Mental Health

Small Doses

When Karin picked up a spoon and started to turn it into a wearable pendant, she had no idea she was scooping up a cure for her eating disorder.

Karin’s Story

When Karin picked up a spoon and started to turn it into a wearable pendant, she had no idea she was scooping up a cure for her eating disorder.

 

Karin’s Story

 

“I didn’t want to deal with it.”

I lived with an eating disorder for 15 years before I got help, though I don’t think I ever had a healthy relationship with food, even before the behavior started. I didn’t want to deal with it and admit that I had a problem. I sought out treatment because I had come to a place where I was just physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted.

 

“Talking through the issues sometimes isn’t enough.”

I had been seeing an eating disorders counselor for about a year when she gave me an assignment to make a collage that told the story of where I was and where I wanted to go. It took me a year to start the collage, but as I worked on it, it took on a life of its own, and I was truly amazed at the end result.

I had some information about Tai Chi that I copied from the library and I shredded that. Then I found a picture of a woman’s face and cut it in strips, and I put it together and you could read the words through her face. Making the collage was the first time that I didn’t think about what I was doing I just did it and used my hands instead of thinking and using my head.

With eating disorders in particular, talking through the issues sometimes isn’t enough, and art opens up a whole new channel for the person to express themselves. I know that my creativity was stifled by the eating disorder, as were many other parts of myself, and it was freeing to be able to tap into it, and to realize that I was “creating” my life in every minute.

The collages eventually made their way onto spoons, finally evolving into spoon pendants. And that was really the beginning of my company, SpoonFed Art.

 

“It was very soothing to make something pretty and share it with someone else.”

It sounds funny but when I started making the pendants, I didn’t think about the eating disorder and the symbolism involved with using an eating utensil as the medium, something that you use to “feed” yourself.

The first pendant I made was a collage, of course, and the primary image was of a belly dancer. I made it as a gift for a friend, and I have to admit that it was a little scary looking and pretty poorly made. It took some time for me to develop my technique, but soon it was almost as if every person I came in contact with noticed and asked about the pendants I was wearing. They all wanted to know what was “in” them, and they were tickled when I showed them that it was a spoon. The pendants attracted so much positive attention from such a wide variety of people that I started to recognize their appeal.

I had already resigned from my job at that point, and was looking for a more fulfilling career. I knew I wanted to do something creative and something that was of service to others, so when I factored in the possibility of using the pendants to share my story of recovery and bring awareness about eating disorders, SpoonFed Art seemed to make sense.

 

“I had to dismantle everything that was before and build it back to another way and look at it as a completely different thing.”

There are no plans when making the spoons. I just do what looks and feels right, and that is kind of the microscopic way of looking at my life in general. That is sort of the lesson — just go with it and it will work out. In the last four or five years I have really faced a lot of things that I was terrified of and felt trapped in and realized those things weren’t that big of a deal and I was making them bigger then they were. The things that you are afraid of, you will remain afraid of until you face them. My experience has been that every time I have done that and come out the other side my life has improved greatly. Now, I don’t know what to expect and I think that is a good place to be.

 

Copyright © 2007 Procter & Gamble Productions, Inc. 

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