This article raises interesting questions about the nature (and nurture) of creativity.
Archive for the ‘hundred languages’ Category
Yesterday Will (my 10 year old) was working on creating a loop in Garage Band. He recorded via synthesizer a segment or phrase, and was trying to loop it, but he was having difficulty because he realized that in order to make a loop, you have to leave halves at the ends, so when they merge you don’t get a repeat at the beginning. Here’s his loop after a lot of trial and error (my title):
I was fascinated because it is the same process textile or wallpaper designers use in order to make repeat patterns. See this detail, below from: http://vector.tutsplus.com/tutorials/tools-tips/everything-you-ever-want-to-know-about-creating-seamless-patterns-in-illustrator/
1. Background Rectangle – In this method, the rectangle is placed below all other objects, so that all elements stay within its borders.
2. Dividing Objects – To crop the pattern, create a rectangle on top of all objects to match the tile. Now you have two options: either select all objects and press the Crop button in the Pathfinder panel, or select the top rectangle and go to Object > Path > Divide objects below and delete the leftovers. Now you can save the perfectly cropped pattern.
3. Invisible Borders – This method is the most advanced and popular. Create a rectangle matching the tile borders, make it NO fill and NO stroke (dark rectangle on the image below) and send it to back of the entire stack (Shift + Command+ [). This invisible shape will define the pattern borders, this way you can avoid dividing objects.
And the same process block printing with a repeat:
Same concept, same process; different media, different languages.
My son’s friend Sam studies a tributary of Rock Creek on our walk home from school:
Sam: “That’s a good pool for fish right there, next to the side of that riffle.”
Sam’s dad is an avid angler. Sam was taught how to read the river, hence, Sam knows where the fish are.
How many secrets could we unlock if we knew how to “read” other languages?
Right in front of Takoma Education Campus a butterfly bridge was installed as part of the 5×5 Project. We took a group of children out to see it today, and afterwards, they drew. Some children invented other bridges for birds and insects, some made a butterfly bridge with a stop light “to tell the cars to stop so the butterflies can cross,” and one child, Tamika (pseudonym) drew this:
Tamika said, “This is a flower garden and this one is left by itself (red flower hanging upside down), and these are all of his friends. He wants to play with them because they are partners.” She counted all the pairs, and then went back to her drawing and added a friend for the red flower…
I like how this shows both social/emotional intelligence (making a friend for a flower who didn’t have a partner) and some great math–odd and even, division with a remainder, sets…
I’ve been thinking a lot about technology in schools for our upcoming DCREA Study Group meeting. The other day I watched my colleague print out 15 or so pictures, cut them out on a paper cutter, and then file them into a child’s portfolio. I wondered aloud why we are still doing a paper portfolio when a DVD of images (the original work presented separately) would last longer, be more cost effective, and save time. I had mentioned a DVD before in the past and so far, the idea has not caught on.
This is but one example; I often see a resistance to the language of technology. As adults, we must show that we are open to all languages, whether or not we are well-versed. If we are fearful, or reticent to explore a new language, we consequently send a message of prejudice.
See also: http://indialoguedc.com/?p=362
At a recent visiting day at St. John’s Episcopal Preschool we received many questions about how and when we introduce materials to children.
I like to think that we don’t introduce materials to children, but that children (and adults) and materials meet each other, and get to know each other, over a life time. And in that life time, relationships deepen, resurface, and are sometimes lost. New relationships are constantly forming because there is always a new material to encounter. And just as we have to get to know materials, materials have to get to know us. Clay, movement, music, will react differently in my hands than in yours; it is not a one-sided relationship.
Last weekend I was the keynote for the Ohio Voices for Learning conference. During the discussion following our work with materials as languages, we talked about moving from one language to another–from drawing to wire, or the verbal language to clay, etc. I think that too often ideas are simply re-represented; the clay model of a trash eating truck looks exactly like the drawing. Instead, moving from one language to another should invite new twists and turns, and should suggest an evolution of the original idea. Every material is unique and has particular qualities, history and references and brings something to a piece. If the material doesn’t speak, this implies that the language of that material isn’t fully understood.
Think about a good cover song; I love Dave Matthew’s version of “All Along the Watchtower,” the Fugees “Killing Me Softly,” Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life” (danger: rated R lyrics), Moby’s version of “Helpless.” These artists honor the original song, but they make it their own. The riffs on the original are what make it worth listening to.
Here is a good response to the question I often get asked, “Is what the children doing art?”
An even better point of view is found in Vea Vecchi’s “Poetic languages as a means to counter violence”
Vecchi, Vea, Claudia Giudici, Gabriella Grasselli, and Leslie Morrow. Children, Art, Artists: the Expressive Languages of Children, the Artistic Language of Alberto Burri. Reggio Emilia, Italy: Reggio Children, 2004. Print.
She articulates some similarities between children and artists in the sense that at the most fundamental level, art is about deep relationships with materials, but also some differences. I love when she speaks about how simplistic comparisons between children and artists belittles both groups.