William Rush Dunton.

Occupation therapy; a manual for nurses online

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grown to some size, the best may be selected and grown
singly in pots. By this time the patient's interest will
probably be aroused and geranium or begonia cuttings
may be potted. At the same time he should be induced
to read up on the subject and plan a modest garden for
the summer. If the last is impossible, the pot growing
can still be continued. Much pleasure may be derived
from a pot of house ivy. Making a trellis and training
the ivy over it may prove very interesting.

Should the outdoor garden be possible much pleasure
may be derived from it. There are many books on the
subject which may be read with profit.

As a side issue, so to speak, to the garden work, the
rose petals may be saved, after the roses have been cut
and beautified the home, and utilized in a number of
delightful ways, such as, a sweet jar, rose syrup,
candied rose petals, sandwiches, lozenges, etc.

Two writers in the Woman s Home Companion for
June, 1913 — Henrietta D. Grauel and Caroline B.
King — give a number of recipes under the title of How
to Use the June Roses, which are most interesting, as
a number are taken from old cook books. From this
we learn that the way to make a conserve of rose petals
is to line '^a jar with alternate layers of rose petals and


sugar until it is filled. Then it is tightly covered with
heavy paper and set away for three months. At the
end of that time a rich and delicate conserve has
formed, which is to be served with syllabubs or whipped
cream.'' Or ^^if you would have rose lozenges, boyl
your sugar to sugar again, and then put in your red
roses beat to a pulp, pour in pye plates and cut in what
form you please.''


Select a jar and in the bottom place a layer of cotton
batting wet with a few drops of oil of bergamot and
"Q-Ye drops of oil of rose geranium. This will cost ten
cents at any druggist's.

Have ready a quart of dried rose leaves ; put half of
them in the jar on top of the cotton. Mix in a few
cloves, a blade of mace crumpled fine, a strip of cinna-
mon broken in bits, a nutmeg crushed but not grated.
Add more of the rose leaves and on them sprinkle three
drops of oil of peppermint. In this you may put a
little powdered orris root; its odor resembles violets.
Or, if you prefer something stronger, use powdered

This completes the aromatic jar; keep it tightly shut
for three weeks, to ripen and combine the odor. After
this open the jar for a few moments and it will diffuse
a rare fragrance.

Lack of space prevents reproducing all of these in-
teresting recipes, but they can easily be obtained from
the above or probably from other books in the nearest


public library. In another number of the Woman s
Home Companion, Paul P. Foster tells about Sweet
Lavender and how to make sachets. Lavender grows
freely in California and in some of the Southern States,
and might be tried anywhere. I have never succeeded
in growing it from seed in Maryland, but will keep on
trying, which, by the way, is a good rule for gardeners
to follow. It is said to grow better from cuttings than
from seed.
References :

Lounsberry, Alice. The Garden Book for Young People.
New York, 1908, F. A. Stokes Co.; $1.50.

Barnes, Parker Thayer. Suburban Garden Guide. Mac-
millan, 50 cents.

Bowles, E. A. My Garden in Summer. Dodge Publishing

Cable, Geo. W. The Amateur Garden. Scribner's; $1.50.

Ely, Helena Rutherford. A Woman's Hardy Garden. Mac-
millan. Another Hardy Garden Book. Macmillan.

Williams. Gardens and Their Meaning.

Wright, Mabel Osgood. The Garden of a Commuter's Wife.
Grossett & Dunlap.


Even if our patient does not care for gardening, he
may be induced to take an interest in nature study by
the nurse pointing out the interesting things which
may be seen from a window or during a ramble. Birds,
trees, wild flowers, weeds, grasses, the soil, and the stars
are all treated in popular manuals, and if the nurse
knows but a little of all of these it may be enough to
excite the interest of her patient and stimulate a desire
for more. So many things may be observed during a
walk by eyes that see. Even in city streets there are
sparrows, a few trees, and window-boxes, and prac-
tically all cities have parks. Under such circumstances
a game might be played and nurse and patient match
wits to see who can observe the greatest number of a
certain kind of objects.

References :

Wings and Stings.

Bailey, L. H. Lessons with Plants.

Chapman. Bird Studies with a Camera.

Dana. How to Know the Wild Flowers. Scribner; $2.00.

Going. Field, Forest and Wayside Flowers. Doubleday,
Page & Co.

Holtz, Frederick L. Nature Study. Scribner.

Irving, H. How to Know the Trees.

Parsons. How to Know the Ferns. Scribner; $1.50.

Walton, Geo. L., M. D. The Flower Finder. Lippincott,
pp. 394; $2.00. A manual for the amateur, arranged accord-
ing to color. Botanical terms and classification reserved
chiefly for the glossary.




Stencilling was much in vogue at one time, and, like
many other occupations which have become fads, its
popularity brought it into disrepute. As someone has
aptly said, there is no more effective decoration when
properly used, and there is no more mistaken method
when crudely handled. So much work of poor design
was circulated that a prejudice was formed against it.
The comparative ease with which stencilling may be
done was responsible for many evidences of bad taste.
Probably many persons have never seen a good piece
of stencilling. In this work color harmony is impor-
tant, probably more so than good design. On account
of the commercial exploiting of stencilling many very
poor designs have been placed on the market, and it is
usually much easier, after having obtained a good de-
sign, to make one's o^vn stencil than to search for a
good one at an art store. As to the origin of stencil
making we know nothing. Probably all of us have
seen stencils of one form or another, but for those who
have not, it may be said that ^^a stencil is a thin sheet
or plate, as of paper or metal, in which a pattern is
cut through with interrupted lines or spaces or with
dots, used by placing it on a surface and laying on a
color through the open spaces, as with a brush or



sponge." (Standard Dictionary.) The most durable
are made of very thin brass or copper, and are used
almost entirely to mark boxes, barrels, etc., with trade-
marks or lettering of some sort. Heavy paper which
has been soaked with linseed oil and then dried is what
is generally sold and used for the stencils which we
make. The oil makes the paper tough and impervious
to the color which is used. If it is not possible to obtain
stencil paper we can use any ordinary thick paper, and
after we have cut our stencil, varnish or shellac it, or,
which is not so good, coat it with paraffin. Stencils
must be somewhat flexible so as to conform to irregular
surfaces. In making a stencil the design is drawn on
paper and bands which hold the different parts together
are marked. The design is then cut with a sharp-
pointed knife, a matt knife frequently being used. We
are now ready to put the design on the material. Al-
most any smooth material can be used. To stencil
upon it, it is preferable to put a piece of blotting paper
on a board, place the material on this and fasten the
stencil to it with thumb tacks. Ordinary artist's tube
colors or other thick paint is used and is applied with
a round, short-bristled brush which is made for the
purpose. Other stiff brushes will do or long bristle
brushes can be cut off. The color is rubbed into the ma-
terial, care being taken not to smear it into spaces where
it does not belong. Some very handsome scarfs, table
covers, curtains, etc., have been made in this way, and
walls, screens or other pieces of furniture of a certain
character may be beautified by a stencilled design. It


is easily conceivable that a patient may be interested
in the decoration of the walls of a room or its hangings
by this means. Some very attractive dens and nurseries
have been made, chiefly with the aid of stencils. It is
an occupation which trains in color sense and design as
well as accuracy in the use of eye and hand. The
slight equipment necessary and the ease with which
such can be procured is a strong point in its favor.


This is a more difficult, but far more fascinating
craft than stencilling. It is really a craft, hence is
not likely to be lightly taken up as an amusement. The
patient should have some artistic ability and patience
enough to carry out the somewhat tedious process re-
quired. Almost any smooth material can be used ex-
cept rich silk and satin. The material must be more
smooth than for stencilling. In choosing our design it
should be remembered that we have a repeat pattern to
make, or if all the material is covered, what is gener-
ally kno\^ai as a diaper pattern.

Symmetrical desigTis are generally chosen. Various
kinds of wood are used, but a close-grained wood is best,
such as cherry, dogwood, or boxwood. If these cannot
be secured, white pine can be used. If the latter, the
side of the grain is used, if the former it is better to
use the end of the grain.

The design is drawn on or transferred to the block
and outlined with a sharp knife or graver. The block
can be made more easilv and better with wood en-

182 occuPATioiq' theeapy

graver's tools tlian witli any others. These can be se-
cured from dealers in printers' supplies. All wood out-
side of the design is cut away to a sufficient depth to
keep it from coming in contact with the material,
usually about an eighth of an inch, although it may be
necessary to cut away more near the edges of the block.
The material is fastened to a board over which has
been placed blotting paper by means of thumb tacks.
The positions where the block is to be printed can be
indicated by pins. A coating of paint is put on the
block which is inverted and placed on the material. It
is held firmly and struck a sharp blow with a mallet or
hammer. The block is then lifted away, and if we have
used a proper amount of paint there should be a clean
print of it on the material. Practice only can deter-
mine the proper amount of paint to put on the block.
This can be better done, however, by the use of a color
pad, which is made by stretching about a dozen pieces
of cheesecloth, or coarse muslin, over a block of wood
larger than the printing block and securing them by
tacks around the edges, although they may be sewn to-
gether and laid on a plate. The paint, or dye, is spread
on the pad with a brush until it is saturated. Press the
wood block on this and wipe off the color, doing this
several times or until the wood is saturated, then again
press the wood block on the pad and it will be found
to have on it a thin coating of color. It is then ready
for printing. In all cases try on a sample of the fabric
before attempting to print on the piece. In printing on
thin fabrics, firm^ even pressure will give as satisfac-


tory an impression as will tapping with a mallet or
hammer. The latter is necessary in printing on rougher
f ahrics. It is impossible to print on fabric with a pile,
such as velvet. AVhen dyes are used they should be
in concentrated solution.

Some combinations of stencilling and wood block
printing are very effective. One great advantage of the
latter over the former is that the continuity of the
design is not interrupted.

If it is not convenient to procure wood engravers'
tools the block may be made in other ways. The design
may be sawed from thin wood with a scroll saw and the
pieces glued on a block of wood which has been marked
with the same design, so that the pieces will be placed
on it in their proper position.

Another method which I have never seen tried, but
which I believe can be used, is one used by printers in
emergencies where it is necessary to have large type or
designs in a short time. This consists in glueing a
piece of plain-faced linoleum (one which has not had
paint applied to its surface) to a piece of wood. The
desio-n is dra^vn on this and is easily outlined and the
background cut away with a sharp knife. This is more
easily made than a wood block, but is probably not so


As this is an occupation which requires some skill in
manipulation, it should not be taken up until the pa-
tient has sho^vn evidence of having such, or until he has
learned manual dexterity by some other means. It is
preferable to precede block printing by a course of

184 occuPATioisr therapy

stencilling, unless the patient is already familiar with
the latter.

There is an excellent article on stencilling and block
printing in the Good Housekeeping Home Handicraft


The creative instinct which is in all and which in
childhood causes ns to make mud pies, still exists
despite repression, and we would probably enjoy clay
modelling as a diversion if we did not feel that other
things give us and our world more pleasure. There is,
how^ever, an artistic touch in many crude things, and
we may be able to develop such in ourselves or others.
Certainly the interest which such an art creates in
stimulating us to observe form may be used to an ad-
vantage in the mentally sick who need diversion and
training. Clay modelling is truly an art, and while our
patient may not accomplish anything more than diver-
sion from unhealthy thoughts, or an interest in the
study of sculpture, we should feel quite satisfied with
such result.

Clay modelling has one great advantage, its cheap-
ness. The clay may be procured in several colors at
art stores for about six cents a pound, and only requires
mixing with water to be ready for use. The modelling
tools are of wood, are quite inexpensive, and substitutes
can be whittled w^ith a knife. The clay also can be
bought mixed with oil so that it does not dry and crum-
ble. If the clay dough is mixed with water it must be
kept moist by means of wet cloths wrapped about it.

As an illustration of the artistic value of even crude
things, I might instance a Banko teapot which was
bought at the Centennial Exhibition in 1876. It is of



brown earthenware with a ^^chimney" in the middle;
all over it are the finger marks of the potter, and the
handle of the lid is a quaint little frog made from bits
of clay. It is a quaint, common, little teapot with a
charm of its own, due chiefly to its individuality. We
know that other teapots made by the same potter must
show some differences even though slight. A number
of years ago a writer in the House Beautiful called my
attention to this by bewailing that this form of Banko
ware is no longer made, and in its place is made a ware
of colored clays which form a design which goes through
the wall of the vessel. This the writer decried as being
commercial, machine made, etc. Naturally my Banko
teapot had an increased value to me because I could
not replace it and because an authority had commended
it. This also shows that the more knowledge we have
of an article the more interesting will it be. (See
Collecting. )

But to go back to our moist clay, there are so many
things which can be made w^hich may have value if well
made. Yases, jars, etc., may be built up by coil work,
the clay being rolled out in a long, narrow string-like
piece, which is laid on itself to fonn the shape desired
and then smoothed off with the wet hand or a wet tool.
After having dried thoroughly these may be fired in a
kiln. One of these can usually be found at no great
distance and the fee is a small one. Clay found on some
country ramble will serve as well, perhaps, and may be
more interesting to the patient than that bought from
the shop.


If the patient sliows sufficient ability, lessons should
be taken in this fascinating art and a potter's wheel
set up. It is certainly a delightful thing to see an ex-
pert potter shape a lump of clay on his wheel, and must
be a delightful accomplishment.

In modelling it is well to begin by making solid ob-
jects, the round, so-called, then high relief, and last,
low relief. In this way a better idea of form is gained.

There is a prepared form of colored clays called
Plasticine which comes in sets and is an excellent way
of beginning clay modelling.

References :

Holland. Clay Modelling; 75 cents. The Way of the Clay;
20 cents.

Lester, Katharine. Clay Work; $1.00. Clay Modelling in
the Schoolroom; 25 cents.

Sargent. Modelling in Public Schools; GO cents. Modelling
for the Standards; 60 cents.

Binns, F. The Potter's Craft; $2.00.

White. How to Make Pottery; $1.00.


Should our patient model something that is worth
keeping, but we are unable to have it fired, a plaster cast
can be made. To do this a thin film of salad oil is
painted over the object to prevent the plaster sticking,
and if the matrix, or mould, must be made in sections
on account of the form of the object, a wall of clay is
built along the line where the section of the matrix
under construction must cleave, a retaining wall of some
sort made, such as a piece of tin or wood, and the first


section cast by pouring into the cavity made a thick
cream of plaster and water. After twenty-four hours
the tin, or wood, and clay are removed, the edges of the
matrix are greased as well as the object and another
section of the matrix is cast. After twenty-four or
more hours the matrix can be removed. It is well to in-
sert pins of some sort into the clay Avail, or make de-
pressions in the plaster of the cleavage of the matrix to
form keys so that the sections will fit well together.
To make the cast the sections of the matrix are greased
and then bound together, a moderately thick cream of
plaster is poured into it and the matrix turned rapidly
so that the plaster is distributed about the cavity and
forms a shell. Some persons prefer to make the cast
solid, but it is unnecessary. Considerable time should
be allowed for the cast to harden. A week is not too
long, although the mould may be removed carefully be-
fore that time elapses. A very satisfactory book on the
subject is Modelling and Sculpture by Albert Toft
(London, 1911, Seely & Co., Limited).


A very simple form of plastic work which requires
no artistic skill is the making of starch beads, or salt
beads, as they are also called. There are a number of
ways of making these. In one we require one cup of
salt, a half cup of boiling water, and half a cup of
cornstarch. Mix the cornstarch with a little water and
add the color (Diamond or other dye). Put the salt



in the hot water and boil it. Add the cornstarch and
mix vigorously. Oil the hands with olive oil and knead
the paste while hot until it is smooth, after which the
doudi may be set aside and used at any time. A small
piece is rolled in the hands until it is the shape desired,
when it is pierced with a hatpin and set aside to dry
and harden. The beads are afterwards strung, usually

as a necklace.

Another method is as follows : Take one large table-
spoonful of ordinary flour, or better, cornstarch, and
the same of fine table salt, mix well and sift together,
add just enough cold water to make a very stiff dough,
first tinting the water with any color desired. Work
well until the salt is dissolved, take a very little of the
dough at a time, keeping the remainder covered with
a cup or bowl to prevent drying. Roll out with a rolling
pin (not very thick) and cut, as are cookies, with a
band ring; then cut in two to make two beads. Roll
them in the palms of the hands, which should be moist.
String on fine broom straw and keep out of the sun and
wind to avoid cracking while drying.

These beads are usually strung alternately with glass
or gilt beads, and if they have been well colored are

quite pretty.


Cement work has been used as an occupation for cer-
tain cases, and has been developed to a distinct craft by
Dt. Herbert Hall at his Marblehead Sanitarium, where
only nervous cases are treated. It is also used at a
number of other places. My experience with it is too


limited to permit my expressing any decided opinion
as to its value. I am of the belief at present, however,
that it may be of use in only a limited number of cases.
Mrs. Slagle believes that it is of especial value for senile
cases, but I cannot understand how such can use this
craft except under competent direction, and then only
to a limited degree. It is a rather fascinating craft
and in simpler forms is not especially difficult. Door
porters and book rests are made, but are not very good
for polished floors or tables. These are simply made.
A wood or metal frame of the size desired is filled with
the mixture of sand and cement, packed hard, smoothed
off, and a design cut in the top by the aid of a stencil
or free hand. Or an ornament may be made in a mould
and applied. After two or three hours the frame may
be removed and the cast on its board set aside to dry.
This should not be done too quickly or cracks will show.
To prevent this the cast should be sprinkled well twice
daily for at least a week.

The mixture used is the same as the finishing coat
for concrete work — that is, one part of Portland cement
to two parts of sand. A perfect sand is difficult to ob-
tain, as that from the seashore contains salt, and that
found inland usually contains clay, both of w4iich
weaken the cast by preventing a proper bonding between
the grains of sand and the cement. The sard may be
washed, however, and so purified.

If a white cast is desired, a mix may be made of
three parts of marble dust to one of white cement, this
being about three times more expensive than the grey.


Moulds, the board on which the cast is made, the
frame, etc., should be oiled. Dr. Ilall recommends a
mixture of a half pound of melted paraffin to a quart of
kerosene, and cautions against its free use.

There are many little ' 'tricks of the trade" which will
be learned by experience, or can better be gotten from
some book on the subject. The most difficult thing to
learn is how much water to add to the mix. I would
recommend, for reference. Concrete Pottery and Gar-
den Furniture.^

1 Davison, Ralph C. Concrete Pottery and Garden Fur-
niture; New York, 1910, Munn & Co., Inc.


While these are essentially arts and require a natural
talent as well as years of training in order to achieve
any success in thenij if the patient shows a desire to
undertake them he should be encouraged to do so. It
is, perhaps, too much to suppose that the nurse has any
particular ability in either of them and so she cannot
act as teacher, but she can suggest books on the subject
and can do much by encouragement. She should bear
in mind that it is better for her patient to do something
badly than to do nothing at all. As a secondary occu-
pation the patient may be induced to take up a study
of the history of art (see p. 47).


Fig. 39.

There are several simple little drawing tricks which
the nurse may use to arouse the interest of her patient
as she uses puzzles and catches. The oldest of these is




by Hogarth and represents a soldier and his dog going
through a doorway. As is seen by the diagram, it con-
sists of three straight lines and one curved one. This
has been used to show the value of a line, which the
following also illustrates.

Fig. 40.

Here we have a view of a sailboat on the Hudson
River just above West Point, although it will serve
equally well for a view of Lake Como. It will be noted

Fig. 41.

that it has been dra^\^l with but four lines, not includ-
ing the frame.

Another trick is to draw an outline of the thumb held
sidewise and fill it in to represent a dog's head.



Pigs drawn with one's eyes closed may be amusing,
as also the following geometrical animals.




Fig. 42.

There are quite a number of these drawing tricks
which the nurse may collect.


A brief history of the development of bookmaking
has been given under bookbinding (p. 156). This gives
us sufficient knowledge for an understanding of the
present subject, although more detail may be easily

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Online LibraryWilliam Rush DuntonOccupation therapy; a manual for nurses → online text (page 10 of 14)