I so often get asked about 'creativity' in my home. What curriculum do you use? Do your children take art classes? How do you get your kids to be so creative? Do you schedule in art time? I thought I would try to show you a bit with just one little sample...
We recently watched Wagner's Siegfried (Part III of The Ring Cycle). Three evenings, three acts, all nine of us, four and a half hours of opera. The rich, lavish Metropolitan production of Wagner's epic music was magnificent. And every one of us loved it. (Okay, Act III was a bit, er, sensual for our taste - but there you have it, that's Act III for you.) When you experience something so profound and beautiful and epic and otherworldly, it is only natural to want to continue the experience...
Kateri peruses the liner notes
to remember and live it and have it move you still.
Side Note: One nice advantage of watching opera on DVD is the subtitles! So easy for even Kateri to follow the gist of the plot. A funny: as we were discussing the Gollum-esque scene where Siegfried is able to know Mime's thoughts, Michael couldn't figure out how he knew that this power came through the tasting of the dragon's blood. How did I know that? It's not in the text. he asked. From Rush! was the obvious reply, for we had indeed once again read one of our favorite chapters from The Saturdays before watching Seeg-freed. (How could we not?)
Lively discussions about the music, the singing, the conductor, the scenery, the cast, the costumes, the makeup, the interpretations - so many aspects of the performance were talked over as we remembered bits and pieces and our favorite parts and the things we didn't like. The fabulous forging of the sword (how does he sing while swinging that hammer against the anvil?), the dreaded symmetrical boils on Mime's head, the eerie glow of the writhing Erde, the 'artistic license' of the interpretation of Fafner - so very much to talk about! There is jolly joking as Dad waves a sword around singing Notung! Notung! at the top of his lungs and perhaps there is a mother singing dramatically as she bemoans being awakened from her eternal slumber by her Wotan husband. Parts of the score are looked at by musicians, the orchestral music is blared through the house, little girls play dress up and swathe themselves in scarves being alternatively Erde and Brünnhilde. We have people young and old singing to each other in operatic fashion, making up lyrics on the spot to sing an epic song or to ask to pass the butter.
So when Kateri woke up the next morning and declared she wanted to make a Siegfried scene, I knew I just had to stand back and watch her work her magic...
Do you mean out of paper?
Yes, that would be good.
Would you like a folder to hold your set?
That would work nicely. Thanks, Mom. I like that. Then it can stand up.
Here's the colored paper for you.
The bottom should be green grass and I'm going to make a pond with fish in it. I'll get the scissors and the glue.
Would you like this tree I made for you?
Oh, yes! That's nice! Thank you!
I have to get to work now. Just call me if you need anything else.
There has to be a sun and a moon and I could put on some star stickers...
I made the Wanderer and Siegfried and Alberich and Mime the ugly dwarf. I gave the Wanderer lots of bling because he had sparkly stuff on him in the movie. See his eye patch? And his big floppy hat. I gave Siegfried his sword Notung and he has his horn and he has boots. I made the singing bird a bluebird. He can sit on the tree branch. Alberich was sort of greenish. How do you like Mime's hair?
Kateri, I love Mime's hair. It's perfect. And I love his tattered clothes.
Would you like a little twig for Wotan's staff?
Thanks, Mom. That's great. He can stand up against this rock.
I made the dragon really, really huge because he is a big fierce dragon.
He has to have fire coming out of his mouth so I'm making lots of red fire.
Can you help me glue on the little bits of orange fire? It's really tricky.
I would be happy to. Just show me where you want them.
Kateri, would you like to use this gray packing paper? We can scrunch it up to be Fafner's cave.
Oh, yeah, Mom. That's really great. I like that. Now he needs lots and lots of gold for his treasure.
I'll find you some gold bits. And here's a gold envelope flap I saved - you can cut it up for more treasure.
Look, Mom! Siegfried is getting ready to slay the dragon!
When we feed our children on beautiful, rich fare it naturally produces fruit. We don't need to prod or cajole or press or probe. We simply nurture a little bit. Just like when we read 'living books', our children can't help but want to live the books. It's a natural, intuitive, organic process that occurs when we encounter the stuff of life that moves us. We want to live it and breathe it and touch it and taste it; we want to hear it over and over again. The books we read and the music we hear and the natural world around us we explore and everyone and everything we experience becomes a part of our very selves. And from the wealth of all we encounter pours forth the outflow of creativity. We just have to watch and wait and water and let it grow. We make a path for it to flow. We delight and wonder at the outpouring.
And that's a little sample of how we do 'creativity' in our house.