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Creative ID: 191

Art form(s): Craft/Object, Visual Arts.

Based in: Beckenham, Christchurch.

When I'm available: I am available throughout 2020 and onwards, any time on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. If Wednesdays and Fridays are preferable, I can rearrange my current commitments on those days.

Where I'm available: Anywhere within and near to Christchurch.

My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)

I create heirloom dolls and have been teaching doll making for the last four years to people of all ages. The dolls are made from all-natural, re-purposed materials using self-sufficient means such as hand stitching and using hand-crank sewing machines. Each doll is created with positive intentions and a handwritten message inside, to inspire courage and inner strength. Students will learn the history and craft of doll making, exploring folklore, cultural and ancient religious understandings of dolls. Each week we will work on our dolls, from cutting out the patterns, sewing, stuffing, assembling, hair, face details and outfits. Students will come away with an empowered understanding of doll making, sewing and stitching, creating with the resources we have around us, re-purposing materials, and the joy of creating. I teach a variety of doll styles, suitable for various age groups.

My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with

My doll making has received numerous local, national and international recognition, such as being featured in various print publications and on Radio NZ, as well as my talk at the Necessary Traditions Festival in 2018. I have taught group workshops at Arts Therapy Conferences 2016 and 2019, and currently teach doll making weekly at an Arts Centre in Christchurch. I am currently a Masters student of Arts Therapy with Whitecliffe College. Through Arts Therapy I have studied the therapeutic benefits of crafting by hand, for self-regulation, mindfulness, self-understanding and exploration, as well as for processing trauma. I teach doll making with an underlying therapeutic understanding, to assist students in their self-development and growth as self-expressed, confident individuals. Dolls are also recognised within psychology as transitional objects, helpful for young people in the process of growing into their own autonomy.

Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes

As an Arts Therapist student I am currently in placement working with young people between the ages of 10 and 16 years in a one to one therapeutic setting. I have a practical understanding of working with youth, working through issues, building confidence and self-expression, through communication and connection. I also am training in working with anxiety, depression, as well as other issues affecting young people, particularly the youth of Christchurch. Weekly I teach doll making and other resourceful skills workshops, with participants ranging from pre-school to elderly. I also work with people with intellectual disabilities. My various work experiences have me feeling confident to work with young people teaching craft and creativity. Themes that may be of interest to young people that are part of my doll making teaching include de-stressing, crafting through anxiety, creating beautiful gifts, telling your story, self-sustainability and resourcefulness, and self-expression.

Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice

I am passionate about sharing the craft of doll making as I have experienced profound feedback from the numerous people I have taught thus far, and the inner joy the process of doll making brings. I have also seen the significance understanding hand-stitching and sewing offers, there's a lot one can create when they know how to sew. I'm often surprised to find many young people today don't know how to thread a needle or tie a knot! Studies are showing the importance of young people using their fine motor skills and their hands in this digital age, and our world is showing the need to return to more handmade creativity and resourcefulness for our own well-being, as well as that of our planet. My hope is to work with the young people of Otautahi Christchurch, both as an artist and arts therapist, and therefore Creatives in Schools facilitates exactly what I seek to do.

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