Monday, May 25, 2009

Cute kids, stunning sculptures, and homemade rice crackers

My weekend was full of variety. I was out and about all day on Saturday, wrapped up in many layers, under a crisp blue winters sky.

In the morning I was showing small children how to make simple books at the Migrant Resource Centre, who had invited local artists to come along and show children of refugees and migrants some different art forms, in the lead up to their exhibition of children's art in June. There were lots of children with their parents, speaking many languages, and all very excited about making books. It was great fun. Even the tiniest had a go... I got the littlies to draw on a piece of paper and then we made their book together, with the child helpng to press down the folds.

Everyone over about 4 years old enjoyed making their own books, either or both of the examples I prepared. I showed them what Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord calls a Hotdog Book, which is universally popular simple structure, and a basic accordion with a folded card cover. Anyone lucky enough to be spending time with children should check out Susan's Making Books With Children blog and website. Its a brilliant example of the how-to-craft genre on the internet, full of inspiring ideas, excellent advice and clear instructions.

Henna handpainting

Some kids were so enthusiastic that after making several books, they wanted more, and when one little boy asked about folded paper games, we started making fortune tellers (aka cootie catchers) for everybody. It was wild! And there were six other art activities all just as busy and exciting as mine: painting, stencilling, flax weaving, drawing, pottery and henna handpainting... The henna handpainting was fabulous, but did inhibit book making participation a bit, as eventually every little girl there had hands covered in wet henna patterns, but the really keen ones just made books one handed! It was impressive.

Memories (cast glass) by Jenny Smith

I had to slip away a little early (straight after the delicious Columbian lunch) to go on a long anticipated expedition with my friend Aalix to the Waitakaruru Arboretum and Sculpture Park to catch the e:scape exhibition before it closes at the end of the month. It was a perfect still afternoon, chilly in the shadows but bright sunlight and a vigorous hillclimb to keep us warm.
The most book-ish of the sculptures: Absolute Divide by CK Reynolds (Rho print arial photographs on marine ply)

I nearly succeeded in having an entirely computer-free day on Saturday which meant I returned to the laptop with renewed enthusiasm for my work on Sunday morning. It was cold and rainy almost all day long, and by evening I was glad to stop staring at the screen and make a rustic potato and leek soup with home made rice crackers. I was improvising, but it turned out quite tasty and goes something like this.

Homemade Rice Cracker Recipe

1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup cold butter
3 Tbsp parmesan
1 Tbsp garlic granules
pinch salt
generous grind of pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/4 cup (rice) milk
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 200 degree. Put all the ingredients except the milk and sesame seeds into a bowl and rub or cut the butter in as though making pastry or scones. Mix in just enough rice milk (or other kind of milk) to make the dough stick into a ball but not be sticky. Roll or press out onto a greased baking sheet and sprinkle sesame seeds on top, press into the dough. Cut the dough into squares and slide apart on the sheet. Bake until golden brown and crisp.


Sue said...

They sound amazing, will give them a try, specially since all the commercial ones now taste sweetened! You look to be having an awesome time lately.

harvey molloy said...

I like the idea of the kids making their own books--I might try this with my Year 9 class sometime. Thanks.

Kay said...

I might have a look-see and see if any of these great ideas can be used at my work with under 2s. Sounds promising. What a lovely positive weekend you had, thanks for sharing.

Johanna said...

The Migrant Centre event sounds fantastic - and thanks for that link to the Making Books with Children blog - very inspiring.