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Project Dear Body

Dear Body is an art-based collaborative workshop that seeks to ​integrate ideas of positive self image through the therapeutic nature of crafting. Clay is our medium. Positive self-image is our message.




Artists Striving to End Poverty

(Formerly ASTEP)

  • Julie Vantrease​

  • Laiqa Mannan

  • Co-creation

  • Education

  • Body Positivity


  • Adobe Premiere

  • Adobe InDesign

  • Adobe Illustrator

  • Adobe Spark

Why Clay?

Clay is one of the most action-based art mediums.


Physically molding, sculpting, pounding, and smoothing clay with your hands is a therapeutic experience. In art therapy, clay is considered one of the best tools because it is a highly sensory and tactile medium. Sculpting our own bodies, our own proportions, out of clay is an exercise in self-love. 

Our Audience

We designed the Dear Body workshop to be accessible to children of all ages. 

Our research group’s age range is 8-12 years old, however, our concepts are designed to be uncomplicated and easy to understand. 

The class we taught for Artists Striving to End Poverty consisted of children aged 5-13.

Our Message

The body positive movement that is currently happening focuses it’s lense on young adult women. While the movement has been somewhat successful in its attempt to be intersectional, we believe that these principles should also be accessible to children.  

Knowing that negative body image thinking develops at a young age, we propose that the Dear Body workshop is a useful tool for starting difficult conversations about body positivity. Every child needs to be educated on the topic of self-love and acceptance and we designed Dear Body to be a useful resource to begin this lifelong lesson. 

Children develop a relationship to body image as early as 5 years old. At this time, they begin to form opinions of what is acceptable in society and what is not. 
Workshop Elements

Ice Breakers

Mindfulness Activities

Making Sessions


Icebreakers and lesson plans gave us a good opportunity to get to know one another better, and get in the right frame of mind to begin the day’s work.

Our Mindfulness Activities helped keep us all thinking about body image and introduced us to many different ways of thinking about and addressing issues related to body image. ​

Our Making sessions were the longest portion of our workshops. During our Making session, we built on our dolls. Every workshop built on the previous in order for us to create a doll that we felt represented us.

Our Reflections allowed us to have time to check in with ourselves and document our thoughts and feelings about the concepts we covered each day and record our experiences with the Making portion of the day. 


Project Dear Body was started in a Parson's Integrated Design Studio 3 class, under the guidance of Professor Joseph Cuillier. Ana Holschuh, Laiqa Mannan and Julie Vantrease created the project in early September of 2019, with the intention to create an online resource that is free to the public. ​

Project Dear Body is composed of a team of three college students, one middle schooler, and one elementary schooler that all came together to create this resource.

The mission was to create a thoughtful, therapeutic experience that would spark conversations about body image and body positivity. ​We wanted to normalize these conversations ​and help create safe spaces in which to do so.

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