Lily Witt May 4, 2021 Dot to Dot
Everyone is an artist, and drawing is a universal precursor to writing. It is very easy to introduce your little artist to the world of graphic arts, writing a story, and early literacy, by early drawing. A self-portrait is one of the first drawings. First- Buy a large 12x24 or larger, newsprint drawing pad. You can also buy a craft paper roll and cut it to size. Also, purchase a set of wide (fat) pre-school crayons. The small regular crayons will not be easy to use for a toddler, since the small muscles in the hand are developing. You should work in a large format with a child. Place a hand held mirror nearby for reference. Second- Sit down on the floor with your child, and have him or her choose a color, and place the large (fat) crayon in his or her hand. Help your child hold the crayon like a pencil. If they have trouble, then they can hold it in their fist.
The great part about mindful drawing is that it is not just for kids! In fact, my wife is a Certified Zentangle Teacher and regularly sees the amazing benefits in adults who practice this form of mindful drawing. Just like meditation, mindfulness with a pen can also reduce blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and have long-term benefits with depression and anxiety. Have you ever found yourself just doodling on a scrap piece of paper. There is a good chance that when you are making lines or dots or shading with your pen or pencil, you are focused on present moment. Perhaps if the idea of meditation seems to be not your cup of tea but you could use to manage your stress; why not consider mindful drawing, doodling, or zentangle. The goal is not to make art to hang on your fridge but rather to give your restless mind a much need break from the endless chatter.
Since its humble beginnings seven years ago, Dot To Dot Festival has gone from strength to strength and has served up sets from bands that have gone on to see incredible success. In the past, this has meant shows from the likes of Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine and The XX - but this month it focused back on some lesser-known acts hoping to break through in the same way. Taking place across three cities - Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester - the event has a pretty ambitious mission statement. In Manchester alone, it uses seven different stages at venues like The Ritz, Sound Control, The Deaf Institute, Zoo and Joshua Brooks, but while this is probably something of a challenge for the organisers in terms of business liability insurance, the backing of sponsors Fred Perry probably provides some small comfort.
This Saturday marked the fifth annual International Dot Day, a day dedicated to encouraging students creativity and inspiring confidence. Classrooms around the globe have been celebrating this and last week with unique activities such as dot art, musical "sound dots," and using dots to help teach maps and math. Dot Day was started by teacher Terry Shay in Waterloo, Iowa, to celebrate the publication of Peter H. Reynolds childrens book "The Dot"; the book shares the story of a young girl named Vashti who is encouraged by her teacher to "make her mark." In the story, Vashti tries to prove to her teacher that she cannot draw by making a small mark on the paper while declaring, "There!"-Vashtis art teacher then encourages her to be brave and use her imagination to see where this dot could take her.
It has been a long while since I last wrote. I really miss it when I cant put my thoughts to paper (or keys... as it is). Last week I was teaching a bunch of kids aged 4-8 about the importance of mindfulness. This is a class which I teach every week. If you have never taught little kids before, it is much like trying to herd cats. The mindfulness class is one hour and for one hour I need about ten to twenty different activities as their attention span is so fleeting. Last week I had prepared a very exciting lesson using vinegar and baking soda to demonstrate how, when your mind is racing, it is like bubbles in the jar. I LOVED my new experiment and the kids were mildly amused for thirty seconds. I taught them to put their hand on their belly and breathe down the "bubbles of anxiety in their minds". Naturally as the acetic acid reacted completely with the sodium bicarbonate, the bubbles settled. Seemed like a compelling lesson? But, as with the others, it was... on to the next lesson!
The festival got off to a mild start with a set by Milk Maid over at Zoo that gently rocked the crowd into a frenzy and lead nicely into a half hour show over at the HMV Ritz from Bastille that had a fantastic turnout for so early in the day and revved things up a notch - getting everyone in the mood for more. More soon came thanks to the wonderful Lucy Rose, whos warm and fuzzy acoustics proved to be a huge hit. Her new single Lines could well be the song that takes her closer to mainstream success, but at this point it would probably be a good idea to catch her while she is at her hottest. Things were already starting to kick off elsewhere with The Dunwells and Jake Bugg at Zoo, Eyes on Film and Last Dinosaur at Joshua Brooks, The Night and Hyde & Beast at The Deaf Institute and all manner of shenanigans across the three stages over at the fantastic new Sound Control - a former guitar shop that has fast become one of the most interesting venues in the city.
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