OCT – DEC 2014 REPORT
Arts & Crafts and Multimedia Classes
Classes this year took place from mid October till Christmas time 2014. Over all I taught Arts, Crafts and Photography to 9 different classes of children and to another 3 different batches I gave Photoshop computer lessons. That makes a total of around 120 children participating in this year’s official programme. This year with the addition of some very robust “kid proof” cameras, there was a lot of emphasis on photography and also on Photoshop thanks to some fantastic new up to date PC labs in both schools. However the general emphasis as ever remains on cultivating the potential and unique vision of each student as an independent creative thinker. The idea with these classes is to provide a platform for children to develop talents in an atmosphere of freethinking, experimentation and sharing of knowledge. In other words we give them the tools and they come up with the rest. It has really been a great year with some fantastic art being created both in and out of classes by new and continuing students of the programme. Here are some of the projects we developed this year:
THE ILLUSION OF FORM
These drawing lessons taught students that a simple trick of alternating straight and curved lines within a drawn form or silhouette can produce the illusion of form and roundness. Little tricks like these are very useful for the children as they can tap into this technique later on in other projects. I also like it because it does require concentration and repetition which is always useful in imparting a little lesson about patience and the idea that sometimes you have to work for a while on what might seem to be a mundane task in order to achieve something rather beautiful.
SMALL BOOKS (BIG IDEAS)
We had huge success with this project this year. Children are taught how to make their own small book by the clever folding (and one cut) of an A4 piece of paper. This small book is theirs to fill in as they wish, as long as it is done with obvious consideration. This opens up the project to the world of a child’s limitless imagination, I was amazed by the range of subjects that came up…from Indian deities to fashion, pastoral scenes to martial arts, letters to cartoons and one boy even reproduced all the covers of Harry Potter novels! Better still everyone wanted to take their books home and make more. A lot of very fine work was produced during this project and a lot of it was produced during the children’s spare time.
Admittedly it’s not always easy to manage a class of extremely excited children who have been given a camera for the first time. However I wanted all age groups I taught to have the opportunity to take these lessons. A lot can be learned through photography; composition, how light works, movement and how it affects a photograph, team work, cooperation, patience and perseverance…
I think we got some really fantastic photographs taken by students of all ages; it really channeled their energy, which is tangible in the images they took. I also think that the responsibility and trust that comes with handing over a piece of equipment to manage and use themselves proved to be a valuable lesson and also a boost to their self esteem. As I have said before, apart from the fact that it’s always going to be useful to know how to take a decent photograph, if this skill is combined with Photoshop abilities it can be the start to a vocational career.
With the new and now very well equipped computer labs in Butterfly Hill and Daddy’s Home, I was able to give far more effective Photoshop lessons this year and with the addition of a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) at Butterfly Hill (one has already been installed in Daddy’s Home) it meant that all new equipment was protected from power surges and despite the frequent power cuts (especially at BH) lessons could continue uninterrupted which was a huge advance for all who frequent the computer labs.
Every day after school I taught a batch of children in both schools, thanks to the new and far more powerful PCs, children are learning Photoshop CS6 which means they are bang up to date and I have spoken before of the vocational usefulness of Photoshop in India (a career can be made from manipulating and creating scenarios for weddings, events, graduations etc.) So this is extremely useful and relevant for them in their (imminent) after school future.
As ever I include origami in my programme due to its extremely sustainable nature (materials needed: a square of paper and a few colours) and because of its inclusivity…really anyone can do this, and the fact that it always strongly promotes the sharing of knowledge and skills among the children.
Having taught origami over the years at Care and Share, in my absence students now go to the school library, find books on the subject and have taught themselves and me how to make new shapes. This for me is a real result, the fact that it has inspired them to do their own research and learn new things in their own time. Of course let us also not forget that the children have made some truly beautiful little structures.
Margarita Vazquez Ponte, January 2015