Immersed in Art
Which class do you teach?
A reasonable question when you are slowly advancing your way through the Steiner curriculum one drawing and one painting at a time! As one of the only non-teachers on the Art as a Basis for Education course my answer was convoluted.
Firstly, I just wanted the opportunity to spend a week learning from Van James! Van is more than an art teacher – he has a degree in fine arts, has studied at both Emmerson College and the Goetheanum and has written two books about spiritality in art and form in art. He brings a wealth of developmental and historical reference information.
Because I am still unsure what my medium is or where to begin I figured that going through the entire Steiner school art curriculum, would be a great developmental orientation. It has been - we started at the very evolutionary beginning with the archetypes of the line and curve. We then worked our way through the metamorphic patterns of form drawing, learning to draw plants from seeds, animals then people. We worked with crayon, coloured pencil and pastel. We started with single colour painting and worked our way up to complex wet on dry veil painting.
Secondly, for my own career interest. My work has been the realms of marketing and communications with an ongoing interest in the arts and 10 years of experiencing the genius of the Steiner curriculum while my daughter attended a steiner school. I have embarked on a search to add another string to my bow – something artistic and esoteric.
Thirdly, having enrolled in a one year certificate course at Taruna in Havelock North to do “The Art of Health” I felt that this practical art making with Van would be a great addition.
I chose the Art of Health course because I want to study a style of art therapy with a holistic approach . I chose Taruna because it is the centre for this Anthroposophical impulse in New Zealand and this history makes in special. As a kind of short-hand I usually explain that Taruna is where the Steiner teachers train. Others come here for a kind of esoteric clip-on in the areas of nursing, bio-dynamics and teaching, adding a heady mix of universal spiritual truths, physical development, unusual dance practices and brilliant art processes.
As with any journey off the beaten path, the return home can be challenging! How to take the rarefied and focused atmosphere of Taruna back to the city, my local billet also delighted me with homemade bread, fresh eggs and raw milk that will be sorely missed!
Doing this work at Taruna makes me feel that in taking on this special knowledge, it starts to demand a place and integration into my life. I can already feel useful pieces starting to come into focus (many thanks to the 9 days with Van). For example, the way following a repeated pattern (whether it looks like joined up korus or celtic knots) can really make you feel calm and centred.
I am keen to start using the Art of Health techniques, I sense that this is knowledge to be shared – to be taken into my world as a “try this”… maybe it will bring warmth, a sense of calm, a connection to beauty or an enlivening quality.
I will know more by the end of the year when my direction with this beautiful work will become clear.