Hi There! I am Brittmarie Eksell, my home base is currently in the Highlands of Scotland. Since I first left Sweden in my late teens to study in the United States, my addresses have been numerous and varied. However, creativity and continued learning have been the steady and main thread throughout my life, and has taken different shapes in my progressive journey of creative imagination and expression.
My first career in America during the 70s and 80’s was as a Textile Designer. After graduating from Pratt Institute in New York, I began my work making large scale tapestries. I was fortunate to work with the well known artist Helena Hernmarck, first as an apprentice and later as the main weaver. Here is an image of the very first tapestry that I worked on with Helena in 1976.
More of Helena’s important work can be seen on her website www.hernmarck.com
After working with Helena for a decade I felt the urge to return to the University to embark on further studies within the field of decorative arts. Because my studies at Pratt was mainly practical, in choosing to now go to the academic line, I had to start from scratch. This process began with four years of undergraduate studies leading to a degree in art history and in psychology. The next step in the field of creativity, psychology, and art led me to a masters degree in art therapy from New York University. Another decade went by where I provided art therapy in two different cancer hospitals in the Manhattan, New York area, as well as maintaining my own office for private clients.
By then, I had realized the strong potential for creative expression to enhance the every day lives, of not only people diagnosed with an illness, but also the lives of each one of us, who us curious and willing to awaken their own inherent creativity. This led me to return to the university for further studies and assistance on my questions: what is the essence of creative energy within us, how does it work, when and how is it accessed? What impact does creativity have not only on our emotional life, but what changes occur on the neurophysiological side in brain and body when the creative energy is awakened in our mind, body, and soul?
In my phenomenological study toward a PhD, the purpose was to explore the relationship between engaging in creative art activities and facilities of expression of emotions in older adults. In using a phenomenological approach, the focus was aimed at what it is that resides in the essence of an experience. Therefore, my research consisted in exploring the meaning participants in my art activity groups made of their experience while considering their own art work. A basic assumption in phenomenology is that it is the context of the “lived experience”, such as the individual feeling, rationale, occurrences, relations between things, and thoughts about the experience, which gives it meaning. The meaning people attribute to their experience further influences how they live that experience.
Today, in my continued work as a lecturer, speaker, and provider of creative workshops on an international level, I am fortunate to work with people on many levels on their creative journey. Likewise, I continue on my own path of creative insight, curiosity, and joy.
Read my dissertation: Creativity as a Means to Expression of Emotions in Older Adults