Weekly Photo Challenge ~ From lines to patterns…

She bends carefully over the pavement with her deft fingers delicately releasing the chalk. From lines to patterns she lays down the chalk outline and fills in the shapes with vibrant colours. These beautiful rangoli designs transform even the dullest spot. They are one … Continue reading

Why waste a wall?

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Graffiti or wall art isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. However for me it is an art form that always amazes me. It can be used in so many instances to brighten and enliven a dark, dull precinct and add interest and fresh life.
Wellingtonians have done this with great flare. Huge expanses of wall and shed door space have been reinvigorated with zany graffiti. I thought it looked fantastic. I’d love to know what you think…

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The new master of Mehndi…

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Jacqualyn’s drawings…

My gorgeous friend Jacqualyn is learning how to do mehndi hand decorating. Mehndi is extremely popular in India and is used in ceremonies such as weddings and Deepavali.

Mehndi uses a henna paste made from the flowering henna plant. The dye is very popular for colouring hair, skin and material. The paste is applied to the body using a small cone. The finer the opening on the cone the finer the mehndi work.  It is most commonly used to decorate the hands and feet. Once the design is finished it is left to dry. This takes about twenty minutes. The dry raised paste is then left as long as you like ~ the longer you leave it the darker it will be. When the paste is first removed the design will be lighter and as the day wears on it will become darker due to the exposure to oxygen.

Jacqualyn’s designs are very beautiful and intricate and are based on traditional Indian motifs. I can’t wait for her first mehndi party…

More lovely designs...

More lovely designs…

The peacock is a very popular motif...

The peacock is a very popular motif…

Let art impart a great start…

The children were all so proud of their hats...

The children were all so proud of their hats…

Art is a great way to break down barriers ~ in my case language and cultural barriers instantly evaporated once art was brought into the classroom.

On the first day of my volunteer teaching at the Sri Narayani Vidyalaya School I was teaching in the three kindergarten classes. It is the first year of school for these littlies so English is still new for them with Tamil being the main language spoken at home.

Fortunately I had my wonderful friend, Reema, to ably assist me in teaching the class as the class sizes ranged between 35-45 students.

We started the lesson with a “The old lady who swallowed the fly” puppet which I had brought with me. Puppets are a valuable tool to quickly gain children’s attention. They really enjoyed feeding all the animals to “Granny” as they called her. Of course when it got to the bit where she swallowed the cow they were aghast and amazed she would eat a cow. Hindus of course believe cows are sacred and would never eat one! We then did some clapping songs which were sung with great gusto. We read a very simple story “Old Hat, New Hat”. The children found an old hat they had in the classroom which they gave to me to wear during the reading of the story.

Decorating their hats...with their class teacher, Mrs Vijaya, in the background

Decorating their hats…with their class teacher, Mrs Vijaya, in the background

We then went back to the tables and Reema and I helped the children to fold a paper hat. They decorated their own hat with oil pastels and watercolour paints. The children had a ball doing this. When you look at the photos you may think what serious children they were but it was quite the opposite. The children often have a serious rather than smiley face on when you take their photograph due to the fact that a lot had never had their photos taken before. I have found this to be very common during my travels in India. Even when you encourage people to smile they still retain the serious stance.

Each hat illustrated the child's individual style...

Each hat illustrated the child’s individual style…

More lovely hats...

More lovely hats…

It was such a fantastic morning with lots of happy and satisfied children. The children proudly wore their hats home that afternoon to show their parents…very sweet.

Do you like my hat? I most certainly do...

Do you like my hat? I most certainly do…