The Handwork teacher

I am a mother to two beautiful girls and I teach Handwork and Fine Arts in our local waldorf charter school in Arizona.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Santa Fe Waldorf High School

High school paintings
12th grade final gift to school....the Chinese zodiac paintings
grades wood sign into the 1st -4th grade building
new art building
grades play yard with prayer flags
The new art building for the grades 1st-8th . woodwork, handwork, Eurythmy and art
This arm is a final 12th grade project....amazing!
11th graders work

even the bathroom sign is nice

art work done by 12th graders
art work done by 10th graders
the common room

common room

This past week I was gifted the opportunity to visit the Santa Fe Waldorf school. I was blown away with how amazing the faculty is and how mature and respectful the students were. Well done!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

waldorf crayon drawings

IT's important to understand crayon drawing in the Waldorf school. As a child I was mesmerized by the crayons and still have my 3 boxes of bees wax crayons that my parents got for me in 1st grade. below is a earlier post I did of drawing with middle schoolers

here is where you can get them

here is a GREAT dvd teaser! check it out!

Crayon Drawing
by Barbara Dewey

Many of you have asked about the crayon drawing done in Waldorf schools. It is a simple process, but be sure you don’t rush your child into it at too young an age. Young children need to have a chance to draw the archetypical line drawings that young children all over the world draw: The circle with legs and arms attached to it, the house made with of a square with a triangle roof and chimney with smoke coming out, etc. These drawings need to be done with a stick crayon, contrary to the popular belief that young children should have block crayons.

In grade one, the use of block crayons may be introduced, creating the form with color, rather than drawing a line and then coloring it in. It is as simple as that, but involves some practice. It also means that in introducing the method to your child, you say something like, "I am going to show you a new way to draw, which will allow you to make even nicer drawings than you can do now." This introduction is much more easily made if your child has been shielded from cartoons and the use of coloring books!

The block crayons have sides of varying widths, to allow the artist to make smaller or larger forms. For instance, if you want to draw a person, start with an oval, sketching motion using one of the longer edges of the block crayon. When you are satisfied with the shape of your oval body, make a head the same way with a smaller edge of a flesh colored crayon. Then put legs or a skirt and feet on the person, some hair and maybe a face. For trees, start at the bottom with some narrow roots drawn with a narrow edge, then draw the trunk with a wide edge and then go back to narrower and narrower edges to form the branches. When you are done, you have a winter tree. To make it a spring tree, color over the whole top area with a light green, or else just place little buds on each branch for a very early spring tree. A summer tree will have darker green thick foliage that you apply with a wide edge so that it nearly covers the branches underneath.

Give it a try yourself and see how it feels. Don’t expect that your first few tries will look like the best Waldorf drawings you have seen in main lesson books or on websites! Most of the samples you see are the best drawings that teachers have selected, although Waldorf children get really good at drawing with all the practice they get! But if you look at those samples, you will see that you can't detect any lines at the edges of the forms and figures in them. That is the hidden beauty of them, simple as it is!

If you don't have block crayons or if they are all worn out from using the corners to draw lines, take the paper off a stick crayon, break it and use the sides.

You may find with this technique, as with many Waldorf techniques, your own artistic education may be healed!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

understanding the spiral walk for advent
From above site

The spiral has found its way into the art of almost all cultures, from ancient primitive rock carvings on all continents to today's corporate logos. They show up in celtic art, native American petroglyphs, Nazca earthworks, Arabic architecture, Japanese rock gardens, Hindu spiritual texts, Australian aboriginal paintings and African art. Surprisingly, no religious or political group has claimed exclusive rights to the spiral. It remains non-sectarian, or maybe pan-sectarian. The spiral belongs to everyone and excludes no one.

In various mythologies the spiral is a globally positive symbol. Here are some of the meanings that have been attributed to the spiral.

Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist, said that the spiral is an archetypal symbol that represents cosmic force.

In ancient Britain, the spiral seems to have been associated with the feminine as the doorway to life.

It has been associated with the cycles of time, the seasons, the cycle of birth, growth, death, and then rebirth. The cycles of time and nature are the cycles of life.

Some consider the spiral a symbol of the spiritual journey. It is also considered to represent the evolutionary process of learning and growing. It seems that life doesn't proceed in a straight line. The path of life more closely resemble a spiral. We seem to pass the same point over and over again but from a different perspective each time. To walk and then stand in the center of a spiral or labyrinth has been a psycho-spiritual exercise for centering the consciousness.

The spiral stands for coming into being.

The spiral shows up often in nature - in hurricanes and tornados, in the pattern of seeds in a sunflower, in the growing tips of ferns, in the pattern that leaves grow on a stem, in the shape of a nautilus shell, and, as a helix, the shape of the DNA molecule.

The spiral is the journey of life

We join spokes
together in a wheel,

but it is the center hole

that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,

but it is the emptiness inside

that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,

but it is the inner space

that makes it livable.

We work with being,

but non-being is what we use.

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 11
Translation by
Stephen Mitchell

What are the origins of the Advent Spiral?

This quote pretty much sums it all up: As a universal symbol the Spiral/Labyrinth appears throughout history dating some 4,500 years and appears cross-culturally over the face of our world throughout our known history.

The meaning usually associated with the advent spiral today is more specific, however. In some Waldorf schools it symbolizes finding light in the darkness. In other schools and churches walking the spiral as an individual carries the image that every human being must make; a journey to an inner place; where we can find a light to carry back into the world to help us in our own journey. The labyrinth is said to be non-denominational because it can be related to many different religions and cultures and because it represents mans journey on his own spiritual path within his religion, rather than the path of one specific religion.

There are many different kinds of spiral walks. The simplest is the spiral, however, some spirals are modified in to different or more intricate shapes. Some of the earliest forms of modified spirals, also known as labyrinths, are found in Greece, dating back to 2500-2000 B.C.E. This labyrinth is called the Cretan labyrinth or classical seven-circuit labyrinth. So much a part of the fabric of this early society was the labyrinth, that it was embossed on coins and pottery. Early Christian labyrinths date back to 4th century, a basilica in Algeria. The Chartres design labyrinth is a replica of the labyrinth laid into the cathedral floor at Chartres, France in the thirteenth century. The Chartres design is a classical eleven-circuit labyrinth (eleven concentric circles) with the twelfth being in the center of the labyrinth.

Just to show you how high-tech spirituality has become I even found a labyrinth online you can walk with your fingers (computer mouse):

The Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress of Grace Episcopal in San Francisco is credited for re-introducing the labyrinth to the world as a contemporary psycho-spiritual tool in the early 1990s, having learned about the pattern from Dr. Jean Houston. Grace Cathedral was the first church to duplicate the Chartres labyrinth pattern in its Inter-Faith Garden using terrazzo marble.

Some people are really into spiral and labyrinth walks and do it all the time. Perhaps Ill keep mine in the backyardat least for a few days.anyway, if you really are into knowing some more about the many origins and extensive history of Labyrinths (spirals included) then read on

The Advent Spiral Walk

Myth and History of Labyrinths...


The spiral is the most generative form of subtle energy. When its coil is unwound the stored energy is released. The areas where straight ley lines cross, or where underground water run are places to build sacred temples, labyrinths. These places are rich in both yin and yang (yin underground water crossing yang energy lines). The labyrinth resonates to this numinous spiral, the Phi ratio known as the 'Golden Mean' found in all of nature.

The Hopi Indians of North America had a symbol for Mother Earth known today as the "Classical Seven-Path Labyrinth." It was this symbol of the Mother which identified the sacred in nature - that spiraling form found throughout nature. Labyrinths were woven into objects to personify man's connection to his source and were often placed at sacred places in nature to remind him of this union. When one walks the labyrinth it is in recreating this very ancient expression of thanks and remembrance of the divine in all things.

Some Ancient Labyrinths were for Healing...

The Labyrinth is an extension of man's desire to co-create with nature. When man consecrates space in nature as sacred he heals a part of himself. The earth has the capacity to heal us just as we have this capacity to heal the earth, it is a symbiotic relationship. In ages past when people worked closely with the earth the first and best fruits of the harvest were always returned to the Mother in thanks for her many gifts.

Some Labyrinths were for Gifting...

The Labyrinth is a beautiful form of this gifting process between man and his environment -- a precious spiraling pathway uniting us with our natural habitat. The conscious intent of creating this Sacred Space originates in our awareness of the divine and how we use the universal language of color, sound, movement and form to heal and regenerate our land, ourselves. We reveal ourselves by what we do and say, how we build, paint, and sing. The joy of unveiling the true self-freed of emotional restraints cannot be surpassed.

Some Labyrinths were to transcend the physical

Labyrinths are temples that enhance and balance and bring a sense of the sacred - a place where we can confirm our unity with the cosmos, awaken our vital force and elevate our consciousness. These structures are space/time temples where we can behold realities that oddly enough transcend space and time. The orientation, form and geometry of a labyrinth has symbolic as well as spatial importance. It is a mirror for the divine, a place to behold the beauty in nature.

The Labyrinth helps to create an Energy Release

Spiraling inward and out, this serpentine flow is the most generative form of subtle energy. The process of moving through the pathway unwinds this stored energy, releasing, magnifying, and ultimately harnessing the flow. Working directly in conjunction with the human energy fields this spiraling flow interacts with the energy coiled at the base of our spine converting the subtle energy into life force itself.

Some Labyrinths were thought to be sacred gateways

Labyrinths are known as sacred gateways and have been found at the entrance of ancient sites around the world. Often located at the center of subtle 'earth energies' these temples enhance, balance, regenerate and confirm our unity with the cosmos.

Some Labyrinths were used for childbirth meditation...

A type of Labyrinth known as a Yantra was used as a meditation by Hindu midwives to assist in childbirth and served as a means of relaxation for the birth canal, another labyrinthine form.

Labyrinths have always been associated with ancient pilgrimage routes and rituals of self-discovery. They were worn as a form of protection and ornamentation and were often found carved on doorways to bless a dwelling.

Some Labyrinths were Associated with Magic...

Labyrinths are time windows, portals, where time stands still. They are known to facilitate altered states of consciousness and have parallels with reincarnation, initiation, prosperity, and fertility rites. Ancient Scandinavian sailors believed the labyrinth had magical properties and when walked could control the weather and ensure a good catch.

Ancient Temples...

As a universal symbol the Labyrinth appears throughout history dating some 4,500 years and appears cross-culturally over the face of our world throughout our known history.

Labyrinths are found in many sacred cities

Labyrinths date back to early Crete, Egypt, Peru and India and were used for ritual walking and spiritual contemplation. Often called "city of turns" labyrinths were equated with Holy cities such as Troy, Jericho, and Jerusalem.

There is even a Chakra Labyrinth...

Resonating to the vibration of "seven" the Classical Labyrinth has a direct correlation with the primary Chakras, Tones on the scale, and Colors of the Rainbow.

The spiral walk and labyrinth is thought to cure illness...

Equated with the brain many cultures believed that the spiral and the labyrinth could cure illness. Today the labyrinth is known to have a curative effect on certain ailments by producing a sense of well-being and balance through a type of vestibular stimulation, accessing both left and right hemispheres of the brain.

The Phaistos Disc

Found in l908 on the Island of Crete the Phaistos Disk is at least 3500 years old. It's the first known disk of humanity on which information was stored and recorded. Stamped on both sides, the disk bears symbols of hieroglyphic script spiraling from the outside inwards in a Labyrinthine manner. It is one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Minoan Culture, famous for the legend of Theseus and the Minataur (who was locked in the Labyrinth at Knossos).

The Phaistos Disk is probably much older than currently assumed as the symbology pre-dates known Mineoan hieroglyphs. Interpretation ranges from a form of ancient calendar, to accessing multi-dimensional doorway's based on the Isis-Osiris mysteries. The Minoan language and writing is to this day completely unknown although there are many scholarly interpretations of the symbology as an ancient form of writing.

The actual Disk is a terra-cotta tablet, which was fired and measures six inches wide by one inch deep. It was found beside a tablet of Linear A writing of ancient Crete embossed with 48 unique symbols. The disk is known as the earliest printing press ever devised, the technology then abruptly disappeared and did not resurface for another 2,600 years!

According to researcher Claire Watson "the key to the understanding of the pictographs, and the disk, lies in the sacred geometry found on the disk." She has written an interesting book entitled "Interstellar Flight" depicting the correlation between the Labyrinth, Tree of Life, and the Phaistos Disc indicating it's use as a dimensional doorway.

The Disc of Phaistos is on display at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum on Crete.

Today, spirals are a popular form of meditation in churches throughout North America.
from the above site

Monday, November 23, 2009

level two waldorf doll making

my older daughter woke up this morning and saw the dolls....she is half awake here posing with the dolls.

So this week we are going out of state to visit friends for the girls convinced me this weekend to make both of them and their two friends (same age) that we are staying with, new waldorf dolls that look like themselves. so here is my 3 hour process this weekend!

This is a display of a level two waldorf doll making...if you get the gist of doll making you will understand what to do here :)

The key to doll making is creating it yourself.....well maybe not the first time....but after you get the general idea it becomes extremely fun to create your own body shape and make your doll the size you want...the shape you want etc. Just think...the arms have a curve....the legs are a little longer then the arms....the body/ torso is about the length of the arms. create your own body!

magic cabin doll patterns and material are CRAP! weir doll material is too stretchy but I love the people there and the patterns are nice and I LOVE their mohair, joy's waldorf dolls are all around bad and she is really mean to small business doll makers. The best place to get material is Murcurius you have to mordant the material to get it to be strong enough not to stretch when you stuff it.
Really if you get a chance to go to the Netherlands or to the famous online waldorf store based in the Netherlands...they have the best material. $25 per yard! its the same material used for the professional Kathy Kruis dolls.

Fairywool dolls is the best place for material and patterns. but you need to email her what you want

I took a doll making workshop from this woman in Florida (fairywool dolls) and it changed the entire way I make dolls. I also got material from her and this aswell has changed EVERYTHING! I could never go back to stretchy thin interlock from magic cabin now that I have seen what the Netherlands can offer!
You will have to email fairywool dolls if you want pre-sewn bodies or want to buy a yard of her material.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

paper star candle holders

who knows how to make these? please send over instructions :) I want to make these with faculty and 9th grade

7/8 grade waldorf charcoal drawings

here is a basic exercise for 7th/8th grade

tempurments need certain drawings as well. the phlegmatic needs more angular forms like boxes and pyramids and the Choleric needs more round drawings like spirals and roses, or drawing marbels rolling etc

santa lucia

pre cut felt leaves

Inspired by Cadi am having our 2nd grade mothers make these felted crowns for their daughters to wear on santa lucia day (almost every girl at our school has negative memories of not being the eldest girls in class who was chosen to wear the candle crown, so all girls get to wear it this year). So here was my experiment crown....I discovered that you need to make the candles shorter or they start to fall over.
*I used pipe cleaner. 3 around the head over lapping
*one pipe cleaner per candle (over lap)
* I started at the top (place the flame at the top and then start to wrap the while batting around the yellow to keep it on) wrap the wool batting like you would wrap a ribbon....totally flat...if you turn the wrap will fold and it will look messy.
* when the candles are done move onto the green wreath part...wrap like a ribbon again.
* last is the felt leaves and the berries I needle felted on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

so flipp'n cute

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5th grade socks

half of 5th grade is in woodwork and the other half is in handwork. 20 kids total

so 10 are with me and 4 are either done or on their toes of their socks. 1 child I sent to woodwork because this child could not be in the advanced group any longer.

so that leaves 5 that are behind in their work.

they tuned the heel but needed lots of help and don't knit fast or do homework.
We have 2 double periods left before we switch with woodworking.

These are note to myself for next year. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Festivals coming in December

We have one last Nov festival (Thanks Giving)

After that we have

Lussekatter (St. Lucia Buns) Recipe
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron
2 and 3/4 cups flour
vegetable oil
1 tablespoon water

Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia,
thy light is glowing
Through darkest winter night,
comfort bestowing.
Dreams float on dreams tonight,
Comes then the morning light,
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia.

Go to here for craft ideas ...thank you Cadi

and here is a doll making idea

St. Nicholas day

"St. Nicholas
In the European tradition, December 6 celebrates the life of St. Nicholas, who by legend wandered through the streets leaving apples, nuts, and golden coins at the houses of hungry children. Nicholas was bishop during the fourth century in Turkey, and was renowned for his generous deeds. St. Nicholas’ visit to the school is marked by the trail of glitter, and fruit and nuts he leaves
for the students and teachers.

Families may also celebrate this tradition by leaving a small gift or poem in shoes or slippers that children leave outside their bedroom door on the eve of St. Nicholas Day."- Atlanta waldorf school

here is the story



The Spiral Walk
"The younger children at the school participate in an Advent Garden. The children walk through a beautiful spiral pathway of pine boughs, lighting a candle and then setting it along the path to create a shining spiral of light. Parents are invited to attend this reverent and wondrous celebration. Additionally, in most classrooms, teachers celebrate with decorative greenery, seasonal songs and stories" -Atlanta waldorf school

Monday, November 9, 2009

examples of Waldorf school watercolor paintings

Go to this site for more examples of student's work in the waldorf school. Wet on wet painting is not only an amazing skill to learn, it is also therapeutic.

Watercolor painting is one of the main artistic aspects in the class. Drawing and painting is done weekly.
Here is a site with the student work and some adult work