Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Full Blog Post for a Very Full Day

After the morning storm, the day gave way to sunny Fall skies and we could see how much the snow advanced down the Chugach Mountains. Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage.

The blowing wind and pouring rain woke me up yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m. Fine by me because I didn’t want to over sleep and be late to teach my Artful Journaling class at Camp Erin. Though there was really no chance of that because I admit I was excited and nervous for my volunteer gig to go well and hadn’t slept very well –I didn’t want to let the kids down. The 40 minute drive north to Mirror Lake at Camp Carlquist (which is an Alaska Boys Scouts of America facility) was dark and slick on the rain soaked highway, rain gave way to sleet half way there. I was glad all of the camper’s Creative Activities were indoors. Journaling Class was successful but made for a very full day –I had four groups of all age kids from “Littles,” “Middles,” “Tweens,” to “Teens.” To minimize mess and spills I divided the extra long dining hall table into art medium sections. I placed dry collage elements (my son Will's old Snowboard magazines and Cat & Dog Fancy I picked up at the Thrift stores were a hit, the Adult Buddies, perused my old Martha's, O and Simple Living's) with tons of stickers (“Middles” girl’s favorite) at one end and moved to markers, pastels, crayons (for texture rubbings), glue sticks, tape, a water colors and acrylics tray, a basket of rubber stamps and pads, glitter glue sticks (an all-ages favorite), and Mod Podge trays for final collage works. A separate drying table area was also necessary to set up. I was surprised at the diversity of 

interests and mediums used to start their Artful Journaling. Many started with their covers, while some dove right into creating pages. I had to include a photo of the sticker and paper collage area EXPLOSION! I was a bit (A LOT!) panicked after that first group because of the energy the kids used to dive into EVERY supply and their willingness to explore and try it all. A group of particularly inspired “Middles” even hand colored sheets of paper towels using watercolors and glitter glue. As these beautiful sheets were fluttering near the drying table, they looked like sparkling batik fabrics I would want a skirt made of.

One charming “Little” who earlier had a hard time of fitting into his group, bloomed as he created an entire catalog of every rubber stamps I had in the basket. He had a page full of stamps and wanted to stamp your hand. I suggested he stamp and number each stamp (over 30!) in his journal so camp

ers and volunteers could better tell which one they wanted him to stamp. He was so energized by his finished Journal pages he started a “business” to offer for sale (free) stamps of your choice on the wrists of everybody in the camp.

He even had a page of “limited editions!” He was running around “selling” his stamps and said “wow, I’m having a great sales day, I just sold two more!” Very ingenious and hard to resist, I “bought” two, #25 and #9.

Volunteers helped me swab the deck so to speak after each of the 4 sessions. We refilled water containers, washed brushes and sanitized the plastic coated table top. In hindsight, I was probably a bit over prepared with all of the projects I had made curriculum sheets for, but will be able to reuse them.

I did hand out a lot of the blank Mandala patterns that the “Tweens” found cool to color and embellish, but not very many other projects sheets.

With such a diverse group I thought it would be better to be over prepared than under supplied. Another good idea was as I pulled various supplies from my studio, I kept repeating to myself  “don’t bring anything that you aren’t prepared to lose or sacrifice.”  It seems campers and adult buddies were excited to try all of the various mediums especially the large box of pastels –oh and bend my huge wooden Manikin I had brought for a conversation centerpiece. The miniature Maniken had to go in my jeans pocket during the first 5 minutes of the first session, his upper body poked out of my jeans throughout the remainder of the day! The adult volunteers named the large Maniken “George” for a particular camper who had put the poor wooden 

Maniken in a WWF throwdown hold… My Maniken man survived and even won the respect of the other Campers who became protective of him.

Cleanup was fast and furious because I wanted to catch the second half of Gus’ football game. Driving back to Anchorage I was happy to give my back a rest, eat a small bag of Cheetos and smiled as I glanced at the back of my stamped hands on the steering wheel, #25 a Piggy and #9 a Cat. The skies 

had cleared and after the storm and the snow line had advanced significantly down the mountains. My boys were lucky to play in true fall football weather and I was able to arrive during the 3rd quarter. Coach Daddy-O and Gus’ 5th & 6th Grade Eagles won the final game of the season, capping off an undefeated season.  To celebrate the day, I swung by City Market and picked up a Chocolate Mousse Cake, grabbed a couple of Brown Ale Growlers and we grilled burgers on the Lucky Grille. As the Ale went down smoothly, fall leaves covered the wet deck and the last of the day's sunshine peaked through the trees, Derek and I  warmed ourselves standing by the Grille. It was hard to believe that 4:30 a.m. was less than 16 hours ago!


Peter said...

Goodness! I do think children's classes are actually a bit like rocket science, in that you bring together the raw ingredients, put them altogether in a confined space, light the touch paper and.... BOOM! It sounds like you lit the touch paper of imagination and the kids were soon flying. Hugely terrifying and satisfying to be involved with all once..... You must be utterly exhausted today! Lovely post and nice photos too. You live in a beautiful place.

cindy shake said...

Oh my gosh Peter thank you -you soooo summed up my weekend! I was very nervous yesterday morning, then felt a huge relief after watching the kids inspired and crank out amazing artwork. I did also realize how "out of shape" I was in the stamina department for the little guys. A big savior were all of my samples I had made ahead of time-when a Camper was stumped for a place to start or what to do, I spent individual time sharing my handful of samples. Then as you say, BOOM!

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

these pics? easy to see why you live there, wow :)

cookingwithgas said...

Me too! WOW! beauty!
I bet you slept well the next night!
Don't you just want to bottle all the energy.
And I love when the underdogs shine.
Thanks! I felt like I was there!
my word today-fulskya! I love it!

holly aka golly said...

I truly wish I had that much energy! What a full day! Amazing, Great photos too!

Mod Podge Amy said...

Awesome! It's great to be seeing Mod Podge used in AK! Cheers -

Linda Starr said...

What beautiful photos of the lake and surrounding area. It seems you really inspired the kids to have a wonderful and creative time and so many different age groups to contend with. I am sure the children will remember the time for years to come. That would wear me out, especially the 4:30 am, but the mousse cake and grilling were well deserved. Gus looks like he's going through a growth spurt, his legs look very long in the photo.

ang said...

what a great day, i'm glad george made it home in one piece.. said...

I've had many similar days teaching kids, there is nothing like it is there?! I know exactly how you felt, I could feel the energy you got from them all the way over here on the east coast! I will teach a class and think about the kids in it for days and days after. It's very rewarding!
Sounds like your preparation paid off tremendously.

cindy shake said...

Hi All! Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a comment! Nice to see Amy and Holly here! Yes, the Alaska scenery has been quite glorious. Yes, Linda, Gus is trying to catch up to Willie who is at 6'8"...(!) All's I know is that I go to the grocery store it seems every day, haha!

Patricia Griffin said...

Wow, zest for life. Hey, congrats to you, Daddy-O and Gus. All winners! The kids in your art camp had a blast, obviously! Next time I am on tap to lead an art experience, I'm going to look up this post!

cindy shake said...

Hi Patricia- I've recovered fully this morning and am getting ready to weld again! whew! I'd be happy to share any of the project sheets I made up and can put them in pdf format. Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! What a day! I think you should file that one under a FULL day.

cindy shake said...

Marjorie I am recovering after napping and watching movies and football all day Sunday! Hey, watch for my Blanco Bob inspired give-away tomorrow!!! :o))