This past Sunday morning- hanging out on Vancouver Island, my 4 friends and I had a hankering to create sock pigs. There is such magic in sitting around the dining room table at my friends’ house, surrounded by crafting supplies creating. We laugh, we go deep, we eat, we drink coffee, we share time. It is a SAFE SPACE.
But why the sock pig specifically this time?
I am a big fan of looking at symbolism. It’s such a fun instigator of self-reflection.
The Pig Spirit Animal also symbolizes your ability to stand on your own two feet, weather the storm and come out even better than before. Pig does not allow for self-righteousness, but rather a quiet self-awareness that taps into ingenuity so you can turn on a dime without falling over.
When Pig roots around in your soul, it can be a sign that NOW is the time to move forward! Pigs never root while moving backwards – only forward. They have a nose for opportunity. Make the most of the landscape in front of you. If it is not yielding the nourishment you desire, move on – find another patch of ground to explore. [SOURCE]
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.
So I put away my other work and focused on a full on production day yesterday making my signature sock pugs!
I wondered what a group of pugs is called… OMG:
“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
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!
– Participants ages ranged from teenagers – 97 years old(!)
– Everyone completed a sock monkey!
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.
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!
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:
Personalized Hand-drawn Chakra Chart
Chakra Healing Sock Monkey
Embroidered Centering Heart
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
And thank you to our beloved customers and donors whose generosity keeps us going!
This is such a feel-good craftivist movement for everyone involved!!!
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.
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
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
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.
—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.
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
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)
I am often drawn to children’s books- the whimsy, the colors… but what truly drew me to the table of Inspector Pancakes was the clever and very simple marketing tools. Big sign, simple layout, a few clear offerings, elevator pitch… I took note.
It was somewhat unusual to have a “children’s” book per se in a room full of independent comic book artists. But the book is more than that. It has a parallel adult story line in fine print (though I know my three year old nephew would demand to know what it says) and audio. And it is about crime investigation and murder mystery. And it’s edgy! Hello!
“Written by Karla Pacheco and beautifully illustrated by Maren Marmulla, this 18 page atrocity follows the adventures of an adorable dog helping the President of France solve a series of horrific murders. At least it does if you’re an adult. If you’re reading this to a child you’ll be learning terribly inaccurate things about France while a dog in a hat looks for a croissant.” – SOURCE
Unfortunately, I didn’t pick up a copy of the book- my budget very limited and strategic (sort of)… but…
Being a crafter, I HAD to have the make your own stuffed Inspector Pancakes merch. Duh. Again, I took note.
My personal therapy is randomly picking up an old scrap, grabbing needle and thread and seeing what happens. In this case, I was donated a cozy pair of wooly socks and their color just told me- make a sparrow.
“The sparrow reflects self-worth. If a Sparrow totem has entered your life, ask yourself if you know your own self-worth. The sparrow will show you that even a common little bird can triumph. The song sparrow reflects the chakra energy awakening from the heart and throat. It reminds us to sing out our own song of dignity and self-worth.”
What is it about a bin of sewing supplies and some scrap cloth that tug at my heart and leads me to create something out of seemingly nothing?
What is it that I get out of making cute animals? Drawing them?
Why do I anthropomorphize them?
Why is it so comforting? So healing?
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.
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.
Little Maxx annually bringing smiles to children in a hospital in Philadelphia as he gathers sock monkey donations.
And the amount of people simply sewing a monkey to help them through emotional crises…
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.
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):
But there is a whole new level of sock monkey therapy that I want to explore.
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!
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