Tape-imals

The art room at the Methodist Children’s clinic is currently overrun with tape animals (and a few other interesting creatures), and they have created quite a buzz among everyone who sees them!

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A young college student visited our clinic one day to learn more about art therapy and specifically how Tracy’s Kids operates.  While she sat in the art room, getting to know some of the kids, she showed us how to make sculptures out of paper and masking tape.  The kids and I were enthralled.  The construction is simple, but really require a lot of patience and problem-solving to get the desired effect.  It’s a great project for families to do together, because sometimes you need extra hands.

All you need is paper, masking tape, and paint.  Regular masking tape works the best.  We started with painter’s tape because I had it on hand, but it doesn’t stick very well (by design), even though it IS  a fun blue color.  The paper is easiest to sculpt if it’s on the thin side, like copy paper.  This could be a great use for extra sheets of paper that are often floating around hospital clinics.  Crumple the paper and work it with your hands until you get the desired shape, then wrap in several layers of tape.  If you do make an animal – or anything with limbs and parts that stick out – it works best to do it in pieces, and then join them together.  Most kids decide to paint the sculptures at the end, but it’s up to them!

I am a big fan of any art that is cheap to create.  As an added bonus, despite their use of simple materials, the end-result looks really special.  I love the attention they get from everyone in the clinic – doctors and nurses and everyone who happens by all “ooh” and”ahh” over them, to the kids’ delight.

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Yes, that is the Pillsbury Doughboy!

Friends of Tracy’s Kids

rowdy readers

Often times we have families and friends of families ask to give donations specifically to Tracy’s Kids. Not only do people love the program and see the benefits every day, but they love that the money will go to something very visible and tangible – art supplies! Obviously, the donations help pay our salaries and make our jobs possible, as well, but seeing the product of their contributions – the kid’s wonderful art – is very gratifying for the donors.

Last month, I was surprised instead by one of our staff members – an awesome nurse named Anita – and her book club with a check for $100. The individuals in the club – the San Antonio Rowdy Readers – donate $1 each meeting, then give whatever they collect at the end of the year to an organization or cause that they want to help. This year, that recipient was me and Tracy’s Kids! It was such a treat and a testament not only to the impact of art therapy on patients AND staff, but also to how dedicated our nurses are to improving our kids’ lives.

Thanks Anita and the San Antonio Rowdy Readers! And thank you to everyone who gives to our program.  It makes a difference you can see.

Felted Scarves

One afternoon the clinic emptied out a little early, so we invited the doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplain to an impromptu felting workshop. We had been experimenting with felting techniques, and found the process to be fun and relaxing and the results dependably good, even for first-time felters. For the oncology clinic staff, the chance to engage in a little creative play can be a great stress-buster.

 We took over the art tables and showed everyone how to lay out small strands of roving in several layers and felt them using hot, soapy water and friction to create beautiful scarves. It was pretty amazing to see the variety of designs, and how individual everyone’s piece was. We took a “class photo” of our finished scarves–we think they’re inspirational!

You can learn a lot about felting on the internet. We have found that websites that sell felting supplies (Outback Fibers and Dharma Trading often have excellent tutorials on their sites. Happy Felting!