Flora Fauna Design Workshop!
The first drawing / design workshop related to the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna series went really well! Today, I’d like to share some photos and stories from that workshop, as well as some more visuals from my life here in Mae Sot.
As a reminder, the artwork shown in this post is all student work– the images for the final print series will be designed and drawn by my hand alone.
Workshop - With the translation help of my talented artist friend Sein Sein Lin, I was able to conduct my first workshop with the apprentices at the Puzzlebox Art Studio. Sein Sein Lin is a teacher who has an incredible gift for language, a sunny disposition, and a great sense of humor.
As a starting point, I asked the students to base their compositions off of the prints of the Japanese artist Hokusai. As they worked, SSL and I gave them individual guidance as each student is at a different skill level.
Overall the workshop was positive and fun! It was a challenging exercise for the students– and for myself it was a good re-introduction to teaching. Later in the week we worked on individual training, and enjoyed a day of epic deep cleaning and organizing at the Puzzlebox.
Lost in Translation - Below is a short excerpt from a group discussion from the workshop. This passage illustrates how meaning can get lost in translation (with a bit of cultural comedy).
Me: What are Burma’s most iconic animals?
Student 1: Cat.
Me: Hmmm, yes, but what I mean is- what are the the most iconic, meaning: famous, popular, or cherished animals?
Student 1: …
Sein Sein Lin (SSL): She likes cats.
Me: Ok. What other animals are cherished in Burma?
Student 2: Water Buffalo.
Me: Yes! Good one. What else?
Student 3: …
Me: There are lions in Burma?
SSL: Yes, lions are very famous animals in Burma– we have them in the zoo.
Me: Oh, haha, yes. I mean: famous animals native to Burma, like the tiger. What about turtles? Turtles are cool. Do you like turtles?
SSL: Oh, yes, we love turtles!
SSL: We love to eat them.
Me: Oh… right.
So, people everywhere like cats, and turtles make for good soup. It’s good to be reminded that different cultures value different things.
Also, interesting, Sein Sein Lin said that Burma had nothing like a National Geographic magazine. So, it wasn’t until foreigners starting visiting Burma and then later publishing their photographs from the mountains and jungles that people really knew what kind of wildlife was inside its borders.
Thailand - This past week I had a mysterious fever that came and went, and found a dead, venomous snake in our yard.
I’ve begun my drawing and concepting process for the Flora Fauna print series and am truly excited about where it’s headed. I’ll have some images from that process to share with you soon! Thank you all for your continued support!