Friday, June 23, 2017

What in the world would I do with a bunch of wooden sticks?

Last year, Inwoods Small School gifted us a box of Kapla sticks. They are small and flat blocks of wood around 4″ x 1″ x .25.” wide. The blocks are so basic they can be morphed into just about anything a child can imagine. What is amazing to watch is how the children hold the blocks, enjoy the feel of wood, smell them and start playing.Initially not knowing what they want to create but in the act of engaging with the blocks, something emerges .... and often crashes! 

 It is play without an obvious end, beginning, number of participants, rules, winning, loosing and free of the known.

Also the conversations and learning is immense. From comparisons of heights , attention to breath while placing the blocks, speaking with care to ones peers and openness to the gust of wind that brings it all crashing to the floor in a moment!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Chittara Workshop

The Paaruls and Palash were introduced to the Chittara art form through a two day workshop at Shibumi.  Chittara is a folk art form practised by the women of Deewaru community living close to Jog Falls in Shimoga, Karnataka. CFRIA (Centre for Revival of Indigenous Art) is a non-profit organisation that is committed towards preserving and Indigenous Art practices in India. We had Geetha Bhat, from CFRIA, as the facilitator and Lakshmakka, who is from the Deewaru community, introducing the kids to this art form.  We started off with an introduction to ’Hase Gode Chittara’.  The motifs used in Chittara are geometric and mainly lines. Hase Gode Chittara represents a marriage ceremony in the community. The drawing of the Chittara itself is part of the ceremony.  The colours used in Chittara are red, white, black and yellow. For white, ground rice paste is used; roasted rice for black, yellow seeds (Gurige), red earth and the brushes are made up of pundi naaru.

The children started to learn by drawing the basic shapes that go into making a chittara. This took almost the whole of day one. The kids were fascinated that simple things like mango leaves, hand fan, clay pot, bird, hand saw, and not so simple things like bride, groom, palanquin, musicians etc can all be drawn using simple straight lines!

On the second day, we went on to the main thing which was drawing an actual Hase Gode Chittara on hand made paper. It involved lots and lots of measuring. Everything had to be precise!

The kids got tired of measuring. They were eager to get to the end of the drawing and do the painting.  We used acrylic paint for our paintings. It was not at all easy using those brushes to paint straight lines. Lakshmakka made the brushes from pundi naaru. These are really thin brushes made from the fibre of a plant that grows on the banks of a river. We found that using those brushes made the lines straight J

During the painting, Lakshmakka sang for us. In their tradition, the women usually sing when they are painting.  It was beautiful.

The two day workshop ended with a presentation and display of all the work that the children had done.
Lines are drawn .... ready to paint
White lines on red paper
black lines on white paper

Beloved Lakshmakka...

A sample 'Hasegode Chittara'

Sharing our learning with the rest of Shibumi

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Shibori at Shibumi

We had a one day intense workshop with Nikita Jain and Priyanka Patel , where they shared with us the magic of Shibori. We had done tie-dye earlier, and were fascinated by the simple technique of knotting and dyeing fabric to create happiness!

Shibori is the Japanese word--meaning to wring, squeeze, press--for a number of ways of embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing. It was magical because of the various labor intensive techniques that created elaborate patterns that were unexpected and mind blowing. The techniques involving crumpling, stitching, plaiting, plucking and twisting. Once the cloth was 'shaped' by these methods, we secured it in a number of ways, such as binding, clamping or knotting.

The children's questions moved from, ' what will happen if  I do this?' to 'let me try this!'
The element of chance to the display of patterns and colours of this method gave life to the shibori process and added its special magic to the fabric and us.

Playing with the fabric....
 being placed into indigo dye...

Every step of the procedure called for a pause.... 

The wait....

Each method gave unique results and revealed  exciting moments. 

Look look look!

An element of the unexpected  was always present!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Belated Onam celebrations at Shibumi

The kitchen is the heart of Shibumi and everyday the mothers create the most colourful, nutritious and delicious food. Some days they take the challenge further and cook, share stories, connect culture and food, decorate the place in simplicity and make food a festival!

Adding to the festive feeling...

A family that eats together stays together...

at your service...

So nice to have ex-students back in the space...

The elaborate menu


Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Day out: Malleshwaram Railway Station

All of us :)
The Ketaki's (Age 6 to 10) spent a day at the Malleshwaram Railway Station as part of their exploration of trains.

We started our morning with the most delicious idlis and vadas from a  small shop right outside the station.

" Can we please go on the train?"
We then walked into the railway station which is a great place and the setting is such that it looks as if it has been lifted directly from Malgudi Days of RK Narayan. The railway station had two entrances just like any other railway station, with two tracks separating the junctions on either side. The platform had some large rain trees that make this station beautiful. The benches were lined on the platforms for everyone to enjoy their wait for the trains. While many passengers waited for their trains, the children interviewed them. It was great fun! We asked them about where they were going, what their favorite food was on the train, how often they used the trains and the interactions filled the station with many smiles.

There is a sort of sidewalk from an overhanging bridge connecting the two sides of the station, and it was a perfect spot for the children to have a peek at the trains that whizz past the station during the day.

Interacting with passengers
Vibha helping keep the station clean :)

It's whizzing by under us!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Seeing connections between 'sharing' and the 'Cauvery Issue'

When the children were on the bus to Shibumi after the day off declared due the bandh in the city, there was much talk amongst the children about the bandh. There were conclusions being shared that made me pause , and I realized how much information about the violence had reached the children, how they felt part of a group and how fear was playing out in them.
It prompted a pause in Shibumi after lunch, where the Ketaki's (Age 6 to 10)with some children from across the other groups shared why they felt there was a Bandh....

Sharing what unfolded... It created a pause....

Why we felt a bandh was called in the city.....

So many things we happening in the city.....

How we feel when we have to share something we don't want to share...

What can we trust?

With the bandh in the city due to the underlying tone of unrest, a child was sharing what he went through before coming to Shibumi yesterday morning.... 

Sidh: Yesterday when I was sharing with my grandfather that I felt a bit hesitant to come to school , because it might not be safe. And with what my grandfather said I was convinced that I should not go.

And then my father said, that there was no reason not to go and with the reasons he gave me i was convinced that it is safe to go.

It is amazing how we can get convinced so fast. 

What can we trust?

Our parents' (the adults in our life) fears can become our fears so easily.