Student Cafeteria

Friday, May 20, 2005

I have been working on a Werewolf Project with the students at school and they are loving the horror and gore.

If you all check this Project you will find the artwork of the Girlie Werewolf Project. Now being a thinker I thought that the next bunch of mini stashes I could send out to artists would include a glove - when I can source some lovely old gloves - and we could have another challenge going.

The challenge would be to depict the noblewoman's hand or the hand of some other victim of the werewolf. Alternatively people can make wolf masks or depict some other element of the story.
Alternatively you could join a colouring competition and post your responses here on the Art Blogger.


Any takers? If so let me know and I will begin sourcing gloves and sending mini stashes to people. As with the Footprint they will come back to provide inspiration for students ranging in age from five to eighteen.

image courtesy of

This semester I am presenting a unit of work on the 'Magic Beach' by Alison Lester to students ranging in age from Prep to Year Eight. We will be working to present a variety of art and multi media responses to the text. To learn more about 'Magic Beach' read this review by Dan Hurburgh. Hurburgh is Australian writer with a passion for maritime history.

A rhyming story line in a child's picture book seldom works well. They often seem so contrived and sometimes downright corny.

Not so in Alison Lester's 'Magic Beach'. This book deserves the status of a classic in contemporary children's literature. In fact, the book is regularly listed in the Best Seller lists in Australia, where the author resides. ...

All children love the freedom and fun of a trip to the beach. Alison transports us to one of the childhood's favourite playground, that place where the land meets the sea. The real joys of beachside fun are joined with pleasurable and harmless seaside fantasies.

On alternate pages, we are taken from beautiful realities to even more captivating fantasies. We go from a scene with a sparkling sea to an exciting world where we can ride waves pretending they are "wild white horses". We go from sandcastle building to a land of fire breathing dragons. We explore rock-pools and their magic world of starfish and crabs, and then go to an evenmore magic Kingdom where we can ride seahorses.

The beach is still magic when it's a cloudy and gray day, our imaginations will help us discovered a treasure chest. We can go boating in the safety of bay, and then let the wind and our fantasies take us to the "edge of the world".

We fish and laze on the jetty, and in our daydreams, we catch a monstrous shark.

It is now evening-time, we are toasting marshmallows around the glowing fire, and in the shadows, there may be smugglers hauling in crate-loads of booty.

It's time for bed, and to the sounds of the ocean, we drift off to sleep on the evening tide.
This is a fabulous book which has universal and popular appeal.

I have set up this blogger to enable people from my classes and Patrons from the Soul Food Cafe to participate and show multi media art work and writing. I will post some of the activities that the class are doing and I know that it is going to be exhilarating as responses are posted.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

You have heard of shoe-string budgeting? Well now there is shoe-string publishing! That is when you publish in an appealing way, for minimal costs.

Perhaps one of the most rewarding things for me this year (2004) has been seeing the altered books that the Grade 3, through to Year 12, students have made in each of the schools I have been working in.

I took along a bag of altered books and showed them what students of mine had done. The challenge was to guess what each book had been in another lifetime. Even I had not realized that the gold sprayed book, that looked like a glamorous album, had once been a standard desk diary. The book that the kids really loved was made by Angeli - one of my Year 7 students. She had taken a business directory and meticulously covered every page as only an artist could. The pages were seamless. She had glued pages, in six page lots, together and then covered them with pages from glossy magazines. It blew everyone's mind away when they saw what she had done and the teachers and children were fascinated with the transformative element of the project.

Upon my return children screamed with delight and tripped over one another in the rush to show me how they were transforming books that would have gone to the paper recycle place. I was gob-smacked as I looked at how enthusiastically the kids had taken up my suggestion. These books will be treasured instead of being discarded. These books will be treasured instead of being discarded. They are being filled with responses to exercises that I have presented, personal photographs, incredibly moving pieces of writing, symbols, images of their favorite things, dreams and hopes. That warmed my soul. It felt like a sauna embrace.

I call this Shoe String Publishing because you can literally publish at little or no expense, 'publish on a shoe string'. At the end of the year we will be wrapping these books up in Christmas wrapping. I cannot think of a better gift.

Have a peek at what these students are doing. Be inspired and make albums by using recycled magazines, directories or old books, to store your art and writing in. Remember that the Visual Journal Lounge has lots of tempting links to support this addictive art form.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Students at the primary schools that I visit to promote writing activities have been very excited to participate in the new Colouring Story competition. They love the beautiful Chinese Dragon and have been told to start their story with the line "Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a faraway land, there was..." When they have finished colouring in the dragon that is hovering over the Chinese village, they will use it to make a front cover for their Chinese Fairy Story.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

This month Willa Cline has been writing about memories in her online journal. In her entry Remembrance she writes that "There are a handful of world events that stick in my mind; not only do I remember them, but I remember the circumstances under which I heard about them. I was in the fifth grade when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The principal came over the public address system and made an announcement. I was standing in the back of the classroom in front of a bookshelf, looking at the books preparatory to picking one out to read. I can still feel myself standing there, my back to the loudspeaker, standing stock still and listening." In her entry entitled Memories she begins with "There are two stories that I "remember" about myself as a child. I put "remember" into quotation marks because I don't know if I actually remember them independently, or if I remember being told the stories and have constructed my own memories from them. I suspect the latter."

Write about two stories you remember, two events that indelibly etched into your memory.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

More about Weblogging and blogging. These entries provide you with plenty of good reasons to make writing a daily practice.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Today we began our visual journals in class with this lively exercise.

Take a newspaper or magazine page and randomly cut thirty words. Cut out big words or little words. Once you have the words use them like magnetic poetry and write the last thing you say to the world before dying. You can make any adjustments by cutting off letters and arranging them in any way you like.

Some examples from today are
fruit I missed the World Cup.
noodles are good
tell Mum I will miss her

So! Have a go and then decorate your page. My class are now harrassing me to do psycho style letters demanding less homework in English.

Monday, December 16, 2002

This semester I have been working with two primary schools, promoting simple techniques that increase the flow of words. Initially we completed a simple exercise which serves to demonstrate that often it is best not to think or actively search for words. Often it is best to free the mind and trust that the words will come. All you need to do is close your eyes and relax. Try to empty your mind by looking at what you see when your eyes are closed.

"I saw a blackish greyish colour with different colours speckling all over the place. The colour is like a deep void of nothing with colours exploding around" wrote one Grade 6 student. Later we did a guided imagery and students discovered how much sensory material appeared on their pages, seemingly drawn from the very deep void that Gary had witnessed.

Experiment now. Close your eyes! Relax! Look at what you can see with your eyes closed and then write for twenty minutes without stopping.