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"pottery and paintbrushes bring healing to hospitalized kids"

updated sat 10 sep 11


Liz Gowen 1 on fri 9 sep 11

I really like this idea of giving the kids and family something to get the
bad thoughts out of there head. By using a right brain activity it redirect=
and hopefully gives them a break from all the fears they have thought about
with their treatments and illness. I used to be a home IV therapist and
since I was a pediatric nurse generally also got the kids that needed IV's
at home. There was a place called Edmund scientific near where I lived in
NJ. I would go there and pick up some of the kits, art or science, and take
them to do with the kids after starting there IV. One in particular I made
a kalaidascope with him. His mom called me a number of years later to let m=
know he never forgot that. James I guess I didn't really connect that befor=
your article but this made them really forget about the medicine and they
really got into it and the time passed quickly.
I think this is a huge area where art is underutilized. Thanks for
posting the article. Liz Gowen De
Where since the storm I have added a new member to my family. I
found an eastern painted turtle baby on it's back on the beach. Since he/sh=
seemed a bit battered by the weather and didn't seem to want to swim when
put back in the river, I brought it home. After much research and careful
thought he/she has a tank in my kitchen and is doing much better. My dog Le=
took me to find her on the beach during our daily walk. We are now 2 yorkie=
and a turtle.

Subject: "Pottery and paintbrushes bring healing to hospitalized kids"

A really interesting (and moving) article landed in my mailbox this morning=
In light of the recent thread concerning "pottery versus ceramics"
(commercial glaze painted onto bisque ware), and last week's thread on art
and healing, I thought I would share it. The article is too long to post i=
it's entirety, so here are a few snippets:
Pottery and paintbrushes bring healing to hospitalized kids

"At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise
from a single source." Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

The truth of Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen's words can be found in a unique
partnership between Detroit Medical Center's Children's Hospital of Michiga=
and Pewabic Pottery in Detroit. Started in 2004, the Children's Healing Art=
Program pairs Pewabic Pottery artists with young patients at Children's
Serra, who was hired to bring art into the hospital, soon found it meant
more than putting artwork on the walls. It required creating a healing
environment. She turned to Pewabic Pottery, Michigan's only historic
pottery. "We've had a longstanding relationship with Pewabic," said Serra.
"This was just another way to grow that relationship."
According to Serra, about 75% of patients at Children's Hospital are
Medicaid eligible. "These kids come out of very difficult situations. Most
don't have art programs in their schools anymore. For many of them this is
their first exposure to art. The artists plant seeds in the children and
provide them a skill. I often hear a child talk about how they went home an=
taught their brother or sister what they learned."
Research has long demonstrated the positive effects of art on the healing
process. "Not only can it help the patients heal, it can also heal
families," said Serra. "It's especially important for the parents," said
Duckworth. "The stress is so great when you have a sick child. Doing art
helps take the parent's mind off things." Duckworth described a mother who
arrived in the activity room crying and very upset. Her child was soon to
have major surgery. The artist on hand got the woman to begin painting a
clay pot and in no time she was lost in her work. The art is also helpful
for siblings who are also struggling with the emotional effects of a brothe=
or sister's hospitalization.

"Art centers you," said Serra. "When you're sick or stressed it's important
to be centered. The program focuses less on the therapeutic movements of
doing art and more on the creative process. It's more art-making than art
For Serra and the Healing Arts Team (volunteers, child life specialists,
nursing staff, and artists) things are beginning to pay off. "We're startin=
to hear from physicians who are impressed with the program," said Serra.
Recently, a physician stopped by to watch an artist work with a child. "The
doctor was really moved to see the child doing what any other child would b=
doing," said Serra.
As one of the only hospitals in Michigan with a bedside art program, DMC wa=
recently asked to partner on a research project with Karmanos Cancer
Institute. We're working with kids who are in on-going cancer treatment,"
said Serra. "For them, coming into the hospital is not fun. So, we're
administering art before the procedure, in an effort to shift the child's
focus." Serra recently talked with a parent who said this was the first tim=
her son, who worked on a torn-paper collage, had not cried before the
procedure. "The mother said she wished every time they came there could be
an artist," said Serra.
"Art is a wound turned into light" painter and sculptor George Braque once
said That light is reflected in joy of the young patients at Children's
Hospital, in the memories of Pewabic artists like Kay Willingham who guide
their young spirits, and on the canvases and collages that decorate the
walls of a hospital that understands how art can and does help heal.

The entire article can be found here:

Enjoy your day.


James Freeman

"All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should
not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed."
-Michel de Montaigne