Friday, November 15, 2013

Taan's Moons - drawings

The children's drawings for the Taan's Moons poem, created during our introductory visit to the elementary schools of Haida Gwaii, play a very important part in the design of the thirteen felt moons. Together with Alison's poem, they informed me how to design the sketches for each Moon/month. The children had unique stories and drawings, with new ideas to incorporate. 
In 'Noisy Geese Moon' (see below), one of the children drew three noisy geese in front of the bear's den. He said "The geese are waking up the bear." Another child had drawn bright sunshine in the bear's den. He said "Sleeping bear, he is dreaming of race cars. The sun is coming in the den, waking bear up."

For 'Food gathering Moon', a student had drawn two baby bear and one mama bear, she said "Bear eating berries. Two bear cups love their mama. They're just outside the Kindergarten room." For that moon, I made sure to have two cup bears following their mama bear.

Fish Moon:

For Snow Moon, one student described: "Bear is in the tunnel, his eyes are closed. Then he goes out of the tunnel, he feels the snow with his paws. It feels just like the inside of his tunnel. There are his foot prints in the snow..." Another student descibes "Bear jumping in snow because he needs exercise". And the following says "Bear going for a walk in the snow, he doesn't recognize his cave in the snow." The illustration obviously needed to have bear foot prints in the snow:

The 13 circular sketches will be used as guidelines for the creation of the felted moons. They also inform me about the kinds of felting activities we need to do to create elements that will be inserted in the large moons. For example, we will create small felted squares with some honking geese with the school that creates 'Noisy Geese Moon', and we'll create felt seaweed and small squares with crabs and fish for 'Food Gathering Moon' and 'Fish Moon', and bear foot prints in snow for 'Snow Moon'. We will prepare all these ingredients in our next session at the schools. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Taan's Moons project - Session two

During the month of October, Alison Gear and I spent one full day at each of the six elementary schools of Haida Gwaii for the Taan's Moons project. We brought lots of different activities to the classrooms to make the children familiar with different elements of the Taan's Moons story. It is a story of the traditional Haida way of telling time, told through the eyes of a bear. 

The students also created many different felted elements, such as berries, roots, seaweed, branches and felted squares to be used in the large felted moons we will create during our next sessions at the schools in November (stay tuned for another post). 

Following is a largely visual overview of our days, photography by Jason Shafto.

Alison created flash cards and a memory game to introduce the Haida names of the moons (months): 
'Cedar Bark Weaving Moon' - September
Goose Moon (February), Raw Berry Moon (June), Bear Moon (January), etc.
We 'warm up our imagination' by literally moving through the months and the story:
Flying like a hummingbird for Raw Berry Moon
Autumn winds shaking Cedar trees for Cedar Bark Weaving Moon
Introduction to different types of sheep and samples of the different kinds of wool:
 Felting berries:
A felt board story of Taan's Moons created by Alison: 

Tyler Crosby and four students from the Haida youth dance group taught bear, eagle and raven songs, dances and let the children drum:

Outdoor games:
Noisy Goose Moon
Making felted roots, branches and seaweed:
rich harvest of felt seagrass and seaweed
Making felt squares with designs of bear prints in the snow, blossoms, crab and salmon: 
"And then I saw this bear, and he stood up on his back legs like this"
End of the day 'Show and Tell' of a intertidal felt piece that I created for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve (thank you for letting us use it with the children!):
A special thanks to all the students, teachers and volunteers who made these days a success!

This artist residency is partially funded by an Artists in the Classroom grant, disbursed by ArtStarts in Schools. It is supported by School District 50 and Literacy Haida Gwaii

Photography by Jason Shafto. Please do not use photos without permission of the artist.