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One of the most interesting things about teaching knitting to 3rd & 4th
graders has been they're coming over to me and telling me right away that
they made a mistake. Not - look at what I did! Not - I'm learning how to
knit! OK, so I deal with the reality that all they can see is their
mistakes and I say, it's OK to make mistakes in knitting - it's OK to make
mistakes in knitting - the main thing is to keep doing it - practice,
practice, practice. By my saying it's allright to make mistakes, it's like
they don't believe it, but they get back to their knitting.
So, what does that have to do with "I can't" - it seems to me that artists
like Picasso, Matisse, Marie Cassett, Georgia O'Keefe and Lord knows Van
Gogh faced what they could do and what they couldn't and focused on what
they could. I just saw two wonderful realistic portraits that O'Keefe did -
who knew that she could draw a realistic portrait? And it was really good -
not, oh, isn't that interesting - good thing she got back to the flowers.
Why did she choose not to continue in the vein? I've got 10 million
My experience with my own knitting has really been a revelation - I've gone
at my own pace, I've been doing it since 1996 - started with small and large
squares, then scarves - varying the design whenever I got bored, working
with different materials - first with cheap acrylic and now with beautifully
soft lama & merino wool. And I still haven't worked up to sweaters yet, but
it's been fun doing scarves, shawls, and cowls of my own design.
Enough about me, I feel strongly that as artists we have certain talents -
strengths - and life is too short - and art is not appreciated or nurtured
in this country - so it's up to us to appreciate what we and our students
can do and can discover that we can do in the art field.
OK, I'll get off my soap box - it's just that I've got a student, a little
boy name Ben - who can really draw - and I do mean really draw -and in a
school without an art teacher, his talent is not being developed and he's
getting in trouble for beating kids up on the playground. So, my fellow art
teachers - as a volunteer, who comes to the school once every two weeks,
what CAN I do? I thought I'd buy him a sketch book and assign some drawing
activities as homework, but will he do them? Any suggestions would be most
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