Monday, January 23, 2012

The 11th Secret and a Wonderful Inspiring Blog.

Grands' Camp in the Adirondacks

In the 11th secret (the blog is the 14 Secrets for a Happy Artist's Life, right?), I suggest that people play with their grandkids as much as possible.  I came across this idea while working at an Elderhostel Grandparents' camp in the Adirondacks.   I had done a little research on how pop culture and the electronic environment might be harming growing minds. Some researchers were predicting the end of civilization as we know it.  I was eager to see what would happen when the grandparents and their grandchildren would come together in a fairly rustic, wild, and magical environment without electronic distractions, and just their own creativity to entertain themselves.   I arrived at Sagamore armed with puppet-making materials and the hope that I wasn't biting off more than I could chew.

By the middle of the week, children were racing all over the camp, proudly clutching their little puppets. It was as if they had never made their own toys before, or even considered such a thing (perhaps they hadn't). Grandparents, their reactions more sedate, beamed and in quiet moments shared various ideas with one another, sewing techniques, or choices in character and style.

Toward the end of the week, once the puppets were complete, they had to invent the storyline for a puppet show. In order to accomplish this, I gave everyone a few pointers on the concept of "council" slowing down, taking turns, and really listening to one another. Then the grandparents and grandchildren created wonderful stories and I took notes.

These children and their grandparents were truly delighted by their creative explorations and discoveries. Later that year I presented at an American Art Therapy conference. I was able to assure the attendees that although many writers were concerned about the future generation's creative and cognitive abilities being negatively influenced by the electronic environment, there is tremendous generative potential in multi-generational play and creativity, the embodiment of the 11th secret.

But if you don't have any grandchildren, perhaps you have children or nieces and nephews.  Create art play dates for some children (who ever you can find).  Your own creative abilities will be so grateful.

Do you feel a little intimidated, as if you might have to compete with the ever present electronic distractions?  Well, have no fear.  I have the perfect inspiration for you, it's this fantastic blog:
We Bloom Here.  I don't want to say too much, I just want you to explore, look at Wee Peg Dolls, read about Finn Family Moomintroll (my favorite!), endless art activities, and oh so much more!!

Here are some of M. Bloom's favorite quotes:
I am blinded by the glare of all the silver linings... (Elizabeth Cohen)
The reason birds fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings. (J.M. Barrie)
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all...
(Emily Dickinson)
 What, are you still here?  Go quickly, don't miss a minute!  M. Bloom is waiting for you now!
A couple of M. Bloom's adorable monsters!

No comments: