10 years since “Olivia Saves the Circus” stop motion animation project at Keith Lynn!

Dolls and stuffed animals make me happy. Very happy. They always have. Some of my faves are hand-sewn little pig characters… but I will get to that.

I am 58 years old and I still have dolls, still rescue dolls, make dolls. love dolls, receive dolls.


I still have the first one (“Lisa”) I received from my parents in the early 60’s:

I also collect sock monkeys and crafts made by me and those made (and given to me) by my past students (of all ages) and friends:

I just dusted, aired out and re-organized my giant collection of old dolls and stuffed animals… Including a treasured basket of props from 2009-2010 school year at a school I worked at in North Vancouver:

I just realized it has been 10 years since that very special  stop motion animation project at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School!

During the 2009-2011 school years, I had the pleasure of co-facilitating (along with my colleague, Ian Powell) an animation course at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School.

In 2009-2010, the students recreated (with incredible ingenuity) the story of OLIVIA SAVES THE CIRCUS by Ian Falconer:

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A few years later, I rescued the collection of props from the project that were mixed in with items to throw out when the school had moved locations to become Mountainside Secondary.

Much love to past Keith Lynn students and staff and to all my present colleagues at Mountainside. Thank you for enriching my life!

Operation Sock Monkey Western Division: Craftivism and Healing using Sock Monkeys and Sock Owls

I am delighted to still be part of Operation Sock Monkey Western Division—the relationship is going on 10 years now!  Time for an update as to what we have been up to lately!Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 9.49.11 AM

About OSM:

Since 2005, Operation Sock Monkey has raised nearly $10,000 in support of the humanitarian work of Clowns Without Borders. Partnerships with Clown Sans Frontieres (Montreal) and CWB chapters in the United States and South Africa have helped to bring joy and laughter to children affected by trauma around the world. OSM has sponsored CWB expeditions in Haiti, South Africa, Asia and Swaziland, sending clowns to bring smiles and laughter and promote healing through joy. In 2009, OSM partnered with Woza Moya, an HIV/AIDS community resource centre in Kwazulu-Natal South Africa, to teach the art of sock monkey to local artisans. The Woza Moya project is now producing sock monkeys for sale in craft shops in Capetown and Durban, proceeds from these sales will supplement the income of underemployed crafters in the Ufafa Valley.

Initial connection:

I initially came connected with the founder Lindsey Hodgson when I was working at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School where I used sock monkey making in my art therapy.  The students and staff and community members created hundreds of sock monkeys for local and global initiatives.

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Various OSM Western Division projects over the years:

There are COUNTLESS sock monkey therapy/ OSM Western Division stories of amazing people in my community of family, friends, schools, organizations etc. creating and giving.

Such as:

H. using a sock monkey to comfort her as she testified in court against an abusive boyfriend.

T. making a sock monkey for his sick friend to take to treatment.

M. struggling with mental health issues, making sock monkeys with worn socks and dental floss and couch stuffing, bringing them to me to send to Africa.

C. using sock monkey making in her work with people living with Alzheimer’s.

A. making a sock monkey for her hero, after his mom passed away.

L. using sock monkeys to process trauma to face her abuser and to create dialogue and raise esteem in her peers.

H. interpreting her favorite artist’s work through sock monkeys then connecting with the artist through her micro-industry online sales and social media.

Passion2Lead bringing sock monkeys as comfort for young victims at a rape relief crisis center in Cape Town.

Families using sock monkeys to help comfort their terminally ill children and themselves.

The use of our sock monkeys in attachment therapy with Clowns Without Borders South Africa.

HELP YOUTH CANADA sock monkey workshops to create safe space to dialogue on education.

And the countless of people simply sewing a monkey to help them through emotional crises such as trauma and grief…

An alternative craft is the SOCK OWL to work around time constraints and as an adapted craft that is easier to tackle than a sock monkey, but equally fun!

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These crazy little sock owls are wonderful for creating dialogue around the craft table!

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There are so many healing stories– connection building through the lowly craft of making a monkey out of a pair of socks!

Some of the latest—

Mulberry PARC:

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I love that the Mulberry PARC Retirement Living Group always approaches sock monkey making as a team helping each other with challenges such as arthritis, poor eyesight, bad backs, loneliness , grief, etc- there are those that sew, those that stuff, those that assemble…

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Canucks Autism Network:

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Intersections Media:

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Diversecity:

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Byrne Creek Secondary School:

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Project Sophia:

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Sophia, age 16, was born with a life limiting condition sadly passed away on January 1, 2017.  She was part of the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice community for 14 years.

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Sophia loved to spread joy around and this included handing out countless sock monkeys (made by her and our Operation Sock Monkey community members) to patients and staff at Canuck Place.

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Sophia with a GIANT batch of sock monkey ready to handout at Canuck Place! (August 2016)

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Sophia and Glen (sock alien made by Darcy Glip) at Canuck Place…

Project Sophia continues and celebrates the joy that Sophia brought to the world.

Kat with sock monkey maker super hero Lynn Gosnell and Sophia’s mother- Beverley Pomeroy at Strathcona Winter Craft Fair, 2016.

I am honored to witness Sophia’s mother, Beverley Pomeroy, doing extraordinary work as she carries on her daughter’s legacy and shares her own personal story of Living Grief- the profound journey of ongoing loss.

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A few weeks ago Project Sophia met up at The Landing in Ladner BC to use sock monkey making to process grief, connect and laugh:

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Photo by Denise Levine

Check out:

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Go to Operation Sock Monkey for more information on how you can support this amazing global initiative!
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Here’s my HOW TO MAKE A SOCK MONKEY video created by my awesome brother, Fredrik Thorsen:

How To Make A Sock Monkey (HD) from Fredrik Thorsen on Vimeo.

Poststreet custom order sock monkeys.

I’ve had some interesting requests and ideas over the years and I do love the challenge of finding materials and interpreting the subject.  Here are some samplings and planning sketches…

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A Clockwork Orange

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Frida and Diego
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Elizabeth I
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Waterhouse’s Circe Invidiosa

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Detail from Picasso’s Guernica
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Sock Pug
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Dia de los Muertos
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Amy Winehouse
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Monkey in wool sweater
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Girl with the Pearl Earring
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Advent Monkeys
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Jack Skellington
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Cubism
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Basquiat
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Jedi Knight with a light saber (I know— oh dear)
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Wedding monkeys
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Charlie Chaplin
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Dorian Gray
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Mona Lisa
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Francis Bacon

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Bride of Frankenstein

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Beetlejuice
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V for Vendetta
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Mia Wallace
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The White Queen
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Christo
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Robert Smith
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Wonder Woman

Contact me for your custom order and pricings!

CONTACT KATARINA: EMAIL

Operation Sock Monkey Project Sophia 

SOCK MONKEY THERAPY AND CRAFTIVISM

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PROJECT SOPHIA

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Sophia, age 16, was born with a life limiting condition and she has been part of the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice community for 14 years.

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Sophia loves to spread joy around and this includes handing out countless sock monkeys (made by her and our Operation Sock Monkey communtiy members) to patients and staff at Canuck Place.

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Sophia with a GIANT batch of sock monkey ready to handout at Canuck Place! (August 2016)

Project Sophia celebrates the joy that Sophia brings to the world, as well as the incredible work Canuck Place does to support children and their families.

We had a wonderful and successful day at Strathcona Winter Craft Fair on November 28, 2016!

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And it is always so wonderful to see how people pick and choose!

We raised well over $500 for Canuck Place and sock monkey therapy!

Huge thank you to my Operation Sock Monkey team!  I love each and every one of you!

Stitched together with good intentions- a grumble of [sock] pugs!

On September 1, 2016, Fall weather and autumn vibe seemed to come on full force here in Vancouver BC.  Along with the autumn atmosphere comes the rejuvenated desire to craft, to create product and re-open the ETSY shop and the reminder to focus on the Winter craft fair to do list.

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So I put away my other work and focused on a full on production day yesterday making my signature sock pugs!

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I wondered what a group of pugs is called… OMG:

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“To dream of a fawn colored pug is signifies that you are accepting whatever changes you are trying to make and integrating them into your life. Alternatively to see many Pugs in your dream signify’s your inability to accept certain changes in your life even though these changes are necessary for you to move forward at this time. The dream is letting you know that the changes will happen with or without your acceptance.” – source

I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.

– Augusten Burroughs, Magical Thinking

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I know these faun sock pugs have black tails which is probably incorrect- but hey- they are DOUBLE CURLED (top standard) and are made of socks, so… and also they do have anuses(!) so that should balance out the incorrect color of the tails!

 

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Available on my ETSY shop:

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Original drawing of a pug included in order.

 

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source

 

 

Sock Monkey Social- intergenerational craftivism!

Operation Sock Monkey (OSM) was approached by Langara Recreation Leadership student, Matthew Sung, a few months ago regarding an intergenerational project: Sock Monkey Social.

We gave him some pointers and links to a couple videos (how to make a sock monkey and a feature on OSM’s founder, Lindsey Hodgson):

How To Make A Sock Monkey (HD) from Fredrik Thorsen on Vimeo.

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Matt just sent me photos and some notes on what was obviously a very successful event:

– The title of the event was called Sock Monkey Social

– Hosted by Langara College students from the Recreational Leadership Diploma Program: students Matthew Sung, Samantha Jones, Amy Cornish, and Amanda Parliament

– Hosted at the Kerrisdale Seniors Centre on March 5th, 2016

– 15 total participants

– Participants ages ranged from teenagers – 97 years old(!)

– Everyone completed a sock monkey!

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Photos courtesy of Matthew Sung

Just wanted to give you and update of how our “Sock Monkey Social” event went on March 5th. It was a big success, we ended up having 15 participants. We had lots of food and door prizes donated by local businesses for our 2 hr event. We took your advice and pre cut all of the socks and had some pre-stuffed for our more senior participants, which worked out perfectly.

We had a wide range of ages from teenagers to a 97 year old and everyone was very engaged. Everyone had a lot of fun and we showed the short Global News clip that you sent us at the beginning of the event.  We have a very unique bunch of sock monkeys that we are excited to donate to Operation Sock Monkey.

We want to thank you both so much for your great advice and for the resources you gave us to better educate our participants about Operation Sock Monkey.

– Matthew

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The sock monkeys made at Sock Monkey Social will be donated to Operation Sock Monkey to bring smiles to faces in our various global initiatives!

HUGE THANK YOU TO PARTICIPANTS AND FACILITATORS!

Also check out:

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I’m raising funds to provide free sock monkey therapy!

I am selling sock monkeys and sock birds on my ETSY site to raise for sock monkey therapy!

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100% of proceeds go towards me providing free sock monkey therapy workshops for local at risk youth in Vancouver BC Canada!

Sock monkey therapy creates a safe space for youth to dialogue while delivering valuable life skills and while generally lifting mood and spirit.

Check out BETSY GREER’s POST ON CREATIVE LIVE

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Orders includes a little surprise!

Love Katarina

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Sock Rottweiller plans!

Quite a few years ago, I designed my first sock pug.  Since then I have made many, and they continue to be very popular!

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My pugs are available made to order on my ETSY site for $40.00 USD.

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Due to multiple requests, I am now tackling a Sock Rottweiller!

According to my plans, they will be a bit more complex than my pugs.  They will be listed for $45.00 USD on my ETSY site.

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To me -the Rottie represents confidence, courage, strength and committed choice.

The finished Rottie will measure about 10-12″ front to back.

My personal #Chakra #SelfCare #CheckIn #Toolkit

I can’t help but love the magical thinking that happens when considering the chakras!

The 7 Chakras are the energy centers in our body in which energy flows through. Blocked energy in our 7 Chakras can often lead to illness so it’s important to understand what each Chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely. – source

So I have been developing a toolkit to enhance my imagination and awaken my inner creative!

This Chakra Self-Care, Check-In Package includes:

  1. Personalized Hand-drawn Chakra Chart
  2. Chakra Healing Sock Monkey
  3. Embroidered Centering Heart
  1. The Chakra Chart is hand-drawn, depicting a Frida Kahlo-esque goddess and illustrates the 7 main chakras and pertinent notes regarding each chakra.  This is a tangible, visual check-in chart to allow me to have a relaxed dialogue with my body as I consider where I am feeling blocked- physically and emotionally.

 

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18″ x 24″ on newsprint.  It’s meant for me to USE- write on it, fold it, hang it up, add to it, not be afraid to spill on it, copy it, research and add more notes etc.

I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.

– Frida Kahlo

2. The Chakra Healing Sock Monkey is something to hold and meditate on and cuddle.  The tactile experience allows me to feel childlike abandon and helps me to imagine that I release those blocks.  And I place a felt heart at the root chakra.  The grounding base.  (Some people are squeamish about the heart at the crotch… I say, don’t worry about it.)

Depicted here is the sock monkey I made my Dad in 2010.

3. The heart is THE CENTRE.  And this Embroidered Centering Heart almost acts as a labyrinth, as I run my finger along the knooks and crannies of the heart.

Embroidered heart on cardstock.

I use chakra check-ins in my own self-care and in my therapeutic art classes.  Considering the chakra chart is a powerful visualization technique.  It may not be proven science but simply creating space and time to reflect on the idea of the chakras helps us let go in the moment and take a breather.  A mini-vacation, if you will.

Your biography becomes your biology.

– Caroline Myss

Special edition sugar skull sock monkey

This handmade, handsewn sock monkey is a special version of my sugar skull sock monkey line!

She has an embroidered face and her dress is soft stretch cotton with crow design.  She is adorned with flowers and a little bird sits atop her head.

Materials:

Work socks

Hypo-allergenic polyester fibre stuffing

Embroidery thread

Cotton

Felt

Artificial Flowers

UPDATE: SHE WAS DONATED DECEMBER 11, 2015 TO THE SILENT AUCTION FUNDRAISER AT MOUNTAINSIDE SECONDARY SCHOOL CRAFT FAIR BENEFITING THE KYT FOUNDATION.

  

 

  

Operation Sock Monkey Booth at the Strathcona Craft Fair Nov 28! And Latest Updates!

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My incredible Operation Sock Monkey Western Division team of youth, teachers, support staff, community members of all ages have been hard at work since July, volunteering time and donating supplies and monkeys.

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And now part of this great sock monkey collection goes on sale this Saturday at the Strathcona Craft Fair 10 AM-4 PM! 601 Keefer, Vancouver BC

Only $20 each!

Proceeds benefits the KYT Foundation‘s water pipeline project in Nepal as well as my sock monkey therapy for local at-risk youth!

Inspired by the Shaking the Movers conference in Summer 2015 and thanks to the social justice class at Mountainside Secondary School, each monkey is tagged with a human right:

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 Huge thank you to my sock monkey makers and support team!

I love you all!!!  YOU ARE AMAZING!

Special mention to my hero Lynn Gosnell, “Auntie Lynn,” who has created and donated an incredible collection of her monkeys.  She is an angel on earth and has positively impacted countless of youth in her many years as a child and youth worker.

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Auntie Lynn receiving a sock monkey made by student, Liz, at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School in 2011.

And thank you to our beloved customers and donors whose generosity keeps us going!

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This is such a feel-good craftivist movement for everyone involved!!!

Check out:

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UPDATE November 30, 2015:

The craft sale went well!!! We sold about thirty monkeys- most at $20 each, some at $10 and some given to vulnerable kids. We raised $524.00!  I sent $290.00 to KYT Foundation and the rest goes to much-needed supplies and free workshops with local homeless women and youth, as well workshops with refugee youth and students at Mountainside Secondary.

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My daughter, Anna Thorsen, manned the booth with me and Queen of sock monkeys, Auntie Lynn, visited us!  Her monkeys were a huge hit!
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Operation Sock Monkey Western Division Operative, Leann Weisbecker, dropped off some gorgeous creations!
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One of our very happy customers!

Mountainside will be hosting a craft sale December 11 at which we will sell more monkeys (funds from the craft table rentals and sock monkey sales to KYT) and I have a stock of 20 at home I will be offering on ETSY (proceeds to KYT).  LINK

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I held a workshop for refugee youth last month and we all had a great time! Monkeys spoke a language we all understood!  I will be offering more of these workshops in the new year as the need increases and will be assisted by social justice students.

Tons of love! Kat

“I am doing what I can.” – Dukdukdiya, the hummingbird

Update December 9, 2015

A total of $350.00 has been donated so far to Kamala Yonzon Tahrayli Foundation from Operation Sock Monkey sock monkey sales from Nov 28 craft fair sales and Dec 7 sales. Sock monkeys were made by local community members and students at Mountainside Secondary School! And the school is holding a craft fair on Friday Dec 11 to benefit KYT Foundation!

Sock monkey with hummingbirds #craftivism 

“If the hummingbird shows up in your life as a spirit animal, it may remind you to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and take time to enjoy yourself.

The hummingbird’s wisdom carries an invitation to take part in and draw to you life’s sweetness, like you would drink the nectar of your own flower.” [source]


 —
My latest hand-sewn sock monkey is made from luscious high quality “Sock it to Me” socks covered in hummingbird designs.

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The monkey is adorned with 4 little hummingbirds made from glove fingers.

 

The monkey measures 13 inches (33 cm) tall. The hummingbirds measure about 1.5 inches (4 cm).

It makes for an excellent “talking stick” or talisman during circle dialogues.

 

My sock monkey creations are all about local and global art initiatives and craftivism.

The hummingbird holds deep meaning within my local restorative justice community as it illustrates that, though small, you can make a big difference, a small step at a time.

  
“I am doing what I can.” – Dukdukdiya, the hummingbird

 
You can read more about my craftivism and hummingbirds at:
http://katthorsen.com/2015/08/20/craftivism-operation-sock-monkeys-hummingbird-project/

 
This one of a kind sock monkey is on sale (and ready to ship) on my ETSY site:

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Proceeds from this sock monkey helps me provide free sock monkey therapy for local at-risk youth.

#200sockmonkeysforNepal project by Vancouver craftivists and students and staff at Mountainside Secondary, North Vancouver!

Love, Kat

See you at:

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My special hand-sewn sock monkey kits now on Etsy!

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Sock monkey kits!

Now on my ETSY SITE!

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My special hand-sewn sock monkey kit includes:
• Pre-sewn sock monkey body (ready to stuff and assemble and personalize)
• Needle and thread
• Felt heart
• Button eyes
• A little worry bird (made from glove finger)
• How-to info
• Information about my local to global sock monkey therapy entrepreneurship program

(Stuffing not included)

Proceeds support my ability to deliver free sock monkey workshops to local at-risk youth.

Great items for engaging students, for hosting craft nights, for fundraising, for leadership skills building, employee engagement, professional development days, for gifts, for craftivism activities etc.

NOTE: INDIVIDUAL KITS PLUS BULK ORDER UP TO 5 KITS WILL BE PROCESSED IN 1-3 DAYS. LARGER BULK ORDERS NATURALLY TAKE LONGER.

Love Kat

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Shaking the Movers- a safe space for youth to have a voice.

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I was so honored to participate (as art facilitator) in the 9th instalment of Shaking the Movers yesterday!   Shaking the Movers, founded by The Honorable Landon Pearson, is a profound process that supports youth in making powerful recommendations around children’s rights using their own voices.

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Shaking the Movers:
The Shaking the Movers conferences are two-day workshops that allow children and youth to prepare comments and recommendations for governments and civil society with respect to the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  Shaking the Movers provide a unique opportunity for child and youth to exercise their right to take part in important civil and political processes with the assurance that their voices will be heard and listened to. 

Shaking the Movers: A Model for Collaborative Consultation with Children and Youth on Public Policy documents the work and can be adapted for any situation in which collaborative consultation with young people is vital for the elaboration of effective public policy (pdf report).

The various articles of the CRC covered in past Shaking the Movers events include: 
I. Speaking Truth to Power: Civil and Political Rights of Children (2007) on Articles 12 “Right to Participation”, Art. 44 “A State’s Obligation to Report Back to the United Nations”, Art. 24 “The Right to Health” and Article 19 “Protection from Violence and Abuse” (pdf report); 
II. Identity and Belonging (2008), Articles 29.1.C and 30 (pdf report); 
III. Child Rights in Education (2009), Articles 28, 29 and 42 (pdf report);
IV. Children and the Media (2010), Articles 13, 16, 17, 34, 36 (pdf report);
V.  Youth Justice (2011), Articles 37 and 40 (pdf report);
VI. Mental Health (2012), Articles 23 and 24 (pdf report). 
VII. Right to Play and Artistic Expression, Article 31 (pdf report)
VIII. Child Exploitation, Article 34 and 36 (pdf report)

The Landon Pearson Centre designed these events to provide a space for children and young people to “have the floor”, to present their unique perspectives and experiences, and to provide specific recommendations and input related to four themes identified for the conference. While there are adults who do attend the workshop, they are there simply to listen and hear the recommendations made, to be a resource, to provide support to youth participants, and to ensure that the workshop took place in a safe and comfortable setting.  The outcomes, priorities and ideas presented by young people at the workshop are written up into summary reports by theme. Senator Pearson has made it her primary objective to ensure that the reports reach the hands of the “movers” in Canada, and that they respond. All reports and responses are public documents.

This was the first Shaking the Movers outside of Ontario.  I was initially approached by Brenda Morrison from the Centre for Restorative Justice at Simon Fraser University.  Brenda gathered a group of facilitators mainly comprised of SFU students.

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Brenda Morrison, Simon Fraser University (far left) with the Honorable Landon Pearson (far right) and the Shaking the Movers facilitators (left to right): Precious, Phil, Christina, Kat, Virginia, Joel, Suza and Leanne Atkinson (beside Landon) the youth outreach worker and host at Guildford Youth Resource Centre, Surrey BC.  Not shown but integral to the process: Ruth Morrison and the Equitas International Centre for Human Rights Education team.

The facilitators and youth outreach workers then identified youth ages 14-22 to participate in two 2-day sessions (June and September) to dialogue and create recommendations around the theme of Sexual Exploitation.

September session participants
September 21-22, 2015 session participants

My role was to help the youth create art to enhance their work.

                        

The recommendations and the art were then presented to stakeholders as a celebration/presentation:

                —

A particular gem: Make us RIGHT smart

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The youth so obviously had an amazing experience.

Everyone had a spark in their eye, a smile on their face and warmth in their heart.  A truly inspiring experience for all involved. – Brenda Morrison

They exuded enthusiasm, inspiration, connection and love.  INCREDIBLE.  The central piece that came out of this session was the need to educate youth and children on their rights in a profound and meaningful way.

Next steps?

  1. The results will be published on November 19, 2015 in the Canadian Journal of Children’s Rights.
  2. The youth who participated will create a youth leadership skills program at the Guilford Youth Resource Centre and hope to train to facilitate their peers and to expand their work.

It was deeply moving to hear how much the youth were impacted by the program.  – Laura Mack, stakeholder

I brought along a sock monkey as a talking piece.  It was a hit (not surprising as those sock monkeys truly are peacemakers) and it was presented to the Honorable Landon Pearson by one of the participants as a thank you.

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Two heroes: Leanne Atkinson, youth outreach worker with Pacific Community Resources, who ensured youth participation, and the Honorable Landon Pearson, founder of Shaking the Movers.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:

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Day 4 and 5 Inside Out Project Summer 2015: Digging Deeper

INSIDE OUT PROJECT: OWN YOUR JOURNEY- Breaking the cycle of violence through creativity

Inside Out Project – Own Your Journey SUMMER 2015 is a three week intensive arts-based program running out of Mountainside Secondary School (July 6-24, 2015) for youth ages 13-20 that uses the vehicles of therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation to teach life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction, community connections and by providing tools to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for Inside Out is to help students address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression. The program allows students to creatively reflect on self, to work in a team and to experience critical engagement and transformative changes that shift their attitudes and behaviors in order to prevent violence. Three experienced facilitators (Ian Powell, Erin Ross, Kat Thorsen) provide instruction and support.

Recall

Day 1, July 6, 2015: Own Your Journey LINK

Day 2, July 7, 2015: VPD Mounted Unit LINK

Day 3, July 8, 2015: Animation and anatomical hearts LINK

Day 4 and 5: Digging in deeper.

We were busy last few days!  Hands-On Animation Tests, Public Service Announcement Discussions, Mind Mapping, Shane Koyczan TEDTalk, Project Planning, Therapeutic Arts and Crafts, Dialoguing, Creative Process etc…

What I love seeing unfold are the connections forming within the group.

Here are some highlights from Day 4 and 5:     —

I sit before flowers
hoping they will train me in the art
of opening up

I stand on mountain tops believing
that avalanches will teach me to let go

I know
nothing

but I am here to learn.
― Shane Koyczan

                  —

It has quickly become apparent that this is our hub/dialogue/creativity table. We move back and forth naturally between the computer lab and this room where we do old fashioned handmade stuff and group dialogue/mindmapping.

It hurts to stretch your wings. But doesn’t it hurt even more to let them atrophy?

You can survive without Creativity. But you won’t ever come fully alive & unapologetically yourself, unless you practice it, every damn day. – Andréa Balt, Creative Rehab

  

Next week we begin our group animation project!  Stay tuned!

The Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey Summer 2015 is offered to youth at no cost thanks to a grant from the Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) in partnership with the Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division (VSCPD), BC Ministry of Justice.

CHECK OUT:

Update- SOLD: Art sale to celebrate Frida’s birthday! One of a kind package. 

FRIDA KAHLO BORN JULY 6, 1907

To celebrate the woman who inspires me everyday- I want to spread the love, so I am releasing these 4 original interpretive portraits of Frida as a package deal for only $135 CAD ($106 USD) includes shipping. First come first serve. Email me to purchase.

UPDATE July 7, 2015: SOLD

Package includes:

Frida doll in Tehuana headdress with pocket for prayer, worry and wish. Handsewn, my design. (see other details at LINK)

Fetal Frida doll. Handsewn, my design. (Yes, that is a sock umbilical cord) (see other details at LINK)

Frida portrait– chinamarker on newsprint. (see other details at LINK)

Frida chakra chart– chinamarker on newsprint. (see other details at LINK)

CONTACT KATARINA: EMAIL

  
    

Check out:

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10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Frida No. 6: Sock doll in Tehuana headdress

 I’m celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo.

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For 10 Tuesdays, I am creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo in some form/medium or another. It may be a drawing, an object, a doll, whatever… A surprise. I have been posting one a week.

Recall:

Frida No. 1: Sock Doll

Frida No. 2: The Dream

Frida No. 3: The Chakras

Frida No. 4: Frida and her magic cone of truth

Frida No. 5: A Coloring Page for You

FRIDA NO .6: SOCK DOLL IN TEHUANA HEADDRESS

Inspired by Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait, 1948, with Tehuana headdress

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This portrait sock doll measures about 14 inches long.  It is my own design and hand-sewn.

Materials: grey work sock with red detailing, black sock, embroidery thread, vintage crocheted cotton doily, vintage cotton material with pineapple print, vintage ribbon, polyester fibre stuffing, button.

I am taking custom orders for $69.00 each (plus $8 shipping) via PayPal. (allow three weeks for delivery; doll will have similar features but vintage items will vary).

    

NEXT WEEK I WILL BE POSTING ON MONDAY JULY 6, 2015 TO CELEBRATE FRIDAS’S BIRTHDAY.

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Art blog event. Frida No. 1: sock doll. #recycledcraft

I’m celebrating my blog with an art event.

The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo.

(How many of you that know me are right now rolling your eyes and saying, “duh”…!?!?  I realize I am a tad obsessed.)

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For the next 10 Tuesdays, I will be creating 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo in some form/medium or another.  It may be a drawing, an object, a doll, whatever…  A surprise.  I will be posting one a week.

These new and unique Frida arts and crafts are my own designs and will be for sale here on the blog for a special presale price before I put the item onto my online store.  The sale price for each product will last for one week, then it gets listed if not sold here.

Frida No. 1: the sock doll

This Frida is made out of 100% recycled, gently used product.  Her body is made from a work sock and her hair is made from a black sock.  Her skull face has a white sock as ground color.  The dia de los muertos/sugar skull face is embroidered.  All the thread is from my mom’s old sewing basket.  Her tattooed arms feature Frida portraits from discontinued socks from Haight and Ashbury, San Francisco.  Her dress is made from vintage materials and her flowers are made from an antique hand-crocheted doily.  The little lamb is made from an old blanket.   The doll is about 24 inches tall with skirt (body about 18 inches).

PRICE: $175.00 CAD (Shipping free in Canada).  Email me for purchasing details.

CONTACT KATARINA: Email

UPDATE May 27, 2015 : ITEM IS SOLD

     

   —

There is nothing more precious than laughter.

Frida Kahlo

 

Stay tuned for Operation Sock Monkey Handbook fundraising!

My personal mission is to awaken creative expression through local and global art initiatives.

One initiative partners me with Operation Sock Monkey to create a life skills and entrepreneurship handbook. Our goal is to implement local pilot projects in the Fall and to bring the work to New York City and San Francisco youth programs in Spring 2015 and then to South Africa September 2015.

Stay tuned for phase 1 fundraising! 

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Sock Monkey Life Skills Entrepreneurship Curriculum Development update!

Recall I am developing the following project:

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT SERIES 1:

THE @BY POSTSTREET

SOCK MONKEY

LIFE SKILLS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM

for youth groups, schools and community organizations

in partnership with OPERATION SOCK MONKEY

I am pleased that things are moving forward as intended!  Phase 1 is on track regarding community outreach and awareness.  I have confirmed that I am implementing a pilot project in the Fall in at least one local high school.   During the summer, I will be meeting with 7 local young women to work on the curriculum and product as well as discussing their participation as peer supporters in the pilot project.

The pilot project will consist of 10 sessions, at the end of which the participants will have created at least one sock monkey each as well as a group business plan based on Jennifer Lee’s Right Brain Business Plan.  The business plan creation will allow the students to learn life skills and entrepreneurship skills in a creative and fun and project-based way and the business plan will be displayed in a celebration event.  The process will demystify the language around business and will garner the students valuable learning experiences around social media and online marketing.  The pilot project will allow me to develop the ultimate workbook/workshop series and allow me to document and evaluate the program.

PILOT PROJECT FALL 2014

Each session includes: journaling, mind-mapping, drawing, product (sock monkey) making, business plan development, debriefing, independent and group work. 

Each session addresses various life skills and employment skills while using a project based learning model

Outcome: At least 1 sock monkey per student, business plan (group project), resume update, website launch, photo and video documentation, exhibit

  • SESSION 1 The Big Picture- the mission and the mantra
  • SESSION 2 Visions and Values- what do we stand for
  • SESSION 3 The Marketplace- where does our business fit in?
  • SESSION 4 Marketing- social media, blogging, connect with customers
  • SESSION 5 The Financials- budgeting, planning, projections
  • SESSION 6 The Team- mentors and support
  • SESSION 7 Action Steps- goals and strategies
  • SESSION 8 Momentum- operations, resume building, implementation
  • SESSION 9 The Business Plan- the group creative vision
  • SESSION 10 Celebration- unveiling, exhibiting, debriefing    

Topics covered will include:

What is the project?

What is an entrepreneur?

Student engagement through the arts

Career development model for all creative fields

Role of social media in marketing

Self-advocacy

Transferable skills

Workplace readiness

Micro-industry and sustainability

Local and global impact

For more info on Phases 1-5 go to:

LIFE SKILLS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM

Re: Phase 1, I still need to raise funds to build the program, gather supplies, work with my summer team and to become a licensed RIGHT BRAIN BUSINESS PLAN facilitator.

I am funding the development of Phase 1 through my arts and crafts sales and through donations.  I am extremely grateful for the support so far!  Your name is added to the donor list with each purchase/donation.

Here are various ways you can help:

1. DONATE:

paypal

2. PORTRAIT PURCHASE: sale runs until June 30, 2014

AD

3. PURCHASE CRAFTS ON MY ETSY SITE:

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 4. I’ll be announcing more fun stuff soon!!!

 

Love, Katarina

The inspiring work of @GlobalSorority @passionteams and @g4gcharity in Cape Town

 I am truly in awe of and inspired by the powerful work being done globally by my friends at

The Passion Foundation

Global Sorority

Girls 4 Girls

And I am delighted to see our Operation Sock Monkey sock monkeys at work on the ground in Cape Town!

Photos courtesy of Global Sorority and Passion Foundation:

"Today the young women joined the @globalsorority community. As a sign of sisterhood they gave each other a bracelet with an intent of good will that they voiced to the woman as they placed the bracelet on." - Loretta Cella
“Today the young women joined the @globalsorority community. As a sign of sisterhood they gave each other a bracelet with an intent of good will that they voiced to the woman as they placed the bracelet on.” – Loretta Cella
"The young women loving their sock monkeys!! " - Loretta Cella
“The young women loving their sock monkeys!! ” – Loretta Cella
"These girls loved their sock monkeys!!! The squeals and excited was amazing!" - Loretta Cella
“These girls loved their sock monkeys!!! The squeals and excited was amazing!” – Loretta Cella
"@vrybalka leading warm up this morning for @globalsorority #southafrica" - Loretta Cella
“@vrybalka leading warm up this morning for @globalsorority #southafrica” – Loretta Cella
"Young women of @globalsorority #southafrica working on their communication skills" - Loretta Cella
“Young women of @globalsorority #southafrica working on their communication skills” – Loretta Cella
"Sock monkey love #southafrica " - Loretta Cella
“Sock monkey love #southafrica ” – Loretta Cella
"Another awesome positive me #southafrica #leadershipdevelopment" - Loretta Cella
“Another awesome positive me #southafrica #leadershipdevelopment” – Loretta Cella
"Module 5: Cooperation #leadershipdevelopment #women" - Loretta Cella
“Module 5: Cooperation #leadershipdevelopment #women” – Loretta Cella
"Amazing courage shown today as the group writes down all their limitations and works to create change in their emotional and mental beings" - Loretta Cella
“Amazing courage shown today as the group writes down all their limitations and works to create change in their emotional and mental beings” – Loretta Cella
"Positive me drawing from one of the girls" - Loretta Cella
“Positive me drawing from one of the girls” – Loretta Cella
"A jump for joy after releasing their limitations and creating a new way of seeing themselves in this world" - Loretta Cella
“A jump for joy after releasing their limitations and creating a new way of seeing themselves in this world” – Loretta Cella

 

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OSM HANDBOOK LIFE SKILLS

CURRENTLY PLANNING NEXT STEPS AS I CONTINUE FUNDRAISING FOR

the Operation Sock Monkey Handbook

for youth groups, schools and community organizations

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GENERAL STRUCTURE FOR WORKBOOK:

• Sections

• Chapters

• Diagrams

• Photographs

• Resources

IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING LIFE SKILLS  [Source: Healing the Inner City Child]

“Life skills” are defined as psychosocial abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Life skills generally include 3 broad categories of skills:

• cognitive skills for analyzing and using information

• personal skills for developing personal agency and managing oneself, and

• inter-personal skills for communicating and interacting effectively with others.

During a successfully implemented creative arts program, participants generally:

  1. Engage in the program from beginning to end.
  2. Respond without physical or verbal aggression.
  3. Communicate effectively with instructors and peers.
  4. Cooperate with others in the group.
  5. Demonstrate ability to accept redirection.
  6. Demonstrate ability to share and take turns.
  7. Demonstrate appropriate use of equipment.
  8. Respect personal boundaries of peers and adults.
  9. Demonstrate creative solutions for problem solving.
  10. Demonstrate initiative and leadership skills.

REVIEW OF LIFE SKILLS/ EMPLOYMENT SKILLS TO BE ADDRESSED IN CURRICULUM IN A USER-FRIENDLY, REPLICABLE WAY:

  1. Learning and Problem Solving Skills, including: listening to understand and learn; reading, comprehending and using written materials; thinking critically and acting logically to evaluate situations, solve problems and make decisions; learning to access and apply specialized knowledge from various fields; and continuing to learn for life.
  2. Social Skills, such as: anger management; resolving conflict; addressing attachment, connection, peer awareness; working well with others; and developing a positive self-image.
  3. Personal Management Skills, including: creating a budget; money management; ; managing stress; and managing time.
  4. Development of Positive Attitudes and Behaviors, including: self-esteem and confidence; honesty, integrity and personal ethics; a positive attitude toward learning, growth and personal health; and initiative, energy, and persistence to get the job done.
  5. Personal Responsibility, including: the ability to set goals and priorities in work and personal life; the ability to plan and achieve goals; accountability for actions taken; adaptability; a positive attitude toward change; and the ability to identify and suggest new ideas to get the job done–creatively.
  6. Teamwork Skills, including: understanding and contributing to an organization’s goals; understanding and working within the culture of the group; planning and making decisions with others and supporting the outcomes; respecting the thoughts and opinions of others in a group; exercising “give and take” to achieve group results; leading where appropriate; and mobilizing the group for high performance.
  7. Project Management, including: project planning; group management; client relationship building; social media management; product photography; advertising; documentation; supply management; project execution; project delivery and project evaluation.

For more info go to:

LINK

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Writer, illustrator KAT THORSEN

MISSION: To awaken creative expression

VISION: To develop global art initiatives

MANTRA: I am an artist

@BYPOSTSTREET ART HOUSE CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT SERIES 1 PHASE 1

THE @BYPOSTSTREET ART HOUSE

GLOBAL: Creative Director, Anna Thorsen

LOCAL: Art Director, Kat Thorsen (Vancouver BC)

MISSION: To awaken creative expression

VISION: To develop global art initiatives

Art Events, Street Art, Apparel, Curriculum Development, Workshops, Workbooks, Speaker Series, Craftivism, Illustration, Portraiture, Documentaries, Graphic Novels

PRESENTS

Curriculum Development Series 1:

The @BY POSTSTREET

Sock Monkey

Life Skills and Entrepreneurship Program

for youth groups, schools and community organizations

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Phase 1:

Pilot Project Phase 1: May to June 2014

Introductory Message from Katarina Thorsen

In my role as art director at @bypoststreet, and as therapeutic art facilitator in the Lower Mainland, I am fulfilling my passion to awaken creative expression in everyone around me.  I do this through visual art, art facilitation, art events, street art, blogging, journaling and craftivism.  Especially sock monkeys.

Sock monkeys are a significant part of my work.  Perhaps my life’s work!

I have been delivering sock monkey therapy and workshops for years and there is nothing quite as magical as witnessing the smiles on participants as they awaken to the healing power of the sock monkey.   I use sock monkeys as part of my therapeutic art classes for at-risk youth and in my general art classes for all ages.  The process is quite miraculous.  The simple process of making a loveable creature allows for a moment of safety and caring.  The socialization and resulting dialogue is part of the magic.  Each stitch in a sock monkey contains thoughts, laughter, tears, dreams, horror, joy, secrets, trust etc.  The natural instinct for many is to want to make more and to share them.

There are so many stories:

H. using a sock monkey to comfort her as she testified in court against an abusive boyfriend.  T. making a sock monkey for his sick friend to take to treatment.  M., struggling with mental health issues, making sock monkeys with worn socks and dental floss and couch stuffing, bringing them to me to send to Africa.  C. using sock monkey making in her work with people living with Alzheimer’s.  A. making a sock monkey for her hero, after his mom passed away.  L. using sock monkeys to process trauma to face her abuser and to create dialogue and raise esteem in her peers.  H. interpreting her favorite artist’s work through sock monkeys then connecting with the artist through her micro-industry online sales and social media.  The entire school (Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary, North Vancouver) infused with sock monkey fever as we made 200 for Operation Sock Monkey.

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Lindsey Hodgson and her Operation Sock Monkey team working GLOBALLY,  delivering 1000’s of sock monkeys to children in South Africa, Nepal, India, Haiti, Northern Canada and more.  Passion Foundation bringing sock monkeys as comfort for young victims at a rape relief crisis center in Cape Town.  Families using sock monkeys to help comfort their terminally ill children and themselves.  The use of sock monkeys in attachment therapy with Clowns Without Borders.  Women in Woza Moya making an income through sock monkey making.

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Photo by Woza Moya Project

Little Maxx annually bringing smiles to children in a hospital in Philadelphia as he gathers sock monkey donations.

Photo courtesy of Operation Sock Monkey
Photo courtesy of Operation Sock Monkey

And the amount of people simply sewing a monkey to help them through emotional crises…

Heal monkey

It’s endless.  The feedback I get could fill a book and maybe it should.  It’s hard to imagine the actual number of people  who utilize the power of sock monkey  to make the world a better place.  And I am honored to be a small, albeit extremely passionate and vocal, member of that tribe.

I still make them on my own.  All the time.  I make them as my art.  They help me calm down.

Photo by Darcy Glip
Photo by Darcy Glip

I make them as a volunteer operative of Operation Sock Monkey.  I am passionate about spreading the word.  I get countless requests to teach sock monkey making.  But there is only one me, so my brother, filmmaker Fred Thorsen, created this wonderful video for me (originally offered as a class for Six Degrees of Creativity):

How To Make A Sock Monkey (HD) from Fredrik Thorsen on Vimeo.

But there is a whole new level of sock monkey therapy that I want to explore. 

• What

I want to develop a life skills/entrepreneurship curriculum/workbook/workshop to increase the extraordinary powerful impact of sock monkey making– a replicable model that allows youth groups, schools, community organizations and Operation Sock Monkey to use sock monkey therapy to create healing opportunities and to teach business skills, business planning and mind-mapping, essential life skills and the power of entrepreneurship through a  project-based learning model.    I want to develop a powerful, easy to use tool to deliver the life skills, to awaken creativity, to increase the production of sock monkeys for income and for charity.  The pilot project will involve seven local young women (graduates of my various youth-at-risk art programming) to test the curriculum and to help facilitate local workshops.

• Why now?

This is a critical time to begin the project as Christmas craft fairs are taking applications now for their 2014 tables, as schools are planning their 2014-2015 scheduling, as my team is ready to go, and as I have opened my life to this moment to dedicate my time to it.

I want to pay the fee to become a licensed Right Brain Business Plan facilitator to increase the power of the curriculum and to be able to expand the @bypoststreet curriculum event further.

I want the curriculum to be translatable and easy to deliver– locally and globally.

I am so tired of seeing cutbacks in programming, seeing schools and community programs have very little funding for workshop facilitators, yet desperate to bring them in.  I want to create an easy means for these organizations to utilize the curriculum I have created on their own.  I don’t want them to struggle financially to be able to deliver this powerful tool.  And I don’t want to have to struggle financially anymore due to programming cutbacks!

As I wrote already, there is only one me, so I want to spread the curriculum by “training the trainers.”

I have dedicated my life to awakening creative expression in others, and now is the time for me to increase the scope of that teaching, to utilize all my knowledge and to build a new career for myself where I actually make a living through sustainable curriculum development around creative expression (from sock monkeys, to visual art, art events, journaling, business development,  etc.).

I am the one to do this.  I got this.  You know I do!

Teaching my nephew Henrik how to sew.  Photo by Darcy Glip.
Teaching my nephew Henrik how to sew. Photo by Darcy Glip.

• How?

I NEED YOUR HELP.

I am looking to raise immediate funds to begin this critical phase to be able to focus on it fully in May and June.  If you have been touched by the work that I do, and would like to see this project come to fruition, please donate.

CURRENTLY FUNDRAISING FOR PHASE 1:

a. Develop the curriculum covering:

Creative Expression, Therapeutic Groups, Art Techniques, Project-based Learning, Employment Skills, Life Skills, Entrepreneurship, Mindmapping, Business Plans, Community Outreach, Operation Sock Monkey, Social Media

b. Right Brain Business Plan Facilitator License– for @bypoststreet Art Director, Katarina Thorsen

c. Develop Pitch and Power Point Presentation

d. Christmas Craft Show application fees

e. Initial Team Development

f. Community Partnerships and Grant Applications

IMMEDIATE and URGENT GOAL: $980

DONATE:

paypal

All donors will be acknowledged on website and in workbook.

Donations of $55 or more will receive a handmade sock monkey with “YES” on it’s belly!

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NEXT STEPS:

Phase 2:

July-October 2014

• Implement Pilot Project with group of seven local young women.

• Provide honorariums to pilot project team.

• Test curriculum, document and evaluate.

• Develop community partnerships (including- Operation Sock MonkeyPassion FoundationGlobal SororityGirls4GirlsMountainside Secondary SchoolByrne Creek Secondary SchoolNorth Shore Neighborhood HouseSquamish NationHawthorne Care Centre)

• Grant applications.

Loretta Cella, Passion Foundation, with sock monkeys headed to South Africa as part of Loretta's work at Patch Centre.
Loretta Cella, Passion Foundation, with sock monkeys headed to South Africa as part of Loretta’s work at Patch Centre.

Phase 3:

October 2014- January 2015

• Create a sustainable model and workbook.

• Create website.

• “Train the trainers” workshop series.

• School and community workshops, craft shows and online sales.

• Community outreach.

• Evaluate.

Phase 4:

Early 2015

• Workshop and speakers series.

• Community collaboration.

• Global outreach- initial cities New York (Harlem Children’s Zone) and San Francisco (The Centre for Young Women’s Development).

• Evaluate sustainable model.

Phase 5:

Fall 2015

• Expand curriculum series to include visual art, street art initiatives, interactive art projects,  journaling, intergenerational projects, and project based learning.

• Expand global outreach to South Africa (Woza Moya).

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