Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Club Day. The Birds of Prey Version

Today's theme shifted in a different direction than we've had in the past.  Our first meetings started out with learning about birds of prey while combining art.  This meeting, and I expect the next few, started to explore animal symbolism throughout the world.  To start us off on this path, we made raptor masks that were inspired by the Pacific Northwest First Nations people.

This one took a bit of research.  I was fortunate to find a book at the library, First Nations Art Projects and Activities, which can be ordered from the Greater Victoria School District.  It provided templates for us to use and a guideline for how to introduce the project.  It also provided some inspiration for several future projects!  To supplement the book, I went online to find pictures of eagle and owl masks and I printed the out to show to the club.  Lastly, I did a bit of digging to find out the symbolism that various cultures attached to birds of prey.  I found a few really great sites:
  • All Totems has explanations of totems for most of the birds of prey we've looked at, then goes on to discuss each bird's symbolism for various cultures. 
  • Owl Pages is great site for reading about the symbolism of owls from literally every corner of the globe.
Once everyone was settled, I very briefly went over an introduction.  I mentioned that masks were used by Pacific Northwest First Nations in dances and ceremonies, and that often there was meaning and symbolism behind the animals the masks depicted.  As an example, I explained that owls could mean wisdom or death to the First Nations culture.  In other parts of the world, owls were associated with wizards.

I described how to do the project and gave them options (they could colour and cut out the templates provided, they could make their own, they could decide if they wanted eyeholes or not, and so on), and then let them just go to it.  Because some of the colouring and cutting was intricate, it took them some time, and some lost interest.  For those done early, I offered some books (also courtesy of the library), that had story lines that revolved around First Nations, owls and eagles.  Some declined, some enjoyed, and I hope all left happy!


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