Thursday, February 2, 2012

Days of Creation...and mamagram day....

I spent my day sharing my joy for making individual marks with St.Francis Catholic school demonstrating how I might begin a fabric surface design project and the processes I might employ.
1. I began with asking them to fill a white sheet of paper with bright colors and a multitude of marks...text....spirals... graffiti...etc.
2. I then provided scraps of paper to build up textures and weaving the papers to glue down for individual design elements.
3. After introduction of what a collograph process is and working in a collaboration to make individual composition I demonstrated how the layers make our images more interesting.
4. I began demonstration of applying colors to the collograph and then using a brayer to apply the colors to the three layers on their individual compositions.
5. Just for fun, I added the elements of stencils ...hearts for the seasonal Valentine's theme and angel wings to add a rock star theme. We used sea sponges to stencil the images and the students enjoyed the discovery of sea shells inside the sponges. One shell fell out and the little girl squealed...Can I keep this? Smiles.
6. I then added the option of alphabets...foam shapes...foam stamps... but we ran out of time and with 28 little artists in the room I could read the disappointment in their faces. On top of this ....there was an official FIRE drill....the cooking class had a small fire disaster so the whole school ended up outside until the coast was clear. My paints were drying upstairs in the hot heated classroom .... Yikes!!!
At the end of the afternoon and the students said their afternoon prayer and blessing before their dismissal I was a little sad that no one was going to install these pages for a display or discussion of how each student felt working in this manner. Then after a rush of clean up after 56 students I rushed to the Women's Center from our get my annual mammogram. There is nothing like volunteering to go in and squish my boobs between the cold plastic plates. I had a very nice technician and she was gentle but of course I was bruised almost immediately. Is it any wonder why woman sometimes avoid this procedure??? I came home and climbed into bed and slept until Ken came home. I know why I am not in the classroom full time....I just cannot do this active interaction with a large group of people.

Was i wrong to be a bit disappointed in the lack of delight expressed by the adults and teachers...I thought there should have been some type of recognition and display of their sacred marks. This simple step to show the works empowers the students in ways my words cannot totally express. Maybe the fatigue...maybe the interruption with a Fire drill... maybe the lack of strength and endurance ... I felt as if I had failed. I will share the few photos I was able to take ... and you can give me some feedback on what I could have done differently. I wish you peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart


  1. Well, hindsight is always nice to have. Wish we could have it before we begin something.
    Now, number one, FROM MY EXPERIENCE in doing similar things....the people in charge often have no idea of how much work, time, talent it takes to pull of one of these demos. So, when I sit down with somebody that wants me to lead or teach children something I spell it out for them. I tell them that it's important for the students to see VALUE in what they have created. That there should be someplace for them to display their work. I once did that and the art teacher put everything in a glass case, out in a dreary hallway. Everything was on top of each other, poorly displayed. So, I had to ADD to my up front discussion, let me help with the displaying. That way I could make sure that things were displayed with pride. But, also the bottom line is to remember that you are the "dropper of the stone in the pond" you are the seed planter and LET GO of expectations. Hard to do, I know. Do what you can up front to make sure that these past disappointments don't happen again and then let go and know that you planted a seed. We don't need to pull out the plant to check the roots. Smoochies :)Bea

  2. Dear Bea, You are so articulate when you express the VALUE discussion and lay out the multiple steps I will be demonstrating in a very crowded classroom and the short amount of time provided. I could see the eyes of the children when they knew their works were being dismissed ...and not even exhibited. It is a real trust issue...they see me... explore for me new areas... and they did seem to really enjoy the process of open ended wrong marks... only positive experience of experimenting. I love the roots metaphor!!! Love your kind support. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  3. Don't beat yourself up, Mary Helen...stuff happens and I think that fire drill did some major damage, figuratively speaking. All I can say, is that "You did good, lady." However, now you know for the next time.

    As for spending time in a classroom with many children, I would end up on the 10 o'clock news...."Teacher Implodes in front of class!!" LOL

    Have a great weekend.


  4. I cannot believe that no one made any comments or hung any work that was done. Seems pretty rude to me on the teachers part in whose classes you were teaching. Ah well. Sorry you had to feel less than needed, they didn't know how lucky they were to have you. xox Corrine