The vision for this art therapy project was to bring together a group of women who had been impacted by road trauma and to allow for creative self expression using simple felting techniques. This was a project undertaken with the Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (read more here). The project focused on creating a tree of life and the women named their tree: the forever tree. This tree embodies feelings of loss, recovery, dedication, love and healing.
We chose to work with the tree of life because the tree is a symbol of life’s story. We have roots and a heritage that help shape who we are. The trunk of the body supports us and gives flexibility. Our arms are like branches, indicating directions, goal, plans and wishes for the future. The leaves are like a metaphor for all who are special to us, alive or no longer living, and are how the tree really breathes. The people we love form a canopy for our lives.
Needle felting techniques were used to embellish leaves. This involves using a barbed needle to compact fleece into designs on the cut out felt leaves. Symbols and pattern emerged that held special meaning for each woman.
Needle felting was used to sculpt a kookaburra as a symbol of the laughter of the group.
The ancient technique of wet felting was used to create the main tree and background.
The forever tree was unveiled at a special ceremony and artist Michael Leunig gave an inspirational talk about the process of using art to heal.
For another related project, visit the Tree of Life project that was run with the Strathewen Primary School