Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nearly There

Finishing up the auction quilt and lamp, some framed pictures as well. Which is good because everything goes on Saturday! Meanwhile we are still busy with class work, 
and one of our girls had a birthday.

We've made progress with the puppet show.
By this time next week school will be out for the summer!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

All at Once!

The kids are amping up on their skits for electrical inventors. The show has kept their interest and excitement for many weeks in spite of plenty of other projects interrupting. But they loved learning from their teacher Miss Jean McCrary about the miracles of electricity and named their puppets after amps, watts, volts and the like. They've invented ingenious props and worked out what the skits will be demonstrating. The puppets are starring as the great geniuses Benjamin Franklin, Nikola Tesla, Philo T. Farnsworth, and Hedy Lamarr. Hardly any time left but we are going to pull it off!

There are lots of other doings for the kids' class work and the auction as well. Our auction is based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring so we are doing artwork related to that. For inspiration and understanding I showed them video clips of life in the Shire, Gandalf and Bilbo smoking their pipes, and fireworks at Bilbo's one hundred and eleventieth birthday party.
But what really inspired them was Hobbit food! They whipped cream from a cow named Cindy who lives in nearby Tenino; they stuffed themselves with organic strawberries, apples, sausage, jerky, bread and butter, cheese, and more. Kids are always eager to eat and they easily learned the names of the Hobbits' seven meals a day - breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses . . . anyway kinders to fifth graders all considered food an excellent inspiration. Everyone became happy to donate their art works to an event they will not be attending (while asking when their next feasts will be.)  

The boys are hammering nails for an outdoor loom.
 It was proudly put up by their classmates.

And everyone went out to play!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Drawing Matters

I've been processing the kids' drawings into a quilt for our big auction, and it's got me beyond busy, a labor of love for sure. 

All my students start in kindergarten learning the proportions of the human body. They are able to draw many different actions and positions, with legs and arms bent at knees and elbows, going somewhere or doing something. The quilt shows some of their activities at Phoenix Rising, and while humming along I've been remembering things they've had to say about the importance of drawing: "You can show an idea . . . You can make something beautiful . . . You can tell a story using pictures, or add pictures to words and make them mean more."

While we are on the subject of drawing, recently my students have seen the famous drawing by Philo T. Farnsworth, the boy who invented television at the age of fourteen. (Did you even know?)  This sketch may not look like much but it is loaded with information that got a farm kid the first-ever patent in the development of television.

My students all know Beatrix Potter and the Peter Rabbit stories. They have also learned that through careful observational drawing she learned of the reproductive cycle of mushrooms and fungi, something no one had ever yet understood. She wrote her findings, her paper and drawings were presented to the British institute for science (a "boys' club;" the paper had to be read by a man since women were not allowed to enter). Beatrix Potter was eventually acknowledged as an important contributor to the science of mycology. Which all goes to say that developing good skills in drawing can be mighty important.

It does me good to hear my students talk about the value of skills I work to teach them. I love that they understand how much alike artists and scientists can be in carefully observing and recording things. Too, I think they are going to like seeing their sketches and drawings in a whole new form that will keep someone warm and cozy. Some of their other artwork will be in the auction - if you live nearby, please come!

Monday, May 8, 2017


Fashion Rags and a Little King Bug Maker. I have a happy job.