Monday, March 27, 2006
I've finally gotten around to getting my Cafe Press store into action, so you can buy my artworks on various items
Yup. It's true. After creating a Cafe Press store several months ago, and getting their weekly email newsletters, I've gotten around to making the store active.
If you'd like to buy any of my drawings printed on things like t-shirts or mugs, it's really as simple as heading to http://www.cafepress.com/schmuckshop and clicking on the items you're keen on.
Now it's NOT so simple if any of the drawings I've selected for you to browse through aren't to your taste.
Let's say you've gone to my online Flickr Gallery, and you've found a pic of mine you reallllly like. I need you to email me the address of that pic, as well as the Cafe Press item you'd like me to print it on.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then I can set up a product specially for you, and I'll let you know when it's done.
Yeah... it's a bit of a ball-ache. That's cos Cafe Press limits free users to one print per product line. And I'm really only going to upgrade to pro-membership if people are actually buying any of my items.
So if it's not too much trouble for you, and you like any of my artworks enough to buy them, please let me know!
Technorati Tags: roy blumenthal, blumenthal, art, drawings, illustration, cafe press, flickr
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Here are two of my monsters from back in 2003, when I first started making digital art on my iPAQ 2210, running NeFa's Mobile Atelier shareware.
This one's called: 'Dude with mean eyebrows'.
This one's called: 'Scary thing'.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
I've started an online discussion forum for teachers and interested parties: 'Creativity in the Classroom'. Please join it!
Wednesday, March 22, 2006: My Flat, Cresta Service: * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: *
I'm listening to American Music Club's LOVE SONGS FOR PATRIOTS. Beaut stuff.
I've just finished creating a GoogleGroup for teachers who've attended my creativity seminars. (It's also for anyone else interested in this topic, by the way.)
To subscribe to the group, please go to:
http://snipurl.com/creativity or http://groups.google.com/group/creativity-in-the-classroom/.
Only people who have subscribed to the list will be able to post. And it's free. And I'm looking forward to your insights.
I've chatted to a good few teachers about what their needs are, and I've set up a few topics to address some of the more obvious ones. It would be realllllly great if you could add topics of your own.
I also have a Squidoo Lens on Creativity, which has some resources on it. There's also a lens on Goal-Setting.
Now I've gotta head to Spar to get some yoghurt and musli. And some stuff for lunch. And some housecleaning stuff. S. is out at a dance class now in preparation for WE WILL ROCK YOU rehearsals starting next week, and Sarah, our housecleaner has arrived. She brought me some tea. Thanks Sarah!
Technorati Tags: creativity, seminar, teachers, learning, classroom, school, roy blumenthal, coaching, lifeskills
Monday, March 20, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006Service: * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: *
Right. First things first. I'm at home, listening to Geoffrey Oryema's BEAT THE BORDER on Peter Gabriel's RealWorld label. The Oryema vibes account for the moderately cheerful ambience.
S. is out right now, enjoying her last week of freedom before gruelling rehearsals start for WE WILL ROCK YOU, the Queen musical she's in. Hence the low babe count in the flat.
I've now got a moment to myself after a rather hectic two-week period. Last week I delivered two seminars to the Wits Post Grad 'World of Work' project. In the morning, I covered the basics of how to be creative at work. We played some games, blew some bubbles, and learned some practical idea-generation skills.
In the afternoon, my seminar was on blogging as a career-creation tool.
I appear to have caused a quite a stir by telling the students that they basically had to be themselves, authentically, and honestly, and openly, if they wanted to succeed out in the big wide world.
The controversy basically arose due to feelings of insecurity. 'But if we say what we REALLLLY think, no-one will hire us!' said one post-grad student.
My retort was, 'If YOU were employing someone, and you had two identical candidates, one of whom said the "right things", and one of whom was real, who would you hire, and why?'
What came out of that bit of debate was a shaky concensus that it's better to hire real people. More productive. More motivated. That sorta thing.
My rider to that is this: 'There ARE INDEED bosses who WANT "yes-men" and corporate clones. And I've experienced working for such bosses. And they're the worst people in the world to work for. The bosses who want authenticity are the ones you wanna work with.'
And what have blogs got to do with this? To me, a blog is an online representation of who I am. People who read my stuff kinda know who I am. And if I'm unpalatable to them in cyberspace, I am SURE AS HELL unpalatable to them in real life.
I know that one of the reasons Rich...! from MISSING LINK occasionally hooks up with me is cos of my blog. It keeps me top-of-mind in his brain, and he knows who I am. He reckons I'm seriously crazy and creative.
Now... back to my flat. The service here sucks cos I've just fed myself a cardboard biscuit dunked into tea, with crumbs all over the damn desk, and crumb-porridge at the bottom of the cup.
Technorati Tags: blogging, creativity, seminar, wits university, wits, university of the witwatersrand, we will rock you, queen, realworld, oryema, careers, work, boss, rich...!, missing link
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Service: * * * *
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * * *
An old coloured man has his hand out, near my window. He says, ‘I’m on my way to the hospital for a checkup an I was jus wondering if you got five rand to spare for me my brother?’
I say, ‘Thanks for asking, majita, but I’m not going to give you money. I wish you good luck though.’
I’m waiting for my compatriots to arrive for us to go upstairs to the first floor of the block where we’re going to do an Augusto Boal Forum Theatre workshop with some ex-'ladies of the night'.
The old man stays put, and I decide to get out of my car and go into the building. As I get out, a white woman crosses the road and starts talking to me out of the blue.
She says, ‘Howzit, hey? I live in Sandton, but my mom and brother kicked me out cos we had a disagreement but it’s okay cos I’m only going to be here a few days cos I’ve got a friend who lives on the ninth floor and she’s cool cos she’s giving me meals and I can bath whenever I want and there’s no problem but my mom’s just sold a property she had in Sandton, no, Rivonia, no, Sandton, for two point four million and she’s moving into a townhouse, and she’s got another property in Rosebank worth two point eight million and she’s gonna sell that too, cos she’s getting on in years you know?’
And the coloured guy says, ‘Is it, hey? Two million? Yis.’
And she says to me, ‘The only problem living here is THE BLACKS!!!’ and she looks at the man as she says it, and he scowls at her.
‘So,’ she says, ‘I wanna ask you a personal question if you don’t mind, but you don’t have to answer it cos I’m forty eight, hey? and it SHOWS! with all these wrinkles, hey? So I wanna know, but only if you wanna answer, you got a girlfriend or anything?’
‘Yeah,’ I say.
‘Well I just wanna say,’ she says, ‘you’re BLOODY good looking! Bloooody good looking!’
Hell, I'm not THAT good looking.
And I spot Linda-Michael, Rosie, Bongani, Kenneth, and Louise walking up from the Hillbrow Community Theatre. I’m saved!!!
‘Uh…’ I say, ‘Here are my friends now, so I’ve gotta go. Nice talking to you both.’
She says, ‘Well listen, just don’t trust these BLACKS, okay?’ and she goes back into her block. He stays standing with his hand out.
‘Broe, I’m not going to give you any bucks. Hamba gahle, chum,’ I say. (‘Brother, I’m not gonna give you any money. Go well, chum.)
So the six of us head up to the first floor, where the New Life Centre has a drop-in office for women who are wanting to leave the sex-work industry. We’re here to do a three-hour workshop with them, in which they’ll dramatise how they came to be prostitutes, and what they can do differently.
There are 28 women in total, and we do some warmup exercises. Lots of laughter. Lots of fun. Then we break into four groups, with one of us facilitating each group, and two roving facilitators. I’m the overall facilitator of the process, so I’m bouncing between groups, with Linda-Michael also roving.
The women tell each other a true life story of oppression, and the groups each choose one story to dramatise, borrowing elements from all of the stories they’ve told. Then we facilitate them doing some of Augusto Boal’s ‘Image Theatre’. They make a living sculpture out of the beginning of their story, the low-point, and the end. Then we get them to connect the three images into a five-minute play.
We draw lots, and the first group presents their play. This is what happens in it.
A young girl is studying with her classmates at school. She notices the time. ‘Oh! It’s late!!!’ She rushes off home, where her mom is vehemently sweeping the floor. The mother is furious at her daughter’s lateness. Screams at her. The daughter tries to tell her mom that she’s been at school, but the woman turns on her with the broom, and beats her. The girl falls to the ground, crying. Next scene, she’s at the hospital with a broken arm. The sister wraps it in a bandage and sends her home. The girl goes home, but asks her friends to persuade her mom to be merciful. The mom doesn’t give a damn, and beats her daughter with the broom again. The daughter flees the house, and comes to the big city. The end.
I facilitate the forum theatre part. I say, ‘What do you see? What’s the story here?’ One of the women summarises. Then I say, ‘Was the ending good or bad?’
A chorus of voices. ‘It’s bad.’ Someone adds, ‘She’s going to the city and she’ll become a prostitute!’
I say, ‘Is there anything she could have done differently?’
One of the women says, ‘Yes! She must stand up to her mother!’
I say, ‘Okay. Come show us.’
The ladies all laugh, and she shyly stands up, and takes her place on the makeshift stage. She plays the girl who got beaten. She tries a different approach, but this mother is merciless. She doesn’t want excuses. Same outcome.
Another lady wants a go. She is much more assertive with her mom, and makes some inroads, but the mom is still angry. This time she doesn’t get beaten, but the mom wants her out of the house.
A third lady tries. She uses subterfuge and seduction to appease her mom. This works much better than any of the other options. Still not a great outcome, but significantly better.
I sum up. ‘Notice how the option that worked best was when the girl communicated with her mother better?’ They agree. I say, ‘But there’s still a problem. This woman, the mother, is hard, and we’re not going to change her. So we have to understand that the only thing we can change is how we deal with her. But still, even so, maybe she’s STILL going to throw her daughter out, no matter what.’
One woman says, in a small voice, ‘That’s what happened to me. That’s why I’m here.’
Two other women nod.
We go onto the next three plays, each of them being facilitated in a similar way, with striking parallels in the way the stories unfold. Rural girl comes to city to make it big, and falls into prostitution as a result. Hard stuff, man.
At the end, the ladies serve us lunch, a chicken curry. I’m normally a picky eater, but in this case, I’ve said to myself, whatever they offer me to eat, I’ll gladly accept. It would be an extreme insult to refuse their food in my books. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t know in advance that Rosie and Louise are vegetarian, so they don’t eat. But it’s okay. Nobody seems to be judging them for it. I’m very satisfied with my meal. Delicious.
I’m quite shaken by the stories and the way only small shifts were made in the problem solving phase. But Louise points out that the ladies really had a good response. ‘They were laughing and enjoying themselves, Roy. This was fun for them.’
Bongani says, ‘They can’t change what’s happened. They can only change what’s going to happen.’
So we leave the group feeling mixed emotions. Knowing that we’ve made some kind of difference.
I get down to the road, and see that my car is still there, and it still has all of its wheels and doors, and nobody’s sliced through the convertible top with a dagger. Excellent. The old man's not there either.
[UPDATE: I've added my 'rating system' to this post. I've decided that my focus on this blog has wavered, and it's time to take control back. I'll be reviewing coffee-shops more from now on!!! -- Roy, March 20, 2006, Cresta]
Technorati Tags: creativity, roy blumenthal, augusto boal, boal, forum theatre
"Everybody can be creative, and with the necessary tools, it can be achieved."
"Different -- thought-provoking -- stimulating. Thank you for an enjoyable day!"
"It made me certain that I am creative."
A few of the comments from my feedback forms from yesterday's creativity seminar to teachers.
Phshew. Woke up really early yesterday morning, and schlepped tons of stuff down to S's car. (My car is a two-seater sportscar, with no space, so I HAD to use her car.) Made three trips down. Then got stuck in traffic on the way to the War Museum, where the seminar was being held. A bus had crushed a Merc. There were five ambulances and a fire engine on the scene.
So I was a bit harried when I got there. But Robert helped me carry stuff. Single-handedly carted a massive box of magazines up to the venue.
I breathed a tad. Did some tai chi. And was ready to begin at 9am, the agreed time. But at least half of the 54 delegates were stuck on Jan Smuts Avenue behind the crushed Merc, and we started at 9:15am instead.
Thanks to Robert, Carmen, Nicole, Sarah, Mirzer, Nigel, and Wan for organising everything so brilliantly. And thanks to the delegates for being so lively and responsive.
It's really amazing teaching creativity, cos most people really don't believe that they're creative. And they're a bit sceptical of people like me who claim that creativity can be taught. But I've been teaching it for almost a decade now, and people CERTAINLY do become creative!
My approach is that creativity is a set of learned skills. If you embrace the tools, you become creative. Simple as that.
I'm running a half-day version of my seminar for the Wits University "World of Work" Post Graduate Internship Programme on Wednesday next week. And looking forward to that one. I normally invite friends of mine who are living, breathing, earning creatives to come along as examples that creativity isn't an esoteric thing. Got a couple of lovely people lined up.
Technorati Tags: creativity, roy blumenthal, wits, wits university
Tiger Brands' Beacon Sweets factories in Durban enlisted Viva Hecate Productions to assist with an industrial theatre intervention in their War on waste campaign.
Greg Bates, Unit Manager - Beacon Candy, said, "The industrial theatre medium is an awesome experience and one that truly facilitates a way of translating and explaining concepts in a very practical and humorous way. Our challenge going forward is to nurture and grow this seed that has been planted to secure our futures."
The brief from Beacon was to demonstrate to their employees the need to eradicate any kind of waste - wasting time, wasting materials, wasting product - and how this would affect the share price and benefit the shareholders - the employees themselves.
Viva Hecate Productions elected the medium of Forum Theatre to fully involve the audiences in the content of the theatre and its outcome. The performance started with a scenario depicting the main character making doubtful choices in his work and personal life. The actors then re-ran the performance but with members of the audience taking the part of the lead character and making their own decisions. The same scenario was then again performed with the audience's changes resulting in a happy ending for all!
Di Kershaw, MD of Viva Hecate Productions, says, "Forum theatre was the perfect medium for this intervention as it places accountability firmly in the hands of the audience. The audiences' warmed immediately to the production which included a great deal of humour and was message specific - and it was wonderful to especially see even Shop Stewards display their acting skills!"
The roadshow consisted of 22 shows performed over two weeks to the employees of four Beacon Sweet factories in Durban with the times of the shows staggered to fit with the factory shifts.
[06 Mar 09:20]
Technorati Tags: forum theatre, augusto boal, boal, creativity, industrial theatre, beacon, hecate, roy blumenthal
Monday, March 06, 2006
Something I'm doing differently this time is that I'll be using a set of Powerpoint presentations to illustrate some of my concepts. Thanks to inspiration from Missing Link and Presentation Zen, I'm confident that my slides will add value to my seminars, rather than cluttering things up and detracting. And I've spent at least 20 hours over the last month browsing through stock.xchng, an online repository of free photos. And I've found some amazing stuff.
Now it's back to work wrapping a mystery prize for one of the activities.
Technorati Tags: creativity, seminar, teaching, teachers
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