Character kits — the art of survival

Day 3 of my artist-in-residence/art therapy program at a local centre for teens is complete, and  it was a very gratifying day working with my students as they continued to construct their character survival kits.

Today, we did a lot of work on the kits themselves, in some cases adding extra decorative details and in other cases gouging them with my new toy (a dremel) to weather them.

As for the contents—well, I spent the last two weeks collecting treasures that would serve as the items that go inside the kits. During my last session, each student provided me with an individual material list. To be honest, some of the requests were pretty tricky, but I did a lot of hunting around craft stores and dollar stores and, when I got desperate, I turned to Etsy. Over the years, I have also collected a lot of “greebles” from a local store called Urban Source, which sells all kinds of strange and peculiar items cannibalized from here, there, and everywhere. So I brought in my greebles kit and that, combined with all the other stuff I recently bought, gave the students a vast treasure trove to draw upon as they began developing the small props that will go inside their character kits. 

The whole idea behind these kits is that they hold particular importance to a character that the student has developed. In many cases it’s pure physical survival (for example, one student is building a vampire survival kit), while in other cases, it’s emotional survival.

I think everything is looking spectacular, but my main joy is that the students are really embracing this project and having such a great time working in an emotionally-safe environment. (I would like to add that it’s also physically safe, despite the fact that we’re using a dremel, a hot knife, and hot glue guns . . . let’s just say that it’s so far, so good.)


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