kate5kiwis: an apple for the teacher


“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.” — Mitsugi Saotome

Friday, June 05, 2009

an apple for the teacher

hi, i'm katie. i make stuff.
the truth is, this art paper
has saved my life this semester.
as much as i have a love affair with words,
there is something so organic about talking in pictures.
i have really struggled with my perfectionism
over the last three months -
what a journey... an A- for an essay just won't do.
and i really hope this is not osmosising
to my kiddos' consciousnesses.
because what i believe
and what i find myself doing are in obvious conflict.
we are supposed to make art in response to an issue:
and i cannot get off my usual soap box -
in skool it still seems that
"education is something we do to a child"
and like it or not, there is a conveyor belt
along which beautiful individuals travel and
get a rubber stamp on our foreheads at the end of it.
i am all about starting with the child.
i hate that "national standards" are being mooted
at a SEVEN YEAR OLD level.
why the hell is NZ looking at adopting something
that's tried and failed globally?
maybe this is why i've been so angsty this semester?

cos i'm so anti-system, yet here at uni i'm
playing the rubber stamp game too.
conflict, much?

anyway - snapshots of my last art project -
i have layered three supermarket bags
and heat-fused them together to make each page
and raided my button stash and added printed stuff.

it's the printmaking journal - my usual
loads-of-creativity-but-not-much-actual-ability style.
but hey, handed in today -
completed a week early.
seems i'm not last-minute-katie any more.
i do worry myself a little.

and oh gosh i am loving my first time connection
with so many New Zealand artists though -
i've now studied six. a drop in the pacific ocean,
but what amazing inspiration, right here:
Ralph -
look at his essence:
and Marilynn
yeah - i had to get all teachery with it.
check this one out - seven artists got together and
made art in response to our own Hone's poetry.
and Robin

who's in love? i am.


Anonymous Jacinta said...

stunning Katie.....absolutely fabulous


7:32 PM  
Blogger Katepai said...

Oh wow super dooper amazing!!! Fantabulous!!


8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh you are so clever.

I wish I could be so enthusiastic about my work. But I can't.

Anyway - I am back on the laptop and trying to catch up with a few things. Still can't sit but can manage about half an hour at a time on the computer perched on my side. And I came here first!!

Have a lovely weekend.

haha the word verification thing today is "frail" which is kind of how I feel!!!

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Oh you had me at 'there is something so organic about talking in pictures.'

Beautiful Katie! I am totally blown away with your creativity and so excited for you. You are so inspiring and this post makes me want to go away and learn about New Zealand's artists too.

Your post has left a real impression on my mind.

Good luck xx

11:19 PM  
Blogger Laura/CenterDownHome said...

"There are few things that I can say about my work that are better than saying nothing."

Love that! I've been saying it (with less pithiness) for years! "Stop describing and explaining and theorizing about your own work, artists! Let it speak for itself. If you were good with words, you'd be writers!"

I love your work. I stunk at printmaking in college.

Yeah, watch that perfectionism thing. It's torture. :)

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely love it, Katie. :) It's just wonderful!!

5:03 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Absolutely positively brilliant - and so green too! ;-)

6:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn gorgeous.
Love the jandals.
Unfortunately it's an A- from me, I spied the NEW WORLD logo. Hmpf.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Katie what a really interesting post
I spent a good long time looking and reading it
totally absorbing
I LOVE the way you recycled the plastic bags to make your pages
I like the way you got teachery with it
I remember being told how some of our assignments could be one day used in our classrooms I could imagine this in yours one day. I hope the children would respect all the time and love you put into it though. Treating it carefully as well as using it as a starting point for their own art.
I like some of the other commenters now want to go and try some of the techniaues out (youve really interested me in how you made your pages - guess you that already :)) and I want to find more art about Marilynn Webb I love her mountian
WTG girl wondering whether I could go back to school just to be in your future class :) :) :)

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming from one of those global locations where "standards" are being touted and legislated, I agree it can be squelching to creativity, mainly because the standards can be arbitrary and meaningless. When I was a student teacher, we had to, out-of-the-blue, push the high schoolers' desks in circles and make them discuss something to fulfill the "group discussion" mandate. Dumb. Sadly, almost everyone experiences the bureaucratic cookie cutter where perfect handwriting isn't beautiful handwriting; it's copied exactly from what has been determined to be the perfect standard. That is one thing, when I eventually left "the system" and home-schooled, that I did not enforce on my children. As long as it was legible and approximated the accepted form, it was okay by this fifth-grade penmanship champ. Finally, to my most important point: I think art and music can be the bright spots in all this conformity, as long as everyone is not expected to make the exact same thing the exact same way, as I was. It was so frustrating to finally have art class, and find out we were all to make a construction paper axe for Washington's birthday, or a dumb tulip that had to look like everyone else's. Creativity is really in somewhat short supply these days in comparison to earlier times, I believe, and that's a problem.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My comment was long, but a short PS: What high-schooler doesn't already know how to group discuss? omg, that's pretty much all we did in high school!

5:42 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Flossy said...

Truly cringe-worthy... the imposing of standards on 7 year olds, not your artwork which I find truly stunning. So inspired. So you.

We have 4 inquiry-based classes at school which seems to me to take away alot of that 'education being something we do to a child'. For the most part, kids are in charge of their own learning and the direction it takes. One of the teachers told me last week that she always maps out ideas in her planning as to where she thinks a topic might head but the ideas the kids come up with are ALWAYS better.

Next term we're running a trial for 4 classes looking at where this inquiry-based learning might sit with technology. I'm quite looking forward to it. Especially if the kids are going to come up with better ideas than the ones I've already got!

Henry and I are going to the Art Gallery tomorrow to see what NZ treasures we can find.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flossy, I'm reminded of your son's amazing ladybug!

1:25 AM  
Blogger Little Miss Flossy said...

Exactly. His ideas and even his execution was miles ahead of anything I came up with.

3:47 PM  
Blogger skatey katie said...

oh LOOKIT - i must be bouncing back - i've had the whole weekend "off" uni - well actually i nipped out with sammy and took pix of "my school" for the history BOOK i'm writing - but anyway - hey hey folks, i'm ecstatic that peeps are still chatting here... and here's some backchat lol

well, miss creativity - your enthusiasm means the world to me - thanks for the lurve X

you know, i'm taking a leaf outta your book katie girl - your pages inspire me and thank god/buddha/allah/cher that your blog is up so that i can find my muse when i've needed it. can't wait til merlin's partay!!! but are you going to barb's girls' weekend at the end of june? mel might pick me up on her way thru! X

i covet your bwains. (i was gonna write "bwainth" cos that's how we say it here lol). hope your muse returns pronto - failing that, stay horizontal and sip the vino thru a straw. much love X

you had me at "hello"...
one of bulldog's and my fave movie scenes. i really had no connection with NZ artists before doing this paper (except maybe colin mccahon and goldie) and now - i am totally gonna go off and connect. X

you know, i absolutely adore ralph, but he's torture to research cos he's so quiet. i cannot help myself explaining myself - cos i feel a bit bereft in the ability category so the explaining kinda makes up for it.
bamboozle 'em with words and maybe they won't notice my art is shite lol.
love that you resonate with ralph, he is one cool dude X

thank you so much - i am still loving your chic 'do - nearly inspired to chop all mine off, but not just yet lol X

lol - you noticed all the recycling (at least i fink that's what you mean by "green"??)! i hoped peeps would. that's becoming closer to my heart. X

i wrote to you on today's blog post no less, while you were gallivanting around the tron.
2 countdown bags to every other one, baby. see, we're converts here X

hello luffly girl. i have already used my painting journal in the classroom, to show the kiddos some of bryce brown's art work. they loved looking through it but they were fascinated that i put myself repeatedly on the front cover. they couldn't work out why i did that. i couldn't really explain it either lol X

an oh knee mouse
i feel kinda weird that i don't know yer name - but your chat really resonates with me.
it bothers me that too much time is spent on assessing kids and too little time is spent on child led learning. maybe floss has the answer... X

hello pinot gris girlie.
the inquiry learning classrooms really fascinate me - please oh please keep us in the loop - cos i have studied the page in the curriculum doc and am really interested in how it'll work in the world. am doing a paper on "curriculum and assessment" next semester - i hope i'll cope lol X

5:46 PM  
Blogger SoozNooz said...

You are my friend not only have a gift but are a gift! Thank you - am doing an assignment now and need desperate inspiration. You are my muse!


11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if my third grade teacher is reading, I'm the one who made the YELLOW tulip, when all the 29 other kids made ORANGE. Seriously! Always was a bit of a different drummer, although you'd never know it by looking, as I'm quite conservo. I guess I could go by An-n...

On inquiry: I was in a class like that in middle school. Just loved it. One of our assignments was to design the perfect school. I invented home-schooling. Little did I know it was hardly an original idea. I think project-based classes are great, as long as kids also get a full serving of content--real hard facts and/or skills--on which to build their ideas: the foundations under the castles in the air. I had a bit of a bone with the plethora of writing assignments I seemed to acquire, since I was told to write about what you know. Well, I didn't know all that much when I was a kid. Most kids don't. And I think writing for the sake of writing leads to writing baloney--a habit which is hard to break once one comes up against that laser-eyed Ph.D. at uni/college.

Thanks for the soapbox! I'm glad I resonate with someone, for once. ;-)

5:08 AM  
Blogger Ang said...

My goodness girl, I just feel so inspired looking at this stuff... you are incredible katie, and this suits you down to the ground. I think responding creatively to an issue is a powerful way to unravel issues and understand ourselves. I love your soap box, and I think you should stay on it!

10:03 AM  
Blogger nova_j said...

gorgeous, as always!!

lol obviously you're doing well in your course - cos you're already suited to add your voice to the many grumbling about national standards in staff rooms NZ over! ;) shame they sounds so great to people who know *nothing* about learning huh?

love the marshmallow quote too, it's my favourite :D

6:17 PM  
Blogger PaisleyJade said...

Love them all!!

10:18 PM  
Blogger Sandra - too heavy to stand on a soapbox, but undeterred said...

I love the marshmallow quote. I would LOVE to write it all over our staff room wall.

But I'm not brave enough.

But I am trying to keep it in mind as I interact with my own students. Y'know, trying to get the marshmallows close enough and yummy smelling enough that they might eat them.

9:55 AM  

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