In Guatemala, there is a folk tradition of creating small dolls called Worry Dolls or Trouble Dolls to ease the fears and worries of daily life. The folk tradition states that if you whisper your worries to your small, handmade dolls and stick them under your pillow at night (ala the tooth fairy), the dolls will happily take on your worries for you so that you can go about the following day worry free! These dolls in no way take the place of gods or religion, they are simply used to help ease the minds of worrisome children.
In art class, the first graders and I brainstormed a list of things we worry about. I was so pleased to see the students exhibiting their creativity and risk taking during the brainstorming stage. I also love how open we were with one another and how respectful we were of each other’s worries.
After brainstorming as a class, students went to their tables to document their own personal worries in their sketch books. I love any opportunity to practice literacy during art. I want students to know that sometimes it is equally as helpful to jot down words as it is to sketch before diving into a project. When surveying the room, I got everything from student’s who worry about about making it to the next round of a Star Wars video game, to worrying about the long journey our Monarchs had ahead of them as they fluttered to Mexico.
Students decided that it might be most helpful to create their worry doll in a way that would best alleviate their worry. Our Star Wars friend is going to make his worry doll look like Obi Wan Kenobi. Students who are worried about sharks in the ocean are going to make theirs look like a lifeguard. Our Monarch protectors are giving theirs wings and orange and black skin!
So far we have learned how to create colorful bodies on our dolls, label them so that we can keep each other’s straight, add arms and fun hair styles. This week we will be designing clothes and accessories to bring our individual worry dolls to life!