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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Take an Art Break from Technology with Susan Spillo, owner of Create with Susan

Apr 30, 2020 02:03PM ● By Marilee Burrell

Susan Spillo

by Susan Spillo

I don’t know about you, but I am much in need of a break from ZOOM meetings.
Taking time out to make something—which builds self-esteem and a sense of self-expression—is invaluable for our health and happiness. Expressing our feelings creatively helps relieve anxiety and lowers the body’s level of cortisol, that unhealthy stress hormone. Research has shown that just 45 minutes of creating can significantly reduce stress. It brings happiness and good health—and it’s a fun way to accomplish something while getting away from technology.
As they make the shift to work from home, some people don’t realize how much they need to engage in creative activity—to allow themselves to take a break from their business. Where words fail, the language of visual art can be heard more clearly and distinctly; it’s a more powerful and an effective way to communicate. Art has increasingly become a therapeutic method for enhancing health and well-being by alleviating stress or personal pain.
The other day I was speaking to someone who is now working from home. “It’s meeting after meeting,” she told me—in other words, all that Zooming was actually increasing her stress at a time when she didn’t need more of it. So I sent her one of my Creative Kits—a paint-your-own birdhouse. Here are her words after she took time out with it: “You were a raft in my storm.”

Art As Therapy

I’m an art therapist. Under normal circumstances I teach classes at my home studio, private parties, assisted-living facilities, and community spaces such as Kent Library and Ardsley Multipurpose Center, and for various organizations such as Support Connection and Gilda’s Club. Now I’ve turned many of those classes into Creative Kits that are directly delivered to the customer’s door: a design-your-own silk scarf, jewelry or straw hat; a DIY mosaic with stones, tiles, gems and a display board; make-your-own soap, and more. All supplies and directions are included. No prior art experience is needed. (Visit and click on Classes to see a full list of available kits.)
Of course if anyone wants to Zoom a creative class, just say so, and we can.
I’m looking forward to getting back to my business of the past five years: hosting classes at my home studio for people wanting to blend social and creative time, and visiting groups, businesses and other gatherings in the Tri-State area. My first step in that regard will be an en plein air class (a traditional French school of painting outdoors). I do teach painting classes, and I would like to talk about and paint like some famous en plein air artists, such as Monet, Freida Khelo and Alice Neel.

But judging from the response I’ve gotten to my Creative Kits, I’ve decided they’re here to stay. I realize that even when this shelter-at-home crisis is all over, some people just want to stay home in their pajamas and be creative after traveling around for work all week. People should enjoy themselves in their own way. Whatever is best for them, I have them covered!

Create with Susan, 44 Lakeview Ave., Hartsdale, NY. For more info, contact her at 914.772.2273 or [email protected], visit, or visit her on Facebook at Create with Susan or on Twitter @sspillo2.