Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Honey for the Heart: Halloween Done Right!

Honey for the Heart is a community art project,  brainchild of Patty Mitchell and Robert Lockheed, and sponsored by the Ohio University Learning Community Programs and Arts for Ohio...think free-range puppeteers, mounds of fabric, paper and cardboard, paint, buckets - BUCKETS - of corn-starch goop for paper mache, and Ani's new favorite: hot. glue. guns.  For people "from two to toothless", three weeks of Making Art from 10am to 10pm, culminating in a Halloween Parade. WOOHOO! This is the second year of this event, and I will plan our October around this experience next year...that's how lovely it is.  

~~ ~~ ~~ DAY ONE ~~ ~~ ~~

We managed to squeeze in three days with this project, which was housed in a church/art venue uptown, within walking distance of home.  Day one was all about figuring out what the possibilities were.  The girls jumped right in, designing and then making new front panels for marching band jackets, commandeering the sewing machine and the hot glue guns, while I stood in one place, turning in circles until I finally asked Patty, "Um...what are the rules??"  She laughed and, come to think of it, never actually answered me...

Eliza tries on a "big head" puppet

~~ ~~ ~~  DAY TWO  ~~ ~~ ~~

...was all about paper mache, layering newspaper and brown paper bags onto foam and cardboard forms.  It was also the day where Ani had a field day with shoulder pads and, what else, the hot glue gun.

our buddies Jason and Noah and Mr. Cyclops

costume by Eliza

photo credit: Patty Mitchell

~~ ~~ ~~ DAY THREE ~~ ~~ ~~

Yesterday we just showed up and had them put us to work on whatever needed doing...we tore fabric into long strips to adorn a dragon and to create horses' manes...we paper mached a yeti and painted a monster head...Eliza learned how to make a few balloon animals from a visiting balloon artist, Ani sorted balloons, and we all oohed and ahhed at all of the pieces that are coming together in these last days.  Every time we've stopped in there has been a class from the University there, and today the head puppet-maker, Daniel, asked Eliza to model a big puppet of a chicken.  Then she and one of the guys from the class had a dance-off as puppets, dancing to Daniel's drum...pretty hilarious.


There is so much I love about this project.  First of all, I love the puppets.  I want them all hanging in my house all the time.  Second, I love that we can walk in and really make anything we want to.  I was unprepared for that freedom this year, and had not scheduled in much time for us to take advantage of a bigger project like creating a large puppet, but next year I am on it.  This project has me eyeing everyone's garbage and wondering what's in the dumpster behind JoAnn's.  I love that the kids who come are seeing adults taking Making very seriously, in fact several of them are spending 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for 3 weeks doing only this.  I love that anyone's ideas are as valid as anyone else's - you don't run your plan by anyone, though if you want some technical support there is plenty of experience in the room.  I love that one of my kids made herself comfortable at the sewing machine and happily sewed away while the other trailed behind the puppet-maker, who showed her slides of his ideas on his computer and then asked her opinion about the ears on the head he was working on.  It is honey for the heart in so many ways.  I can't wait for the parade...(Updated: click here for photos of the parade)

If you happen to be a local reader - are there any?! - you have two more days to jump in and help! Or you can show up around 4 on Saturday at Central Venue, ready to don a costume or a puppet, wield a noise-maker and dance the parade!


merry said...

I LOVE these puppets!! And I love that you all got to have a hand in making them - and wearing them!!! What a cool project!! Wish I could be at the parade - take lots of pics!

verdemama said...

Those puppets are so, sooo fabulous. What a great experience!

Tokarz said...

This is just so amazing! I want to be there too!!! When I look at these posts I'm just so happy that's where my home is!! I'm actually reading about my own people and place!!! CAn't wait to get back there even if I am missing the puppets this year!
So inspiring!!!