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Art School #6 Pants on Fire!

Unheard of! There hasn't been a girl in the shop since WW2's Rosie the Riveter! Are you nuts?
"Yeah, I guess, kinda. Just thought I should learn how to weld since it is something that sculptors do"
So I got my way and one guy got his way to eat free food in Home Ec class. I'm not sure if it was a trade off or not because politics wasn't my concern.

Me and the guys sat through some boring lectures and took a couple of tests and then were allowed to enter the realm of the imaginable. We dressed in fire repellant coveralls, clumsy gloves and heavy helmets with blinding face shields. The shop teacher taught us to handle the tools needed to bend and cut pieces of iron and the only hard part was working with all of the protective gear. We learned to cut through iron with a torch and how to weld with both acetylene and electric equipment.

I loved this world away from the rest of high school drama. All you could see with the helmet on and the shield down was the bright light of the sparks as they flew and bounced in all directions.
One day as I was thinking about how good I was getting at this new skill another student yelled out, "Fire!" I stopped and threw off my helmet and looked around but didn't see anything. It always smelled like fire in the shop with the flames dancing around.

"There! Your feet!" he yelled and I looked down and we both started jumping up and down on my ragged edged bell bottom jeans that protruded from the coveralls. The flames licked my ankles and encircled my feet.

The fire was out but my jeans kept smoldering away so someone grabbed a hose and soaked my feet and that was the end of the most exiting day in shop class. Glad I wore all that protective gear!

The rest of the day in that other world of high school classes I wore my trendy bell bottom jeans with the blackened ragged edge that smelled a little like charcoal.

Finger Painting

For kids and anyone who wants to do a really fun and messy project.

Use finger painting paper because it doesn't wrinkle up with all of the goopy paint. It comes in a large tablet and has a glossy surface which prevents the paint from soaking in. Another option is old fashioned butcher paper. Paint on the waxy surface side of the paper. You can buy finger paint in multi- colored sets as pictured or you can make your own:
Finger Paint Recipes This link has lots of recipes for different kinds of homemade paint. All you have to do when you are finished is wash your hands and of course everything else within a 6 foot radius of the painting project. Yes, it's messy but it is sooooo fun!

Deby loves pink and Esther likes lots of different colors. 

7. Beautiful Canyon

 "Do you want to see Beautiful Canyon?" It used to be called Black Canyon because it was a place of mystery and death. The Anasazi ruins were there and if you followed this canyon for miles and miles you would end up in Canyon de Chelly (pronounced d-shay). There were about 8 of us who said yes and climbed aboard the old pickup.

We drove for a good half hour over rough terrain, across dry creek beds and wound our way into the canyon wash. There are washes everywhere across the desert sand. Washes are like gullies or small canyons where the flood water flows when the mountain rains come. This one gradually became wider and the walls of the canyon began to rise up higher and higher.
Finally we came to a broken down wire gate that closed off the canyon. The gate was pulled open and everyone climbed out of the truck and started hiking into the hot sun. Soon we saw several appaloosas grazing on a ridge. That is what the fence was for.

The canyon walls rose higher and higher and there was now some shade for relief from the August heat. Huge overhangs created natural caves and in some places we saw markings that looked like abstract art. It was art created by the Anasazi centuries ago.
White House Ruins from Canyon De Chelly

 Looking up we saw black sediment that created dramatic streaks of color as it ran down from the top of the canyon wall. The ruins were built into the walls and you could climb up and explore the spaces. There were small rooms made of ancient adobe that connected along a narrow ledge. Pieces of pottery shards were scattered amidst the rocks and sand at the base of the vertical wall. I could imagine children playing in the ruins which were used as shelters for the Navajo's sheep. There was no certain explanation for the Anasazi: Where did they come from? How long had they lived there? Where did they disappear to? You can read about them and get some answers: ANASAZI

I handled the shards, examining them and wondering who made each one and what it looked like before it was shattered. They were beautiful. Each piece was textured with a design or painted with a diagram. The amazing thing was that these small pieces of history still existed. The Anasazi have been gone for hundreds of years but remnants of their art was everywhere.

6. The Big House

Right next door to our trailer home sat a huge building called the 'Big House'.  The massive structure looked as if it could tumble down any second but it had already stood sentry over the mission compound for decades. There must have been a stone foundation but most of it was made of adobe brick. There was a first floor dug a little into the ground and that is where Tim's classroom was. It stayed so nice and cool there with the natural surroundings. The fresh earthy smell was a welcome reprieve from the hot Arizona sun. Several windows let in light from the west.You couldn't help but look up often at the rafters above when they creaked with the footsteps of the older children. The classrooms up there were spacious with lots of large windows for natural light. Walking from room to room you could feel the openness with the outside coming in. There was absolutely no privacy in that building. Two stairways, one outside, one in, headed up a flight to the third floor with yet another creaky floor.

Leaving the big house was like descending the gangplank onto the dock after a smooth sail. The main entrance was off the center floor and there were several steps to descend to solid ground. Once safely ashore you could gaze back at this 'big as a castle' sandy formation sitting on a red beach somewhere.

The children in Tim's class were happy and eager. They didn't speak English yet and that was Tim's main focus. He made school fun and always held the philosophy that students should not hate school by the time they were in 3rd grade. I came by occasionally to teach some simple art classes. Supplies were limited but we always had lots of color crayons and tempera paint.
One of Tim's students was Michael Blackwater. His grandmother, Anna Blackwater, was one of the first converts to Christianity and the best rug weaver around. One day about 13 years later we received a graduation announcement in the mail. It was from Michael. He was planning on going to college.