Creative Aging Conference 2019!

This week is the wonderful Creative Aging Conference, organized and hosted by The Creative Center at University Settlement. I taught my Inkblot workshop, with some new variations, on Tuesday, and we all had such a good time. I was talking with participants after my workshop, and realized things are different from when I was first asked to participate years ago. When we started, it was all about This IS A Really Good Idea, and we should implement more arts programming with the aging population, and why: Because it matters, because our honored elders shouldn’t be ignored, because it helps people with life altering illnesses recover more quickly, with less pain medication. Because making art is fun and everyone should be/could be engaged in this way.

But in the past couple of years, it has been about How Can We Make Our Creative Aging Programming BETTER? And there’s all these wonderful practitioners there, sharing ideas. Really exciting! Thanks to Robin Glazer, the director of The Creative Center, who is very generous with her incredible wealth of experience, and driven to share her knowledge, and bring us all together. And also thanks to Sophia Heinecke, who was my super-organized point person at The Creative Center, and Emma, the unflappable AV technician.

Robin Glazer, director of The Creative Center

Making Inkblots

Jennifer’s wonderful Janus inkblot: text AND drawing!

The best part of the workshop was when we had time to reflect and share ideas: how the participants felt they could use inkblots with their various populations

Cherese’s inkblots

Reflecting, talking, and sharing ideas: participants talked about using the inkblots as a story telling tool, a poetry writing tool, a way to talk about narrative and process, a way for their populations to make art and have have some creative fun.

Every year, people surprise me with their ideas. This time, we talked about Victor Hugo and his multi-folded inkblots: you can see one of those here. Participants were also interested in the idea of creating masks with inkblots to use in story telling.

There seemed to be some writers in the room, maybe more than there have been in years past, as a lot of people talked about story telling and narrative with the people they were working with in their facilities back home. So we talked about the book Gobolinks which is a children’s book of inkblots and poems, Justinus Kerner,(not sure if the book I have linked to has inkblots…), an analyst from the 19th century who wrote poems to go with inkblots, and the book of Victor Hugo’s inkblots, Shadows of a Hand.

And, of course, click here for a link to my book, Inkblot: Drip, Splat and Squish Your Way to Creativity. And for more information about inkblots, and ideas for making them, some videos, and some fun, check out

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