Friday, December 31, 1993

AFTER-SCHOOL /GATE ART CLASSES at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

AFTER-SCHOOL /GATE ART CLASSES SAMPLE IDEAS: choose from 4 to15+ sessions

Collage, Painting & Drawing** with Scissors & Pencils:   4 to 8 sessions  With ordinary objects we will explore the medium of drawing, using contour line to enhance our awareness of shapes and edges and train the eye to really see. We will then"draw" with scissors, colored paper, and magazines to create "paintings" built in layers which are both surreal and abstract. Matisse and Magritte will be our models. We will color our own paper with tempra or poster paints, and later make paintings of our collages. We may also explore drawing with colored pencils and oil pastels. If there’s time, we will also experiment with monoprints using poster paint. 

MATERIALS: Colored paper, 80# white suifite drawing paper (18x24”), scissors, gluestix or white glue, soft-lead, colored, and stabilo pencils, water-based and permanent marking pens, oil pastels, poster paints, flat brushes, magazines. **Each art form listed above can be expanded into a full length worhshop.

 *PAINTING—Watercolor & Words:   4 to 8 sessions  Watercolor and the written word will be used to make paintings & graphics that incorporate both poetry & art by reuniting words with drawing, to create self-portraits, posters, & broadsides—visual statements! Students will learn wet and dry techniques, and to mix colors. 

MATERIALS: Crayola 07W, or Prang mixing watercolor sets, brushes, morilla board, 80# white sulfite drawing paper, poster paints and flat brushes, scissors, glue, soft-lead, colored and stabilo pencils, water-based and permanent marking pens, oil pastels, crayons. (Silk painting classes also offered).

 *Masks & Staffs—Making the Mask Speak:   4 to 8 sessions Make several masks from many different mediums—from plaster bandages and paper plates to plastic milk bottles—and then give them character and poetic voice. Learn how native peoples from around the world share this most ancient and modern art form. 

MATERIALS: Tagboard, plastic bottles, sand, cardboard (paper plates, cups, etc.), 80# white sulfite drawing paper, poster paints and flat brushes, sandpaper, plaster, scissors, Elmer’s glue, hot glue guns and refills, pencils, felt, feathers, beads, yarn, goodies to decorate masks. (Please note the added expense: it costs approx. $2.50 to $5 per child to make plaster masks, depending upon the additions.) Students will need to bring decorative goodies, plastic bottles, egg cartons, and special piece of wood for staff. 

ALTERNATE: (1) If there’s time, we’ll explore plastic bottle and found object masks too. Or if school can’t afford bandages, this is a cheaper alternative. (2) Masks & Papier Mache animals. Using glue, aluminum foil, acrylics, masking tape & paper, we’ll sculpt/shape/paint large animals based on Oaxacan folk art.

 *Calligraphy—from Petroglyphs to Parchment:   6+ sessions  Learn the art of beautiful lettering using the Italic alphabet. Trace the origins of our alphabet from petroglyphs to parchment. Invent an alphabet, learn cuneiform, create broadsides and note cards, or just improve your handwriting! MATERIALS: Calligraphy pens, inks, clay, wide-lined binder paper, specialty papers.

*Making & Illustrating One-of-a-Kind Small Books:   4 to 6 sessions  Learn how to make elegant pop-up, accordion, & saddle-stitched books from paper scraps. Become your own publisher & author by combining calligraphy, poetry & art to create rare books. If there’s time, we can marble paper, or make our own paper, (blenders & window screens needed). 
MATERIALS: Tagboard, colored paper, endpaper strips, specialty papers, Elmer’s or Prang clear green glue, scissors, exacto knives, drawing, marking, and calligraphy pens, watercolors, brushes.

Kraft Paper & Wood Sculptures—dwellings:    4 to 6 sessions    Using wood and found objects we will work three-dimensionally. With twigs and paper bags we will make sculptural dwellings. MATERIALS Lots of hot glue guns, wood scraps, twigs, twine, bags, Elmer’s glue, starch. (An alternative idea is to create robots using found objects—styrofoam, L’eggs eggs, spools, etc., or to mix this with a clay component.)

Clay Slab Building & Masks:    4 to 6 sessions   We will explore historical and physical aspects of clay using time-tested building techniques. Students will learn how to build three-dimensional slab sculptures, pinch pots, clay masks, tiles, etc. Ancient techniques include burnishing, staining, texturing & scraffito. 
MATERIALS: Clay, tools, stains, glazes, firing. School will need to fire clay, or Creative Ceramics can fire pieces (added cost). (Not available at this time).

Making the Mural:   8 to 15 sessions A group project where students will learn the mural process from start to finish. A mural is the synthesis of a group vision— a vertical history in images—its origins date back to the first cave paintings. We will turn ideas into a thematic visual statement that goes beyond the image to record a story. 
MATERIALS: Butcher paper, drawing paper, acrylic or poster paints and flat brushes, sponges, masking tape, pencils, water containers, 4x8’ plywood panels* coated with three layers of white latex paint, shellac/sealant.
 * These classes can be tailored to incorporate a poetry component as well.

SOME NOTES:  School should supply available materials e.g., colored paper, drawing paper, butcher paper, tempra poster paints, flat brushes, Prang green glue, or Elmer’s glue, hot glue & glue guns, glitter, scissors, crayons, kindergarten pencils, colored marking pens, masking tape, colored tagboard for mounting and for portfolios, storage space for art, supplies and portfolios, (4x8’ plywood panels* perhaps a parent could donate them?) etc. 
Below, I’ve included some general prices for supplies FYI. Feel free to pick and choose which classes to do, as some will be more expensive than others. I’ve listed supplies in order of importance. I need to know how many students, total, to estimate final costs—pens, pastel sets, etc. (a basic rule of thumb is about $2 -5 per child for the 2-dimensional arts). I will need an art (av) cart to wheel supplies to and from storage; flat tables, sinks, paper towels. 

Poster paints are about $30.
         Magenta, turquoise, cobalt blue, yellow, black, white, (& red, optional) and flat brushes
I need to research acrylics/housepaint for murals & papier mache animals.

Colored paper—I will need the full complement of sizes and colors,  & may need to purchase
         more than what you already have. It could be $10 or $40.

I prefer to have 3 large gluestix on hand, or Yes Glue, $9, but can use your glue (no paste glue; it’s awful).

I have #12 and Chinese round brushes and the mixing watercolor sets ($7.50 per)
         the watercolor refill pans will cost $15 to 20 per class. (Turquoise Magenta 2 Yellows Blue Black)

I will need at least one package of Morilla board watercolor paper (50 sheets) about $52.
I can also use 80# white sulfite drawing paper, $35 a ream, for some watercolor.

Good pencils and black chisel-point felt drawing pens are approx. .60 to 1.10 ea.
         I can use kindergarten pencils, but need the felt tip pens.

Calligraphy pens cost $1.40 ea. It’s nice to have a set of colored pens for further experimentation. Wide-line smooth white binder paper! Butcher paper for demonstration.

Oil pastels are $3.50 - 4.50 per student (but 2 can share a set—the cheap sets have no purple!)

Plaster bandage masks are expensive—$55+, but it’s such a fun class.
Hot glue guns & fillers $12 - $20.  Sculpture & mask classes take gobs of hot glue.

Clay $60 - 100 + firing costs

Some of these supplies I already have on hand; but will need to be reimbursed.

Suggestions for classes—as a basis I recommend beginning with:

     Collage and/or watercolor classes, (these core classes can be easily expanded or shortened (no less than 4 sessions ea.), and augmented with 1 or 2 other classes. In these core classes, I will cover various art terms and techniques which will enhance the other classes. If there’s interest, I also like to work with a thematic structure—it could be based on heritage, environment, science, etc.

     Calligraphy and small books* go well together. (I can include a little poetry here too.)
     The length of the mural class depends on the skills of the students. I will need some flexibility here.

     We will need to discuss various options with the three-dimensional classes—masks, and especially small books*, & sculpture—are labor intensive; an enormous amount of prep—pre & post-class time goes into them (much longer than the classes themselves); it would be best to choose only one of these.

     By the same token, clay is also very labor intensive (back-breaking). Storage is always a problem, and if school doesn’t have a kiln, it’s not feasable, unless we focus on process only. There is something called Sculptee—but it’s expensive. I’ll have to research it. (Not available at this time).

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. You may call me up to 11 p.m. If possible, I would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience, before classes begin, to see the school, supplies, space, etc. I look forward to meeting you and, of course, working with your students! 



the day after his birthday, heartsore—
in the wrinkled sheets, death found him
sleeping in the cloistered darkness of the morgue
weeks later, the electric blanket incubated
a rusted carpet of kleenex blooms


beneath the stained mattress
one blank bullet in the gun—
a drowned halo of light in the waterglass


the embalmer gets his mouth all wrong—
with a red rose on the white satin pillow
I say goodbye to the parent of my Akhmatova nose


the word rests uneasily on my lips—
suddenly jealous of the young man 
who said, He was like a father to me


where the dead outnumber the living
our shadows circle the casket clockwise
shards of sunlight & whispering feet


after the funeral
I dream of crawling over pictographs
in the desert to find some rest


I dream my father’s candle is out—
the slim, musty book he hands back to me
to prove his blood          and mine

My aunt said: He's trying to pleas you.


welfare child, never saw him much
his precious money went to a stranger
my final inheritance—other than my life


Thursday, December 9, 1993

LAST RIDE (for my cousin Richard Reilly)

             In dreams begins responsibility
                —WB Yeats
             for my cousin Richard Reilly
             Dec. 21, 1954 - June 5, 1977

      He loved death more than me
      and so slipped back
      into the bosom of the sea.

The cold rain of memory
cresting each wave of thought—
the half-life of yesterday
approaches the gardens of sleep
takes root, finds the fertile fields
of imagination lonely
for the dream’s embrace.

     They took my new red tricycle
     For his leg, they said; the steel brace,
     a strange, uneasy piston.

I had no reason to face the dawn,
my prince of tides returned to the sea.
My legs ached as I crossed the floor
and though I cried, no fins appeared.
Reality bent itself toward sleep—

     beneath the streetlights’ sodium glare
     patient and unyielding, dark cars
     waiting for the motorcycle’s drone—

Small mermaid, I carried the burden
of that night home to the dream’s final sea.


Wednesday, December 1, 1993

Poetry Unites the World by Dr. Andrei Bantaş

5-21 Dec. 1993,
by Dr. Andrei Bantaş

BUCHAREST—From the Pacific Coast, California, there comes to us a cultural surprise and exceptional reading: a poetry magazine—or rather a tabloid review, like our weeklies. It is not a mere publication meant to convey to readers the latest production of American poets (as many other poetry reviews do) but an entirely uncommon one: a sort of Secolul XX (the 20th century) of the Romanians, yet devoted to poetry alone, in order to spread publications which the public has few opportunities to know.

The first issue of Uniting the World Through Poetry (UWP) is devoted to Soviet Poetry Since Glasnost, a 24-page tabloid, with a similar format to our Romania Literatura, is full of translations from Arabov, Slepynin, Lubenski, Soloviov, Kulle and many others—verses written in the last six or seven years.

With the decoration of the journals—or perhaps it’s pop-art—with press clippings, photos, collages, and vignettes, an entire page is devoted to a poem of Oleg Slepynin’s, printed in the shape of a cross, with the title buried in the center: SYNCHRONIC.

Some general data, with a short excursion into history, and with substantial topicalization, are offered in the essay entitled, “A Poet in Russia is more than a Poet” by the Ukrainian poet of Armenian descent, Oleg Atbashian (who, with UWP editor, Maureen Hurley, did most of the translations).

The general presentation of the themes and aims of the review is made by the two UWP editors, Herman Berlandt and Maureen Hurley. Berlandt is chairman of the National Poetry Association, and editor of Poetry: USA, a quarterly, and after more than 30 lectures on this very theme of uniting the world through poetry, he decided to publish these international anthologies with Maureen Hurley (an educator, graphic designer, photographer, and writer, with poems translated into Spanish and Russian.

She is an initiator of an international conference of writers for the 30th anniversary of California Poets in the Schools (CPITS), tenatively scheduled in San Francisco, in October 1994. An earlier CPITS conference, (the 25th) was joined by more than 150 poets from the U.S. and Mexico.)

The second issue of the review is entitled Mother Earth, with the same internationalist motto as the subtitle “Let the voice of the poet be heard throughout the world”. These 24 pages bring together (in translation, or in the English original) the voices of poets from Bulgaria, China, Poland, Hungary, Holland, Macedonia, India, Pakistan, Italy, Israel, Greece, Great Britain, Argentina, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Russia, and—surprise—Romania: Geo Dumitrescu (translated by the late Dan Dutescu with post-translation by Maureen Hurley) and Ana Blandiana (translated by Andrea Deletant and Brenda Walker, as well as by Andrei Bantaş, also with Maureen Hurley). They are accompanied by fine engravings by Victor Brauner and a Romanian stamp.

In the third issue—devoted to East European poetry, Romanian poetry (including Valeriu Matei of Moldova) is represented in over three pages by the same Geo Dumitrescu and Ana Blandiana as well as Nichita Stanescu, Maria Banus, Nina Cassian, Daniela Crasnaru, Carolina Ilica, and Mircea Dinescu.

The translators are the same, with the addition of poet Fleur Adcock, the version being reproduced mainly from Silent Voices: an Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Women Poets, published by Brenda Walker and Andrea Deletant in Britain about 5 years ago (when they also published Mircea Dinescu’s Exile on a Peppercorn—their persons and books were proscribed in Romania—but well-received in Bulgaria!)

Highly valuing these new tokens of appreciation offered by foreign publishers and translators of Romanian poetry (I happen to know of the financial efforts made by these two English women and the editors of UWP), I am taking the liberty of asking two rhetorical questions: What are we doing for ourselves and for our poets, for our literature, as a whole?

Suppose I rounded off my anthology of 20th century poets (Like Diamonds in Coal, Asleep, Minerva Publishers, 1985) with poems formerly banned by censorship as well as with those of Romanian poets abroad, who would publish it? (today, tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. . . .?

Note Bene: Dr. Andrei Bantaş, with whom I had the pleasure of corresponding, in order to collect Eastern European Poetry, was the compiler of the Romanian dictionary, an eminent translator and a Professor of English Literature at the University of Bucharest, Romania. I had no idea of his fame as I embarked blindly on this translating adventure. Those Romanian stamps we used in the collages were Andrei's. —Maureen Hurley