help of an art teacher, or by themselves at home. Don’t feel pressured to make large-scale projects at first: making art is a lot like coloring. Recently, adult coloring books have become incredibly popular, but scientific study backs up this worldwide trend. Coloring unites both hemispheres of the brain, lowers stressful responses, and regulates breathing. Whether you’re coloring or making art, you are making decisions and solving problems without realizing it.
Studying contemporary glass art can also help beginners decide what kind of projects they would like to take on: do you see themes that appeal to you in certain pieces of art? There is no right way or wrong way to make art. Contemporary glass art can be expressive, but it can also be directive. Art can force us to contemplate deeper life issues and to focus on our emotional response to a piece. While we may not be able to replicate the art that exists inside of our minds, it is still important to try and express the things that we see and feel. Taking an art class and trying new things is a great way to problem solve and to learn different ways of approaching emotional issues. It might be a little bit intimidating at first, but touching the paint, clay, or glass can provide a multi-sensory experience and can be freeing. The liberation that can arise from creating a piece of art, no matter how small, can give rise to deeper life changes: you will never know unless you give creating a whirl.