Have you ever had a pen pal, you know how excited you get when you send out the letter and wait for the return with the answers of all your questions… information about a place far from where you live?? I do, my first pen pal was in elementary school I do not really remember the details but I remember anticipating when that letter would arrive just for me.
Well through the wonders of Twitter, I connected with Erin Eddy, an art teacher at Chatsworth School in New Jersey, who was looking for someone to exchange mandalas. I responded to her tweet and then she emailed me her plans for the mandalas.
In the meantime, I started working on Mandala designs as a fun unit on radial symmetry in Grade 1/2 and the cultural use of Mandalas in Ms Bonnie’s Grade 4/5 art classes.
After receiving the plans from Erin Eddy, I saw what concepts and designs her students would be using to create their mandalas. Ours would be a bit different than her students, but they would create a wonderful quilt of color, line and shape when displayed together.
Here is a closer look at some of the sections:
Here are a few Chatsworth School Mandalas:
Here are a few of our Voyager Mandalas:
During the past few months, our learners have been able to learn about growing kalo (a very important local Hawai’ian plant), tending gardens, taking care of the ‘āina (the land/Earth). Classes have visited Ka Papa Lo’i ‘O Kānewai at University of Hawaii to learn about the importance of the kalo to the local culture. They have squished leaves into mud, they have walked barefoot in the Lo’i patch, they have pounded poi; so it was fitting that we would work on poster designs for the first annual Kalo Festival Art Contest hosted by Ka Papa Lo’i ‘O Kānewai.
From Kindergarten through grade 5 learners took the time to think about why Mālama Hāloa (Taking Care of the Kalo) is so important to them, to the community and to Hawai’i.
Here are a few entries we delivered
And just when I was wondering what happened to the contest, an email appeared!
“Aloha mai e Kelli,
I hope you had a nice spring break! Mahalo for getting all your haumāna to participate in our 1st Annual Mālama Hāloa Keiki Art Contest. It was a huge success with almost 200 participating students from several schools. The panel of local artist chose Kaitlyn Tokunaga’s illustration as the art piece that exemplified Mālama Hāloa. They were impressed by her use of color and detailed parts of the kalo plant, as well as the different ways she showed how to care for Hāloa. A favorite of the panel was #4 how she showed “kalo is also special becuase you can make it again and again and again a lot of time.” Kaitlyn’s illustration was presented during the festival. Congratulations Kaitlyn!
Please see the attached flyer and lets organize a good day for us to come and do the ku’i kalo demonstration for Kaitlyn’s class.
Summer & Ka Papa Loʻi ʻO Kānewai Staff”
And here is the winner, congrats to our own Kaitlyn!
Grade 3 looked at Georgia O’Keeffe and then used chalk pastels to create their own observational drawings.
Grade 1/2′s looked at book illustration and then created their own watercolor paintings to show what they are “most excited about…” the new school year or school building.
Kindergarten took a paintbrush for a walk on their paper and then used the Primary colors to mix new colors, just like Klee!