Wish and Doll Making Inspiration

June 19, 2011

During my art therapy supervision group this week-end, one of the group members introduced us to an easy way to create a fabric wish doll, inspired by the below tutorial and presented by Art Therapist Margaret Nowak.  Margaret uses the intervention in her art therapy work with cancer patients.  Check it out:

Wishes are written on a half of sheet of paper and then crumbled up into a ball to create the doll’s head. I chose thick and fuzzy ivory yarn to wrap the body over the cotton cloth, a metal heart button to embellish the doll’s center, turquoise yarn for hair, and then added a little paint, collage, and stamping.

This doll making process was much fun to do!  I found the repetitive action of wrapping the doll’s body soothing and relaxing, as well as appreciated the simple steps and material use to form the doll’s foundation.

Thanks to Mary for bringing the materials needed to start off our doll-making process, introducing us to Margaret’s work, and to the University of Michigan Health System for posting Margaret’s inspiring how to idea!  Love it!

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4 Responses to “Wish and Doll Making Inspiration”

  1. Rosie Says:

    thanks what a beautiful idea Gretchen! I like the idea of the wishes being part of the actual doll, that is cool.
    have a lovely week there!

  2. Jen Says:

    I first saw art therapist Liz Hartz present this exact techinque at a BATA Symposium about 10 years ago. I think it is her idea, originally. She presented it relevent to her work with troubled adolescent girls. I have used it with some female adult medical patients, and myself in the BATA workshop; really a powerful proceess. Nice to see it again in the video.


  3. that’s a lovely idea and a really easy way to make a doll without sewing. Thanks Gretchan!


  4. There’s also been a mention from an art therapist in The Art Therapy Alliance’s Material & Media in Art Therapy subgroup on LinkedIn that she learned this technique 15 years ago from an art therapist in Louisville, KY, who learned about it from a workshop held in California… So who knows who first created the technique and concept– 🙂 It’s definitely clear this simple doll is something that many in the art therapy community love, continue to use, and share… I love that social networking makes it so easy to access idea sharing…


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