Summer Camp Sock Monkeys & Service

I spent some time this past week teaching a group of youth ages 8-15 how to make sock monkeys as part of Ursuline ArtSpace’s Fashion Camp- It was so much fun!

a day camp for inner city youth ages 8-17 years old. – See more at:
Summer Camp Sock Monkeys & Service | creativity in motion
Sock monkeys waiting to be born

After seeing the group of sock monkey my art therapy graduate students created last year for Operation Sock Monkey, the Camp’s Director and ArtSpace Founder Sister Kathleen Burke wanted this year’s creative campers to not only learn how to create a sock monkey as part of their summer camp experience, but to also donate what they created to a child in need of some sock monkey love.

Summer Camp Sock Monkeys & Service | creativity in motion
Summer Camp Sock Monkey Sewing

Over three days, the group learned the basics of how to handsew a sock monkey using the variety of knee high and calf length socks I’ve been collecting over the last year for this very occasion.  ArtSpace Camp Staff and Volunteers Emily, Amanda, Jessica, Brandy, Keith, Cathy, & Rita were a huge, invaluable help in assisting everyone with the sewing details and logistics throughout the week- Thank you!

Summer Camp Sock Monkeys & Service | creativity in motion
Sock monkeys and their Fabulous Fashionista Creators ready to walk the runway

To celebrate all the fabulous fashion related creations made throughout the week (dresses, bags, scarves, hats & more!), the last day of camp closed with a Fashion Runway show, which also included sock monkeys!  I loved seeing this final part!

Sock monkeys ready to go to Camp Heroes!
Sock monkeys ready to go to Camp Heroes!

In July, I’ll be taking these sock monkeys to Cornerstone of Hope’s Camp Heroes-  a bereavement day camp for inner city youth ages 8-17.

It was such a pleasure to work with this group of young ladies and the ArtSpace staff on this project– thank you for all your hard work, generosity, and creativity!

If you’re interested in learning how to make your own sock monkey, check out the video that taught me (from my sock monkey hero and art therapist Kat Thorsen)!


Related Posts:

The Joy of Sock Monkey Making

Craftivism Inspiration

Sewing, Swapping, & Service

a day camp for inner city youth ages 8-17 years old. – See more at:
a day camp for inner city youth ages 8-17 years old. – See more at:
Camp Heroes is a day camp for inner city youth ages 8-17 years old. – See more at:
Camp Heroes is a day camp for inner city youth ages 8-17 years old. – See more at:



Calling Sock Monkey Makers!

Calling sock monkey makers: I’m organizing the 3rd Annual 6 Degrees of Creativity Sock Monkey Swap!

Everyone who signs up for the sock monkey swap will be randomly paired with another sock monkey maker.  You’ll be making one sock monkey for someone, and someone will be making one for you. To sign up for the swap, e-mail your full name and a mailing address to me at by November 25, 2013. During the week of November 25, you will receive mailing info from me on where to mail your sock monkey to. Please note you are responsible for postage, which could be to an international destination. Please don’t sign up for the exchange unless you are committed to the swap and following through. All sock monkeys should be mailed out by December 16, 2013 to their new home.

Need sock monkey making information and tutorials?  Check out this post from last year’s swap, as well as Operation Sock Monkey’s (OSM) step by step on how to build your own sock monkey.

Call for Sock Monkeys: Sock Monkey Swap 2013
It’s time for another sock monkey swap!

I also recommend checking out this content prepared by SIUE Master’s Art Therapy Counseling students Clarissa Weltzin and Renee Tate about the benefits of making sock monkeys for self care and their written sock monkey instructions.  Both Clarissa and Renee participated in last year’s 6 Degrees of Creativity sock monkey swap and service project for OSM. It was a pleasure to see their poster session, “The Fuzzies of Self Care: No Room for Sock Monkeyin’ Around” presented at the Illinois Art Therapy Association Conference last month!

Holiday Happening: Sock Monkeys for OSM
Holiday Happening: Sock Monkeys for OSM | creativity in motion

For some local art therapy & sock monkey making here in Cleveland, Ursuline College’s Art Therapy & Counseling Program will host sock monkey making as part of their Annual Holiday Happening on December 14. I’ll be demonstrating how to make sock monkeys and bringing sock monkey supplies to add to the afternoon’s festivities!  Sock monkeys created will then be donated to OSM to help serve children and families in need.  Read about previous sock monkey making from Art Therapy and Counseling students at Ursuline College via the college’s blog Mosaic.

Call for Sock Monkeys! | creativity in motion
Call for Sock Monkeys!

I’m also interested in putting together a DIY 2014 calendar featuring handmade sock monkeys created by my sock monkey making friends…. More fun! Please let me know if you’re interested in submitting a photo by December 16 of your sock monkey for one of the calendar months!


Related Posts:

Craftivism Inspiration

Sock Monkey Swap (2012) & OSM Service Project

The Joy of Sock Monkey Making

Craftivism Inspiration

A section of my summer course on art therapy, social action, and trauma informed care included introducing art therapy & counseling graduate students at Ursuline College to the role of craftivism and its possibilities to empower vulnerable populations, as well as promote important social causes and issues through do it yourself crafty goodness:

As Betsy Greer defines:

craft + activism = craftivism

“By advocating the use of creativity for the improvement of the world, craftivists worldwide taught knitting lessons, sewed scarves for battered women’s shelters, and knitted hats for chemotherapy patients…. In promoting the idea that people can use their own creativity to improve the world, craftivism allows those who wish to voice their opinions and support their causes the chance to do just that…”

~Betsy Greer, “Craftivism.” Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice (2007).

Craftivism can take on many handmade forms, including radical needlepointing, crosstiching, knitting, fiber arts, and lots more.  Here’s a great article: Yarn Bombing, Knit Graffiti and Underground Brigades: A Study of Craftivism and Mobility if you are interested in learning more about guerilla textiles in action.  Another great piece is: Craftivism: Art with Attitude which provides a nice overview about the power in creativity to be heard and help create a better world.

As published here before, my craftivist love is sock monkey making…. (!) introduced to me a couple of years ago by my sock monkey hero and art therapist Kat Thorsen and the amazing work of Operation Sock Monkey (OSM).

Craftivism Inspiration | creativity in motion

Students in my class became operatives and craftivists for an upcoming OSM mission by learning how to make a sock monkey delegate as one of their assignments.

Craftivism Inspiration | creativity in motion

Originally, our delegation group was scheduled to travel to orphanges and children’s hospitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg Russia for an OSM & Clowns Sans Frontières mission. Word from OSM Headquarters is now there’s a greater need for more sock monkey smiles in Cape Town, South Africa as part of the Sinovuyo Caring Families Project with Clowns Without Borders South Africa.

From the OSM website: “Sinovuyo is focused on the highest-­‐risk families with children ages 3 to 8 years: caregivers affected by HIV/AIDS or domestic violence. The programme aims to help parents and caregivers develop nurturing relationships with their children, prevent and reduce abusive parenting, while coping with stress from HIV/AIDS, poverty, and violence.”

Sock monkeys are used in storytelling and activities that promote parent/child communication and bonding.  Learn more here.

Craftivism Inspiration | creativity in motion
Destination: South Africa’s Sinovuyo Project

This group of sock monkeys look forward to meeting & helping families served by the Sinovuyo Project.  Job well done by all the students with their first Operative Mission!  Mission accomplished! I hope it inspires lots more sock monkey making & craftivism in their future….  🙂


Related Posts:

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care

Sewing, Swapping, & Service

Operation Sock Monkey Making

Sewing, Swapping, & Service

The last month has been full of sock monkey sewing, swapping, and service!

In November, I re-blogged a post from 6 Degrees of Creativity announcing another sock monkey swap, in addition to a service project with Operation Sock Monkey to benefit Hoboken, New Jersey’s Boys and Girls Club that experienced devastating flooding damage from Hurricane Sandy.

Throughout November and now into December, art therapists, students, OSM Operatives, 6 Degrees of Creativity community members, and craftivists have been creating handmade sock monkeys to exchange with one another and many are also creating another or group of sock monkeys to donate to Hoboken.

The response to this project has been truly inspiring and wonderful to be a part of: whether it was randomly swapping over 50 names for the sock monkey swap and helping to connecting these individuals together, collaborating with OSM Founder Lindsey Hogdson and Art Therapist Suzanne Martino on the service project, or temporarily taking in all the sock monkey arrivals full of loving care, good vibes, and well wishes for the youth affected Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath.

Experienced sock monkey creators to first time makers in the US and from different parts of the world came together for this project to create, connect, and give back. I think our collective effort has been amazing!

Here’s a little of the sock monkey business that’s been going on:

Sock Monkey Making Party!

Hong Kong’s Centre on Behavioral Health participated in the 6 Degrees of Creativity sock monkey swap fun, which included hosting a sock monkey making party organized by Jordan Potash.  This effort also inspired making sock monkeys for the Hong Kong Association of Art Therapists Holiday Toy Drive.  Nice!

Sock monkey group photo fun from The Centre on Behavioral Health

For the 6 Degrees of Creativity Sock Monkey Swap, I was thrilled to have two sock monkeys I made traveling to Hong Kong- one to Jordan and another to Phyllis Lo:

Swap Sock Monkeys ready to go to their new home in Hong Kong

The sock monkey fever spread to Lani Gerity’s 14 Secrets Group, where Barbara St. Jacques organized another fun swap! I was super lucky to have Barbara making a sock monkey friend for me and this week received with joy what she made. Her sock monkey was sewn from a pair of beautiful woven socks she got in Turkey. I am looking forward to making a sock monkey for Suzanne soon, who I received in the 14 Secrets swap…What a small sock monkey world it is!

Barbara’s Swap Monkey she created from Turkish socks

This week it was also nice to read this blog posting from Carolyn Mehlomakulu on Creativity in Therapy about her sock monkey making for the 6 Degrees of Creativity projects, including helpful lessons she learned from her sock monkey about patience, acceptance, and enjoying the moment.

Sock monkey making supplies

I got out my sock monkey supplies for some group fun and hosted my own sock making party this week where a few local art therapy friends & me got together to create OSM NJ delegates. The evening also included Janet and Theresa from Edmonton who joined us online via a Google+ Hangout.

Delegates who have arrived for New Jersey

Delegates for the service project have been arriving every day this week, getting orientated about their mission to bring smiles to the NJ youth they will be meeting soon, and doing lots of delegation bonding. More delegates are expected to arrive this week and then they will be ready to travel together for their adventure to the Hoboken Boys and Girls Club right before the Christmas holiday.

Big thanks to everyone who has helped with this effort, contributed to the project, and continues to spread the joy of sock monkeys to others!   Check out the Operation Sock Monkey website if you are interested in learning more about ways you can keep on helping!!

Sock Monkey Swap & Operation Sock Monkey Service Project!


6 Degrees of Creativity

It’s time for another 6 Degrees of Creativity Sock Monkey Swap!

Earlier this year, the 6 Degrees of Creativity community was inspired by Art Therapist Kat Thorsen’s Sock Monkey Therapy Workshop and we organized an exchange to swap sock monkeys with one another.

Now, the sock monkey fun continues for not only another swap, but also an opportunity to create a sock monkey to be donated to Operation Sock Monkey for someone in need.

Read below for more details about how to participate:

  • Sock Monkey Swap:  Make a sock monkey, Receive a sock monkey! Everyone who signs up for the sock monkey swap will be randomly paired with another sock monkey maker.  You’ll be making one sock monkey for someone, and someone will be making one for you. To sign up for the swap, e-mail your name and a mailing address to Gretchen at by November 12, 2012

View original post 286 more words

Have Sock Monkey, Will Travel- Part 3

Last month I made a sock monkey for my friend Donna in St. Augustine, Florida to adopt.  Meet Nelson:

Here’s some of the fun he’s been up to:  (Lucky sock monkey!)

Nelson on the go
Nelson in New Orleans

It’s been lots of fun receiving Nelson photos and updates from Donna to check out  & share.   I know he is in great hands  and will enjoy his new home and adventures!   Stay tuned for more of Nelson the Traveling Sock Monkey!

If you’re interested in learning how to make your own sock monkey, check out where I learned everything I know about sock monkey making from the fabulous Kat Thorsen, an art therapist in Vancouver, British Columbia:

Also check out the amazing sock monkeys and sock animals Kat and youth artisans create and sell on Etsy via Post Street to support her Sock Monkey Art Therapy program for at-risk youth.

Have Sock Monkey, Will Travel Past Posts:  Part 1 | Part 2

Have Sock Monkey, Will Travel- Part 2

Yay!  This week I received my swap sock monkey from the 6 Degrees of Creativity sock monkey exchange, made and sent by Lisa Miller in San Jose, California.  I have adopted the name “Albert” for him, inspired by an exchange Lisa and I had about how the youth she works were able to see her sock monkey in the making and thought he resembled Albert Einstein (!). Thank you Lisa for my new sock monkey friend!

Throughout this week, Albert has been settling into his new surroundings and home, getting acquainted with my other sock monkeys, our three cats,  hanging out in my studio/office space a lot, and adjusting to the colder temperatures that come with winter in Ohio.

Meeting My Sock Monkeys

A friendly welcome for Albert from my sock monkeys I have created already in Kat Thorsen‘s Sock Monkey Therapy workshop via 6 Degrees of Creativity.

Albert seems interested in art journaling

Albert checks out my art journal for Lani Gerity‘s workshop 6 Easy Lessons for a Happy Artist’s Life (Lesson 2).

Albert loves Artist Trading Cards!

Albert checks out the Artist Trading Cards I received in the 6 Degrees of Creativity ATC Exchange!

Have Sock Monkey, Will Travel- Part 1

Over at 6 Degrees of Creativity, I recently helped organize a sock monkey swap for Kat Thorsen’s awesome Sock Monkey Therapy workshop-  What fun!   This exchange includes 6 Degrees community members from Kat’s workshop who signed up to receive a sock monkey, as well as make and send their own sock monkey to a fellow 6 Degrees Sock Monkey Maker.   Sock monkeys from this exchange are heading across the US, to Canada, Australia, and Italy…I can’t wait to learn more about these sock monkey adventures!

Below are some of the photos I took of the sock monkey I made for this exchange and mailed out today. I hope he reaches his new home safely and his travels out of the country go well!  I also hope he brings much joy to my special sock monkey recipient (ssshhh..) I know he will be in good, good hands!


Enjoying Kat's Sock Monkey Therapy!


Sock Monkey Accessory!

Super excited to meet the sock monkey coming here soon! I’ll be sure to share photos in Part 2!  🙂

The Joy of Sock Monkey Making

I recently created my first sock monkey thanks to Kat Thorsen’s Sock Monkey Therapy workshop @ 6 Degrees of Creativity.  Meet Arygle!

I used a pair of black and red argyle knee high socks that I hadn’t worn in awhile. I was curious what this design/pattern would look like as a sock monkey and was happy with the results!  Below are some photos I took while my sock monkey was in the making:

Kat is telling the truth when she says that you will never look at a pair of socks the same again!  Ever since I finished Argyle, every time I see a pair of long length socks I envision them as a sock monkey!  Argyle was easy to make with Kat’s awesome video demonstrating each step. This process was so much fun and I cannot wait to make more!  It is also fun to see some of the sock monkeys that participants are already posting in the 6 Degrees of Creativity community (one from Australia, another from Canada this week)!

Learn more about Kat’s work and passion for sock monkeys on her blog Sock Monkey Art Therapy.  Kat is also an Operative for Operation Sock Monkey a “volunteer-run initiative in support of humanitarian organizations that provide laughter, hope and healing to communities around the world affected by disease, disaster and social/political turmoil” through providing some sock monkey love to those in need.

Thank you to Kat for introducing me to the joys of sock monkey making!  And I look forward to visiting Argyle at his new home with Nicole Brandstrup… I hope he is behaving himself!