Sunday, 23 March 2014

Anachronism and Something New




noun: anachronism; plural noun: anachronisms

1.   1.

a thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned.


            marimba, pilates, lost trades, playgrounds

Last weekend in Kyneton  (Victoria) was the  Lost Trades Fair. I wasn’t able to go so I checked the programme online and found there  were delightful old crafts like coopering (making barrels) chairmaking, leadlighting, blacksmithing and hedgelaying. I didn't see pottery listed and  thankfully there is still interest in this craft but if we don’t move forward with the other aspects of ceramics i.e the business end we may well become an anachronism just at a time when the planet needs old fashioned alternatives to so many economic rationalisms.

During the week I listened to a great RN program about children being rescued from an educational blackhole by a creative music program using marimbas.
The improvement in overall school performance was put down to the fact that the marimba programme involved whole body involvement in its performance and learning, from the making of the instrument as a group, to physically playing while standing and moving and echoing patterns produced visually as well as auditorily. This meant that children could experience the brain rewiring of music without needing to be able to read music first and the fidgety, kinetic learners could be imprinted with the patterns through their bodies, priming their brains for other pattern learning like decoding print.
You can watch a marimba being played here.
When we learn a physical skill our brains remember a muscle choreography and practice remapping it in our brains overnight. I remember this well from childhood, going through the motions of learning one type of high jump (the straddle) to  (scissors) to Fosbury Flop approaching the jump from another angle in a new style but also gaining insights into burgeoning philosophy as my world view literally changed.
 When I learned computing ,my thoughts flashed before me like computer files, as I settled down to sleep and I could see gardening files come into focus with embroidery techniques combined overlaid with watercolour techniques. My whole framework for thinking had done a physical shift as my brain applied what it knew to what this new world order looked like. When I took up Auslan ( Australian sign language), my other language learning accelerated because I now had a physical way of learning and filing languages -in my muscles.
 This blog has changed my way of operating in the world and in my head as I physically engage with the keyboard and I often find myself tapping out thoughts in my head .
Our bodies are not just vehicles for our brains as Ken Robinson describes here but discreet extensions of our brains and each appendage feeds our brain information to locate ourselves within the soup of our environment. If every thought connection in our brain develops synapses then every sensory experience of our world creates a sort of synaptic connection to the universe making us more securely engaged and aware. Limit the experiences and you risk the individual feeling vulnerable and hanging by a thread. Physicality matters!

The discussion about the marimba program follows closely on the heels of a research project in which children were observed in two different playground situations, one where they had standardised safe playground and sports equipment and the other, regular household items such as brooms, buckets and crates. The second group were found to be more creative, more physically active and more socially engaged than the first as they found new and interesting ways to engage with the equipment rather than the prescribed notions of standardised equipment. Everything old becomes new again. So it is important to keep in touch with those old skills and old ways of doing things. Re engage with some of the physical things you did in your childhood and wake up some of those synapses!  

I began pilates the other day to address some of my spinal issues and had to balance on half foam cylinders, something I was excellent at in my youth. It is partly what prompted this post and brought back memories. Wouldn’t it be lovely to see older people balancing on raised curbings around service stations as they try to physically rebalance their lives. Some of our politicians could do with a bit of physical alignment.
Ancient Mayan art of Pilates  gives you rock hard muscles

Autumn is here and acorns are hanging on the oak tree in the park. Sadly most lower limbs have been removed from the trees to prevent children climbing and hurting themselves. I am anxious to get out and moving around in the cooler mornings but have been applying myself to new skills ofsetting up an etsy shop. It is still crawling days but I would appreciate any advice you have so I can unstick myself from this computer.

No doubt my mind will reframe the world again. I can feel it happening already as I try to apply my own practices of reduce, reuse, recycle, to the practical aspects of packaging and presentation. The initial purchase of a giant roll of bubble wrap had me in a spin trying to work out ways I could offset this hideous purchase.
The bubblewrap made a temporary desk. Printed stock list on a spread sheet streamlined the task a bit.

Every plastic container that comes into my home is now going to have at least one more use. Bubble wrap will still be employed but our office shreddings will now be part of the bubble wrap replacement in nice little recycled paper pillows. 

I have raided a few stores that sell imported Asian products and garnered some little packaging boxes that were being scrapped so my  packaging efforts are coming along. Negotiating the marketing network may take time but I am on my way.

Please take a look at my shop and share it with anyone you know. If you have success stories with etsy that you can share I am a willing student.

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