Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mural Update

Lauren Morrison, a current volunteer at the house, has been planning a mural for the dining area of the house. This week she began the project in earnest. To begin, she asked the children to submit drawings of what they wanted to see and she combined these images into a composite that includes the house, the mountains, Gorkha English Boarding School, and Fewa Lake. It is going to be awesome!

Lauren began prepping the wall for the mural and I'll let her take it from here...

"I enlarged my original design using a grid enlargement. In case you’re wondering, the actual mural is 3 1/3 times bigger than my reference drawing. The kids and I struggled to draw a straight grid onto the wall using little rulers, until I got an idea from something I saw on tv one time. In one of my most MacGyver-esque moments, I asked the kids to get me some yarn and some sidewalk chalk. We chalked up the yarn, then with two sets of hands we stretched it tight in a straight line between two points measured out on either end of the mural. Then I had one of the kids snap the yarn, and a nice clean, straight line of chalk was left on the wall. The kids all enjoyed taking turns snapping the yarn for each line of the grid.

Maya, Sabita, Mina, Babit and Sarita work with the grid.

I originally intended to draw everything onto the wall myself, but it was Saturday and the kids were home from school and eager to help. So, I explained the concept of a grid enlargement to some of the older kids, and they all ran to get their pencils and erasers and set to work. As they drew I walked around and helped them draw their lines in the correct place on the grid.

Yesterday, in one seven-hour push, I managed to outline all the lines in black paint. I’m not usually a fan of outlining things while painting, but I decided early on that this technique would be the best way to make sure the kids get to do lots of painting without too much demand for skill level. I figure when all is said and done it will have kind of a stained-glass appearance, and coloring it with the kids will be almost like a paint-by-numbers project."

Shiva works with Amrit, Babit and Dhiraj to fill in the images.

Pramila takes a turn with the boys.

Today I worked with the three oldest boys in the house, Babit, Amrite, and Dhiraj, and we began filling in color. Ramila, the house manager, recommended earlier that I only have the seven oldest children paint. Originally I had grand plans of trying to include all the children, but I agreed with the wisdom of not trying to struggle with the mess that would result from working with the littler kids.

The house mothers and even the kids’ after school tutor all got excited about painting and picked up brushes to help. I was really glad to be able to get the adults in the house involved. Painting is a huge part of my life, but I know that most people almost never get to do anything creative. At the risk of being presumptuous, I might guess that it has been a pretty long time since the women who work at Kopila House have had the chance to paint. Also, I’m sure the mural will be more meaningful to the adults in the house after having a hand in creating it. Throughout the drawing process while the kids were at school, I was glad when the women spent some time looking at the design and offering suggestions (little things, like the placement of a window) since that meant that they were getting to be invested in the project and interested to see it turn out right."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Art Projects at School

Lauren Morrison, a young woman from California, via Wisconsin, is spending six weeks at Sam's House. She is a fine arts major from UW-Madison and a very talented artist and she is kindly sharing her skills at Sam's House as well as Gorkha English Boarding School where the children attend.

Below are some photos from her day with grade 4. They made 3D collages with an "Under the Sea" theme.

Amrit working diligently.

Having a special guest teacher always draws a crowd. It may be hard to see, but that's Sandeep, the little one in the middle window frame, no doubt truant from his own classroom.

The class showing their finished works.

Sarita's collage.

Amrit's collage.

And, as an added bonus, a short clip from dance class at the house.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday!

A couple weeks ago, Sam's House held its annual picnic, celebrating four years! Every year it seems the celebrations get a little more lavish (relatively speaking)... as they should. It's a fantastic day for the kids, the didis and all the trustees who watch over the home and make sure the children are safe and happy. This year they had a catered lunch in a park down at Lakeside with a large tent to stay out of the elements, though it looked like a beautiful day.

So here's to Dinesh and Rekha and the whole crew at Sam's House! In the Nepali way... "Congratulations! We wish you a most auspicious fifth year! Dherai dhanyabaad!"

Ramila, Pramila and Asuna serve lunch. (That's Dinesh in the back... who's taking the photo?)

Sack race

The trustees and staff. From left, with his back to camera, that's Shiva (the dance/music teacher), Shova (trustee), Shova's husband, Umar (house accountant), Ekdev (board chair) and Major Pun (trustee).

Balloon stomp

Amrit takes a big swing at the pinata.

Asuna, Tara, and Pramila

Rekha with the girls.

And one of my favorite photos from the 1st picnic... a house director's job has many unexpected tasks!