Wednesday, February 11, 2009

¡Adelante Niños!

And so the sketching adventure has begun! Pens, brushes, colored pencils, and glue sticks work their way across white pages. At times silence fills the room, and then moments of adolescent exuberance shatter that silence with a sort of creative chaos. Exactly what is to be expected from a room full of eleven and twelve year-olds. 
We started the workshop right after Christmas vacation by giving each child the materials they would need for the weeks to come. They were thrilled to have their own sketch book and the freedom to put whatever they want into it. 
The first visit focused on personalizing their "portada" (cover). We left plenty of our two-hour time block for a sketch walk to the nearby river, one of the kids' favorite spots. They came back with some fantastic contour drawings and all kinds of natural treasures to glue in their sketch books. This is the first sketching experience for all of them, and they welcome the prospect! They are very receptive to any tips we give them, and seem to be ale to incorporate them into what they are doing quite effortlessly. 
Our second visit introduced the kids to a "Bio-Poem", which they could include with their self-portraits if they so chose. Some of the kids chose to use photographs of themselves for the "portada" and played with colors to add a personal effect. Regardless of how they designed it, they were all extremely original and creative, and they loved doing them. 
We have also been playing a lot with collage, and the kids are doing a great job integrating them into their sketches. Once an idea is presented, they run with it. It is a pleasure to see how uninhibited and eager to experiment they are. 
Sketch walks are a regular part of our visits as they give the kids an excellent opportunity to observe their surroundings in an intimate way. At their age, it is often difficult to slow down and observe. The sketching seems to have a magical effect on them. Instead of roughhousing and running about, they stop, focus, and record.
It is important to not here that are trips to "La Escuelita" in Tlaxco are now much easier and far less time consuming. The reason for this is that we are now the proud renters of "El Vocho" (the bug), a 1984 VW Beetle that belongs to the director of the school. Instead of what was an hour and a half to two hour, three bus, journey, we can now cruise to the school in the comfort of "La Mariquita" as we affectionately call her, in twenty-five minutes. She navigates the potholes (of which there are many) with grace and ease, and despite her many idiosyncrasies, she has changed our lives for the better. Life is good, the kids are great, and the workshops goes very well. We are learning a little more everyday. We are also learning about the intricacies of blogging, so please bear with us as we work out the kinks. Hopefully, one day we will be able to produce a blog that appears the way we intended it to look!
In the next few weeks, we will be starting a four weekend workshop with families from Atlangatepec, where we live. The village is full of history, dating back to the time of "La Conquista", with countless stories, and legends that are still alive. We see it as a great opportunity to combine words and graphics with young and old working together to record them. Each family will get a sketch book, pen, pencil, watercolors, and brushes and will work on the theme of: Un retrato de un pueblo (the portrait of a pueblo). We are looking forward to our new adventure and will keep you posted. Thanks again to all of you who have contributed to this project. Un abrazo a todos,   Marie y "Deek"