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

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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.

The Heron Feathers: 100 Herons Art Project

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THE PROJECT: 

I am creating of twelve 20″ x 30″ panels depicting a total 100 Herons [between June 14 to July 31, 2017].  

For every $25 raised I will draw a heron!

THE SPONSORED ART will allow me to develop and provide much-needed FREE ART LESSONS for REFUGEE YOUTH from war-torn countries at a Lower Mainland program in July and August.

DONATION BUTTON:

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I will be drawing a heron for every $25 raised!

Any amount welcome!  Donors of $10.00 CAD or more can choose to have their name and/or a special message woven into Heron nest imagery in the panels.

You can donate via PayPal or email transfer britakatarina@gmail.com.  I can provide receipts.

Check the panels at:

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I currently have several 20″ x 30″ panels in progress.  They are being embroidered and embellished.  They will be exhibited at various community events in August!

INTERESTED IN PRE-PURCHASING PANELS?

The panels are being made available for pre-purchase on my ETSY site:

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READ MORE AT: 100 HERONS

The art is drawn in my signature style–

 

 

– then collaged onto 20″ x 30″ foam board panels–

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PANEL 1 IN PROGRESS

– and embroidered with additions of discarded nest sticks, found feathers, string, beads, and sponsor names.

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Yesterday, I took a walk to the heron nests with my friend Darcy to look for some feathers in the grass for collaging…

Usually I find one or two heron feathers.  Well, we came across a LARGE pile of scattered heron feathers– obviously from a heron who lost its life to a predator.  A teen heron perhaps?  Of course I had to gather as many as I could– thanking and honoring the heron’s life by incorporating the feathers into the art.

A feather from a heron symbolizes patience, grace and confidence…

I took the feathers home, soaked them in gentle detergent to clean and disinfect, and laid them out on newsprint to dry them.  I then categorized them and collected them into mason jars.

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For I need to SPEAK FREELY. Without restraint…

So, I’ve been doing a lot of chatting in the past few days about my passion project: Molly- a true crime analysis:

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I’ve been chatting, speaking, blabbing, vomiting words with friends and family about it, at the dinner table, over the phone, even on the radio—

Check out my INTERVIEW about Molly- a true crime analysis from January 20, 2017 Radio Interview on ESSENCEtial Conversations CJSF 90.1 FM with hosts Rebecca Mears (catchingfire.ca) and Lucca Hallex (powersourcerer.com):

Somehow, I have NO PROBLEM chatting away here on this blog, sharing verbosity without fear—

And I have no problem, indeed it is my mission, encouraging others to speak as I capture dialogue of participants when I mind map and co-faciliate- I want to make it safe for you to speak freely—

 Then why- when I speak out loud, sharing my passion, does a voice inside my head try to shush me?  Why does this voice tell me I am talking too much?  Why is it telling me to not take up airspace, to not waste people’s time?  Who is that voice?   Why is it asking me to be apologetic?  Is it still that teen that wanders around aimlessly in my brain?

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Recall:

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But, on this weekend, of all weekends, as millions of women (and supporters) MARCHED- why would I listen to that voice?   What events in my past have trained me to listen to that voice at all?

Instead of marching Saturday morning here in Vancouver, I was busy finalizing my latest section of Molly.  I knew that for me, working on Molly was the “march” I personally needed to do for myself- to fulfill this commitment I have made.

So shush, wandering teen, you shush.  For I need to SPEAK FREELY.  Without restraint, constraint.  I deserve it.

“Continue to embrace the things that make you unique even if it makes others uncomfortable. You are enough. And whenever you’re feeling doubt, whenever you want to give up, you must always remember to choose freedom over fear.” – Janelle Monae at Women’s March on Washington, January 20, 2017.

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Check out:

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Eliza’s Story

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“210 years later, Eliza Hamilton’s orphanage — now a family services agency called Graham Windham — is still helping kids get their shot.  Graham Windham serves over 4,500 kids and families each year.  Just like Eliza’s husband, these kids survived a tough start in life.  Graham Windham provides services like family counseling and treatment, after school academic support, health services, and other services that help kids thrive into adulthood.”

– ELIZA’S STORY

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I am SO EXCITED to be connecting with this incredible organization that is so aligned with all my passion and values.

I am buzzing with excitement that plans are in the works to bring sock monkey therapy and creative engagement to Graham Windham when I visit NYC July 2017 (when I go see Hamilton: An American Musical with my daughter who gifted me a ticket! AAAAAAH!!!).

Here is my specially requested portrait of Eliza Hamilton for Graham Windham:

Her eyes “betokened a sharp intelligence [and] a fiercely indominable spirit,” [Ron] Chernow writes in the biography. – smithsonian.com

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Grieving, but now out of her husband’s shadow, Elizabeth threw herself into charity work inspired by her Christian faith and her husband’s upbringing. She and two other women founded the Orphan Asylum Society, New York City’s first private orphanage, in 1806. She served as its second directress until 1821 and then first directress until 1848, raising funds, collecting donated goods, and supervising the care and education of at least 765 children. – smithsonian.com

Spreading sock monkey love is one of my favorite things:

 

Check out:

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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!

Inspiring program: Work2Give via @PunkyLake

It was such a delight to meet the extraordinary Sarah Jackman of Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society http://punkylake.com/ on March 15, 2016 as we presented together our experiences in restorative practices in CRIM 442 at SFU.

My name is Sarah Jackman and I am the Executive Director of the Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society.

I was born and raised in the west Chilcotin and though I’ve since moved into Williams Lake I still have very close ties to the area.  My family has lived in the Chilcotin since 1950 operating a fishing lodge, guiding business and, a cattle ranch.

I accepted the position as Executive Director for PLWCS in August 2012 and have enjoyed my experiences here immensely. This position also allows me to sit on the Boards of other groups with similar goals and like-minded missions such as the Canadian Restorative Justice Consortium and Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Williams Lake.  The growth and development I’ve witnessed in all aspects of our programs, our staff, and most importantly in the community members we serve has been remarkable.

Our goals at PLWCS are to promote and build self-worth, leadership, experiences of culture, and, healthy, strong life choices in the youth of our communities and in the communities themselves as a whole.  I believe very strongly in both the Youth Success Program as well as the Tsilhqot’in Restorative Justice Program that we offer.

I am honoured to be a part of this team and these goals. – Sarah Jackman

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I am blown away by Sarah and the incredible work she is facilitating and leading in the Chilcotin region and within prisons in the Lower Mainland.

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I am particularly moved by the Work2Give program:

The Work to Give Project, a partnership between the Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society and Corrections Services Canada, is an initiative designed to provide incarcerated offenders with employment skills while contributing to low income communities and families.

Check out:

 

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And- OMG- they make sock monkeys!!!!!!!!   My heart!!!!!  Sarah sent me a calendar!  Look!!!!

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Looking forward to developing some collaborative projects with Sarah and Punky Lake!

The sock monkey and the paper dress.

 I love making paper dresses!

Check out:

I’m obsessed with my paper dress

The bypoststreet paper dress

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My dress hangs there

I finally made one for a sock monkey.

Surprised that it took me so long!

Not sure why it is so satisfying, but it is!

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The classic sock monkey is made out of luscious work socks.

The paper dress dress is double sided with original chinamarker drawings (front portrait of a hedgehog on a rose and back- a Daniel Clowes inspired fan art portrait of Little Enid from Ghost World).

The monkey measures about 14″ high.

Proceeds support sock monkey therapy with local at-risk youth!

Available on my ETSY site:

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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!

See selection at:iusb_760x100.14271221_keu7

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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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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]


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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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Craft: three birds, two monkeys, one tea towel. 

   This cozy sock monkey measures 18 inches tall and wears a tea towel dress and a little bird on her head.  Let her accompany you in your kitchen; she’s washable- so let her infuse your kitchen with magic as you wipe your hands on her dress.  The little blue bird adds an extra delight and spice.

Now available on ETSY: LINK

This adorable little monkey is accompanied by two birds.  He measures approximately 12 inches tall.  He’s super cuddly and a real good luck charm. His friendly demeanour is ready to soak up any anxieties and the birds will safely process all your worries.

Now available on ETSY: LINK

    

200 + sock monkeys for Nepal event! Operation Sock Monkey for KYT Foundation. 

 

Operation Sock Monkey Western Division is embarking on a Summer journey to create 200 + sock monkeys that will be sold to benefit the KYT FOUNDATION a Vancouver, B.C.-based non-profit established to bring flowing water to a remote Nepali village in the Kabre Palanchowk District; Healay Chaubas.  The village is now rebuilding after the earthquake and is in urgent need of help.

Kamala’s dream to bring water to her village has been in progress since her father’s passing 5 years ago.  But after the devastating earthquake, 80% of the buildings in Kamala’s village have been ruined and the residents now sleep in the fields.  As the residents begin the difficult task of rebuilding, this is the optimum time to bring in a water pipeline as infrastructure is reevaluated.

Photo via KYT Foundation

Photos courtesy KYT Foundation

Photo courtesy of Kamala Yonzon

Photo courtesy of Kamala Yonzon

I want to help in a substantial way while at the same time creating healing projects in our local community.  Nothing is quite as healing as sewing a sock monkey!

And having a goal of 200 monkeys truly lights the fire!

Operation Sock Monkey, Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School 2010
Operation Sock Monkey, Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School 2010
Operation Sock Monkey, Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School 2010
Operation Sock Monkey, Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School 2010

I’ll be coordinating my teams of sock monkey makers (of all ages) in my local circles in Vancouver, BC- we’ll work individually and in groups and host sock monkeys sew-ins.  The goal is to collect 200 monkeys as a group for a major craft sale.  Additional monkeys will also be up for adoption/sponsorship starting now and will be sent to the village to do healing work on the ground.

$20 from the sale of each monkey will be donated directly to the KYT FOUNDATION

HOW YOU CAN HELP/JOIN!

1. Sponsor a sock monkey$10. You’ll receive a picture of the sock monkey and your name and message will be added to the sock monkey’s tag.  Sponsored sock monkeys will be collected and sent to Kamala’s village in the Fall.

Click on this button:

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2. Donate $ for supplies and snacks and shipping costs– we are volunteers and gather our own supplies and host workshops in homes and at schools.  We could use $ to purchase supplies like sock, stuffing and to cover shipping costs.

Click on this button:

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3. Make a sock monkey and send it to us to join the group of 200!  Message me for my address as I will be collecting them!

Here’s how you make one:

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

4. Donate $ directly to the KYT FOUNDATION on their site to directly support Kamala’s cause

5. Donate $ directly to Operation Sock Monkey to support of ongoing craftivism projects around the world.

Kamala and Sunkosi of the KYT Foundation (china marker on newsprint)
Rhododendron- the national flower of Nepal
Monkey 1 of 200!

       

 

 

Team Nepal is growing! The 200 sock monkey (plus maybe a few pigs and pugs) event has begun!

Pictured here: human sock dolls by Shan, white sock monkey plus pigs by Mary Ann, clown by Tyanna! Striped monkey is The ambassador (No. 1 of 200)!

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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@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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