I'm Cath O'Brien, the founder and facilitator of Make Like a Tree. I have been working creatively with children for around eight years. I also work with adults with diverse needs. I'm a practicing artist with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Auckland University of Technology and a Diploma in Nursing from Unitec.
The process of making is a sensory experience. Children learn about themselves through the creative process. Using tools and materials to create, strengthens hand and mind coordination and develops fine motor control. Important life skills develop during the creative process including confidence building, communication, collaboration, decision making, problem solving, observation skills, and constructive creative expression. The experience of seeing their visual ideas manifest, gives children confidence in their ability to make things happen.
For me the creative space is an inherent part of the creative process. Providing a diverse range of easily accessible materials enhances independence and innovation in the artists using the creative space. Care of materials and the surrounding environment is also fundamental to my practice.
As a facilitator I have learned to step out of the way of a child's creative process and to step in to provide support when the opportunity arises. I work alongside the artists to develop a concept within a flexible framework that acts as a doorway into the creative process.
It’s a privilege to work creatively with others and I learn as much from them as they do from me.
I am passionate about New Zealand's unique natural environment especially native birds and plants. These aspects are incorporated into the structure of the creative spaces I facilitate
I have no hesitation in endorsing Cath for her work ethic, her ability to generate original creative ideas, her passion for teaching children as well as her dedication to making art with minimal carbon footprint" Christine Currey, Acting Manager Mairangi Arts Centre