Tag: Workshops

Gratitude Bowl-Making Workshop

“For it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” -Brother David Steindl-Rast

Gratitude Bowls

Gratitude is more that just a thought or a feeling. It is a consistent practice of recognizing moments, people, and things that you are thankful for. This past weekend, I led a Gratitude Bowl-making workshop to a group of 39 creative individuals at The Namaste Center, in Flat Rock. I am so proud of the bowls everybody made, and hope that this process strengthens their gratitude practices. Today, I am grateful for this life and this work of spreading the message that art can be used for wellness and healing.


“Much of what makes humans anxious or depressed originates from the way we think about the things happening around us. We tend to assume that our thoughts are always true, which affects the way we feel, and therefore the way we behave. Soon, we’re trapped in a negativity cycle, spiraling towards deeper and deeper anxiety and sadness. Practicing gratitude is not about denying reality, or only thinking happy thoughts, as most critics claim. It’s a way to create some space between our automatic thoughts and our feelings. It helps us pause long enough to notice how we have been thinking about our lives, and it provides an opportunity to get out of our heads and take a slightly different perspective.”


For more behind the meaning behind the bowl and instructions on making your own, check out my feature in this month’s WNC Woman Magazine.


Kara Ashley-Gilmore believes in the use of art for wellness and healing. She is a licensed counselor, art therapist, and mixed-media artist at Mountain Creative Arts Counseling in Hendersonville. She provides individual counseling and facilitates a weekly anxiety support group for individuals who feel crushed by the weight of their worries, dread their next panic attack, and live with over-active inner critics. Learn more about her work at

Should and Must: Week 4

“It’s Not Enough to Reach the Treasure, One Must Bring it Back.”

-To act is to modify the shape of the world.- -Jean-Paul Sarte


We concluded our book club this week by discussing ways we can bring our “treasures” back. Our work isn’t over until we share our gifts with others. We learned that there’s a ripple effect that happens when we follow our passions; choosing Must doesn’t only affect us, it affects everyone around us. We have to keep choosing must day after day, because Should is easy, but it’s not satisfying. To conclude the series, we created collages about our personal journeys to Must.

I can’t state enough how much I love this book. Thank you, Elle Luna, for choosing Must and putting this work into the world.


Sign up for the newsletter to stay posted about the dates and book title for the spring Book Club.


Should and Must: Week 1

“If you Want to Know Must, Get to Know Should”

The Creative’s Book Club provides a safe, supportive environment for people who want to dig deeper than reading alone will allow. This Winter, we’re reading Elle Luna’s “The Crossroads of Should and Must.” I LOVE this book. It’s an easy read and full of insightful stories, illustrations, and quotes. The book club meets Wednesdays at 10:30, until 2/4/16.


We had a great first meeting of the Creatives Book Club this week. We explored the difference between Should and Must, and learned a bit about the origin of should: parents, partners, friends, advertising, etc…

The quote in the picture really stood out. How can we escape from prison if we don’t even know that we are in prison?

What is your prison? A relationship? Your current job? The city you live in?

What are your “Shoulds”? Where did they come from? And do you want to keep holding on to them?

Up next week: “The Path to Must is a Path we Create”

Visual Journaling at The Shift Studio


We had a wonderful “playshop” on Tuesday at The Shift Studio. We began by setting an intention for the session and asking a question that we wanted our journals to respond to.


We started with large sheets of brown kraft paper, which we filled with color, texture, collage, text, and images corresponding to our questions.


We tore our kraft paper down to size, and bound them together to create a unique visual journal. We spent some time with our journals, writing and processing any answers we received. We then wrote a letter to ourselves to help us remember any insights that came to us during the session.


I’m so proud of my students! Thank you all for your trust and vulnerability as you shared about your experiences today.

Here’s what some students had to say after the workshop:

  • “Thank you for a super workshop.  I had a wonderful time, feel great about taking the next step and excited about the possibilities that are opening up.”
  • “The tone you set was so conducive to safety and exploring and enjoying.”
  • “Your instruction and pacing for the activity were just right, gave precisely the guidance I needed.”
  • “I so enjoyed the Journaling class yesterday and Kara was fantastic. So easy to be with, listen to and she is caring and knows her work. I found I could do something for me and enjoy the quiet atmosphere as well. Thank you for providing this opportunity.”
  • “I appreciate the masterful job you did with planning and preparation.  The whole workshop gave such a sense of being carefully designed and thoughtfully set up — with delightful materials:  art supplies bountiful but not overwhelming, decorated and encouraging individual packets of goodies…  It seems you thought of everything, right down to that tiny envelope for our message to ourself.  It was all so inviting and pleasing.”