FOOD, CREATIVITY AND COMPASSION (feeding goodwill)
My obsession with good food turned to ideas of food that is cheap and nutritious and sustainable. I’d like to develop some recipes that are really healthy and low cost. I’m also trying to be more creative in the kitchen, but failure doesn’t sit well with me or my stomach—pearl barley, bean and chorizo salad was a bit of a flop but we ate it anyway. I haven’t eaten pearl barley since I can’t remember when—so chewy and a bit pop-corn-ish—worth trying again!
Image by Darya Pino (Summer Tomato)
I listened to a segment on radio about Foodbank, a not-for-profit organisation providing food for those who can’t afford it in Australia. They are a conduit between food suppliers and charity organisations. Unfortunately, 2.2 million Australians live in poverty and 60,000 people who seek food assistance from charities each month are turned away. And yet our government is trying to take more money from those who can least afford it. I’m looking forward to further supporting this organisation and writing to relevant politicians.
THE CONCEPT OF ONE-OFF (feeding philosophical thinking)
I’m opening a second ETSY store soon. It will be called TooManyPies. The branding and philosophy are not fully forged yet; basically I need an outlet for all the ‘pie’ experiments.
There will be charity knits (I will donate all proceeds to charities), cheap and cheerful knits (proceeds support the pie addiction to new), greeting cards and other sundry items—maybe some jewellery, maybe some household items, maybe some original pdf patterns.
I think the TooManyPies brand relates most strongly to the concept of ONE-OFF items. Unique things that serve the purpose of facilitating me to learn, experiment, explore and resolve; and then I can move on to the next thing. I’m not interested in repeating or mass-producing, not interested in creating anything the same twice.
Storms over Sydney this week have been fairly devastating for some. We were spared any damage, thankfully.
We didn’t quite manage to get the best pics this time—it came so quickly. But there were enough interesting images to spur me on to paint some large-scale clouds. I’m also going to have a go at creating some charts for original knitting patterns based on cloud and water motifs.
Apart from some projects nearing completion (may be able to share next week), and a plan to de-clutter and reorganise studio and study spaces, that’s the round-up for this week!
The Review of the Australian Curriculum has been released. This review was undertaken by a conservative English teacher and a conservative bureaucrat. BORING, BORING, BORING, BORING—I could have told them most of what they have discovered for nothing (and a little more succinctly).
C says I have no business looking at this, given it would have been a document core to my work, and now I am retired. But I still care deeply about the arts and education so I had to take a peek.
DISCLAIMER: I am a visual artist, but my heart, body and soul belong to dance. And I love to compose music. And some of the best years of my life so far have been in designing and creating theatrical sets and costumes, acting in front of audiences, and teaching drama in schools. And my favourite thing to do in the whole world is engage with and create film, video, animation and games.
DISCLAIMER: I’m an arts educator and have focused on the arts throughout my career, but I do appreciate the importance of other curriculum domains and the essential right of every young person to have access to all forms of knowledge and thinking. Although I’m not sure about science* because I was so bored in science in school; except when we feigned illness from inhaling gas, surreptitiously filled up our mouths with water and pretend-vomitted out the classroom windows; or when every member of the class ‘forgot my science book today Miss!’; or when we armed ourselves with sago and threw the little pearls at the teacher when she wasn’t looking to see how long it would take her to work out what was going on; or when my BF Michelle got sent to the ‘Animal Room’ (Prep room) and tried to cut up all the geology specimens; or when we broke into a chorus of ‘Downtown’ just because our novice teacher looked like she was wearing a tutu (not really sure of connection between song and attire).
DISCLAIMER: I’m a teacher who believes in the right of every child and youth to equal access to the best possible education, and that a comprehensive and progressive education (read—an education for today and for the future) is essential for survival of individuals, communities, countries and the world. A comprehensive and progressive education costs money, and providing this equally to all costs lots of money. This belief means I am a low-life lefty leaner.
BACK TO THE NITTY GRITTY OF THE REVIEW OF THE ARTS CURRICULUM, supported by subject specialists Dr John Vallance and Ms Michele Chigwidden—wait, WHO??? Oh, never mind, the whole report has been compiled by pseudo-educationalists so why not ask someone over dinner what they thought about the arts in schools.
The arts section of the report isn’t worth the pdf it’s written on. There are so many DER! moments it’s almost like the authors have watched a movie of the last decade of curriculum review on fast forward, and have critiqued the best slapstick moments, but didn’t really grasp enough to write a synopsis. So, I’ll just pull out some gems:
The [arts] learning area should be formally introduced at Year 3 but provide a rich source of resource material for Foundation to Year 2, the Foundation years.
In other words don’t teach the arts from Kindergarten to Year 2 because it is much more important that children sit still and do maths and reading. Young children can’t be taught arts disciplines anyway. Have a look at this video of Zony and Yony. They are only 6 years old and have no hope of grasping new choreography. Their crappy attempt is because they are girls, so if you are going to teach dance, make sure it’s only to the girls.
The core content of all five strands should be reduced and a considerable portion of the current core be included in school-based curriculum and activities, thus augmenting the rich arts programs which most schools are already conducting.
In other words don’t teach the arts. There’s enough arts happening in the final year concert. Except visual arts, but that can probably be covered with easter hat parades and mother’s day cards.
The content of each of the arts forms needs to be restructured and re-sequenced along the lines suggested by the subject matter specialists.
After a few drinks over dinner, subject specialist Ms Chigwidden said some random things about too much Aboriginal dance, some appalling ratios of content in drama where children have to discuss and reflect on their work, the need to buy musical instruments and how good the English curriculum is—in England.
The other subject specialist, Dr Vallance said to get rid of Media Arts, Dance and Drama altogether because he only likes music and sculpture. And maybe he wasn’t drinking enough to want to have a dance.
So, I agree, we should be restructuring the curriculum based on what they say. They say quite different things about what to do, but someone will work out how to pull all those suggestions together sensibly.
[Apologies for the dig Ms Chigwidden and Dr Vallance, but how did you think you would be represented as one of only two voices chosen to make this report appear to be consultative?]
The considerable resourcing costs associated with delivering the arts curriculum need greater consideration, and professional development for teachers is needed as the years progress.
Professional development is needed when any new curriculum is introduced. A supreme DER! moment.
… only two of the five arts subject areas would be mandatory and the most likely ones would be music and visual arts.
In case you didn’t get the memo, there is some solid thinking out there about the importance of educating the whole human, including their body, not just their head. Have another look at this compelling talk by Sir Ken Robinson:
The report doesn’t tell us anything new. I lived all these arguments over the development of the Australian Curriculum. ACARA dealt with all these arguments in solid consultation, working with and listening to every person and their Tamagotchi. The recommendations of this lightweight (and bordering on spurious) document are different to the path ACARA took. Who should we place more faith in—two authors and two ‘subject specialists’ and 6 months of consultation? Or a comprehensive review over many years conducted by an authentic organisation charged with developing curriculum for all.
*My Year 12 teacher was pretty pleased that I got 123 out of a possible 130 for my final Biology exam. But that isn’t a huge achievement because it was the ‘Web of Life’ course and you just had to use some common sense and draw some pretty pictures. I’m also telling fibs about not seeing the benefit of science learning. I’m a huge fan now, of the connections between art and science. The gist of this ridiculous review lies in that sentence for me. I’m a fan now, but wasn’t at school. Why? Because of the rubbish curriculum and the rubbish way it was taught.
Seems to me that report authors Messrs. Donnelly and Wiltshire may like to return to that time.
Here’s a brief round-up of stimulus this week—who and what has given me more stimulus, more inspiration, more pies (!) to add to the legion:
CHEVRONS AND COLOURLOVERS (feeding stripe addiction, feeding colour addiction)
Stripes and chevrons are everywhere at the moment. Even Missoni is pandering to the fad through their own knock-offs in Target. I have a nice pattern for a knitted chevron cushion using Rowan yarn, so have been testing colour ways in COLOURlovers.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been experimenting with chunky and super chunky knits. I’m motivated to design a big chunky cowl and this Rico yarn is supposed to be super light, perfect for a big cowl. Expensive, though, so I’m saving up.
BEAUTY IN VIDEO (feeding stripe addiction, feeding earth texture addiction, feeding colour addiction)
These clips caught my eye in my weekly peruse of Vimeo. I’m still hankering to do some animation, but again it’s something you have to get immersed in so when that happens it will be only one finger in one pie for a while.
SIMS 3 (feeding SIMS world dominance addiction)
In Sims 3 posts in my blog artist practice, I talk about playing with Sims that are tailor-made to be artists. I’ve spent some time recently trying to edit various worlds to suit an artist community. It’s harder than I thought and very time-consuming.
This week I downloaded the Prism art studio which has inspired a new attempt to create a bespoke Hidden Springs for artists. A long-term project for sure.
“Thoughts race, as if, in a mind devoid of memory, each idea has too much space to grow and move, to collide with others in a shower of sparks before spinning off into its own distance.” ― S.J. Watson
“Ideas can come from anywhere and at any time. The problem with making mental notes is that the ink fades very rapidly.” ― Rolf Smith
“Bring ideas in and entertain them royally, for one of them may be the king.”― Mark Van Doren
This morning I managed to dream up outlines for 3 novels, a pattern for a knitted tea towel and a recipe for a ‘roasted and smashed potato salad’. Then my brain pushed forward an old sticky note. I had forgotten to embark on my bonsai for dummies course where I will bonsai my first azalea. I have the azalea and the bonsai pot. I must attend to that.