Sunday, October 1, 2017

Dance with Joy

The four of us, (Asba, Srishti, Suhaan and Usha) accompanied by Roohi aunty went to Auroville, Pondicherry for a dance/circus workshop. The workshop was held in our teacher, Calou’s circus dome. The dome was white and made of metal, with a blue and green fibreglass circle on the very top, to let the light in.
The circular floor was red-oxide on the outside, cement inside, with tiles decoratively placed everywhere. There was a wooden seating along the edge of the floor. Around the fibreglass, there were metal rods, from which there hung pink and green aerial silks, and trapezes.

At one end of the dome, there were two sliding doors with mirrors, that out to a small storage room. It had a spongy mattress, yoga mats, magic chairs, juggling balls, hula hoops and unicycles.
We started off with simple yoga stretches. This was followed by Calou demonstrating simple moves on the looped aerial silk. She also showed us some acro yoga. We then moved onto the aerial silks, where we learned to climb up in two different ways and come down gracefully. She taught us to do splits, flips and how to hold ourselves up without our hands.                                                                                        

By the second day, our arms were sore, and we couldn’t lift our own bodies. We could barely climb up 10 ft and wrap our feet around the silks; Calou had to help us with that. We also spent a lot of time on the trapeze, which was seven feet off the floor.
We stood on it, hung from it, and wrapped ourselves around it and let go of our hands! We used ‘magic’ chairs to do shoulder stands and flips. We also juggled. It required a lot of concentration and was quite difficult. Finally, Calou showed us a few tricks with hula-hoop and we were done. Calou was friendly, and a very good teacher. She spoke with a thick French accent.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dhrupad Week

In an attempt to bring music into Shibumi and deepen the learning space at Shibumi we had a Dhrupad retreat with Pelva Naik, It was a week long rigorous engagement with the artist.

Plelva brought a new rhythm into the space. For our oldest children it was a residential retreat as they participated in the morning 'kharaj' practice with the artist. The younger ones had an hour long singing session and some activities that deepened our engagement with our learning.

Another beautiful element that this week brought was the bringing together of Teachers and Students as learners. The vertical age groups in which we learnt the Dhrupad was from our littlest 5 year old to our oldest 68 year old.

All children were struck by sound. Some were drawn to sound and vibrations of the tanpura. Some were humming the notes of the bandish. Some had their fingers busy keeping the jhaptaal. It was fascinating how Pelva's passion for this style of music was what touched each one of us. Some of us entered this week of Dhrupad with some resistance, but at the end of the week there was the relationship to the sound that was above all likes and dislikes.

Learning at the Land

The beginning of this academic year has been wonderful for us all. Interactions with our new campus have begun. 

The Ketaki and Tulsi groups (our littlest ones) have been spending three mornings a week at the 'new land'.

It was wonderful to watch and learn with the children. Being outdoors, participating in the construction process, mingling with the civil workers, cleaning the land, tractor rides, quiet observation activities, cooking and nature walks have all added a wonderful flavour to the learning for the last two months. 

This frequent contact with nature has brought about sensitivity which is not measurable. It also naturally created lots space in our rhythm to be alone and quiet.  

Helping with the brick making.

Activity Time for all.

The games field is almost ready :)

Discovering some natural colours

Half an hour of Shibumi care at the New Land.

Walks on a hillock close to the New land

During Quiet Observation, while a child was looking at a leaf, he met little spider friends.
Joy rides!

Slowly the buildings are also rising up!

Our local Vet and Herriot fan comes to medicate our puppies :)
And Dr. Chandrashekar patiently answers all the questions before he goes :)

We spotted a tiny turtle in the tank. Without any instruction, the children gather around the tank quietly and hopefully gaze into the water. they much more than the turtle.

Friday, June 23, 2017

What in the world would I do with a bunch of wooden sticks?

Last year, Inwoods Small School gifted us a box of Kapla sticks. They are small and flat blocks of wood around 4″ x 1″ x .25.” wide. The blocks are so basic they can be morphed into just about anything a child can imagine. What is amazing to watch is how the children hold the blocks, enjoy the feel of wood, smell them and start playing.Initially not knowing what they want to create but in the act of engaging with the blocks, something emerges .... and often crashes! 

 It is play without an obvious end, beginning, number of participants, rules, winning, loosing and free of the known.

Also the conversations and learning is immense. From comparisons of heights , attention to breath while placing the blocks, speaking with care to ones peers and openness to the gust of wind that brings it all crashing to the floor in a moment!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Chittara Workshop

The Paaruls and Palash were introduced to the Chittara art form through a two day workshop at Shibumi.  Chittara is a folk art form practised by the women of Deewaru community living close to Jog Falls in Shimoga, Karnataka. CFRIA (Centre for Revival of Indigenous Art) is a non-profit organisation that is committed towards preserving and Indigenous Art practices in India. We had Geetha Bhat, from CFRIA, as the facilitator and Lakshmakka, who is from the Deewaru community, introducing the kids to this art form.  We started off with an introduction to ’Hase Gode Chittara’.  The motifs used in Chittara are geometric and mainly lines. Hase Gode Chittara represents a marriage ceremony in the community. The drawing of the Chittara itself is part of the ceremony.  The colours used in Chittara are red, white, black and yellow. For white, ground rice paste is used; roasted rice for black, yellow seeds (Gurige), red earth and the brushes are made up of pundi naaru.

The children started to learn by drawing the basic shapes that go into making a chittara. This took almost the whole of day one. The kids were fascinated that simple things like mango leaves, hand fan, clay pot, bird, hand saw, and not so simple things like bride, groom, palanquin, musicians etc can all be drawn using simple straight lines!

On the second day, we went on to the main thing which was drawing an actual Hase Gode Chittara on hand made paper. It involved lots and lots of measuring. Everything had to be precise!

The kids got tired of measuring. They were eager to get to the end of the drawing and do the painting.  We used acrylic paint for our paintings. It was not at all easy using those brushes to paint straight lines. Lakshmakka made the brushes from pundi naaru. These are really thin brushes made from the fibre of a plant that grows on the banks of a river. We found that using those brushes made the lines straight J

During the painting, Lakshmakka sang for us. In their tradition, the women usually sing when they are painting.  It was beautiful.

The two day workshop ended with a presentation and display of all the work that the children had done.
Lines are drawn .... ready to paint
White lines on red paper
black lines on white paper

Beloved Lakshmakka...

A sample 'Hasegode Chittara'

Sharing our learning with the rest of Shibumi

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Shibori at Shibumi

We had a one day intense workshop with Nikita Jain and Priyanka Patel , where they shared with us the magic of Shibori. We had done tie-dye earlier, and were fascinated by the simple technique of knotting and dyeing fabric to create happiness!

Shibori is the Japanese word--meaning to wring, squeeze, press--for a number of ways of embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing. It was magical because of the various labor intensive techniques that created elaborate patterns that were unexpected and mind blowing. The techniques involving crumpling, stitching, plaiting, plucking and twisting. Once the cloth was 'shaped' by these methods, we secured it in a number of ways, such as binding, clamping or knotting.

The children's questions moved from, ' what will happen if  I do this?' to 'let me try this!'
The element of chance to the display of patterns and colours of this method gave life to the shibori process and added its special magic to the fabric and us.

Playing with the fabric....
 being placed into indigo dye...

Every step of the procedure called for a pause.... 

The wait....

Each method gave unique results and revealed  exciting moments. 

Look look look!

An element of the unexpected  was always present!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Belated Onam celebrations at Shibumi

The kitchen is the heart of Shibumi and everyday the mothers create the most colourful, nutritious and delicious food. Some days they take the challenge further and cook, share stories, connect culture and food, decorate the place in simplicity and make food a festival!

Adding to the festive feeling...

A family that eats together stays together...

at your service...

So nice to have ex-students back in the space...

The elaborate menu