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Snow Globes: Creating Miniature Dreamscapes and Exploring the Symbolism in Art Therapy

by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC


Snow globes, with their miniature worlds encased in glass, evoke a sense of enchantment and magic that transcends their seemingly simple appearance.  Symbolically, snow globes can be interpreted as encapsulations of memories or moments frozen in time. The swirling snow inside the globe can often represent the passage of time, and as it settles, may mirror the way memories have the ability to linger in our minds. The contained scenes, often depicting idyllic landscapes or charming vignettes, become portals to a different reality, inviting viewers to escape into a world of fantasy. The delicate balance of the tiny particles suspended in the liquid reflects the fragility of the moments we cherish. 


Snow Globes as Symbols

In literature and film, snow globes have been used as powerful symbols of nostalgia, escapism, and the desire to preserve moments of beauty. Their magical qualities lie in their ability to transport individuals to a whimsical realm, if only for a fleeting moment, fostering a connection between the real and the imagined. The act of shaking a snow globe and watching the snow swirl and settle becomes a ritualistic gesture, akin to summoning a bit of magic into one's life, making snow globes not just decorative trinkets but vessels of wonder and reverie.


Snow Globe Symbolism in Art Therapy

In the realm of art therapy, these enchanting spheres can be employed as therapeutic tools to represent and explore an individual's inner world. The process of crafting a personalized snow globe can be a transformative and healing experience, allowing individuals to externalize their emotions, thoughts, and memories in a tangible and symbolic form. 


As participants choose the elements to include in their snow globe—whether it be miniature objects, symbolic representations, or specific landscapes—they are engaged in a creative act of self-expression. This act of selection and arrangement provides individuals with a means to externalize their emotions and memories, turning the snow globe into a visual representation of their internal landscape.  Additionally, the dynamic nature of emotions finds a tangible representation within the snow globe. The shaking and settling of the snow within the globe might mirror the ebb and flow of emotions, offering a tangible representation of the organic nature of the human psyche. 


The act of creating a snow globe empowers individuals by allowing them to exercise control over their narrative. As they carefully arrange and contain elements within the globe, participants engage in a metaphorical organization of their thoughts and feelings. This process not only fosters a sense of agency but also aids in making sense of complex emotions, contributing to a therapeutic journey of self-discovery.


How to Craft a Snow Globe

To craft a snow globe that authentically represents your inner imaginative world, you can embark on a creative journey using a variety of mixed media art materials. Begin by selecting a glass or plastic dome as your globe base, ensuring it's sturdy enough to withstand your chosen materials. Delve into your imagination to identify symbolic elements that encapsulate the essence of your inner world. This could include small objects, images, or even miniature sculptures that hold personal significance. 


Experiment with different textures and colors to evoke the emotions and atmospheres unique to your imaginative realm. Incorporate elements like fabric, beads, or unconventional items to add depth and complexity. Consider incorporating a mix of paint, markers, and collage techniques on the outer surface of the globe to create a visually stimulating backdrop that resonates with your inner narrative. As you assemble your chosen elements within the globe, pay attention to the arrangement, seeking a balance that reflects the dynamic nature of your imaginative world. 


Creating and interacting with these miniature worlds in a therapeutic setting can foster introspection, mindfulness, and a deeper connection with one's emotions, providing individuals with a tangible and symbolic medium through which to explore and communicate their innermost thoughts and feelings. In this way, the magical quality of snow globes in art therapy lies in their potential to serve as vessels for self-discovery, healing, and the externalization of the intricate landscapes of the mind.


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