Long day yesterday getting the nonholiday card resolved...but I feel good that there is something there and the idea is solid. Learned quite a bit in the process (like tons of key commands (poweruserville!) and live paint is a more versatile tool than what is percieved in the beginning. Live Paint allowed me to quickly recolor the design over and over again in minutes versus a very deliberate, time consuming process of individual objects being selected, color selected and so on. Plus, if you use Live Paint as a way of breaking your illustration up into forms, then releasing those forms (unbuckling them from each other) -- expanding them, deleting the forms that are essentially "scrap" from the final image and then, rebuckling/ re Live Painting the finished form for coloration gets you back being productive etc. I am thrilled with my purchase of a year's worth of tutorials from Lynda.com as I stopped everything as I began to get tangled in my own technical web, watched 3 tutorials (there are more to do) and after 15 minutes, went back to more productivity and confidence than I had prior to the spot training on demand.
Went over to the High School yesterday to see what was up re the Yearbook class. I am helping them migrate from the corporate machine of the yearbook companies to really having a publications course. I could'nt put my finger on what needed to be done until this morning which really gets down to basics. Teach them about the concept> content> production flow. What is a concept? What does content comprise of? How can we get content? Do we have to do it all ourselves? How do we make the content and concept shine in the final production? How do we create a publication for everyone? Can we be democratic? or is it more important to have a strong vision of the book instead of a group think? Both are valid. So, when Alex and I were in Staples today getting the requisite back to school notebooks and folders, I bought a big pack of posterboard to rough out some approaches to this discussion as something to point at. Plus, I need to get the students away from the computer screens(the class is held in the computer lab) so they will pay attention and not be as disrespectful and in some cases, downright rude to this lovely man that has graciously taken this project on his shoulders.
Today hs been a gloriously clear, cool day with the trees turning. We had a small fire in the woodstove this morning in between the picking up and delivering A. to the XC practice out at the Hector National Forest. The grassfeeding big black cows didnt seem too bothered by us taking a stroll by them though my pal Shady Grove wasn't too sure of that action. We hung out at the Luckystone until 2, went into Ithaca to have my glasses fixed (the side fell off of a pair), buy Alex new running shoes and a running watch and pick up a rental (Prius) for Rob. He is off to the Sagamore Camp in the Adirondacks to attend a board meeting he is on and then spend the rest of the week in a very small conference, learning session on Museums in NY State. It should be autumnal perfection.
I am busy reading about Fraktur, the artists and scrivners, the history and place, the styles and the imagery. I dug up some interesting information which helps to inform the time and area that this social documentation (in the Fraktur) at the same time. I am talking about Powwowing. Huh? Yes, Powwowing.
David Kriebel really gets into the meat of this esoteric practice of the Pennsylvania Germans in his article, Powwowing: A Persistent American Esoteric Tradition. Briefly, Kriebel states in his introduction:
Powwowing, or brauche in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, is a magico-religious practice whose chief purpose is the healing of physical ailments in humans in animals, although it has had other aims as well, such as conferring protection from physical or spiritual harm, bringing good luck, and revealing hidden information. The practice has been present on this continent since the first German-speaking settlements were established in Pennsylvania in the early eighteenth century, although it has its roots in much older German esoteric traditions (Yoder 1976).
Yoder, who is mentioned quite often in this article is Don Yoder, a Fraktur scholar and writer who has over the course of time migrated his studies from Fraktur to really understanding and explaining Powwowing ( a bio on Yoder cites him as Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies and Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania. He is past president of the American Folklore Society and co-founder of the Pennsylvania Folklife Society). . I kind of fell into this ...and am enchanted as this colors and adds dimension these Fraktur ephemera from birth, death and marriage certificates, hymnals, to spiritual labyrinths to actual letters from Heaven. Factor in the architcture (ie Bucks County barn structures painted to indicate windows bigger than the actual window to allow for the demons trying to fly into the barns to hurt themselves, to the Peter Wentz Farmstead and the Ephrata Cloisters...the farmstead being one of the more insanely decorated places of the period out there to the grace and elegance of the austere cloister which was a locus for much of the fine Fraktur work. Now, figure this--Phildelphia at the same time was this bustling, urbane, rational town...filled with thought leaders, writers, and people who were changing their community and the world with their thinking and writing. Less than fifty miles away...this nuttiness was happening amongst the Germans.
So where was the interface? Did one community inform the other? Or did the Germans keep to themselves--with faith/folk healing in brilliant yellow rooms with 6" black polka dots, surrounding and commemorating their process through their life with this marvelous ephemera that fuses life events with faith? Did Ben Franklin know of these people? or Jefferson as they penned big thoughts for the now and the future? Or did this beat of modern democracy stay as confined in it's community as the Powwow did in its own? Things to read about and wonder.