Healing Through Craft

Occupational Therapy at Morisset Hospital

A pair of moccasin slippers, a latch hook rug and a set of wire clothes pegs—what do they have in common? They were all handmade by patients at Morisset Hospital.

From its inception, Morisset Hospital was planned to be a largely self-sufficient community—boasting a farm, gardens, a fishing boat, boot maker’s workshop, a busy kitchen, laundry and sewing room—and patients were involved in all aspects of the hospital’s maintenance.

‘Leisurely’ work was considered to be therapeutic for patients, with a range of activities and training made available on a purely voluntary basis. By the 1950s, the hospital employed dedicated occupational therapists to support patients in learning new skills such as basket weaving, pottery, and other crafts. Their handiwork was put to a variety of uses.

Moccasin slippers were made for elderly patients to wear. A latch hook rug might have been gift-wrapped and sent on to patient’s families at Christmas time. And clothes pegs were sold, with the proceeds going back towards funding hospital programs.

Patients produced high quality items that are still appreciated today, with many Morisset residents reporting that their pegs work perfectly, even after decades of use.