Cotati art studio offers space to explore emotions, creativity – Google Alerts

Sometimes there are surprises.

Sheridan Gold attends art journaling sessions regularly, but primarily to develop her artistic skills. She lives in west Petaluma, near the Cotati border, and is a musician.

“I don’t consider myself an artist at all,” said Gold, who credits Miller with providing a welcoming atmosphere to explore art. “She made it safe. Susie is a safe person to explore with.”

Gold, 63, was caught off guard during a session when she began working through a recent nightmare that was especially disturbing.

“I didn’t have to hold onto it,” she said. “It was just a way to get it out for me.”

Many who pursue art journaling are not artists. Some even tell Miller they aren’t remotely artistic. Miller appreciates the honesty, but has a different viewpoint.

“Everyone is creative,” she said. “We have to feed that part of our souls. If we don’t, we will suffer from that.” Her job “is about showing people how to tap into their own creative spirit.”

Transformations and a sense of healing are possible through artistic self-exploration and self-acceptance, Miller said, especially when using “your verbal and non-verbal brain together.” Used in tandem, “It opens the door to awareness.”

For those who choose to share their artwork and personal stories — totally optional — there is an added benefit in inspiring and encouraging others. Miller keeps her classes small, with not more than 10 people gathered together, to create a safe, intimate, non-judgmental circle.

She is a certified person-centered expressive arts facilitator and earned an undergraduate degree in fine arts from UCLA and a teaching credential with an art specialization from UC Berkeley. Miller worked as a teacher and curriculum designer and has operated several small businesses. A Sebastopol resident, she also home-schooled her sons, Harry, 25; Ben, 21; and Toby, 18.

Unfold Your Creative Spirit Studio blends her talents and experiences in a highly rewarding…

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