Process   Art

Maria Ruiz Plana


My name is María, I graduated as an Occupational Therapist, at the Complutense University of Madrid , and I am currently finishing the Gestalt Art Therapy training at Hephaisto School.

I enjoy meeting, accompanying and providing resources to people through creative processes, according to the need people have. My approach to art making is valuable but also particular to each person. It´s about offering opportunities that people may or may not take up, not about dictating the way they should think or act.

Art has always been present in my life. It has been and continues to be a way of personal expression and  refuge in my day to day. I feel that art is an essential pillar for well-being, and can help us make sense of those emotions or experiences that are more difficult to express in words.

It can be difficult to connect these two disciplines, but I feel that they complement each other.​ I cannot define myself as a therapist without taking into account my artistic side, nor vice versa.  ​

Currently, I work in  Loch Arthur Camphill Community  , accompanying adults with learning disabilities, through creative processes, paying attention to personal and community expression.​​

As an artist, I communicate with through the symbolic and narrative language of puppetry, shadow play, and animation.

In this creative process I explore with everyday objects and materials, whether I can find them in nature or at home, and reuse them. In this process I immerse myself in a sensory experience in which I discover the different expressive forms of each material.

I am moved by the different ways in which we people feel and perceive the world, how we communicate, adapt, express and connect with ourselves and with what surrounds us.

Due to the mixed media quality that the puppet offers,  I have been finding other artistic techniques that I include in my work. I find inspiration in everything that symbolizes transformation in some way. Nature being my main source.

Some of the artistic techniques that I explore are cyanotype, paper making, mosaic, weaving and organic art.

One of the things I have discovered through puppetry and the use of mixed media is how versatile human communication is. Art has the power to speak without words, and puppetry has allowed me to explore those stories that live within myself, and make sense of them by the use of this projection. Another important reflection I find in the use of puppetry, is how each material, each doll, has a personal movement, a personal way of expression. A raw form of communication that it shows through the way that puppet is built and the way  that puppet can move. Not by forcing or controlling what we believe this doll has to move like.

By experiencing this, I have discovered a very  important pillar for my accompaniment alongside people in more therapeutic environments. How to respect oneself and each other, not by ordering, but by letting the person or the puppet communicate from their own place and rhythms. Always paying attention to the being and the intrinsic capacity of each person.

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