Transfiguration began as a vision I had after attending a workshop with the Peace Paper Project where participants made paper out of clothes. Hand papermaking seemed to me to be the perfect way of dealing with those "skinny" jeans that either no longer fit one's healthier body or were embedded with triggering memories of a painful, eating disordered past. With the help of my collaborators this vision took on a life of its own.
Members of the Eating Disorder Recovery Center began by cutting clothing into small pieces and placing them in a beater to be broken down into a slurry of pulp. This initial deconstructive process was therapeutic in and of itself. Individuals shared what it was like to let go of their unhealthy clothes and a greater sense of community developed among the diverse group consisting of both males and females ranging in age from 12 to 66.
Using traditional methods, the group members created sheets of handmade paper embedded with words representing positive body image themes generated from the group process: energy, peace, health, strength, and love.
Once the sheets were pressed and dried, the group members drew personal images corresponding to these words. Finally, the sheets of paper were sewn together to become a new garment for our size 16 mannequin. The mannequin was adorned with a necklace of paper beads made from letters that group members wrote to their bodies.
This cycle of taking articles of clothing strongly associated with the eating disorder and literally breaking them down to their very fibers, reintegrating the fibers to make paper, and then sewing the paper to make a new garment, serves as a metaphor for the profound transfiguration that happens during the healing process.
Part of recovery is recognizing that true beauty exists in our imperfection and brokenness. By accepting and honoring the broken fibers of our being we rediscover our sacred wholeness.
Transfiguration is about much more than just changing the outer appearance; it is about making peace with our bodies and revealing the inner beauty and self-healing nature that is intrinsic to all human beings regardless of size.
Genevieve Camp, MA, LCAT, ATR-BC, RYT-200, Januray 2013
Transfiguration is the result of a collaboration between University of Florida & Shands Eating Disorder Recovery Center/Genevieve Camp, MA, LCAT, ATR-BC, Amy Richard, BFA, and Amy Bucciarelli, MS, LMHC, ATR-BC. Financial support for the activities was provided by H.O.P.E. Inc.
Project leaders Genevieve Camp, Amy Bucciarelli & Amy Richard
The UF & Shands Eating Disorder Recovery Center (EDRC) in Gainesville, FL offers comprehensive and holistic treatment for adolescents and adults with eating disorders at both inpatient and outpatient levels of care.
Genevieve Camp, MA, LCAT, ATR-BC, RYT-200, is a licensed and board certified art therapist and yoga teacher practicing at the EDRC in Gainesville. She has been working in the field of eating disorders for several years and is passionate about using art and yoga to heal the relationship between the body and mind.
Amy Richard, BFA, is a Gainesville artist and papermaker interested in the spiritual and healing characteristics of handmade paper; recently she has been collaborating with others to bring these experiences to the community through workshops and demonstrations.
Amy Bucciarelli, MS, LMHC, ATR-BC is a licensed mental health counselor and board certified art therapist practicing with the Shands Arts in Medicine Program. She is also a lecturer with the University of Florida's Center for Arts in Medicine in the College for Fine Art.