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.
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.
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.
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!
These crazy little sock owls are wonderful for creating dialogue around the craft table!
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—
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…
Canucks Autism Network:
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.
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.
Sophia with a GIANT batch of sock monkey ready to handout at Canuck Place! (August 2016)
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.
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:
Photo by Denise Levine
Go to Operation Sock Monkey for more information on how you can support this amazing global initiative!
Here’s my HOW TO MAKE A SOCK MONKEY video created by my awesome brother, Fredrik Thorsen:
My students and I started this mural in the art therapy room at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary in North Vancouver in 2009… and on July 5, 2011, I dragged it to Kirkstone Park, North Vancouver…
Here’s a photo journey of our interpretation! Thanks one and all who contributed to the piece!
On October 28, 2011, the mural was donated to YOUTHCO.
Please help us double our goal!
This post is dedicated to all the staff and students of Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School
Alicia and I began the process of saying thank you and goodbye to a special place by covering it with our art… This building will be torn down.
This is where I worked with so many incredible students and staff. New chapters have started for everyone. But it felt important for Alicia and I to go back. We are following a call to add to the dialogue. This is just a small start:
See more about our wheatpaste art:
Smith, K. (2007) The Guerilla Art Kit, New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press
Week 9 Part 3 Sue Coe
What draws me to Sue Coe’s work is the freedom in her truth telling. Her technique reflects the message and there is an ease to how she produces her work while at the same time she hammers her message home. She is her art.
We despair for the fate of animals, the senseless cruelties inflicted upon them by our species, their and our own helplessness in the face of mass slaughter — all this is true. And if we could really see what we have done to the earth, we would go mad.
Alongside that is yet another truth: there is a palpable goodness all around us, even in the most terrible times, that all things point to, like the north star. – SUE COE, Dead Meat
Who, in your life, would you like to celebrate as a truth teller? Who is transparent and daring and willing to bare their soul, and simply live in the truth?
Sabrina Lalonde Artist Story:
I think that some people are born with a special talent, and some people have to take an interest and work at it. When I look at my artwork from when I was little, it is the same as the other kids. But then I took an interest and I have worked at my art every day.
When I first started kindergarten and we had a choice of activities I always chose art. My dad wanted me to be artistic because he was, he didn’t force me, but he did encourage me. By grade four my enjoyment of art had become a need. I didn’t fit into any cliques and so I would stay inside and do art all the time. My teacher started noticing how much I liked art and how I took to it. My parents came to school and saw my art and said ‘wow – this is turning into something’. My mom has always valued, and respected my artistic need.
It felt nerve-racking because people had high expectations of me. It still feels like that – people will compliment me, or make requests – and I put pressure on myself.
This is just who I am, this is what I do, I don’t think my work is any better or worse than anyone else’s. Art is essential to my survival. It is my way of expressing my feelings, and how I look at life, and if I don’t get that out it’s like an implosion. If I’m not creating I will get frustrated with everything because I can’t get my voice out. When I can’t get my voice out I feel horrible, I feel as though I have pent up energy and I’m tied to a couch, it’s like a feeling of helplessness. Drawing is my zen-zone where I find myself. It is peace to me. It is my way of connecting with myself.
My portrait of Sabrina, June 2011 at the Savary Island Art Retreat: