Category Archives: Childhood

Oh What Fun!

During the holidays the Winnipeg Art Gallery ran one day camp experiences for children.  I was lucky enough to be in charge of giving the kids tours of the galleries on a couple of days.  Oh what fun!

Toppakou by Takashi Iwasaki 2015

Inspired by the work of Takashi Iwasaki in The Behind Closed Doors exhibitwe made our own abstract creations out of felt shapes.  Inspired by the elegant pottery of Robert Archambeau we made some pottery of our own.  

vista de instalacao by Robert Taite -2018

Inspired by Robert Taite’s installation the children created a maze like piece of art with wooden blocks and then walked through it.  

Clouds, Lake Superior- by Lawren Harris 1923

Inspired by works from the Group of Seven hanging on the wall in the Salon exhibit we  looked carefully at lots of works by the Group of Seven and tried to organize them into seasonal categories.

Beautiful Young Mummer in Margaret Feltham’s House by David Blackwood 1985

 Inspired by the beautiful prints of Newfoundland mummers by David Blackwood we played a hide and seek kind of game by dressing up as mummers ourselves.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Indians from A-Z by Robert Houle 1985

Inspired by a Robert Houle installation in the 80s Image exhibit the children organized names of First Nations alphabetically and we talked about some of the unique characteristics of the various groups. 

Near the Close of A Stormy Day by Homer Watson 1884

Inspired by a painting done by Homer Watson we created a storm of our own using musical instruments. 

Marion Tuuluq in a jacket she designed

Inspired by the beautiful wall hangings of Marion Tuu’luq the children drew images of their own. 

Lake Trout by Marion Tuuluq -1973

Untitled wall hanging by Marion Tuuluq 1985

Thirty Faces by Marion Tuuluq 1974

Oh what fun we had with children at the Winnipeg Art Gallery during the holiday season!

Other posts………

What Talent!

Imitating Emily

Oh To Be A Kid at the Fringe Festival

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Imitating Emily

emily's art grade fours winnipegI was visiting a grade three and four class in one of Winnipeg’s inner city schools as part of my job as a university faculty advisor and I saw these marvelous paintings on the wall in a classroom where one of my students is doing her practicum. The classroom teacher had introduced the children to the work of the great Canadian artist Emily Carr and then led them through a step by step process to create their own artworks in Emily’s style. emily carr winnipeg school grade 3:4The display in the classroom included photos to show how the children had experimented with color mixing, learned about contour drawing and looked very carefully at Emily’s paintings of trees. They experimented with layering shades of the same color and thought carefully about every brush stroke. emily carr grade 3:4The children had also written stories about what it might be like to spend time alone in a British Columbia forest the way Emily Carr did. imitating emily carrEmily is always a favorite subject for children when I take them on tours at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  I tell them about her menangerie of animals that included a pet monkey.  Her animals accompained her into the forest when she went out in her little trailer she called The Elephant to camp amongst the trees and do her artwork.   emily carr display winnipeg classroom

A writer in Macleans magazine who eulogized Emily Carr after she died entitled her obituary She Made Trees Dance.  So did the amazing students in a grade three four classroom in inner city Winnipeg who inspired by Emily and guided by a creative and enthusiastic teacher made trees come to life just like Emily did. 

The photos of the students’ work have been posted here with their teacher’s permission. 

Other posts……..

Talk About Defying Convention

Old Sun and Emily Carr

Klee Wyck- May Your Spirit Dance

 

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A Top Ten List From A Top Notch Speaker

You can make a difference with your book!  I attended the Packaging Your Imagination conference for children’s writers and illustrators in Toronto on the weekend.  One of our inspirational keynote speakers was Ruth Ohi the illustrator of some 60 children’s books and the author of two dozen more.  She wanted us to know books can truly make a difference to children.  They can put kids in a happy comfortable place and make them understand that their ideas matter. Books can help children feel respected and good about themselves. 

Ruth shows us some of the stages in creating a page in one of her  books

Ruth also gave us plenty of great advice about writing and illustrating books for children.  I think however that her ideas could apply to anyone who is tackling a creative project. Here’s a top ten list I compiled from her talk. 

  1. Take chances
  2. You must care deeply about what you are doing
  3. When you are stalled in the creative process do something physical like going for a walk or cleaning your house. You get your best ideas when you aren’t thinking too hard. Sometimes it also helps to change up your venue. Ruth likes to leave home and go and write and draw in libraries. 
  4. You don’t have to be perfect and amazing all the time. 
  5. Get used to rejection. Even a successful author like Ruth gets tons of rejections. 
  6. Don’t throw anything out.  Little sketches, little bits of writing, notes you’ve made may prove valuable later on. 
  7. It helps to have a partner who is supportive.  Ruth’s husband is her rock, her touchstone and her inspiration. 
  8. You often have to do a pile of awful stuff before you get to the good stuff. 
  9. Don’t get overwhelmed by social media – find time to create. 
  10. Make sure you are having fun. That’s what it’s all about. 

Ruth was so full of energy and excitement and enthusiasm about being a writer and illustrator and the whole creative process that entails. She was the perfect person to kick off the conference. 

Other posts……… 

Helping Children Become Writers

Learning From Judy Blume

Why Do Pigs Bark and Other Questions

 

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Attending A School Named For An Explorer

sisters at sir john franklin schoolLooking through some old slides to prepare a visual presentation for my father’s 90th birthday I found this photo of my sister and me outside Sir John Franklin School where we were both students for the 1960-1961 school year.  I was in grade two and my sister was in kindergarten. 

johnfranklinschool1

The Manitoba Historical Society website provides this image of the school. It was built by Sutherland Construction Company for $52,000. It was designed by a local architect named J.N. Semmens. The school welcomed its first students in the fall of 1921 and in October was named after the famous Arctic explorer Sir. John Franklin.  The original school only had five classrooms but additions were made in 1934 and 1951.  In June of 1987 the school was closed and the building demolished in 1991. 

grade two class sir john franklin school 1960-1961 school year

Grade Two Class Sir John Franklin School – 1960-1961 school year- Teacher Miss L. Ushey- I’m on the far left in the back row right beside the principal Miss Hannah Fisher.

I found both the principal and teacher in my second grade class photo listed on the Manitoba Historical website.  The principal who is standing right beside me is Hannah Eleanor Fisher.  According to the history page about her she was born in North Dakota in 1901 and moved to a small Manitoba town called Neelin about 200 km. south of Winnipeg as a small child.  She taught in both rural and city schools before becoming a principal.  She served at Sir John Franklin from 1954-1961. She never married and spent some time in England as an exchange teacher. She died in Winnipeg at age 95. I couldn’t find any additional information about my teacher Miss L. Ushey. My two best friends in grade two were April and Catherine.  I can still pick them out in the class photo. 

house on beaverbrook street

With my aunt, my sister, and my brother on the front yard of our house on Beaverbrook Street 

We lived on Beaverbrook Street when I attended Sir John Franklin and one day when I came home from school for lunch a car had careened off the street and driven right into the livingroom of the house next door to us. Other vivid memories of my grade two year are running back home one day because I encountered a big dog on my way to school.  I got 7+7 wrong on a math test and remember being upset that I missed such a simple question. 

I only went to Sir John Franklin for one year.  My primary education took place in four different schools.  I’d like to learn more about them all. 

Other posts…….

Hopeful Diversity- A School Classroom Very Different From Mine

My Mom Starts School

The Old Schoolhouse

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Oh To Be A Kid At the Fringe Festival

marylou working at the fringeOn Friday and Saturday I worked in the Winnipeg Art Gallery tent at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. The kids section of the festival is set up just beside Old Market Square.  What a fun place it is to be.  snakes and ladders at the fringeThere are expert face painters on hand and there is a giant snakes and ladders game.  four square at the fringeYou can play four-square, hang out and read books in the Winnipeg Public Library space or do a little movement and dancing and drama with talented and entertaining instructors.  fringe for kidsThere are all kinds of tossing games to play and of course you can visit the Winnipeg Art Gallery tent and make some art.  On Friday we made paper bag puppets and on Saturday the children were doing water-color paintings.  One little girl did ten paintings in a row all so creative and colorful.  It was great fun getting to know the children and helping them with their art.  self portrait at the fringeOn Saturday my colleague Marion made a water-color painting of me.  

Marion my colleague from France

Marion is from France but has been working at the Winnipeg Art Gallery for the last four months.  In a few days she heads off to the Yukon on the next leg of her Canadian adventure  I will miss her.  

tossing games at the fringeI had never visited the children’s area of the Fringe Festival before.  I am glad I got to work there and see all the kids have such a great time.  

Other posts……..

Two Artists

Olympus Inspired Art

A Children’s Masterpiece

 

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She Persisted

she persistedI’ve just added She Persisted Around the World to our church library.  The book written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger tells the stories of thirteen women from around the world who persisted despite all kinds of barriers placed in their way.  marie curieSome of the women are familiar like Marie Curie twice awarded the Noble Prize for her discovery of two new scientific elements. She persisted despite the fact she had to leave her home country to study.  j.k. rowlingAnother familiar woman is English author J.K. Rowling who persisted in writing her award winning series of Harry Potter books despite being rejected by dozens of publishers.  caroline hershelOther women featured in the book are not so familiar like Caroline Hershel an astronomer who discovered two planets.  She persisted in studying astronomy even though her parents thought she should try to get a job as a servant.  Sissi lima do amorAnother woman I hadn’t heard about before was Sissi Luna do Amor one of the first women to play soccer professionally in Brazil.  She persisted even though she got in trouble for wanting to play because she was a girl.  viola desmondThere is even a section in the book about Canada’s own Viola Desmond who persisted in retaining her seat in the “white” section of a movie theater even though she was black. 

Elizabeth_Warren_2016“She Persisted”  is the famous phrase directed at American Senator Elizabeth Warren when she insisted on reading a letter from Coretta Scott King to the Senate as a way to defend her objection to the appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.  Sessions had an abysmal record on civil rights which had previously prevented him from being appointed as a federal court judge.  The Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell called for a vote to silence Senator Warren. He said he had no choice because she wouldn’t listen to him. “She persisted” he said and kept reading the letter. The phrase “she persisted” has quickly come to refer to women’s persistence in breaking barriers despite being silenced or ignored. 

kate sheppard

Kate Sheppard who persisted in getting the vote for women in New Zealand.

There are so many interesting women profiled in She Persisted Around the World and they come from every continent and every area of endeavor.  I think the book will be an inspiration for everyone who reads it and not just children, but adult as well.

Other posts……….. 

 

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A Photo That Brings Back Memories

I found this photo in my parents’ collection.  I must be only three or four years old.  The truck behind me is my grandfather’s grain truck.  I loved riding in that truck.  I can remember going to the grain elevator with my Grandpa and sitting in the cab  while the truck was hoisted way up high in the elevator, and the back of the truck tilted back to dump the grain in the bin way below. 

grandpa's truckI remember my mother telling me that this photo was taken one time when Grandpa had come into Winnipeg and I was driving back to my grandparents home in Gnadenthal with him to spend a few days on my grandparents’ farm.  I don’t have lots of memories of being on the farm when I was as small as I am in the photo but I can remember stays there when I was a bit older

and Grandma taught me how to embroider

and I helped her wash dishes at the sink in the low counter especially built to accommodate my grandmother’s short stature

and trying to work the pedal on Grandma’s old sewing machine

and combing Grandma’s nearly waist length hair

and Grandma showing me how split pea pods open with my fingernail

and my Grandma cutting my Grandfather’s food up for him before he ate

and the clock on the sideboard that chimed every hour

and my Grandpa telling me stories about their life in Ukraine before the revolution

and praying Segne Vater before we ate

and listening to funeral announcements with Grandma on the local radio station

and Grandpa putting gravy on his cake before eating it

and walking down the dirt path in the village to the store with Grandma

and going gopher shooting with Grandpa

and the smell of the slop pail for the pigs under Grandma’s sink

and the clean tea towel Grandma draped over the cream separator

and the fawn Grandpa once found beside its dead mother and brought home to the barn

and the outdoor biffy

and the stray cats

and the wind in the Russian olive trees around the front yard

and the colorful flowers Grandma planted around her house

A picture is worth a thousand memories.

Other posts………

Family Picture

I Held You Before Your Mother Did

My Grandmother’s Childhood

 

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