Art For Kids

Art For Kids

I follow the ritual of making resolutions every December to promptly break them …say by mid march or so? But this year it was different because 2017 was a little different. How different you may ask…For one thing, I started my blog ‘Strings Of Heritage’ which has opened up a new world for me. A world that is beyond a salary and a 9 to 5 job. It’s the world I love, interacting with people who love and live art, writing about them and their work. So this December I was just chalking out the next few blogs and then my tag line just struck me…. ‘passing on the legacy’. Was I really doing that? Not really. So I did not make elaborate plans or resolutions, but just started working on how I could take art and make it art for kids.

Madhubani Art For Kids An Introduction

Madhubani Art For Kids An Introduction

 

And my dear daughter was all there to help me out. I would just try something and ask her to try her hand at it. This was how I conceptualized and started my journey with children and art. ‘Madhubani Art for Kids – An Introduction’ was my first project as Madhubani Art is something I totally love and have been doing for quite some time now. Having done this on the wall many times over, I felt it was just the right folk art to start with. Sankalpa Montessori School with its sprawling premises right in the heart of Vijayanagar was a God sent venue. I keep counting my blessings in this regard, Ms. Jyothi Chetan the Principal has been very generous and supportive.

Madhubani Art for Kids An Introduction

Madhubani Art for Kids An Introduction

 

Madhubani Art For Kids An Introduction

Madhubani Art For Kids An Introduction

 

So minus the resolutions and with just five days of planning, brainstorming with my friend Kavitha, and experimentation I started the day of the workshop full of trepidation on how the day would turn out. Would the parents and children share my love for this folk art? (Doubts, I say) As I started telling the children about Bihar and the beauty of Madhubani, my anxiety was forgotten. I could feel their keen interest and excitement on seeing the piece they would all do that day. Luckily for me, my friends Jyothi Adithya and Sahana pitched in as participants started coming in. Sandeep Nayak was all ready to click away as the kids were busy doing their masterpiece.

Madhubani Art For Kids An Introduction

Madhubani Art For Kids An Introduction

 

Madhubani Art for Kids An Introduction

Madhubani Art for Kids An Introduction

 

Madhubani Art for Kids An Introduction

Madhubani Art for Kids An Introduction

 

And you know the best part about the workshop? Seeing the parents as immersed in the colours as the children, seeing the joy and sense of accomplishment on the children’s faces was pure fulfillment for me. It was not just art for kids but a beautiful bonding experience for the parents. Tiny tots as small as two and half years right upto twelve years enjoyed working with the colours and Madhubani. And I could see many parents totally oblivious to everything except getting the outline right. Little Mihika who was very sure about the colours she wanted , Srishti who liked green, Nihal who wanted to draw some more, Stuti who liked orange, Aarav who wanted to make sure that the final painting was perfect, the names are many and so are the memories. Each child so special in all that they express and the way they do it. I couldn’t stop smiling for two days straight, just remembering these children. They don’t need to be taught to draw…they just need to be introduced to our rich heritage of culture and art.

Madhubani Art for Kids An Introduction

Madhubani Art for Kids An Introduction

 

Madhubani Art For Kids An Introduction

Madhubani Art For Kids An Introduction

This is joy. Being able to write about it and plan the next workshop is joy. Knowing what your life is about is joy. Finding my piece of heaven is joy.

 

Lots of Twinkles to all of you.

Anu

Touch and Feel Vs Touchscreen

Touch and Feel Vs Touchscreen

Do you remember the games you played in your childhood? For me it was scraping tender coconut fruits (Bondi) which fell off, pretending to be cooking- complete with leaves as curry and some rice from Amma. We had this nice shady place in our huge backyard with the washing stone. It was so much fun. Then there were the flat stones in our yard… All this being in Mangalore which receives wonderful rains..in the rainy season the water would be like small streams around these stones and we would pretend to cross the river jumping across these stones…I could go on forever and bore you with my memories and plays. But I wonder what memories my child will have of her childhood. When she looks back will it only be Mickey mouse and nick junior or will she remember good times spent with friends? Will she remember the games she played? Right now the pretend plays are based on Bahubali…When I saw this ad by Skola toys Touch and feel vs Touchscreen I could totally relate to it. After all just the previous day we had been for some book shopping and my child picked up everything related to cartoons…it was depressing!
 Touch and feel Vs Touchscreen

Exploring solutions. Skola toys. Touch and feel vs touchscreen

When I see kids as small as one handle touchscreens, phones, iPads and tabs…my heart worries. What are their memories going to be like? Will they even know that it’s a lot of fun to make friends and play? In these times where most kids are without siblings, parents are exhausted working and no grandparents staying with them… touchscreens seem the natural choice of play. It all begins with rhymes, but you never know when they graduate to games.
 Touch and feel Vs Touchscreen

Exploring solutions. Skola toys. Touch and feel vs touchscreen..we did it!

 

 Touch and feel Vs Touchscreen

Exploring solutions. Skola toys. Touch and feel vs touchscreen

Skola toys are doing a great job at creating toys which bring learning through fun. I especially loved the finger puppets. These can be used to create fun games without parent supervision and the child will learn to make different words while enjoying the learning. And this was just one of the many options where learning is according to age and concept. They have very well defined parameters and guidelines based on which you can choose at each level. I wish my child was two so I could go back and try with all their toys. The toys cater mainly to the 2 to 6 years group and are designed to play with minimal supervision. So the time you just want to be, instead of giving the remote control to our kids we could give them this game and offer to join them in a while. I also loved the sand pendulum which traces the path taken by the pendulam in sand.  The best part is that all their toys are made using natural materials like wood and concepts based on textures. They are so much more sturdy and gives a good feel. Infact Jayshri’s child from mommyswall who is all of four could identify the letters based on textures much faster and more accurately than all of us. These toys are available online and also in some stores. I have decided to buy the pendulam set, the multiplication set and the word wheel… All very useful and fun.
 Touch and feel Vs Touchscreen

Exploring solutions. Skola toys. Touch and feel vs touchscreen

This Children’s Day I can truly say that I relived my childhood and more. Right from  the puppet making workshop at Taneira with Puthali toys, the bloggers meet by Skola where I happily played with toys and made new friends, to the Puppet Show at Sankalpa by Rangaputhali...each learning was wonderful, insightful and loads of fun.
Touch and feel Vs Touchscreen

Exploring solutions. Skola toys. Touch and feel vs touchscreen

And I have enrolled for a pottery class at Slow Pottery. I am yet to write about it…it’s therapeutic I tell you!
But for now keep the kids away from gadgets. Spend time with them, play with them..because Touch and feel Vs Touchscreen, it’s always your decision.
Life’s a play…
Lots of twinkles to all of you
Anu
The Puppet Show

The Puppet Show

Looks like its Raining Puppets! After my post on the Puppet Making Workshop, I had an opportunity to see a Puppet show at Sankalpa School. I could feel their excitement in the air. They were all curious to see what it was that would enfold before them when the curtains were raised. As an introduction to puppets in India began and the curtain was raised on the Puppet Show, the kids burst out clapping.

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa- The Tenali Raman Troupe of puppets

 

With the Ganapathi puppet seated on a pedestal, the other two puppets were singing and dancing, praising lord Ganapathi. Right from a burning aarathi for the lord’s pooja to the garland of flowers to decorate the Lord, it was as real as it could get. One of the puppets also brought out a placard wishing the children a ‘Happy Children’s Day’. The prayer ended with the two of them falling at the feet of the diety. Mr. Vijay, who is one of the sons of M R Ranganatha Rao, the legendary puppeteer tells me that the Ganapathi puppet in wood is more than 250 years old and has been in their family for generations. They use the ancient form of Mysore Rod Puppetry and also the string puppets. The puppets are all beautifully carved in wood and dressed resplendently.

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa- 250 years old Ganapathi Puppet in wood

 

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa- The Aarati used is quite real with the diya burning!

After the prayer, the children were introduced to the dandiya group of puppets. Let me tell you, they were the centre of attraction for the kids in the entire Puppet Show. This was a set of puppets all attached to one ring and the loop at the centre controls their hands. Believe me! The set is quite heavy, though the dexterity with which it was being wielded by the puppeteer, you wouldn’t know it. In fact when they winded up the puppet show, they took the puppets among the kids and all of them held the puppet strings and made them dance. When I was offered a chance, I immediately took it up. It was so much fun…but lots of muscle power too.

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

 

Then there was the snake and the snake charmer. Right from the dressing of the snake charmer to the snake in banares silk, it was an entertainer. In fact Mr. Vijay jovially brought the snake puppet out among the kids even as the show was going on…some were quite brave and didn’t flinch. I quite remembered my daughter…as we were watching Snow White on TV, I was in tears as the dwarfs were mourning for Snow White and my daughter says, “Why are you crying Amma? It’s not real!” Off course…Silly me! So these days kids are more alert to what’s real and what’s not!

 

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa- The Mysore Rod Puppet

 

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa- The Dandiya Puppet set

 

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa -Curious hands at the strings

 

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

 

 

The Puppet Show also had a play on Tenali Rama and the king. For every dialogue, you could see the corresponding movement and body language of the puppet. It was the scene of the king asking the ministers to tell him the total number of crows in the kingdom and Tenali Rama cleverly says that they are as many as the majesty’s hair. When the king asks for a number, he gives a random number. But the king is not satisfied and says that he will have them counted. To which Tenali Rama replies that if they are found to be less, the crows would be visiting their relatives and if more, then the neighbouring crows must have come for a visit. With this the whole court bursts out laughing and so do we, as we remember this story. The Puppet Show is a beautiful way to remember these stories which lie forgotten in our own childhood.

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa -Tenali Rama

The Puppet Show ends on a joyous note where the stage setting is removed and the puppeteers join the kids for a dance along with the puppets…some of the kids being as big and some smaller than the puppets!

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa -The child was smaller than the puppet!

 

It was a lovely thought to have the kids see something as special as a puppet show. In this day and age where there is no dearth of entertainment on TV and tabs, it becomes important to expose this generation to the only entertainment that the earlier generations had. If not for our encouragement and patronage, this art will surely not survive. Sankalpa Montessori school is definitely doing a great job in encouraging the artists to continue the legacy. Kudos to the school and Rangaputhali for continuing the legacy of puppets which began with  M R Ranganatha Rao.

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

The Puppet show by Rangaputhali at Sankalpa

More on Rangaputhali and the making of these puppets in another post! In the meanwhile they can be contacted at [email protected] or 08022428313 for programs and puppet shows.

Hope you enjoyed the show. The video will be uploaded soon on this show.

Lots of Twinkles to you.

Have a great weekend.

Anupama

 

 

Puppet Making Workshop

Puppet Making Workshop

Having a child who is five and loves watching TV, I am always on the lookout for activities beyond the couch. When Taneira Jayanagar organised the puppet making workshop, I was among the first to register. The puppet making workshop was in line with their philosophy of working with hands in an age where we are forgetting the value of handmade.

Puppet making workshop.

Puppet making workshop. Swatches of fabric from across India brought together by Puthali Toys.

 

My child was totally excited and couldn’t stop talking about it all week. She’s quite a fashionista…and was totally fascinated with all the beautiful sarees, gorgeous colours and lovely ambience. She couldn’t get enough of the beautiful motifs and weaves in the catalogues and was full of advice on which saree I should pick. But I am on this “very difficult to keep promise” of no shopping. Though I did earmark a few sarees I loved, especially the Ikat.

Puppet making workshop.

Puppet making workshop.

 

As the Children’s day is being celebrated in November, Taneira organised the puppet making workshop on the 12th of November with Puthali toys who keep conducting such workshops. Mr. Chaitra Kumar represents a lineage of artists and puppeteers from four generations and is the founder of Puthali toys. They make toys and puppets from wood and paper mache and also conduct workshops. The best part in this puppet making workshop was that there was no benchmark, no puppet so see and make. With just a cotton glove, bits of paper, lots of glue and colours, we created the face and the neck. My daughter also added her own touch of blush. Kids picked chits which were based on different weaves and they had to dress up their puppet based on the weave. This was a wonderful way to help them identify the weaves and introduce them to the different textures. We had the south silk and the motif was ‘the tree of life’. It was also an opportunity for us to rediscover the child in us. So though we were clueless in this department, the team from Puthali toys helped us navigate and we easily created masterpieces in puppets.

Puppet making workshop.

Three generations at work.

 

Within a matter of 2 hours we had a beautiful puppet. Parents were as involved as the children and it was a sight to behold…where everyone was busy with glue and swatches of fabric instead of mobile phones. I am sure the puppet making workshop was a great bonding experience for all involved. With similar pieces of paper, different puppets emerged- the expressions, dress, fashion sense and creativity of kids creating individual beauties. All the materials required for the puppet making was provided by the team from Puthali Toys. There were also the props, the trees, grass, cattle, horses and elephants, all beautifully recreated by the kids, guided by the experts in puppet making from Puthali toys. The parents were then asked to leave the kids to plan and bring together the puppet show.

Puppet making workshop.

Puppet making workshop.

 

Puppet making workshop.

Puppet making workshop.

 

The story was narrated by one of the kids. The story of the saree seller who thought he had the most beautiful collection of sarees, but was ousted by the queen Sitara Devi who had a saree collection like no other. It was the saree seller’s challenge that nobody had weaves like his and he goes on to display sarees in Kanjeevaram, Ikat from Orissa, Rajkot, Paithani, Banares and Chatthisgarh. The queen inturn displays six sarees in Ilkal, Bengal,  Jamini Roy Motif saree, SouthSilk, Kasuti from Karnataka and Jamdani. Parents and the children were introduced to the different weaves as the puppets made their entry with kids wriggling their puppets quite vigorously. This workshop was a beautiful blend of knowledge and fun. After the contest, the queen Sitara Devi, admonishes the saree vendor that each saree is different and has a rich culture and history behind it. So the weaves cannot be compared. She advices him, “Use the opportunity to spread our rich cultural heritage and diversity”. The saree vendor is reformed and becomes the ambassador of our great weaving history.

Puppet making workshop.

Puppet making workshop. Sarees, motifs and puppets

 

Puppet making workshop.

Puppet making workshop. Chaitra Kumar and team from Puthali Toys.

 

With this puppet making workshop, the children couldn’t stop smiling, their pride and sense of achievement shining through. I had no idea I would enjoy this puppet making workshop as much as my child. It created wonderful memories for us, which will go much beyond this workshop and Children’s Day. Thank you to the wonderful people at Taneira and Puthali toys for this day.