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Time to share my "Swan Song" project at CCES, it's all about a love and respect for MOTHER EARTH with a focus on the importance of TREES to each and every one of us...

The fifth grade at CCES and I started the school year by going outside and observing leaves, not perfect leaves but leaves with character and leaves that tell a story.  Students were to choose 3 interesting leaves that were different in shape and size.  After closely observing the lines in their leaves they did contour line drawings of the shape as well as interior lines showing the patterns of the veins, They started with pencil and then traced their lines with oil crayons.  A watercolor resist followed. When dry, the leaves were cut out and glitter was added for a bit of holiday sparkle.  We call this the day the glitter bomb hits the art room!  The best part is the glitter trail that leaves our art room and creates paths throughout the school, all leading back to the art room.

Lessons learned included close observation, contour line drawing, color theory, refined scissor cutting, not to mention making creative personal choices (we call it having an artist's license).  Once the leaves are finished the students were given a variety of wire, beads, needle nosed pliers and asked to make a creative hanger for their leaf.  With a short demo and a firm instruction to wear plastic eye protection at all times, they were given the freedom to learn through doing and experimenting.  The newness of the the materials was enticing for the students and after a few moments of uncertainty, their creativity took off and the results were truly stunning!!!  

So my swan song, as I am retiring after this year, is making the traditional, but always spectacular Xmas tree decorations with the 5th grade.  CCES Middle School has an entry for Greenville's Annual Festival of Trees each year.  The Middle School Arts Guild is instrumental in making this project possible. The MS Arts Guild plans, arranging parental help in the classroom as well as assembling and finally transports the decorations and other decorations to the Hyatt House in downtown Greenville.  What follows is 2 to 3 days of intense brainstorming about how to put it all together to highlight the student work.  I had the pleasure this year of helping with this part and working with all the enthusiastic and creative parents who want most of all to make the students proud when they see their work on the Middle School  Might I add that winning 2nd place and then 1st last year put the pressure on to go bigger, better, brighter, taller and of course even more creative and eye catching!  Middle School Arts Guild President Allison Spinks and I especially take this project seriously every year and together we put the finishing touches on the tree this year.  As you might imagine Allison and I love this project and have entirely too much fun from working with the excited and enthusiastic students to decorating the tree with the Arts Guild!!!

This year special thanks goes to Diane Talbert who led the 5th grade in a creative writing project on little green tags available for people to pick up and add to their own tree from our tree. Message was student thoughts about the importance of trees along meaning descriptions of their personal thoughts about the meaning and memories of trees and leaves.  Deep thought, creativity, sensitivity, and skill went in this writing project.   The students messages had to be brief and tiny in size but their messages were so mighty, and so profound that they brought tears to our eyes as we read them.  Way to go Mrs. Talbert.  You know the secret to inspiring messages that are so fresh, sensitive and heartfelt that only the purity of the thought process of a 5th grader could have created them.  Congratulations Diane for putting the REAL finishing touch on this project!  Your project was THE MESSAGE and the voice for this special 5th grade project.  YOU are a master teacher and I am always proud to work with you.!

Love and thanks to the 5th grade students, parent volunteers, MS Arts Guild and teachers for your help with this fine collaboration, I also want to thank you for making my last year at CCES the meaningful and memorable year I hoped it would be.

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The summer of 2017 has been a memorable one!!!!!!!

It has surprised me to find out how many of you follow my blogs!  It is a lovely and warm feeling to know that folks are interested in both my work and my day to day life.... A huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you!  I feel blessed.....

This summer has been so full of major life changes, an emergency appendectomy, a workshop, family gatherings, friendships, gardening, an eclipse, trips to the orchard and now school has started!!!! What will follow will be images that I hope will give you a tiny glimpse of my life during the summer of 2017!

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Our BIG NEWS!!!!!

After more than 2 years of considering the best way to down size, Roger and I are ready to announce our decision....We have looked at renovating a church in Traveler's Rest, fell in love with Tom Flower's incredible home and studio in Dacusville, seriously thought about joining the movement to gentrify West Greenville and build a skinny house on a skinny lot. and everything you can imagine in between!  Finally we looked at each other and realized Greenville has grown too fast and large for us!!  We also agreed that we wanted to be closer to the grandkids who live in Lake Wylie, SC. With these thoughts in mind we set out to look for a smaller, quiet community...  

For 22 years, we have been driving through Clover, SC, 9.5 miles from Lake Wylie, but never thought of settling there but it seemed an interesting place to at least look into.  Roger made an appointment to look at some lots and a few homes so off we went.  One house was inspired by the Frank Lloyd Wright movement so we though we would at least take a look for fun knowing another huge renovation was out of the question... We were amazed anything like this even existed in little Clover, SC so we were curious.  We ended up uninterested in everything else we saw but the Wright inspired house was in the middle of a gorgeous older neighborhood in Clover.  The lots were spacious, the hills rolling and huge trees were everywhere. We met the realtor at the Wright inspired house and were blown away at the property and the layout of the house but knew we this was too big a project to take on.....As we walked out of the house and looked across the street we saw a 2 acre piece of property that was a small orchard with grass and all kinds of fruit and pecan trees.  Well, it was love at first sight!  But there was no for sale sign......

When we got home, Roger played detective and managed to locate the owner who lives in California and asked him if he would consider selling the property.  He said he had had many offers from contractors who wanted to make 5 lots and build 5 houses there.  His wife, however, asked him to hold off selling it until someone wanted to keep the orchard in tact and build a home there.  Well, we were that someone!!!  We now own an orchard in Clover!!!

Roger is completing plans for a small home and studio and has found a builder so In a year to a year and a half, we hope to be in our new home in the middle of this little orchard.  We can't believe it and the entire family is thrilled, especially the grandkids Lily and Charlie!

Anyway, this is a very short version of all we have been through but it is a story with a happy ending!  By the way Greenville friends, it is only an hour and a half away so you can come visit and I will be returning to Greenville often to visit.  

Hope you will enjoy the following pictures of the orchard in Clover!

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We always look forward to our visits with the grandkids!!!!

Early morning walks around the lake at Furman, collecting worms and cucumbers in the garden, fun with clay in my studio, along with constructing cardboard swords in my art room at CCES and eating grilled cheese sandwiches, lots of hotdogs & scones at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe were just a few highlights of our weekend together!!!!  

Sunday afternoon, I left Roger and Jaz and Rosie napping when I set off for Lake Wylie. Charlie immediately fell sound asleep in the back seat and Lilly was totally preoccupied with her drawing....and it was quiet!

We are so very lucky.....

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May, almost June, in my garden....

The sugar snap peas are coming in and lettuce is turning bitter....  Pole beans will come next followed by tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant..... Almost forgot that the blueberries are just starting to get blue.  Hope we get more blueberries than the birds and chipmunks!  They should be ready for picking when the grandkids arrive....

Gardening and working in my studio seem to be a symbiotic relationship....The balance of these 2 passions brings me tranquility and joy...They also make me slow down and take time to look inward, all the while being a close observer of nature. My breath slows and I feel connected with the universe..... Everything else is put on hold as time stands still.  I am in another world, at least for a while....

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I cannot end my school year without sharing my favorite project of the year, PERSONAL DRAGONS!!!

When SHREK JUNIOR was chosen for the Middle School play, I decided it would be fun for my 5th graders to create personal dragons in clay for a show in the lobby.  The only thing I knew was that there was a dragon in the play and that I love making dragons with my students...

The 5th graders were asked to create their own personal dragon by naming it, describing it visually (age, gender, size, color,etc) giving it a personality, drawing it, writing about it in writing class as part of an adjective unit and then making it in clay. You will see that each is as unique as each child is unique.  

What amazed and amused me after seeing the play, which was nothing less than extraordinary, was that this project really reflected the message of the play perfectly!  We need to appreciate and love each other for what we have in common but it is our differences and uniqueness that makes our world a rich and fascinating place to live.

Congratulations to ALL of my 5th graders for doing an AWESOME job with every aspect of this project. Each of you has shared the artist within you with the artist in me through your own PERSONAL DRAGON and other art work this year... Thank you for this wonderful experience...

Let me also congratulate all who participated in the creation of SHREK JUNIOR. This was a monumental task by the way with a hundred or so children, not to mention staff and parents. I love to see the arts come together like this...

I hope you will enjoy these marvelous unique creations as they are sure to put a smile on your face...

Last but not least, a special thank you to Bruce Halverson, Marilyn Mullinax, Diane Talbert and Heike Leitner for their help and support.

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April in my garden...

I wanted to take a moment to share the joy I feel each morning when when I venture into my garden to see what's new.  At this time of year the colors appearing in my garden are a new discovery every day! Most  amazing, however, are all those shades of GREEN!!!   

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Meet Kep, the newest member of our family!

Roger, Jaz, Rosie and I are thrilled to add Glory Day Loflin's richly colored and deliciously painted portrait of Kep to our family and to our art collection.  We adore, admire and appreciate Glory as an outstanding emerging artist arriving on the current art scene with a burst of creativity that is astounding and awe inspiring! We will enjoy this energy and colors and patterns of this painting every day as we pass through the house where it hangs at the center of our home....

Thank you Glory for sharing yourself with us in such a special and creative way... 

 

 

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A busy and fun weekend with the grandkids!!!!

We thoroughly enjoyed every minute with Lily and Charlie!  I am always amazed at what we fit into a short visit. We started with worm collecting in the garden, feeding the school of baby gold fish, cleaning and preparing the garden for spring planting, working in clay, more work in clay, Charlie finally takes a nap and Lily and I have fun drawing while he is sleeping, a good healthy breakfast and a Sunday morning walk at Furman. Let me add to that a visit to the Swamp Rabbit Cafe for scones and home in time for mom and dad to arrive from a lovely weekend in Asheville.  

Then, it was a Sunday 2 hour nap for Roger, me, Jaz and Rosie......

Did I mention it was like spring and everything is blooming early?  Can't wait to do it all over again!

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Today was the day young women, old women, little girls, teens, families, women supporters like boy friends, husbands, fathers, grandparents, transgenders, gays, lespians came together and MARCHED!!!!

Today I joined the Women's March in Falls Park, Greenville, SC in the pouring down rain!  My daughter Jen and granddaughter Lily marched in Charlotte, NC while many friends were marching on the Mall in out Nation's capitol.  Add to that women and women supporters in cities across the world that united today to make a statement that together we can make a difference... I believe that today the earth has taken on a soft pink glow!  Now, we have to make sure the glow remains, a kind of feminine ozone layer.... 

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Today was the day the GLITTER BOMB hit the art room!!!!!!

Today I made a great discovery teaching 5th grade art... I will always have a "Glitter Day" the last day before the students get out for the holidays!!!  I really don't know when I have had more fun and I have our Lower School Art Teacher, Marilyn Mullinax to thank.  Marilyn  provided the extra glitter needed to put the 5th grade "Glitter Machine" into full swing!

There was no doubt about what was happening in the art room because all the trails of glitter throughout the Middle School lead to the room where I teach 5th grade art!

 

 Today was glitter magic thanks to my 5th grade students, along with others who showed up the art room because they followed the trails of glitter.  Today was the day there was a shiny glitter explosion of Middle School creativity!

 Hmmmmmm, tonight Roger said I still have some glitter in my hair.... Can you imagine?

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A surprise visit with the grandkids!!!!!

Lucky us!  Roger and I got to take Lily and Charlie to see the award winning CCES Middle School Tree at the Hyatt House, part of the Annual Festival of Trees event. The CCES Middle School tree was inspired by THE LION KING JR and honored Maggie's School in Africa. It was decorated with awesome clay african animal ornaments created by the 5th grade in our art class.  The MS Arts Guild then wove their special magic into the tree by adding some of the costuming from THE LION KING JR. To say that the tree is amazing is an understatement!!!!

Gathering 100's of acorns and painting with watercolors in my studio were the other highlights. Charlie also did a drawing of our family holding hands.  It is delightful!  Do you recognize me on the far left????  

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