October 14, 2020 - Why Have Our Children Stopped Dancing



why children stopped dancing


‘Why Have Our Children Stopped Dancing’….

Reposting this article which was written in 2007 reflecting on a presentation I gave at CAYPAKS (Children and Young People and Key Stakeholders) Convention, and Eating Disorder Prevention and Treatment Conference (2008), titled ‘Why Have Our Children Stopped Dancing’.

Now, 13 years on, particularly in COVID times, it seems even more relevant …

Imagine…..what if we could wave a magic wand to help young people feel better about themselves what would that world look like?  Dr Who and his time machine, the Tardis, immediately came to mind.  I wondered whether I’d choose to travel into the future or past in search of a place that nurtured the growth of children?

With the good old days in mind, I ventured down memory lane . . . It was a time before automation, technology and mass media had stolen children’s creativity, curiosity and the opportunity for them to build a bank of experiences that develop character, strength and resilience—give life purpose and meaning.  A culture where the qualities of kindness, innovation, creativity, community involvement, authenticity, and a social and environmental conscience were considered as valuable, if not more so, as a university degree and a six figure salary.

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August 9, 2020 - Posters From Boots



Making homemade Boots Posters as a gift for posting up in hospital wards and community groups during Covid times.  Email to arrange, with hospital/community group name and postal address.   Boots The Clown arrived early 2020 during lock down/isolation.

June 11, 2020 - Street Stories


Boots on the street.  Boots story (Part I)  here.

May 12, 2020 - Clunk & Jam in FOUND



Both Clunk & Jam and Wisdoms and Rose books are now available in Fremantle Art Centre’s FOUND online store.  FOUND showcases work from a range of local and Western Australian Makers.  Very grateful for their warm support.  Instagram @fremantleartcentre .  Cover art by Stormie Mills.


Rose paste-up in Fremantle Art Centre’s FOUND.


March 8, 2020 - Strange Difference


coke boys harley


(Art Harley Manifold, Original in colour)

A strange phenomenon… on Youth Focus camps, spending time with young people – one thing always comes through strongly.   20-25 young individuals arrive to spend a weekend together and often there’s only one thing they have in common – they’re all different.    That ‘difference’ too, seems to be the carrier of loneliness, the feeling of disconnection and lack of sense of place in the world.  But, over the space of a weekend, that very difference is what unites and strengthens them.

Why?  Because, unlike the world outside the camp environment, difference is valued and accepted there.  So it’s safe to reveal their true selves, however strange, weird and unacceptable that might be to the outside world.   And they are safe also to try on new ways of being without judgement and criticism.   And it always makes you wonder … what if being different meant you’d never be alone again….  What if society valued and appreciated difference as opposed to casting aside those who don’t fit the mould.

What if individual flags were flown in the face of the ‘one size fits all’ (we all know it doesn’t).   Wouldn’t the world be a far more interesting (and safer) place to be.

Similar posts:  Toast To DifferencesGood DifferenceDifference Matters

The Fringe

December 3, 2019 - Box full of hope and heart



Thank you to the kind people who sponsor books to be given to community groups for the young people they are supporting.  This box is bound for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in rural Northam.



The idea of making the book bags (pockets, pouches) above, for The Black Dog Project came from spending time with young people who’d experienced trauma, and my own experience of it.   When you’ve experienced trauma ‘safe places’ and ‘being held’ become very important.  The books themselves are created with that in mind – soft paper, muted tones, ink soaked deep into the page.  Characters who ‘hold you’.   And space.



The community groups who gift the books to those they’re supporting say the kids often hold the books to their chests (hearts) with a sense of preciousness.  So from that emerged the idea of creating a safe place to keep the books in and somewhere to add their own things.   A group of friends got together with their sewing machines and made a beautiful batch of the pouches.   They have a soft draw string cord and a symbol embroidered by hand with string.  The symbol being code for ‘righting the wrongs’.



The hand-made part of the gift box is really important.  Interestingly, we had some graphically designed and slickly printed black dog bookmarks done in 2010 but the counsellors say the kids are always drawn to the handmade things.  Like the cardboard squares cut from the back cover of art journals and stamped with The Black Dog Project stamp on one side and Clunk & Jam typewriter on the other.   Aside from being ‘quiet’ and softly sensory, maybe it’s because they’re imperfect and no two are the same?  A good message about the value of difference maybe?  And things not being perfect?