This week I held my first workshop with Hope Home, an organization for children with disabilities. I decided to plan an activity to create Keepsake Plaster Handprints. In previous years, I had implemented this same workshop with another organization for people with disabilities back at home and it was a huge hit! The adults with disabilities enjoyed the sensation of plaster between their fingers and loved being able to paint and keep their decorations afterwards. I thought it would be a great idea to try it again!
This, however, was a much harder task for the children at Hope Home to complete independently. Plaster is a very time sensitive material. As Titania and I poured out plaster onto plates, we had to wait just the right amount of time before allowing the kids to print their hands and feet. Too early, and the mold was mush, too late, and the the plaster would harden; both of which happened at the workshop. I felt bad for letting the molds go to waste and felt even worse at the thought of my first workshop being a failure. But I didn't let a few mistakes ruin the fun. We had prepared extra packs of plaster for this exact purpose anyway!
When the plaster prints were dry, we brought out the paint so they could decorate them. Bow was enthralled by her own creation and even took the liberty to paint Sam's and Sainam's! What an artist!
I held Joy's plaster handprint up to her face so she could see it and it seemed to spark her curiosity. Pepo came over, held the paintbrush in Joy's hand, and tapped the red paint on the mold decorating it with cherry polkadot patterns. She loved it.
Yim was in a great mood and responded very well to the whole workshop. Seeing her laugh and giggle while we sang songs to her brightened all of our moods. Last but not least, Data was happy and lively as usual.
Towards the end of the workshop, we cleaned up together and helped feed the kids their lunch. It wasn't the most perfect workshop. The prints were muddy, leftover paint dripped along the edges, plaster found ways to hide under fingernails and even toenails, but nothing is perfect. Nothing except for the moments of smiles on their faces. And I think it's safe to say, today's workshop achieved that.