As teachers and artists we need to allow time for participating in the creative acts that we teach to our students. This week was a time for such acts. The theme for the week was story. So many interesting artists use story as a jumping off point. In our time together we looked at cultural examples of story such as Indonesian Shadow Puppets. We made our own shadow puppets and performed them by the firelight. We created a Crankie. Crankies are machines that scroll a story across a frame. We learned about Cantastoria and the ancient art form or singing stories using visual aids. We made lost toys for each other, further exploring story through the eyes of someone else. We made stencils by the river and left our stories on the rocks as ancient cultures have always done. When we left, we were full of stories and ideas for both our own artwork and the lessons we would bring to our students. We were full and refreshed. Participating in this week allowed us to do what we must do every day, be creative, compassionate and connected.
The theme for this summer’s institute was Making Your Mark: Ancient and contemporary practices in telling stories in art.
Our keynote presenter this summer was the inspiring and knowledgeable Anne Thulson. Every morning Anne guided us through activities and presented artists who focus on story in their art. Artists like, Lenka Clayton,who tries to make the familiar unfamiliar. Our assignment was to interview someone about a lost childhood item and then make that item for them as a gift. Also Doris Salcedo, who tells the stories of pain, loss and trama. And introduced us to the modern and ancient artform of Cantastoria.
We “Drifted” after being inspired by The Derive artists of the 1950’s.
Kris Heintz-Nelson presented a condensed course about Women Artists.
Patti Smithsonian- a puppetmaker and performer inspired us by making crankies with us.
Dona Laurita brought us back to our own story by having us create our own personal symbols.
Karen Eberly-Smith took us to the river where we made our own egg tempra paint and created mud stencils.
In a group session we investigated puppets, ancient and contemporary and more artists who focus on story such as Kara Walker and Trenton Doyle Hancock.
We created shadow puppets and then watched them come alive by the firelight.
So many seeds were planted in our own work and in our teaching.
The weather was amazing, the scenery was fantastic and the company was just perfect.
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