PTSD healing through sculpture

I started sculpting around the same time I began therapy for PTSD. Here’s what happened in my sculpture unintentionally. These are posted in the order they were completed. Looking back, they are like a journal in clay of the healing process.

Click to enlarge any image.

“The Pawn”

“Agony”

“River’s Dawn” -a piece about hope.

“Why?”  -anger with God.

“The Truth”

“Letting in the Light” -revealing and demanding the truth. This marked the most difficult time in therapy.

“A New Direction”

“Reverie”

“Free Diver” -freedom. (Flashbacks stopped)

I know it’s silly of me, I just thought maybe someone else out there going through PTSD might find some hope in these.

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27 Responses

  1. These are so, so beautiful, and seeing them almost made me cry. I’ve had to work through PTSD too, and this just took my breath away! How wonderful it is to see someone’s journey through this via art.

    Not to get too personal, but why do you have this tagged 9/11? Did that trigger your PTSD?

  2. Thank you, moonbeam.

    9/11 didn’t trigger my PTSD, but I’ve been reading a lot about people who helped or witnessed 9/11 suffering PTSD. One of my friends, a firefighter, used to talk about the nightmares he had afterward, so I thought that would be an appropriate tag to reach people who might find this of some use.

    I was diagnosed with c-PTSD, which is a variation. I read somewhere that if you think back to the very first time something unspeakable happened, it is the worst of all, a betrayal beyond comprehension. People who have their first major traumatic experience -that is the most horrifying. That is PTSD. I remember mine and I don’t want anyone else to have to feel that alone.

  3. Great stuff, what material are you using and how large are these works. I have tried Parian ware which is a particularly beautiful ceramic between porceilane and bone china.

    Hope you can put the PTSD behind you soon.
    Best wishes from Dorset England.

  4. I was going to ask the same questions Robert did, kimiam. How big are these (approximately) and what is the material? It’s so hard to find a good cast material.
    The guy hanging on the wall –Free Diver–is my favorite. I didn’t know about PTSD–had to look it up. Hang in there, keep sculpting.

  5. Robert and swallows, I used

    -half and half, which is a combination of porcelain and a clay with a minor amount of grog in it.

    -loafer’s glory, which is a high fire clay but looks incredible when bisqued and varnished. It has no grog so you can work fine details well, but is more likely to crack if you don’t give it weeks of covered time after you complete it, then slowly dry it.

    Swallows, my work is small but someday I’d like to work bigger. The sizes can be found here: http://www.tristatesculptors.org/member_detail.php?pageNum_Recordset1=5&totalRows_Recordset1=96&memID=553

    The PTSD is in check now and we’re enjoying life around here. Thank you for your kindness.

  6. Thanks for the explanation. I can tell through the work that you’ve gotten the PTSD in control– these sculptures document the healing. You’re amazing!

  7. PTSD sucks big time. Been there done that. 9/11 was very traumatic for me (I was right in the heart of it near the top of the food chain that day — saw stuff nobody should have to see — long story I’ll tell one day) and I was a mess for weeks like everyone else in the nation. It was a scary time. Nobody knew what was happening or what would happen next. I still have foodstuffs in the basement preparing for WWIII — they’re all out of date now (haha), but they’re still there. Anyway, good for you for dealing well with what you had to go through! Well done — and beautiful sculptures.

  8. Kim, we have a saying in Hungarian, there’s always something good coming out of something bad. You’ve found a great way for healing that will be always there with/for you. By looking at the pictures, you’ve made some incredible progress! How come your talent was dormant for so many years…or was it?

  9. Thank you, moonbeam and margaret. It’s no secret I find a lot of comfort and happiness in the writing both of you do. You have totally different styles, but both have humor and wisdom of old bearded men you find meditating in solitary, remote caves.

    erika, I had no idea you are hungarian! are you really?
    You are right, most of who I am was dormant, tucked away in a protected place inside of me for many years because I had to do that to survive what I had to live through. I’m not doing anything great here. Hardly anyone buys my sculptures. My work is small. I’m just not afraid to work now and I love sculpting and finding meaning. The best part of all of this is when someone else finds comfort, which is just a fleeting, quiet thing.

  10. Kim, yes, I am. Is it surprising? lol. If there isn’t demand for your works now, it doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future. Give yourself more credit. And I’ll tell you a secret: I’m green with envy of your sculpts sometimes! 🙂

  11. […] it out here, but not if nude sculptures bother […]

  12. These sculptues are so moving and offer so much hope. You have done a beautiful thing for yourself and for others. I hope you take string, loving pride in your progress. Thank you.

  13. Bless you and the God given talent you have to share with those of us with PTSD. I’m still climbing out of the dark and recognized the sculptures and the feelings associated. Thanks for the hope and keep creating…your talent is a gift for us all.

  14. Erin and Kris, thank you so much for your comments. I cried when I read this. -tears of happiness and suprise -good ones.

    Kris, I remember feeling like I was clawing my way out of a deep pit. Maybe that’s a sign we were/are getting somewhere worth going? You hang in there.

  15. Kim — Your work is wonderful.

    Thank you so much for sharing them along with your impressions via the interview you gave me, which I’ve just posted at my blog (click on my name to access it directly).

    Sending you much warmth and kindest regards.

  16. Kim,
    Your work is wonderful! “Letting in the Light” is my favorite of the ones on this post. I think it is very inspiring to others!

    I was wondering if you’d be interested in showcasing your work on my art therapy blog (http://www.arttherapyblog.com)? I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but a few other people have already expressed interest.

    If you’re interested, shoot me an email and I can send you more details…

    great work!

  17. Ilona, thank you! you did a great job asking the right questions on that interview and put it together beautifully.

    Patrick, it would be an honor.

  18. I too have worked thru PTSD with only an occasional back slide. Your work invokes a great deal of emotion… Thank you for sharing.

    and hugs back at ya.

  19. betme, thank you. You do the same with your writing. Lot of very hard things you face head on in a real way. I’m alive and feeling when I read what you have to say.

  20. […] Posts PTSD healing through sculptureField of FlowersTribbles on Atlantic BeachSculpture: Ruler of the universeWinterpast FarmThe […]

  21. I used to model and I’m also recovering from PTSD… I would love to model for one of your sculptures, if you’re interested – I don’t know where you are…

  22. Joni, thank you! We’re always looking for appropriate models.

    I’ll e-mail you the information.

  23. […] time. I absolutely LOVE Kim’s work. It is full of honesty, hope and strength. She’s got a PTSD series of sculptures that are truly beautiful. I think you’ll find her words as inspiring, interesting […]

  24. I, too, use art to heal my own battles of PTSD. I do this through inspired poetry. Funny, because I now have created a new website for Sculpture! I have not published it yet, but will by March 2010. Good luck to you my PTSD friend!

    Yours in the art of rhyme,

    Risa Ruse

  25. I understand the need to express via art. Words just don’t work for me. Your art work speaks volumes. Thank you.

    • It’s amazing how God inspires healing in art.
      For me its in His poetry that soothes the heart.

      I’ve added another spoke of the healing wheel.
      Cleansing our hearts and environment is the deal!

  26. Kim,

    Thank you for the sculptures and your courage. You’ve given me an end to my journey of battling PTSD. Finding out I’m not alone has done wonders for me, thank you.

    James

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