Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits


"Reaching Out Child Abuse Monument"
Sculptor: Michael C. Irving, Ph.D.

We have to listen
We have to act
Protect our children
That is all we ask.
Derrick Brown,
Maple Leaf Gardens Survivor


Cast hand of
Martin Arnorld Kruze
who brought into the open the abuse at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Portait sculpted by
Michael C. Irving, Ph.D.

    Inspiration and Skill
    Uncertainty and Fear
  Falling Into Place
  Receiving Advice
    Taking Risks
    Supporting Each Other

Inspiration and Skill

The Monument quilt squares undoubtedly have a high degree of artistic quality. The quilt squares were created in emotionally as well as technically supportive art workshops.

Child abuse affects the core of people and sculpting naturally places one in contact with core material and the soul. The high quality of the art work reflects the expression of core experience, inspiration and artistic technique.

It is profoundly inspiring to know that one's hand and creative work will be on a memorial that will have an important role in addressing the legacy of child abuse for centuries to come.


Workshop participants were
challenged and inspired that their
art would be part of a lasting
national monument in a prominent
public location. "Reaching Out" was being considered for Queen's Park .


Image from Farah Khan quilt square

Uncertainty and Fear

Working in the project was a monumental undertaking: it was natural to have some uncertainty and fear about participating in making an important public monument. Quilt square artist Donna confirms, "I was scared at first, but all the others were just as scared." We emphasized repeatedly in our community outreach that fear should not prevent one from starting a quilt square or continuing through difficult times until an artistic breakthrough occurs.

Most started the workshops with varying degrees of fear, as the sculpting moved along, the fear dissipated and survivor/artists found their way. Donna went on to say, "I found my self turning to my heart and feeling what was inside of me." Participants did not have to be professional artists to make a quilt square.

The important messages and imagery that needed to be in the square found its way there. Reflecting on her lengthy experience of sculpting a quilt square Dorothy comments,

"The one thing I would tell a survivor who was just starting a quilt square is 'DON'T HOLD BACK." Take this opportunity to express yourself and your feelings. Take this opportunity to make the force that is being built against child abuse even stronger. The only person that you should be concerned about when doing the square is yourself. Awareness and admission are the best defenses against child abuse and sexual abuse continuing or being tolerated. 'Do Your Best and God Will Do the Rest!".

Important and powerful works of art came out of the core energies and deep emotional experiences of the survivor/artists within the safety of the Monument workshops.

In my drawings you'll see the torture we survived
Please, Please don't destroy my silent voice
Keep it safe
Protect it
So we can share it
Please, Please don't throw out my silent voice
You see we must say Hello to our pain in our silent tears
Before we can say Goodbye to our pain we survived in fear




child exploitation and child pornography

Falling Into Place

Each quilt square artist was challenged to set uncertainty and fear aside. The survivor/artists were encouraged to feel free to dream, and to receive the support necessary to make their artistic dreams happen.

The job of a quilt square artist was to come up with the content and ideas for the quilt square. Help to define and develop artistic ideas was generously available from Michael and the other studio assistants.

Some of the exercises in the workshops were designed to help with conceptual development where it was needed. Participating survivor/artists were assured they did not need to worry about the "how" of actually sculpting what was been envisioned. The technical skills for turning ideas into the relief sculpture of the quilt square would be effectively assisted by Michael and the studio assistants at each stage of the process.

Once the beginning sculptors got the hang of some of the sculpting tools and techniques, the overall form and details of the work fell into place. After struggling very hard with sculpting the details of his quilt square Matt suggested to those following after him, "Don't stress yourself out. It will come! Listen to Michael and Jackie, etc. They know what they're doing and talking about. Talk about it!".


Jackie Turner was a participant in
an early workshop and became
an exceptional workshop co-leader
and a knowledgeable and effective
support for others in a variety
of project settings.


Little child, frightened Self
you were forced to know the truth
adult knowledge thrust upon you
drowned in a Flood of terror and despair
My shattered heart.

Little child, helpless Self
trapped in ways you couldn't explain
by things you didn't understand
hopeless fog and blinding depression
No control.

Little girl, lost Self
with the grief of a woman
but the soul of a child
You long for your baby
and I long for mine.

Little child, murdered Self
lifeless and empty
I remember, now, what happened.
Let me take what is unbearable,
let me feel the anguish with you.
I grew up for us both.
I'm here now,
I've come back for you
as I promised I would.
Give your burden to me.
Precious child, treasured Self
I know what to do now.
I know how to help.



Receiving Advice

Asking for advice and exploration was the continual cure for uncertainty. Much effort was undertaken by workshop leaders to present an atmosphere of comfort in which assistance and direction would be received as supportive advice and not as rigid demands that offered no choice.

The quilt squares are the work of the participants and the social messages are from their voices, as Patricia shares:

"I enjoyed making my square even though I have never done such work - and the help I received. I was not told 'You can't make that', but, 'If you want to make that I can help you with it.' It was a safe non-threatening place."

The studio staff worked hard to make the studio setting safe and part of the survivor/artist's job was to look out for her/him self and share their needs for emotional safety and technical assistance.




Taking Risks

As untrained artists, participants were making a big step and moving into unknown territory to collaborate in making an important and historical Monument. Ruth went through much to sculpt her quilt square and she supported other survivor/artists to

"Dare to risk - Dare to try - feel - tell. I believed I couldn't do it. I believed it wouldn't be good enough. I dared - I felt - I did. It is good enough because it's me."

The workshop staff strove to work together with participants to make art that communicated the message the artists wanted others to hear. Participants deserved to feel they were part of a team making this Monument and creating its message together. After making her quilt square early on in the project Jacquelyn suggested to others,

"Work really hard to take full advantage of the workshops because you will get out of them what you put in. Take the opportunity to practice not falling back on old defenses when feelings get triggered - Working them through will only enhance your square. It was my staying in touch with my feelings all along that made my square come out exactly as I wanted - I have no regretful feelings about the square at the workshop and I know I won't in the future."



Supporting Each Other

Fellow participants in the workshops were an important resource for ideas, support, feedback, acknowledgment and validation. There was a sense of freedom in sharing squares with each other and viewing the many completed quilt squares on our studio walls or in the set of photographs from "away workshops." Mary suggested,

"Take heart and courage from others' quilt squares. Take your time. Let your own voice just speak through your hands."

As the sculptures were unfolding it was very inspiring to receive feedback from other participants. Others often saw a sculpture as much better technically and thematically than the person who created it. Workshop participants were told,

"When you see something you like in someone else's square tell them and when someone gives you a compliment hear it and let it in."

"Follow Site Web Ring"


As a little girl I felt
all alone in my pain.
My child spirit is
learning to love me
Cindy – Six Nations
Delaware Nation






It is not an easy thing to live. Lets work together to stop ABUSE!






No abuse, hope,
freedom, life.






Climb those mountains!
Become all
that you can be.
Trust and have Faith
in the Creator
to be there for you.
Forgive and
Love Yourself.
Oki Maa Kweiss






John Penny
Mount Cashel Survivor








All of our precious
children deserve to
feel safe and loved.






Love conquers all!
Don't be afraid
to tell someone
about your experience.






While we may not know
every child. We must
know the importance of
each childhood.






Stop the cycle,
break the silence.
Embrace the child within.
She did what was
necessary to survive






Spanking is not discipline.
Raise a hand to a child
only to hold.
Abuse hurts!
Stop the hurt!





It took 40 years of fear
before I was set free

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*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)

Your Donations are Needed
to Bring the Child Abuse Monument Home from the Foundry

* Donations *
* Story of the Monument/Phases of the Project * Phase 1: Design * Phase II: Create * Phase III: Implement * Phase IV:Positioning *
* Monument Overview * Monument Project Organization * Project Story - Flash Movie *
* A Healing Monument * Monument as Social Action * A Gift for Allies in Healing *
* Artistic Director: Michael C. Irving, Ph.D. * Assisting Sculptors * Studio Visits *
* Monument Conception/Creation * Monument Sculpting * Casting the Bronze *
* Quilt Square Workshop Participants *
Heroes of the Monument * Facing Challenges * Monument Lessons * Monument Stories
* Self Care Activities for Survivors * Well Being * Creating Coping Lists * Meditation Gallery *
* Information on Child Abuse
* Types of Abuse * Impacts of Abuse * Responses to Abuse *
* Resource Links on Child Abuse *
* Survivor Monument Poetry and Quilt Square Books *
* Awareness Campaign * Research Forum * Cambridge Tour * DAS School *
Contribute a HandPrint Message for Placement Inside the Child Abuse Monument *
* Sponsorship as Healing * Sponsors * Local Sponsors *Unveiling *

*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)