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'Kokedama' craft time is messy but rewarding for PWL Wainwright residents

June 12th, 2018

Resident crafters at Points West Living Wainwright were delighted – and admittedly curious – when General Manager Carli Lopez volunteered to lead them through making a kokedama. It’s part of a series of craft opportunities that combine learning about culture with hands-on creation. 

Culture and craft night

Once a month, usually on a Wednesday evening, a group of residents and interested family members gather to learn a new craft from either Shauna Lee Carlson (recreation coordinator) or Carli. They’ve already learned Norwegian weaving and made dream catchers. This was the first craft where they had to get their hands dirty to complete the job.

What is a kokedama?

Kokedama is a Japanese word meaning ‘moss ball’, and is said to be a cross between bonsai (‘tray planting’), kusamono (‘grass thing’), and nearai (‘no pot’) planting styles. It is made by mixing a combination of soils, gathering the soil into a ball, wrapping the ball with string, overlaying it with moss, and popping a little plant into the top.

There are tricks to making it actually work, like Carli’s direction to wrap the soil ball in a square of fabric before winding the string around it. Even though each moss ball looks a little different, they all turned out well.

Many stories and much laughter

“Learning how to create a craft from different cultures is exciting, fun and a great learning opportunity,” says Carli. “It stimulates conversation of the values and skills in our own lives that may have been handed down from generation to generation.” 

“The ladies who attend have loved each night,” says Carli. “The crafts have required concentration, which can be a challenge in a room full of enthusiastic women with many stories and laughter to share.”

“Creativity of the hands obviously increases the creativity of the hearts and minds of our residents.”

For anyone wanting to try their hand at making their own Kokedama, Carli recommends this website for step by step instructions, adding her tip, “I just added receiving blankets to the outside so it was easier for us all to manage.”

Photo: (Back from left) Shauna Lee Carlson, Betty Peterson, Carli Lopez; (Middle) Kirstie Miller, her daughter Deb, Lorraine Lychak, Shirley Lusk; (Front) Rita Donaghy, Ethel McFarland, Olive Frissell, Shelley Donaghy, and Jean Belanger show off their newly made kokedamas.

More photos at Flickr: Kokedama craft time is messy but rewarding for PWL Wainwright residents

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