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

happiness!


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.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Jumping over puddles again :)








Amorphophallus Titanum's flowering is rare and unpredictable. (It inspired us to take an unpredictable trip!)

One Tuesday morning in July,it was the beginning of a great adventure. There was exciting news from the Gurukula botanical sanctuary in Wayanad about the flowering of one of the largest flowers in the world.




Thus began our amazing adventure.

All of us at Shibumi who wanted to see the flower, from the youngest to the oldest, got into the school bus and asked for a drop to Mysore road. The plan was to take a local bus from there, but as we were getting late the journey continued in the Shibumi bus.We thought we should take a drop up to Ramnagara, then we requested a drop up to Mysore, and then finally we stopped at HD Kote. From HD Kote we all piled into two jeeps with their happy drivers and made our way to see the gigantic flower.

It was almost 5:30pm by the time we reached GBS. We made our way walking into the beautiful stone steps and under the large trees to see the flower. It might not have been as big as some of us had imagined, but it was still the biggest that any of us had ever seen.



At GBS Sora and Abhishek shared with us all the information on Amorphophallus Titanum; like how the GBS had had the plant for 8 years before it flowered; that it was actually an inflorescence and not a flower, that it was not a carnivorous plant as some of us thought. The 'darshan' was over in about 15 mins and then we requested Abhishek to take us for a walk. After a squeamish walk, courtesy the imagined lethal impact of leeches on humans, we settled atop the beautiful tower for the evening quiet time and some stories.



It had been a long day, so after dinner  sleep was just around the corner, quite literally.

The morning came quickly, too quickly for some of us, as the drivers came leaving us all waiting. Somehow,  it didn't seem to matter as everyone was very excited about all the wildlife sighting the drivers had promised us during our ride back. And, they didn't let us down. There were, deer, giant squirrels, and wild ELEPHANTS.

We were touched by the wonders of nature.... from the enormous inflorescence to the silent elephants.




Monday, July 25, 2016

Our Pond

The pond at Shibumi has held everyone's attention ever since it was built. It was a project taken up by some 12-13 year old children who worked at it with much enthusiasm.  It took some time and a mason's help to finish the structure, and then it was time to fill it.It wasn't very easy to get it filled up and keep it that way as it was the peak of the dry season, and there were doubts that the pond was leaking. 
Questions about, weather to keep it filled, what plants to put in, whether to put in fish or not and weather a re-plastering was needed, were heating up.


Well, all this kept happening and one evening the pond was filled. Some fish were put in and from one of the walks the children brought a lily plant. The fish thrived but the lily was struggling. Soon there was no sign of the lily plant. It wasn't there anymore.
Mostly, after this, the pond has been alone, except for getting filled up occasionally during the dry season. We were all, of course, continue to be fascinated with the pond, spotting a snake, testing the boats. 
After some months a lily leaf appeared again.
The plant reappeared and and last week we had the first lily flowering. It stood there, in the middle of the pond holding all in awe. One of its admirers, a dog, who happened to go too close to it, ended up slipping taking it down with him. A day later the lily was back up, gently swaying in the wind, saying hello to everyone.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Blocks- for learning













Wooden blocks lends itself to learning effortlessly. Here are some ways we have seen children engage with wooden blocks.
The children have a countless possibilities and can use their imagination. While playing with wooden blocks the younger children develop muscle coordination, discover how different objects feel in their hands, think about shapes and patterns. Improve eye-hand coordination and build strength in a child's fingers and hands.
Most of all we have seen how the blocks lend itself to creative play, interaction with each other while building together and it gives imagination a free licence, which is important. Children can potentially develop their vocabularies as they learn to describe sizes, shapes, and positions.
Then of course one has experiences with gravity, balance, and geometry is learned from wooden blocks.
My favorite , is watching children of all ages work together and create things together. Children from age 5 to age 17 are sometimes found creating, interacting, laughing, grabbing (sharing!) blocks and playing together.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ladki pe ghoda


Mahiti (Age 8) has been facinated with horses. Wanting to draw horses, paint them, stitch them. Last year for our Poetry mela she chose a poem about how to love a horse  to illustrate and share with others. The other day , she was swinging on the tyre swing and walked up to me with a smile on her face.

When she was sure I  was listening to her she shared ....

 'I have an idea! I want to make a horse I can ride. See , I will explain.... --looks around... finds a cardboard box.... gets into it...-- so, I want the horse around me , so I can ride it. and we can use some boxes for the neck and head.'




Our learning space for the young children is consciously stocked with a variety open-ended material. For the children to easily access, use, play and learn with.

Cardboard boxes are a open-ended resource material that lends itself to versatile unstructured play/learning beautifully.

It takes the children on an adventure and helps them explore the imaginary places in their minds.










Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lunch Time



Before lunch one sees Aman (the boy in the green T-shirt-5years) walk purposefully towards our tiny garden and get a banana leaf for lunch. He sprinkles water on the leaf to clean it, serves his food onto the leaf with the main rice item in the lower part of the leaf and the side dishes on the upper part!He then smiles at the food served and starts eating with his hands. When he is done, he fold his leaf and walks to the cow to give it the banana leaf!

He noticed some of us were smiling at him perform this food art and has volunteered to get banana leaves for all of us who are interested to eat on one.

Looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Snake Dance


This was a beautiful sight , that the entire Shibumi family witnessed after our evening quiet time. Two snakes coiled around each other in a seemingly affectionate dance. This tussle we thought was a mating dance, when Sanjay (our snake enthusiast –age 17), shared with us that all is not as it seems! He shared with us that the rat snakes are actually two male snakes  who are fighting for dominance, to defend their territory and then go on to mate with the female.

Not knowing what was happening, it was still beautiful to watch the two snakes perform the 'dance’ by wrapping around each other.

When I watched this later while sharing it with some friends, I was struck by how 40 of us were watching this in such silence!





A Walk to Remember

Last week the Ketaki’s (Age 7 to 9) went for a walk, the plan was to go mulberry picking in a gated community. Mulberries, we had heard were filled in the bushes and we were so excited to collect our wild edibles. We strolled into the lush green gated community to fill ourselves with delicious mulberry fruit. A couple of steps into our adventure, it started to drizzle, and then the rain got a bit heavy ...we wished we had umbrellas with us... but nothing was going to stop us from reaching the mulberries. 

As we giggled and fussed about the rain, we saw a man walking towards us with 6 to 8 umbrellas in his arms and one over his head. We started to whisper to ourselves ‘let’s ask that uncle for the umbrellas!’. He approached us, and as he passed a child, he reached out to give an umbrella to them! We were surprised, thrilled and felt magic in the air! 

He was our monsoon Santa Clause!
(We learnt soon, that one of our parents who lived on the campus had sent her helper with the umbrellas, we felt thankful and cared for)




Armed with umbrellas, we walked to the mulberry bushes. We were delighted to see bushes bursting with Mulberries, deep red, black, white and purple. We decided not to attack the bushes completely and picked the ripe ones we could reach and let the ones we couldn’t reach for the birds(a bit reluctantly).


The mulberries we delicious!

Sarang (a parent of the Shibumi-the thought behind our umbrellas) then treated us to yummy snack in her house. Where we filled in our nature journals and some of us even painted with the mulberries we had collected. They have an amazing colour.

We reached Shibumi in time for lunch with our wild harvests of mulberries, jamuns and gooseberries.
After lunch some of the children with Roohi (a parent of Shibumi- who is the heart of our kitchen) made a super yummy mulberry jam and shared it with everybody!


So much learning happened with the mind so awake and taste buds so pampered.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Thulirs in Kaigal


This year our young Thulirs (Age 6 to 9) spent four days in Kaigal. Here the Krishnamurti Foundation owns acres of beautiful forested land with the Kaigal river flowing through it. This land is on the fringes of the Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh.

We loved the herbal drink.
An encounter with a snake.
we swam... a lot!

Sleeping under the starry sky!
While some sleep in the tents!

We went for long walks, played in the water, climbed trees and rocks, visited a tribal school, worked in the nursery and saw a night sky that was studded with stars!

Being together , growing and learning together is a precious gift.

Cola, was our companion on all our little adventures!
Here are Glimpses of our wonderful trip ....