Tag Archives: empowering

Puppet Alchemy

Despite it’s simplicity, the puppet is one of the most sophisticated transformational tools we can bring to our children’s lives.

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“Puppetry isn’t simply child’s play. While American audiences may be more familiar with hyperactive Sesame Street characters and a “Disneyfied” version of Pinocchio, the puppet in societies across the world has played the role of provocateur, historian, clairvoyant,and keeper of the faith, says Kenneth Gross in a new book, Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life (University of Chicago Press, 2011). From re-enacting sacred texts in Balinese shadow puppetry to mocking authority in England’s raucous Punch and Judy shows, puppets are masters of metamorphosis and often, mirrors of ourselves.”

“That part of us that finds life in objects is an aspect of the child’s imagination and instinct that is later hidden or sometimes let go of in adulthood. It’s something children are indeed more adept at, finding life and voice in objects. Puppets awaken that part of us. They bring a part of us back to play.”

http://www.rochester.edu/pr/Review/V74N5/pdf/0304_inrev_puppets.pdf

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Puppets have been used to help children open up about subjects that are difficult to face directly, by creating a simple scenario based on the child’s experience but set in a different context. Puppet therapy can be used to help children work though issues as simple as hurt feelings over a broken toy to losses as great as those experienced around natural disasters. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4416267.stm

“Puppets are one step away from being human and so there’s distance but at the same time we can identify with them.” –Dr Jones, a child psychiatrist with the International Medical Corps (IMC)

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While children will play without our involvement, there are many ways that we can engage. Thank you to www.gogivers.org for the list of the many ways that puppets can be used to work and play with children.

Puppets can…

· Model behaviors that teachers and parents want to promote

· Bring more reticent children out of their shells, and help everyone become more expressive

· Become ‘ambassadors’ as well as friends, introducing children to new topics

· Become a confidant for younger children – they may respond directly to the puppet when they are unwilling to converse with others directly.

· Encourage children who are learning English as a second language to ‘have a go’ if they feel hesitant because they are unsure of certain pronunciations or of exactly how to express themselves

· Support children with special needs, including those with attention deficits and visual and hearing impairments

· Role play strategies for resolving conflict

· Boost self esteem and to bring a sense of unity to the classroom or group of children.

· Provide an excellent way for children to work through their fears and vocalize their feelings

· Help children to settle into a new school

· Act as powerful communication tools. Talking about their ideas helps children clarify their thinking and develops their reasoning skills

· Access a world of imagination and fun for children

This Holiday season, consider a toy that is guaranteed to carry the spirit of the season and to bring joy and wonder to young and old. Come into Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay and let us help you find the perfect puppet to add to or start your collection.

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The Art of Autism

Autism is gaining increased public attention thanks, in part, to the work of Debra Hosseini and the exhibitions she has designed to bring focus to some of the extraordinary artwork being done by artists challenged with autism and to serve as a resource to assist those artists in pursuing their artistic endeavors. We are happy to host this work at Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay from May 12-April 7.

One of those artists, who will be exhibiting his pieces in the current show, is Jason Cantu. We asked Jason to say a little about one of his marvelous pen and ink drawings, “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance.” Here’s what he had to say:

All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance 11x14 by Jason Cantu - printThe original version of the picture that you see here was a pen and ink drawing; the artwork is called “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance”, based on the 1969 John Lennon hit song of the same name. My picture is an interpretation of an acrylic painting done by Charlene Chauvaux, who was a good friend of our family. Charlene made a painting of a white dove against a blue sky, to symbolize her feelings of thankfulness that the Vietnam War had ended, and peace had finally come. When Charlene passed away recently, we inherited her painting as a gift from her family. My original interpretation of the painting was made as a birthday gift for my dad; he was having back problems at the time. I made my drawing as my way of giving him a symbol of peaceful healing, protection, and a symbol that would keep him safe.

Although this picture only took me an hour to actually draw it, the picture is actually a culmination of hours of thorough preparation, determination, and good, hard work. The degree of the different areas of darkness in my picture; is achieved by how often and/or how hard I drew the picture, in order to symbolize the feathered texture of the dove.

The areas in which the ink is the heaviest, is where the shadows fell the most heavily on the dove; the areas in which the ink is lighter, is where the sunlight shines the most brightly on the dove.

When I looked at the dove, I was visualizing a bird; frozen in flight as though it had been captured in a photograph at an exact moment in time. I drew motion lines around the bird to simulate that the bird had been moving and/or was going to keep moving even though it was on a drawing.

In all my drawings/paintings that I have made over years of practice, I have made a habit of choosing to make pictures of subjects that interest me. The painting of a dove really interested me, and I wanted to draw what I was seeing. I feel that I have a real talent for making art, and as long as there are people who are interested in what I make, I will continue to make art. I like to make art that other people find interesting; that’s why I’m an artist.

Jason Cantu will be showing his work at Seven Sisters Gallery, from April 12-May 7, as part of our new exhibit, “A Spectrum of Music-Art”, which features the art of artists on the autism spectrum. You can also find his work at SevenSistersGalleryCA.com

Seven Sisters Gallery is located at: 601 Embarcadero # 8, Morro Bay, CA
For more information Call us at: (805) 772-9955

Bead For Life

One of my favorite parts of working with Artisan jewelry is getting to know the artists. It seems to be human nature to grow more fully human through the act of creation.

The ability to express oneself in a tangible way is a gift not only to those that experience the finished product, but also to the artist who experiences the process. That give and take inherent to the creative act is especially evident in the important work happening through an organization called BeadforLife. If you haven’t heard of them, you might want to check out their inspiring blog. The BeadforLife mission is to work toward lifting impoverished Africans out of poverty by connecting people from all over the world via the creative work of turning recycled paper into beautiful beads.

Merriam-Webster defines the word Create as:

  1. to bring into existence
  2. to invest with a new form, office, or rank
  3. to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior
  4. to cause to happen as a result of one’s actions

And what could be a better example of this then the work brought about by BeadforLife? Uniting people, transforming what was once thought of as waste, empowering the disempowered, bringing life to communities that are struggling to survive.

I invite you to explore the blog, including the pages that suggest great ways to get involved. Check out the page on hosting a bead party or the one about teaching the BeadforLife curriculum, which is designed for those looking for a way to engage students in global poverty issues. Read the guest blog written by Dave Ensign, a BeadforLife trip participant. Maybe you’ll be inspired to get involved too. I know I am.

Not only does this organization provide a way for us to be involved in this good work, but they also provide a way for us to purchase their beautiful creations. You can find their jewelry, and other products, online at the BeadforLife website.