Beautiful Minds: Tammie Fowles
For Tammie Fowles, 55, art has always played a major role in life. For 25 years she has made music and art a part of her work in psychotherapy. It all started when Tammie worked with a client who never spoke when in sessions. Tammie created an open environment with soothing music and asked her to draw her thoughts and feelings with crayon and paper. It was then that Tammie witnessed firsthand the creative connection as the client started communicating.
This became a theme of her work as she continued to help people who had trouble accessing their feelings. Tammie introduced acting to help her clients express themselves and address social and personal issues. Drawing, listening to music, and even making personalized CDs to tell stories created unique therapeutic experiences for each person she helped.
In 2011, faced with several traumatic life events, Tammie chose to follow her own advice by writing and reading to heal and in the process discovered a new way to express herself creatively. She began collecting photos of life events and clippings to create collages that helped her both deal with her past and look to the future, realizing that you don’t need to know how to draw or paint to be creative. “We’re all hardwired to create”, says Tammie, as she has found inspiration through music, literature, and spirituality.
Tammie was asked by her best friend to plan and lead her memorial after her death because she wanted her life to be celebrated instead of the traditional funeral, Tammie used collages, drawings, and music, unique to her friend, to honor her life. Tammie continues to lead celebrations not only helping others to rejoice the lives of lost loved ones but also celebrate major life events, such as important milestones.
After years of working as a therapist Tammie is ready to begin her third act, by completing the NCCA Online Artist Training in Arts and Aging, as she works with older adults and the arts. Interacting with vibrant older artists, through painting, music, and acting, Tammie says, “I have never felt younger!”
She sees the older years as the most creative years of one’s life. “You begin to see things differently. You begin to see things at a wider angle.” For those who want to age creatively Tammie says, “Start now! Don’t wait. Do something creative daily because we are all artist and have artist’s souls”.