Worry Dolls

Worry dolls originated in Guatemala, where they were used by children to alleviate worries; the children would whisper their worries to the dolls, then place them under their pillows as they were going to sleep.

I started this project in college, when life seemed like nothing but stress piled on more stress. As a student in the Sustainable Development program at Appalachian State University, I learned about all matters of environmental disasters that made my already stressful life a bit too much to deal with. I knew I wasn't alone - plenty of my peers were facing the same worries, fears, and concerns. I decided to hold a pop-up workshop where participants would come together and make their own dolls to tell their worries to. But before they could make a doll, they were given a slip of paper and instructed to write a worry on one side, then something that made them happy that week on the other, and deposit it in the 'worry jar' (exchanging their worry for a doll). The goal of this project was to utilize both the therapeutic power of making and the comfort of companionship with others in a peaceful and creative environment.