Thursday, 14 April 2016

It's holidays and I'm busy recharging OR the positive effects of participating in the arts.

In order to get my children into the school I believe suited their needs best ( especially for my slightly left of centre son who has a learning problem- a form of dyspraxia. ) I left my little house with a studio and bought a new one within the boundary of my desired school. It meant my mortgage doubled and I had no studio space. The house was in dire need of some tlc, the oven door was being held shut with the aid of a gate latch that some ingenious person had attached. So there was much to be done before my studio space was considered. I do not regret it for one minute. My son went from barely being able to read to passing his TEE gaining a place at uni doing his Honors - first class Honors and is now considering where he will do his PH.D. while working as a Uni tutor. My daughter has done very well also - she's recently won a scholarship to do an exchange to a Uni in Japan. So great outcomes for my kids ... But poor old mama lost her studio, I tried to eek out a small corner at the end of my patio when I managed to get together some funds. But it was cramped and hot or very cold and as I found out last year it leaked ruining much of my resources. 
So finally I have cleared a space in my back yard and built myself a new studio space, it's big enough to move about in. It's warm and dry or cool being insulated and will be even more so when I install the air con! Best bit is I can work on something for a little while and leave it out and come back to it. I've spent the last couple of days in there and have found it very therapeutic. Today's world bombards us with information, we are constantly at people's beck and call with phone pings alerting us to new stuff. A lot of information comes at us in 30 second sound bites. We tend to gloss over the surface of things and the days seem busier than ever. No wonder we're stressed. Spending time in my studio these last couple of days has reminded me just how important it is to take time to focus and meditate - mindfulness is the buzz word of today. When I become absorbed in a pice of art work time seems to become irrelevant actually - it's as if it's like honey, moving but rich and thick. If you meditate, or are an artist of some sort you'll know what I mean, I believe runners call it being in the zone. 
Thinking along these lines has made me reflect that apart from the syllabus content and the literacy and numeracy outcomes achieved through the visual arts, my subject area has an important job in providing children the opportunity to become focussed and has many health benefits. These musings on my part are supported by scientific studies follow this link to read about some here I have a "speak-o-meter" in the art room which goes from thoughtfully silent through to loud and clear all can hear. And sometimes I let the kids chatter away as exchange of ideas is important. However sometimes I will insist on quiet and focused work because I want them to have the opportunity to 'get into the zone' sometimes as the kids work the whole class gradually falls silent as they focus on their art work. After such times I ask them about their art work and how they feel about it most children will admit after these times they have achieved some of their best work - even those chatter boxes who are reluctant to admit that their work can benefit from some quiet time ;)
So this holidays turn the telly off grab a handful of anything that will make a mark and create! Or take time to visit a gallery - there are studies to prove there's both educational and health benefits to that too! Here and here.

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