Founder of Artful Connections, Arts Educator, Expressive Arts Facilitator & Caregiver
Hi! I’m Shelley King, the Founder of Artful Connections.
Like so many people with aging and ailing parents, I spent a lot of time visiting my mom in her palliative care room as she continued to deteriorate physically, mentally and emotionally, with less and less hope of recovery. I was at a loss as to how to create joyful and meaningful ways to spend time together. My visits left me feeling stressed, sad and helpless. I also felt guilty that I didn’t know how to do more for her. The doctors were doing their best to provide her with “quality of care”, but there was little left of her “quality of life”. We all need to have both.
It wasn’t until after her death, 16 years ago, that I discovered the joy and connection that results from the use of expressive arts, puppetry and storytelling. In the decade following my mom’s death, I completed my university diploma in social work, received certification in family supports, completed my post-graduate training as an expressive arts facilitator, and studied & practiced puppetry arts. Since then, I have put my skills and experience to work with many people whose quality of life has been compromised due to changes or differences in their cognitive function. The use of expressive arts and puppetry have proven to be two powerful tools for building relationships, augmenting communication, problem-solving, healing, storytelling, educating, and simply having fun and playing. It is the answer I was looking for, all those years ago with my mom.
In 2013, I started my own business, Artful Connections (formerly Puppeteria), to share the magic and power of using puppetry and expressive arts with others. I have worked with hundreds of clients directly, and coached many caregivers, social workers, and educators on how to use these same creative tools in their professional practices. Now - I’m very excited to be expanding my reach world-wide, through The Artful Connections Learning Studio, by developing and delivering on-line webinars and courses.
My motivation in creating these courses, is to guide you through the strategies, tools and processes I have learned and developed, so your journey as a family or professional caregiver is more creative, playful, and engaging (for you both). Quality of life matters!