I have been working with images of time, specifically the clock recently.
The next painting which I did a week or so ago Depicts 9am to Midnight
Here is the painting or the state of the latest painting which I worked on last night, the fuzz of time . . . .
A child in my ceramics class today made two clocks for the bedside tables of her mom and her dad.
Here they are. I had no imput on these whatsoever. I didn’t see them until she announced what they were and put them into the box. It was like seeing my paintings come to life.
Discipline is not my strong point in after school ceramics: age 6 to 12. I don’t like to do it and I don’t do it often. Truth is I don’t mind a hectic atmosphere as long as all are busily creative. Early on the kids learn the rules, and then it’s a group studio. Kids sit next to who they want to and jabber along to each other side by side, across the table and even down the table a stretch. It can get louder and louder and louder. All in a good humored, fast paced, three ring circus sort of way.
Today, in the midst of what is now a lot of noise, suddenly two of the six fifth graders started playing their recorders together. The notes of a simple song being learned in school, sound like Japanese flute harmonies. Quickly the roar of the classroom stops. Everyone’s listening.
They were tamed by the music.
Normally, I’m all for meditation. All over it in fact, every morning.
There are “mindfulness” programs in schools, especially inner city ones where all the kids are on the free lunch program and 70% of the kids when asked will answer yes to the question, ” Do you know anyone whose been shot and killed?”
Ditto, for this program in jails. This program is very helpful and successfull. Simply put, it brings in the pause ( the old “count to ten”) before you hit someone on the playground. It’s very helpful. In schools like the ones I teach at, this program is maybe less necessary.
After school art class had been over for a while and I was cleaning up. David was hanging out while I did this. I thought he was waiting for his parent to pick him up. He is lithe and lively and bounced around in his tiny six year old body talking to me as I gathered my tools and such.
Almost done, I checked my list and saw that David was supposed to go to the schools’ after care program so I mention perhaps he should get on down there.
His bouncy body slumps into a giant C as he plunks down in a chair.
“What’s wrong? Don’t you like after care? Why not?”
“UGH! They make us Meditate.”
(Feigning indignation I say) “What!? Meditate!? You mean you don’t get to run around with a ball or something? What do they make you do, listen to a bell?” (Knowing they do this)
“Meditation is, well, (groan) it’s hard to explain.”
I let Justin (1st grade) cut out early to the playground. Ellen (3rd grade) sees this and she wants out early too. I say no doing. Justin can hardly sit still for five minutes let alone 60. He’s two years younger and made to run.
Ellen, two years older, is somber and capable. I want to get at least one more piece out of her before she leaves for the week. We settle on “a flower” I wad up the clay in a certain way and start to show her something I know she can accomplish In the time she has left. After my quick demo, she’s doing her own kind of flower. She’s decided she needs to make a rose and that she needs to make it petal by petal. I explain that we don’t have time for this kind of flower and besides the clay we are using today (drier than usual) is not suited to a rose made petal by petal.
At this point Michael, who is in 2nd grade, chimes in with his opinion. He says a flower is a flower and that you don’t need to get all caught up in the type of flower. I turn my attention to him and gaze into his wider than wide eyes. Michael’s eyes are so big. I stare into them forever and reach the something in me that never goes away. This takes maybe 30 seconds and I turn my attention back to Ellen and let her cut out early.