I began teaching art and design to kids from as young as 4 years old. Back in the early 90's I created a uniquely interactive arts centre called, True Places! (meaning True North..strong and free etc.). Or a true place that is authentic where creativity emanates. The courses I developed was metal casting, clay, pottery on one of my 3 wheels. The clay was fired in the kiln I had inside the centre. I also taught stained glass, and soapstone sculpture. Why such heavier or seemingly more dangerous subjects instead of just painting and drawing? Because I was concerned more about relating to children to show how the cup around their house is made. The silver fork, which we melted! I took them to churches to look at the beautiful stained glass, and then back to my gallery to show them how to make it ourselves. Parents were there for the glass cutting and wrapping part! But the clay on a wheel was to die for! Imagine about 3000 neatly dressed Girl Guides and Boy Scouts over the course of 4 years laughing over the sight of a wet ball of clay flying off their wheels, splashing their friends. Good times! I also created arts programming for the local schools in Mississauga in the 90's with my team, and there I taught the potters wheel, (long line ups in the gym with kids giggling), soapstone carving with my good friend, Indigenous artist Robert Tannahill, bringing my other friend Carry Young to teach loom weaving. I created then some of the most innovative and advanced curriculum for kids starting at 4 years old and back then we only had Harbourfront Centre as a place to learn for the public (outside of school). What I did was revolutionary back then..lol. I had kids outside sitting on the sidewalk, sculpting in clay, in Mississauga. Because I wanted art and craft to be interactive in our community! And not just indoors, under an old stereotype of 'Its art, don't touch anything'. I wanted the parents to join the kids on our sidewalk in front of my gallery/studio, and they did! One notable was Frank Clegg, back then the president of Microsoft Canada, whom lived in the Sherwood Forrest neighbourhood. They were regulars and I developed a clay birthday cake party for his daughter Denise back then in the early 90's. But then!! the Mississauga Bylaw Officer showed up and gave us a ticket. Told us to stop. There is much more to this story but Katie Mahoney, Councillor at the time was just amazing...she came to our rescue! and if you can see the images on this page, also joined us for from soapstone carving! I did say back then that if Mississauga had ambitions to be a world class city, then 'You must allow culture and community to thrive". For Canada Day, we created a large ceramic Canadian flag to mount in the school's lobby, where each kid created a part of the flag or image of Canada. In each piece they sculpted in clay their favourite feeling of being Canadian. The centre later became the Amazing Canadian Arts Centre, which later became the name of my first magazine, Amazing Canadian Fashion. It was a time Quebec was separating as well, and I bought 5 large blank boards, had everyone in the community come sign it, in support of Quebec being a part of Canada. The comments are heartwarming. Very soon after I began teaching tweens and highschool aged students, and this was a special time for me. Because with many of them, I spent evenings just pondering with them, 'What is my style, do I have talent, what does my art stand for?', while their moms went to buy us take out and bring it back to the studio. There was no Uber Eats back then. What I eventually accomplished, with my students, was 'To Find Their Inner Strength', 'and give them a New Pair of Glasses'. It was to have them realize their human potential.. and what we create is a testimony of things made by Human Touch. It was the act to recognize someone, and the hard part that was a part of my program was to have all my students pretend they were living on an island. No Britney Spears, No Mass Media. If you were to create from that...what would your own character and touch look like. One girl said to me 'Nooo don't take Britney away from Me!". I wanted my students to be original and I do believe we are living in a time, with the most media and outside societal and cultural influences in history, that for example Claude Monet never had in the world her knew. They also weren't looking at their phones every minute. I programmed my courses to return my students to a time where they can discover their own manners, ways, brush strokes, to observe from nature, and not a because they saw it on a Smashing Pumpkins video. Start from anew. And for those of you who know of my publication, Story of Fashion, this is where my proclivity to this industry comes from. It comes from education, and simply the act of recognizing someone's accomplishment, that comes from their hands, mind and heart. To help a young student find her/his first steps is hard. But I often look for one's heart and where their energy comes from, naturally since I myself was a kids. As simple as...looking at a tree, following it's branches, finding it's roots, of where it's existence comes from, and then also seeing how it's interrelated to the life around it. Even if a building blocks a tree's sun, it reacts, adapts. I believe that each one of us finds this way. I will address this further in this site, under, 'How Do We Find Our Way'
I will add more to this section as I continue to live......perhaps a Youtube Channel for this part. But firstly, stop Clicking and looking at your phones, start looking and interacting with the people around you. Learn to love people and not put them into tribes or the segments we see on Facebook. Or how about this...image you are in the 80's.