Category Workshops

Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, UK

Last Sunday I went to the (B)old Festival at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre in London.

It was a beautiful sunny day, lots of people along the river enjoying the sun. When I saw it I didn’t expect anybody to come and stay indoors with me at the market making dolls under an artificial light. I thought I would have four hours to make dolls on my own really.

There were music and dance activities at the foyer where the market was, I guess these activities attracted people to enter and look around, they found me and actually I didn’t stay for a second on my own. Steph, Rosa, Sheila, Wonchul Jung, Wei, Jared, David, Hyangmi Won, Erin and Yaanjo came and we made 11 dolls together.

We talked about many things including how much the weather influences a culture in so many levels, one of us studied geography,  we are people determined by how much sun we get. Well, in my experience as a tropical woman, it feels like here is another planet, the more I adapt the more I feel the differences, at the same time, I see how much we are absolutely the same. I feel we are determined by how much sun light we have inside, how much conscious we are, the sun can shine inside us anywhere.

Helen, the coordinator of the festival, was lovely, I felt very much looked after, it was amazing!

Some comments

‘Spreading love and a sense of united humanity, also a fun experience.’

‘A lovely experience, such wonderful idea and a way of bringing people together, so positive, a way of helping others. Brilliant mindfulness exercise.’

‘After I finished making the doll, I felt that the heart of the doll started to run while I was meditating. My doll is no longer a doll. It’s a very touching experience.’

‘Paying attention to your hands, heart, breathing and mind all together at the same time. I enjoyed it.’

‘It was a very peaceful experience. The making process takes long time but I enjoyed it. I hope that the sound of my heart is in the heart of the doll.’

‘I liked stuffing and sewing the doll and meditating.’

‘It was a great unexpected pleasure to make a doll. Every moment was very relaxing and enjoyable, thank you.’

Many thanks for everybody who organized the festival, for everybody who came to the workshop, for the hope I always feel when I am with people making dolls, for all the conversations and for this project which is the most inspiring school in my life, thank you!

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RADA Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London UK

Yesterday evening I went to the D&D event ‘What can we do to better support diverse drama school students whilst in training’ at RADA Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.

Louis, Becky, Valerie and Sarah came to make dolls. They started but I finished most of them, 5 dolls in total.

I was asked about their colour, it usually happen, they are the colour of our bones, no matter our skin colour, we are the same bones.

I suddenly realised that if we were robots we wouldn’t make these dolls. It felt like an insight, a live truth, it made me happy.

I guess I probably understood the ‘they’ pronoun-gender. I thought it meant I was a man and a woman at the same time, no, it can mean I am not a woman neither a man.

I love the simplicity that we are not robots + we have no gender – we are humans, it’s so good to remember it.

Thank you Ben, Sarah and everybody for another brilliant event, thank you!

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Higienópolis, São Paulo, Brazil

Last month, on 15th April, I run a workshop in São Paulo, Brazil. Leonor, Claudia, Solange, Renata, Raquel, Eri, Glaucia, Claudia and Nina came over, we made and meditated 17 dolls.

We talked a lot about Brazil’s politics. There was sadness in the air, I bursted in tears, it was hard to talk about the country’s obscene situation. Nevertheless we were lucky that Claudia reminded us that there are forgotten azaleas everywhere.

Solange and Marilene donated their pillows- dreams, Claudia’s niece made a delicious carrot chocolate cake.

With flowers, dreams and carrot cakes, there’s hope.

Some comments:

‘It was my second time at the event, it is always a life learning process, work together to open space for the heart.’

‘It was a pleasant and interesting meeting, to share our good energies and dreams, congratulations!’

‘It was a very good relaxing experience, I loved it!’

‘In the times we live now, to share dreams are micro revolutions to move forward. This is a necessary project and I hope Regina continue to develop these invigorating meetings.’

I am very grateful for everybody who came and spent the afternoon making dolls and meditating, for Claudia and Vera who organised the event, for Marilene who offered her space, for people who bought ‘Dreams and a Heart’ little book to help the project keep going and for the pillows and cake generously donated, thank you so much everyone!

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Invitation for Sao Paulo, Brazil

This was the beautiful invitation Claudia Vasconcellos wrote for the workshop I run in Brazil last month.

To meditate is to share a dream

Dear friends, there are many ways to collaborate for a more harmonious, poetic and supportive world. One of them is meditation.

In this case, I invite you to a meditation undertaken collectively, with the aim of propagating human attunement to states of fraternity and compassion.

This is the fourth year that we have received in São Paulo the creator of the project Dreams and a Heart, in which meditation is carried out together with the manufacture of small dolls that will be donated, in groups of 700, for nursing homes, care centres, schools, hospitals… on the five continents.

Imagine that the doll that you will fill with your best dreams and endow it with a small and powerful heart while meditating will reach the hands of a Nigerian child or an elderly Indian, who can complete them in robes, colours, a face.

This poetic exchange links relations between the inhabitants of the planet. It is a gesture of solidarity, peace and hope called Dreams and a Heart.

Regina Mendes has been designing the project for 7 years and for the last 5 years has been doing workshops in England, Portugal and Brazil, bringing people together to dream a better world and connect with other people through the little dolls made of dreams and hearts.

Check out details at

http://dreamsandaheart.com

We invite you to extend the power of this gesture. Donating some time of your Sunday, April 15, and your attention, in the company of people who also dream a more fraternal world.

Note: We will be working to complete the third community of dolls to reach the 2100 mark.

Note 2: If you can, bring a used pillow, which stuffing, full of your dreams, will be used on the dolls.

Meeting:

04/04, Sunday

14h – 18h (ideally you arrive at 14:00 but if you can’t, make your own schedule)

https://www.facebook.com/events/811114605749304/

Claudia

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Rich Mix, Shoreditch, London UK

Yesterday evening we talked about ‘What can we do to be better allies? ‘ at the D&D event at Rich Mix Shoreditch in London.

I had a great conversation with Paul about gender, all the suffering we humans create out of ignorance. Sarah helped me clearly hear God’s voice ‘be kind to each other, please.’

Urvashi made one doll, I made five, we meditated she/he/they.

‘It was a very different but exciting experience. I loved every bit of it and what it represents. Can’t wait to see where my doll ends up in the end. Thank you for this’.

Yes, I also can’t wait to see where they all will end up, thank you so much for your help and shared wishes.

Thank you Ben and Sarah for holding the space for us, we love being together, thank you for let it happen.

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Omnibus Theatre, Clapham Common, London, UK

Yesterday evening we went to D&D event ‘What are we going to do about the rise of Nationalism and the hardening of borders’ at Omnibus Theatre in London.

The space was very cosy, colourful, two lovely cats around us, we felt at home.

I made dolls, four in total. I attended a session in which we talked a lot about Brexit and immigration.

It seams we are going backwards in terms of human evolution, maybe not. We are coming back to a sad place we’ve already been to but I guess it will be less painful. We just want to be convinced again that rejection, exclusion, prejudice, anger, fear, power without love and all selfish feelings don’t give us any joy really. We just need to be reminded about the lessons we learned already and we will move on quite quickly at this time. It is a spiral, we are going forward.

Thank you Sarah and Anabel who opened the space for us, thanks for all the people who care and want to do something to help everybody.

I will keep making my dolls.

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University of Arts London, Central Saint Martins, London, UK

Yesterday we went to the D&D event ‘What can we do better to value everyone’s voice and experience in socially engaged arts?’ at Platform Theatre, UAL Central Saint Martin, London.

Shauna, Pauline, Eula, Michael, Georgia and David came to my session, we made 8 dolls together and lots of fun! We talked about different things including all the prejudices against our backgrounds but despite talking about this kind of sad subjects we laughed a lot. The time flew, I could not believe we spent almost four hours together, I felt like it passed an hour really!

After the event some of us went to the ‘Generations’ performance at Platform Theatre that included community people and Performance Design and Practice young students. An amazing experience of improvisation, the performers felt at home on stage and of course they want to do it more. I enjoyed every bit of it and I felt everybody in the audience loved it too.

Some comments:

‘Peaceful- a catalyst for engagement.’

‘Very relaxing doing the dolls.’

‘I made a doll with Regina. It was a very creative and productive session. It was a new experience stuffing and stitching up a doll.’ 

‘A meditative experience that ended with meditation!’

Thanks for everybody who organized the event and the performance, we spent a great time together, thank you!

ps. Alex did her first D&D introduction, it was perfect!

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APAS, Aurum Solar, Lisbon, Portugal

Last Wednesday morning I run a workshop at APAS, Pedagogical Association Aurum Solar, in Lisbon Portugal.

The group was Santiago, David, Gaia, João, Bernardo, Sara, João, Gabriel, Diogo, Ania, Simão, Antonio, Vicente, Samuel, Mariana, Anabela, Maria, Monica and Pedro.

The children were from 4 to 16. We made 18 dolls – we filled them with dreams and hearts and we meditated together.

I was amazed they spent quite a long time meditating, even the small kids were quiet for a long period of time just observing the older friends and adults meditating. Well, they are used to meditate everyday at the school!

I asked for each one to say a word about their experience:

‘Paixao, amizade, vida, vontade, união, compaixão, paciencia, amor, trabalho, ajuda, jogar bola, nascimento, felicidade, giro, saudades, tranquilidade, apoio, obrigada.’

‘Passion, friendship, life, will, union, compassion, patience, love, work, help, play ball, birth, happiness, cool, longing, tranquility, support, thanks.’

and an adult comment:

‘It was a simple, silent experience of attention and lots of symbolism. I feel there are no words to describe what was happening. I guess we give life to something indefinable – to me? to a puppet? to a part of the cosmos? It was unexpected everything we experienced this morning.’

Thank you Anabela and Maria who opened the school to receive the project, thank you!

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More pics Ler Devagar, LX Factory, Lisbon, Portugal

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Ler Davagar, LX Factory, Lisbon, Portugal

Last Wednesday I run another workshop at Ler Devagar bookshop at LX Factory, Lisbon, Portugal.

Filip, Beata, Adam, Wanda, Gauti, Svava, Borghildur, Francesca, Rosi and Winnie, from Poland, Iceland, Brazil and US, came along.

I showed them slides, a short film about the project and a picture book inspired by it.

We made 5 dolls together.

I was impressed by the two young families, both of them with three year old kids and breastfeeding an year and a half and six month babies. They stayed with us for a long time, around three hours, and they managed to make dolls, to engage in the conversation and to meditate. I was impressed by how easily and naturally they shared and swapped places to take care of their children. The room was big and the kids had the chance to explore and run around. The two older kids became friends and played together with the dolls we had already made. There was no crying, no problems, nobody crossed with anybody, on the contrary, we were with four calm good mood parents helping each other with relaxed small children, something rare to see around. It was a bliss to have them with us. I forgot to ask them to write down their comments about the experience, but I am sure they would manage to do it.

When I explained Winnie what we were doing she decided to stay with us just to mediate while we were making the dolls. She stayed for quite a while with her eyes closed in silence. She gave me a big hug before she left the room, she was  happy for the opportunity to be with us and do exactly what she needed to do.

I had a day surrounded by children, I went to a school in the morning to make dolls. I started my work life working with children, I was reminded how much I love to be with them, how much I identify with them, I guess I need to be with my friends much more than I usually am.

‘I felt grateful to be able to share this art, your dream, Regina. I had an experience of hold hands around the earth as I was carried by the meditation into a stream, a link of enlightened figures circling the earth. I am sure that this is the result you are achieving, it is so beautiful! Congratulations and may the universe cover you with love and happiness’

‘We absolutely loved the workshop. It was so nice to come out from the busy streets of Lisboa and the rain and all of a sudden we were in such a tranquil environment were we could meditate and let our 3 year old daughter run around freely. We loved making the dolls and learning about their purpose and what they mean to you and how this idea was conceived’ (the dad managed to send me an email with his comment). 

I can’t find words to express how much I love this project and all the people who help me to make it possible.

Thank you!
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