Pablo Neruda: Ode to Criticism II

Posted 05 Feb 2014 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized

I came across this Ode the other day, and it was so relevant to the many conversations I have been having at schools this year. I thought I would share it here:


I touched my book:
it was
like a white ship,
half open
like a new rose,
it was
to my eyes
a mill,
from each page
of my book
sprouted the flower of bread;
I was blinded by my own rays,
I was insufferably
my feet left the ground
and I was walking
on clouds,
and then,
comrade criticism,
you brought me down
to earth,
a single word
showed me suddenly
how much I had left undone,
how far I could go
with my strength and tenderness,
sail with the ship of my song.

I came back a more genuine man,
I took what I had
and all you have,
all your travels
across the earth,
everything your eyes
had seen;
all the battles
your heart had fought day after day
aligned themselves
beside me,
and as I held high the flour
of my song,
the flower of the bread smelled sweeter.

I say, thank you,
bright mover of the world,
pure science,
of speed, oil
for the eternal human wheel,
golden sword,
of the structure.
Criticism, you’re not the bearer
of the thick, foul
of envy,
the personal scythe,
or ambiguous, curled-up
in the bitter coffee bean,
nor are you part of the scheme
of the old sword swallower and his tribe,
nor the treacherous
of the feudal serpent
always twined around its exquisite branch.

Criticism, you are
a helping
bubble in the level, mark on the steel,
notable pulsation.

With a single life
I will not learn enough.

With the light of other lives,
many lives will live in my song.

-Pablo Neruda

What are they thinking?

Posted 11 Dec 2013 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized


Atelier, Creativity, Citizenship: The culture of the atelier between thinking and acting

Posted 09 Dec 2013 — by Jennifer
Category hundred languages, Uncategorized

IMG_0003_2 In the atelier: Human figure between bi-dimensional and tri-dimensional.










I just returned from a week in Reggio Emilia, where I attended the International Study Group: Atelier, Creativity, Citizenship: The culture of the atelier between thinking and acting. 

On the plane ride home, I thought about how I could communicate the big concepts of this Study Group to colleagues and friends. I found my answer in a book I have been reading:

Speaking of Art, Four Decades of Art in Conversation by William Furlong

(This quotation is part of an interview of  artist Frank Stella)

Stella: “I don’t know that much about Duchamp, and I don’t know whether that’s exactly what he said, but making a separation between any of the senses and the mind is a perilous undertaking. It just doesn’t work that way. Given that there are blind intelligences, you have to be taught in a lot of different ways. All of our perception feeds our ability to learn. Intelligence is not an abstraction–it’s a growing part of a whole. So, I don’t see any point in making that separation in human beings or in life experience. Nor is there any point in separating or isolating art and the experience of art.”



Can’t We Do Better? –

Posted 08 Dec 2013 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized

Can’t We Do Better? –

I like Friedman’s points about ownership and high imagination.

Art Makes You Smart –

Posted 24 Nov 2013 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized

Art Makes You Smart –


Cob House Man

Posted 22 Oct 2013 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized

About 10 years ago , we had a cob house  built in the playground at St. John’s Episcopal Preschool. I am reading a book which includes our cob house, “Dig Your Hands in the Dirt! A Manual for Making Art out of Earth,” by Kiki Denzer, and I want to share this paragraph from the foreword:


“To me, art means working for beauty before money. Beauty, as a medium for culture, craft, love, home, as well as a medium for exchange. Beauty as a vision of wholeness in a fragmented world. Beauty as an essential element of life, like air or water. Beauty as a way to nourish living culture. Beauty as a link to an unbroken chain of artists/craftsmen.humans whose hands have build homes and communities, grown food, delivered and taught children, and provided for the future. Beauty as a way of life, in which art is a common language–and participation is not a right to be won, but a simple and undeniable fact.”

Kiko Denzer

Beauty-full, indeed.


P.S. I tried out his mud painting recipe with my son- it was easy and has many possibilities!



Zella Said Purple

Posted 10 Oct 2013 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized

Well, I haven’t been posting lately, but this is one of the most beautiful reflections I have read in a while:




Lifelines for Poor Children –

Posted 15 Sep 2013 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized

Lifelines for Poor Children –

Share #11: Hirshhorn Muesum’s Over, Under Next

Posted 03 Jul 2013 — by Jennifer
Category materials, shares

If you want to see the origins of collage and assemblage, and you live in the DC area, head to the Hirshhorn to see Under, Over, Next. Something I had to keep in mind is context–the collages and assemblages in this show are from as early as 1913 (Braque’s Aria de Bach)

This piece by Jess, A Western Prospect of Egg and Dart1988, made me consider the physical  process involved in cutting and pasting, now more commonly accomplished with Photoshop and similar software and applications.

A close-up.IMG_4354

There was something about the presence of the ‘real’ puzzle pieces and other objects-the trompe l’oeil, that was exciting.IMG_4355

So many things were hiding in the image. Today was the second time I studied this picture and I saw entierly new things.IMG_4356

I also was drawn to these images by Jiří Kolář, organized in a visual way, for example in diagonals:


Or weblike structures:IMG_4360

Or vertical lines: IMG_4359

Revealing a Character Through the Use of Different Media

Posted 18 Jun 2013 — by Jennifer
Category hundred languages, materials


Pixar designers used different media and techniques in order to fully develop the character “Art” for the upcoming movie “Monsters University.” Sketched first in colored marker, artists then used a soft pencil to flush out Art’s movements. Why? Because soft pencil flows…a line from a pencil is a direct connection between the hand and the brain, the most immediate connection (think about those gesture drawings from your first drawing class). A portrait of Art was painted in order to get the final colors correct, a clay machette was sculpted, and the artists looked at videos of Mummenschanz to study Art’s movements. Each material and technique brought something new to the character, and revealed something about Art that was not clearly articulated with a previous material.

This article is an excellent example of the process of an artist and how he thinks with materials (watch the slide show too)!