I'm an art therapist & art educator from NYC/Detroit/Ann Arbor currently living in Ft. Collins, Colorado.
After over a year and a half of not getting anywhere with my career here, we (my other half & I) decided to make changes.
I spent almost a year as a substance abuse counselor & decided that was NOT the career for me, and resigned. I have been unemployed for almost 7 months, and coming fall, I will have temporary jobs at 3 different places, teaching & providing art workshops. However, I will be working 9-12 hours total, at the most busy time! Also, they pay independent contractors terribly here ($12-$15 an hour for student contact, no pay for prep, planning, ordering supplies, etc). I am at a point of giving up trying to establish a career here. I have tried contacting various art therapists and art teachers here, but nobody responds to any of my emails or phone calls. (despite my numerous efforts)
Sometime within the next year, we are relocating to the Framingham/Boston area. We definately want to be back on the east coast by June 2003. However, I would be willing to relocate sooner if I was given a great opportunity & was able to support myself on a PROFESSIONAL salary. While I will miss certain things about Colorado, I will be eager to make these changes & relocate (my friends & family are closer & I have colleagues there).
If anyone knows any opportunities there and/or recommendations where to live (we are 30 yrs old, not yuppies or hippies, but artsy,eclectic, professional & cultured with unusual cats) I would appreciate it! I am very experienced in working with special needs populations, both in educational and therapeutic ways. I am also a professional puppet builder/designer/puppeteer, artist & published writer. Usually, people are very impressed with my CV and portfolio.
Personally, I am partial to Faber-Castell, especially the polychrome pencils. They are more expensive than other pencils. However, the quality far supercede any, including prismacolor. Americans (administrators) may not understand why it's important to get high quality supplies. These pencils are used by professionals, as well as European children.
1. They don't break as easily, esp w/good metal sharpeners made for colour pencils (larger hole).
2. Less frustrating for kids.
3. Saturation level is superior.
4. Pencils last much longer! I have had my set of pencils for a couple years. Except for the black, gold & white, most of the pencils have lasted.
5. Metallic pencils saturate much better and can be used on dark surface & some fabrics. These pencils are much more versitile. Lighter colors can be used on black paper
6. For more variety of metallics & flourescents, I buy prismacolor.
In some settings, I have brought my own pencils & erasers. The kids do notice the difference. When I didn't bring them in, they often requested it! Erasers also make a difference on the frustration factor- I worked with one kid who was a perfectionist & would only buy the type of eraser I used because she noticed the diffence of the cleanness factor & how it didn't rip the page. With older kids, they can really benefit from learning about quality materials & how to take care of their supplies. It makes a huge difference how they perceive art & makes them feel professional.
With little kids & impulsive adults, I use Crayola (waterbased)due to safely (if someone gnaws on the pencil) and Prismacolor for nonimpulsive people. I personally never liked Prang- they often were eaten up (leads falling out) & with the frustration factor (I work with special needs populations) & having to replace the pencils, it ended up being more expensive with unhappy clients.
Re: Julie Taymor
If you like her work, check out her book, 'Playing with Fire'. She also has a book with Lion King puppets, but that book is not as nicely produced (but the large pages make it easy to share with kids). She has also done videos like 'Fool's Fire' that can be interlibrary loaned.
There are other, very nice puppetry books (mostly out of print) that are worth checking out.
If you live in a big city (esp. East Coast, West Coast & Minneapolis & various European/East Asian cities), check out the puppet theatre on the local scene.
If you want to email me a reply, please also email me privately as I don't always check this list!