“Covid Crafting Therapy” is my ongoing personal process for relaxation, a type of journaling, a type of meditation. Every stitch a thought. It’s different from drawing, painting, writing. I’m not trying to find the style, the form, the character. I’m not trying find the perfect color, the perfect brush stroke. The perfect narrative. Crafting just… is.
The Little My Pillow
Little My, character from the Moomin stories by Tove Jansson, is a personal obsession. I draw her continuously. I aspire to be like her, though, according to all the Moomin personality quizzes I have taken, I am Snufkin.
I love drawing on cloth or layers of paper and embroidering along the lines. No end product in mind. No rush. Just a place to land those thoughts. This project (using an old tablecloth as canvas) has become a pillow. (still in progress)
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!
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.
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…
“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.”
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
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:
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.
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.
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 her beautiful spirit, I am taking ordersfor my unique handmade Dia de Lost Muertos sock monkeys.
On sale for only $43 CAD (include shipping fee) until Midnight!!!
These sock monkeys are super cuddly grieving tools. I find them so comforting to make and to hold. Each one is one of a kind and comes with a hand-drawn embroidered sugar skull face (each one unique), a simple flower crown, plus a vintage flannel material skirt and a small original sketch of the sock monkey.
Email transfers only to firstname.lastname@example.org. Expect 2-3 weeks for delivery.
INSIDE OUT PROJECT: OWN YOUR JOURNEY- Breaking the cycle of violence through creativity
Inside Out Project – Own Your Journey SUMMER 2015is 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.
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!
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
Photos courtesy KYT Foundation
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!
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.
$20from 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:
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:
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!
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.)
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.
Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, and The Social Life’s Anna T Fabulous and Joshua Langston. China marker, acrylix, fx on newsprint
Umm…it’s DECEMBER. Can you believe?? We can’t. So in order to deal with it, The Social Life is going to celebrate, and celebrate BIG! We introduce to you the #24DaysofTSL. Starting Dec 1 until Dec 24 we will be hosting a contest-per-day, featuring well known characters of the fashion industry in holiday form hand drawn by Kat Thorsen! Each day we’ll be giving away prizes from the cities of Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York!
My Dad is a consummate documentarian. This has always been part of his artistic expression. His photo albums, since his teenage years, are detailed accounts of his life and adventures.
I promised him to keep taking photos during this final chapter. Dad is winding down now. Dad’s breathing continues, slow, deep, intermittent. He is surrounded by love.
I spent a quiet evening by myself with Dad last night, cleaning his room, reading a Swedish children’s book to him and, as he asked, taking photos. I get it. It feels empowering to strip away the filter of fear and truly SEE the beauty of the journey.
Oh my- anxious evening… my head swims with to-dos and self-criticism. So before I do anything more, I will pause and simply draw. Draw what I love, and for those of you that know me, you know that means: SOCK MONKEYS. My daughter, Anna, gave me this delightful book for Christmas: SOCK MONKEY (Publisher teNeues)
In the spirit of Lynda Barry, I’ll draw on lined paper… I wish I had yellow- but oh well! 5-10 minutes, 6B pencil…
For a few minutes, I stopped thinking… so success. I also watched CUTE WITH CHRIS while drawing… highly recommend it! 🙂
If you pick up a pencil and put it to paper to quell anxiety, share with me! I’ll post!