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We Are Animals
The very first masks and costumes were people's way
of 'wearing' or embodying
the clever, resilient, magnificent and powerful qualities
of the animals who shared their land-
animals they looked up to as their wise relatives.
Even the tiniest creatures had strengths to teach.
Even the most ferocious had wisdom and stillness.
And so, from animal teachers, we learned
how to be human.
The Halloween season is an ideal time to 'try on' an animal's spirit, and at the same time
to better understand our traditional ancestors!
far left and center right images by Phyllis Galembo. center left and far right images by Charles Fréger.
In this 2-hour exploration for kids 8 and up, we'll get a glimpse
of the profound relationship our ancestors had with animals:
•we will begin with Native American tales that highlight
the uncommon qualities of common animals
•together but separately, we will take a meditation-journey
to meet the Animal Ally just for us, then journal about the more and less obvious qualities of our Ally's spirit
•finally we will look at traditional spirit costumes from Europe and Africa
and begin to imagine and sketch how we might represent the spirit of our animal
using only found and foraged materials: cardboard; old clothes or fabric;
ribbon and string; foraged leaves, grasses or branches
(I will outline the rules for sustainable foraging that our ancestors lived by)
Before class, each student will be emailed a zoom link and a template for a basic mask that they may choose to use as a foundation (or maybe they want to go with face paint or a headdress!). They will also receive pdf coloring pages of traditional masks from around the world to inspire their own creations.
It will be important that kids have a quiet place, perhaps outside, at least for the meditation portion of this class.
I also recommend that they have some materials and tools available during the class in case they're eager to get to work while their vision is fresh. An oversized blank t-shirt and markers are a good place to start- maybe cardboard too, if you'll be available to help cut.
From there, the only limit is their imagination! Scrap fabric, fall leaves, yarn, colored paper, vines, an old hat, etc, etc, etc. The idea is to create from what is available to us, rather than relying on stores as we're used to.
I will be challenging the kids to tune in more to what their
Animal Ally feels like than what we perceive with our eyes.
Feel free to reach out
via the 'connect' page
of this site.
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