Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rain Fish: a book and an activity

Yesterday we checked out of the library Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert. It's an inspiring book of fish made out of found materials, sticks, stones, old crumpled receipts, tissue paper, bottle caps, and paper clips, just to name a few. In the text Ehlert describes them as fish who come out only when it rains, and then they disappear again.

After reading the book we collected two boxes of stuff - one of indoor found materials like ribbons and small plastic toys and one of outdoor found materials like rocks and leaves. I also took out some tissue paper and scissors.

We used the tissue paper to make the body of our fish and then used the found material for details.

Here is Alessia's fish. The perspective is from above, showing both eyes and a pattern down the back of the fish.
Olivia made two fish. One a bride with a gold tiara and the other a groom, note the white shirt and fancy rainbow shoes.
I made a few fish, including a school of little fishes in seaweed.
After making the fish, Alessia noticed that according to Lois Ehlert "rain fish" only come out when it is raining. So she made a cloud mobile complete with rain and lightning.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Free the Bound Periodicals and Other Acts of Language Liberation

As at many college campuses, the sidewalks at Smith College were always covered in protest slogans written out large in chalk. So I laughed the day that I saw the words "Free the Bound Periodicals" on the sidewalk in front of the library. Alright, I still smile every time I think about it.

A few weeks ago, Alessia and I were cutting words out of flyers for her word box. I got this strange sense that I was liberating the words from the clutches of marketers. Dove is a beautiful bird, a symbol of peace, when it no longer sits next to the word shampoo. Free is a noble, uplifting word, when it is not sandwiched between the words dairy and butter.

Try it. It's fun. Get a flyer and a pair of scissors and start cutting. Think about how the meaning of the words shift in your mind as you take them from their commercial context and allow them to stand on their own. Adam's marketing professors will cringe as you do it, and that's fun too.