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Empowering Handicrafts: Making Chimes

I have been very interested in the empowering effect of nature and horticulture therapy. Making chimes with clients was part of my studies in therapeutic crafts and recreation. We had a project with homeless women in Helsinki and the idea of the project was to enhance their self-esteem via handcrafts. In the project we made something beautiful into their homes and gardens which they will hopefully get soon. Another aim of the project was to create working models for crafts and horticulture therapy.

Some of our clients had some disease or mental problems, some of them used a lot of medicines. When we were planning our instructions and materials, we needed to pay a lot of attention to their possible mental or physical limitations. We couldn’t do any assessment because it was an open group and we did not know beforehand who were coming.

Instead of buying ready-mades, we decided to save money and cut the “bells” from aluminum pipe that we found in a hardware store. Cutting the pipes could have been too difficult task for our clients, so we did it beforehand in HAMK’s metal workshop which has good equipment for cutting and drilling. In our prototype we had three pipes, a wooden top part and as a decoration some beads and sea shells. We had the same materials for the clients in our group but we wanted them to use their creativity and make their own models.

In the beginning we got to know each other with picture cards and talked about our feelings at that moment. Then we presented the materials and started to work. First we made holes to the wooden piece with a power drill. It was a noisy and powerful machine, but everybody did it by themselves. The most difficult task was to get the yarn through the holes in the pipes, but with a little help and some tools we managed to do that.

During our session we talked a little and had some coffee. Everything went well, everybody made a chime and they were happy to finish them. Now they have chimes in their balconies, whispering the sound of summer.


Text by Anna Puolakka

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