Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our Monster Friends

This spring I had such fun doing an art project with first and second graders. We created a banner for the Parent Teachers Association Auction, with the title "Our Monster Friends". To get the children started, I showed them photos of some of the mythical creatures I saw on a recent trip in Thailand, and asked them to consider whether a monster could be friendly (Many of the Thai creatures seemed as though they could be). The kids were particularly interested in the many armed Shiva. We had some wonderful discussions.
The children then drew monsters of their own creation and transfered their drawings onto silk squares. They painted the squares with silk dye, a parent ironed them to set the dyes, and I assembled them into a banner. I worked with the children to write stories about their monsters, photographed their squares individually, and assembled photos and stories into a book. I believe monsters the children created and their stories expressed a new view of "monsters" as different, but not necessarily bad.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Marjorie Watkins and I did our first school visits with her books, Rotaida and the Runestone, and Royal Spy (I illlustrated Royal Spy). That's me on the right saying, "RoTAI DA, RO TAI DA!" We look a little bind because we took our glasses off for the camera. 
The clothes we are wearing are from the era, Charlemagne's time in 800 A.D. We dyed them with onion skin and tumeric to imitate as closely as we could the dyes that would have been available at that time.
The kids seemed to enjoy our readings and our attempts to take them back before cell phones and Ipods, and their teachers smiled the whole time, so I think we were successful. The kids asked great questions and had interesting comments. One girl thought she couldn't live back then with out her cell phone, but her classmates reminded her that she wouldn't even know about cell phones, so she would be fine. We had discussions about herbal medicines, how our ideas of trolls might have come from people with birth defects being cast out from the community, about travel being easier on water than on land.
It was great fun, and we plan to do it again. And again.