About

  • What is Creatilily?

Creatilily is a source of arts and crafts workshops for the refugee children based in Zurich initiated by the getting to know the San Fransisco based NGO ARTogether. Creatilily is developed by Shima Sheikholeslami who believes in Creatilily to be the spirit of a little girl who believes in magic.

  • Who is behind Creatilily?

My name is Shima Sheikholeslami and I was born in Iran in 1986. I left Iran in 2010 and since then I’ve lived in 3 different countries being Malaysia, Singapore, and finally Switzerland where I am currently based at with my husband and daughter. I am studying for my Master’s on development management at Open University and I have a background in soil science and geographic information system (GIS). Refugees are my personal focus while studying development management. My attitude towards development is what Nilima Gulrajani (2009) calls “Romantic development Management”, A desire for non-managerialist approach to influencing positive social change.

I am and have always been a beauty beholder all my life. Beauty captures me and sets me free simultaneously. Being the younger version of myself, classic type of beauty appealed to me the most. I would constantly hop from one art to the other, experiencing this and that material looking for the best to satisfy the sense of perfection I was chasing. As I grew older (and hopefully wiser!!) life experiences showed me the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Life even taught me that these experiences weren’t the furthest one would go. It was a confusing place to be. And through all that, I became aware of the fact that light actually shines the brightest for the darkest of reasons and when it shines even the faintest of it deserves our curiosity. That light might not be perfectly glowing but that is where the beauty lies… The beauty of a story… The beauty of expression… The beauty of perfectly imperfect… Of being a human…

  • Why children Arts and Crafts? 

Children’s arts and crafts have always drawn their inspiration from nature and great works of art. It mimics what one aspires to create and yet the final art piece is far from being perfect. This imperfectness creates room for manoeuvre of the mind. Space in hopes of something more desirable all the while carrying one significant character… The unique touch of each child’s artistic vision! Each child recreates the past works of art or what mother nature has to offer, to create their own path of exploration and discovery…

At Creatilily we mostly use the “Bricolage” method. We use what is available and what ever that tingles our sense of creativity with fun. Be it a pile of leaves or a handful of pebbles or an empty cardboard box or some paper plates, we cut and paint and make something new for recreation together. Being silly won’t hurt either!

  • Why the name?

The name is a combination of the words creativity and Lily! And here goes the story of the name Lily…

When my daughter started to mutter a few words, she would call all her dolls and stuffed animals Lily! She would even sometimes refer to herself as a Lily! When she got a bit older, I asked her why her dolls don’t have different names to which she answered “Maman! The name Lily is my favorite and if any of my dolls finds out that they are not a Lily to me, they will be truly heartbroken!!”.

This was one of those moments in life that I had to just sit back and sink in the great love that was shining through the heart of a 3-year-old, who gave me a heartwarming lesson on equality. Interestingly enough, my mother’s name, whom I lost while being pregnant with my daughter, translates from Persian to Lily! She was the one who passed to me the eye for beauty. You might call this a coincidence but I would prefer magic.

  • What does Creatilily stand for?

At Creatilily I believe in “Give children an inch and they will take a mile” with a positive twist! I believe in them to take hints of art we make together and that later be pulling them out of their pockets on rainy days in life. (Perry Como singing in the background!!). I believe in the time we have spent together cutting, painting, gluing and shaping friendships to be the butterfly effect that would stir positivity in ways we can not imagine but we would wish for them nonetheless.

Let me finish with a quote by Nazim Hikmet for he perfectly put my feelings of hope in this poem…

“let’s give the world to the children
at least for one day let the world learn friendship
children will get the world from our hands
they’ll plant immortal trees”.


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