Emma Dalling

Ritual Therapy, 2017

Ritual Therapy seeks to address common anxiety-based behaviours. It aims to examine these behaviours, including fidgeting and accompanying intrusive thoughts, as possible catalysts for creative practice. Through ritualised activity and the design of ritualised objects, the research aims to convert the reductive actions of anxiety into constructive mechanisms.

Ritual Therapy engages specifically with the practice of whittling as an enriching and calming activity. Through multi-sensory engagement, individuals embed their own experiences and meanings into the objects they are crafting.

The series of objects displayed have been created by people of varying ages, genders and occupations. Whittling itself encourages a ritualised process of making, including sharpening the whittling tool, shaping the object and finally collecting any excess material.


Image: Emma Dalling, Ritual Therapy, Participant generated objects, 2017. Huon Pine. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Emma Dalling

In her final year of Bachelor of Design (Honours) at UNSW Art & Design, and with a background in woodworking, Emma Dalling's project, Ritual Therapy, aims to re-consider stress and anxiety-based behaviours as experiences to be confronted, carefully considered, and harnessed by the individual. 


Image: Emma Dalling, 2017. Photo courtesy of the artist.