Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Alive and Flourishing!

All the days since the first of September have been packed with activity - the Phoenix Rising Art Room is bursting with projects as always. The photos are a wee little glimmer of some of the things we've been up to.

The kids are learning about insects and their tiny amazing lives. They have meal worms turning into beetles in their classroom, ever-busy ants crawling around in their tunnels, and caterpillars becoming butterflies. I found a preying mantis which we observed in a jar. It might creep you out to have seen how it fought when we added a yellow jacket, but they stood each other off for several days. This being autumn, they clearly were not in the mood for eating each other but for going off to sleep somewhere, which they eventually did.
Bees, fairies, cats and flowers became elaborate pictures that told stories. I took dictation from each of the girls and now we have illustrated books in the making.

Boxes became treasure chests. The kinders are divided into two groups, Seahorses and Turtles, so they painted, drew, cut out and arranged many pictures of those creatures.

Too, I have started teaching the most unexpected class, fashion design (!) in the new Phoenix After School program. Anyone who knows me would never think I would ever do that! But it's such a fun thing and I decided to do it because I knew it would be an opening to different world cultures, to understanding language differences, food, music, color, human beings' relationships to their environments. Already the kids are understanding how clothing can cause suppression or allow freedom. One of the kids talked about how Chinese women's feet were bound. Boys and girls all had something to say about long dresses and tight corsets. And I have something to say about individuals being objectified by the powers that be in any culture.

We are getting a look at where materials and clothing are made, who does all the work of making them - actually the fashion industry is about as corrupt as the pharmaceuticals. Which I had not known before. It's a relief for both me and the kids to learn about fair trade, ethical companies that support people in their lives and respect Mother Earth. 

Most of all the kids love turning cloth into fun things to wear. They have sketched designs for hats, dresses, capes and gauntlets. We've refashioned tee shirts into a few different items. I found a sewing machine that a six-year-old can safely use, but first they will be doing a fair amount of hand sewing to develop their skills and patience. The kids are especially happy to know we will be chowing down on cuisine related to cultures they are inspired by!

There's more to share, lots more - not only art but other things 
I've been really thrilled to bring to Phoenix. Please stay tuned, I'll be back 
to share very soon! Happy Autumn to you!

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