Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Patrice in China

Expand Messages
  • Jill Littlewood
    ... I ... article ... and ... name ... TallBoy s ... Mustache, ... came ... he ... inventive ... fingers. ... come ... were ... immediately, ... getting ...
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 16, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      > Another great report from Pat Baldwin on her adventures in China.
      >
      > ---------------------------
      >
      > Hi Peter:
      >
      > I don't know where you put the other stuff I sent about working in China,
      I
      > couldn't find it - or perhaps it's not still up. Anyhow, this is an
      article
      > I wrote for a visiting 'zine publisher recently. It's about my first
      > bookarts class at Hebei U. I don't know if it would be appropriate or you
      > even want it, but I thought I'd send it along anyhow. If you don't have a
      > place for it, just kick it.
      >
      > I'm already 3/4 through the semester at Huzhou University and planning on
      > moving to Shanghai University for the Spring semester.
      >
      > Best,
      >
      > Patrice
      > ___________________________________________________
      >
      > BOOK ARTS (what's that???) IN CHINA When I first came to China to teach
      > Western Book Arts, nobody knew exactly what I was talking about, but since
      > I seemed sincere, I was hired. Hebei University in the north of China was
      > in the middle of Winter BIGTIME. My California skin nearly split and went
      > home by itself. I didn't know your face could literally freeze so you
      > couldn't talk. Eventually, as it usually does, spring came and revealed a
      > beautiful campus with a lovely garden/park in the center. A class of third
      > year students was conscripted to me, and we began by getting acquainted
      and
      > learning English names. If they didn't have one, I gave them one. Matching
      > faces to names was interesting. They seemed to like the idea. I had them
      > bring in a brick from off the street. It took a week to convince them I
      > really meant a BRICK brick. Finally everyone brought one in on the same
      > day, probably thinking if they didn't I'd ask them for something even
      > nuttier. I had them cover their brick with clean paper and write their
      name
      > in both Chinese and Pinyin on it. That's how I could learn their names...
      > from the brick on each desk. Then I explained it was simply a weight for
      > newly made books. They looked relieved. Then I gave them a translated 4
      > page History of Western Books to read in their spare time. I doubt if any
      > of them used it for anything but glue papers. As we got to know one
      > another, the bricks got misplaced or used upsidedown, so I just identified
      > them by where they sat or how they looked. There was TallBoy, and
      TallBoy's
      > Girlfriend, Little One, TheOneInTheCorner, ChattyKathy, Attitude,
      Mustache,
      > Dragon and TheBoyWhoNeverCame, etc. And so it went until one day a boy
      came
      > into class and sat down at an empty desk. I whispered to my assistant,
      > "Who's that?" She said, "It's Mustache! He's shaved it off." Sure enough,
      > Mustache was clean shaven, clean hair, clean shirt, clean slacks (!) and
      he
      > didn't shuffle either. We decided he'd found a girlfriend for sure. He
      > stayed clean the rest of the semester. He was my "bad boy" student. Often
      > cut class, work habits were awful and sloppy, never did the assignment I
      > asked for the way I wanted, but he came up with the most amusing,
      inventive
      > book ideas of anyone in the class. Nothing to do but give him his lead and
      > wait until he turned in something. It was sure to be different.
      >
      > As the class learned the simple structures, they also learned that it was
      > OK with me if they broke the rules a bit. I would make a big fuss over
      > someone's book that was really a different answer to the assignment - as
      > long as it opened and closed properly. More and more they stretched the
      > rules and did some pretty amazing variations. The most interesting thing
      > for me as a teacher was to watch them "decorate" their books after
      > finishing the given structure. That's when they could illustrate, collage,
      > draw, write, paint anything they wanted into their blank book. The
      > classroom, usually a bit chatty, would become deadly still, and I would
      > just sit on a desk at the end of the room and watch... and listen to the
      > creative juices bubbling through their minds and out through their
      fingers.
      > It's when they were, as aritsts, completely happy.
      >
      > We invited all the "suits" in the Arts School to our first 1/2 year
      > exhibition in the classroom. I asked all my teacher/student friends to
      come
      > so we'd have a "crowd" to please my students. They cleaned up the room,
      > floors, desks with clean paper, junk put away, chairs in place and a
      > welcome poster on the door. Each student stood behind his/her desk with
      > their books displayed in front of them. They were instructed to show off
      > any special items or to open a book to display the text or illustrations
      > inside, and to urge people to handle the books themselves. The "suits"
      were
      > duly impressed, I think. Although they probably didn't have a clue as to
      > what these books could possibly be for.
      >
      > When we got to the part where they were to learn to lay out a text on the
      > computer, Mustache, Dragon and Sheng Li (the only name I did remember)
      > showed their expertise to the max. They understood the routine
      immediately,
      > and proceeded to lay out, illustrate and print some pretty amazing book
      > texts. Their bookbinding skills were still in the shakey stage, but
      getting
      > better. I was encouraged by their computer expertise, and thought,
      "There's
      > hope for this bunch yet." The second book they made using the computer for
      > the text was bound at their own choice. Most of them went back to the
      "Faux
      > Coptic" binding they'd learned a month before. That was the favorite sewn
      > structure. The accordion was, of course, the second favorite. And
      > illustrating the book was their favorite general activity, beside talking
      > and laughing.
      >
      > When we nearly reached the end of the semester, I gave them their final
      > assignment. Three books, one sewn, one accordion and one free choice. None
      > to be miniature books, and one of the three to go to my personal
      collection
      > to travel for other book artists to see. They got the idea of making a
      > really large book to display at our final exhibition. I suggested one
      about
      > two feet high, but they said as one, "NOOOooo...really really BIG!" and
      > their hands went way up and way down. I knew that supplies for a book that
      > big would be a problem, but they wouldn't be talked out of it. So a
      > committee was chosen for exhibition posters, for binding each person's
      page
      > and for making the covers. Two days before the exhibition I asked about
      the
      > binding, but they hadn't figured out how to do it. I dropped a couple of
      > suggestions aside and left them to be picked up. The book was finally made
      > - wooden covers and all - and it was the pride of all the class and the
      > centerpiece of the exhibition. There were many more and better books this
      > time, and the main entry hall downstairs was our gallery. They put posters
      > all over the campus and invited all the instructors they could find. We
      had
      > a great turnout and everyone took pictures and was very very proud of
      > themselves. I was proud too, of course. That evening we had a wonderful
      > dumpling-making party up in our classroom. Beer and dumplings. They said I
      > folded my dumplings funny.
      >
      > Two days after the books were all removed to their owners (except for the
      > precious ones for my collection), I took four big boxes (with the help of
      > TallBoy, Sheng Li and Dragon) to the post office to be sent to my next
      > school. We hugged and said very sad and tearful goodbyes. And my three
      > favorite boys said, "I love you." There can't be any better reward than
      > that. I was their first foreign teacher, and they were my first Chinese
      > students. As I traveled to Xi'an, I thought, "Well, how's that for being a
      > one-in-a-1.3-billion book teacher!"


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • monguio
      uuuhhhh!!!!! makes my teeth hurt with envy! ines ... From: Jill Littlewood To: Sent:
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 17, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        uuuhhhh!!!!! makes my teeth hurt with envy!

        ines
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Jill Littlewood" <jill@...>
        To: <bookartsconnection@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 22:45
        Subject: [bookartsconnection] Patrice in China


        >
        > > Another great report from Pat Baldwin on her adventures in China.
        > >
        > > ---------------------------
        > >
        > > Hi Peter:
        > >
        > > I don't know where you put the other stuff I sent about working in
        China,
        > I
        > > couldn't find it - or perhaps it's not still up. Anyhow, this is an
        > article
        > > I wrote for a visiting 'zine publisher recently. It's about my first
        > > bookarts class at Hebei U. I don't know if it would be appropriate or
        you
        > > even want it, but I thought I'd send it along anyhow. If you don't have
        a
        > > place for it, just kick it.
        > >
        > > I'm already 3/4 through the semester at Huzhou University and planning
        on
        > > moving to Shanghai University for the Spring semester.
        > >
        > > Best,
        > >
        > > Patrice
        > > ___________________________________________________
        > >
        > > BOOK ARTS (what's that???) IN CHINA When I first came to China to teach
        > > Western Book Arts, nobody knew exactly what I was talking about, but
        since
        > > I seemed sincere, I was hired. Hebei University in the north of China
        was
        > > in the middle of Winter BIGTIME. My California skin nearly split and
        went
        > > home by itself. I didn't know your face could literally freeze so you
        > > couldn't talk. Eventually, as it usually does, spring came and revealed
        a
        > > beautiful campus with a lovely garden/park in the center. A class of
        third
        > > year students was conscripted to me, and we began by getting acquainted
        > and
        > > learning English names. If they didn't have one, I gave them one.
        Matching
        > > faces to names was interesting. They seemed to like the idea. I had them
        > > bring in a brick from off the street. It took a week to convince them I
        > > really meant a BRICK brick. Finally everyone brought one in on the same
        > > day, probably thinking if they didn't I'd ask them for something even
        > > nuttier. I had them cover their brick with clean paper and write their
        > name
        > > in both Chinese and Pinyin on it. That's how I could learn their
        names...
        > > from the brick on each desk. Then I explained it was simply a weight for
        > > newly made books. They looked relieved. Then I gave them a translated 4
        > > page History of Western Books to read in their spare time. I doubt if
        any
        > > of them used it for anything but glue papers. As we got to know one
        > > another, the bricks got misplaced or used upsidedown, so I just
        identified
        > > them by where they sat or how they looked. There was TallBoy, and
        > TallBoy's
        > > Girlfriend, Little One, TheOneInTheCorner, ChattyKathy, Attitude,
        > Mustache,
        > > Dragon and TheBoyWhoNeverCame, etc. And so it went until one day a boy
        > came
        > > into class and sat down at an empty desk. I whispered to my assistant,
        > > "Who's that?" She said, "It's Mustache! He's shaved it off." Sure
        enough,
        > > Mustache was clean shaven, clean hair, clean shirt, clean slacks (!) and
        > he
        > > didn't shuffle either. We decided he'd found a girlfriend for sure. He
        > > stayed clean the rest of the semester. He was my "bad boy" student.
        Often
        > > cut class, work habits were awful and sloppy, never did the assignment I
        > > asked for the way I wanted, but he came up with the most amusing,
        > inventive
        > > book ideas of anyone in the class. Nothing to do but give him his lead
        and
        > > wait until he turned in something. It was sure to be different.
        > >
        > > As the class learned the simple structures, they also learned that it
        was
        > > OK with me if they broke the rules a bit. I would make a big fuss over
        > > someone's book that was really a different answer to the assignment - as
        > > long as it opened and closed properly. More and more they stretched the
        > > rules and did some pretty amazing variations. The most interesting thing
        > > for me as a teacher was to watch them "decorate" their books after
        > > finishing the given structure. That's when they could illustrate,
        collage,
        > > draw, write, paint anything they wanted into their blank book. The
        > > classroom, usually a bit chatty, would become deadly still, and I would
        > > just sit on a desk at the end of the room and watch... and listen to the
        > > creative juices bubbling through their minds and out through their
        > fingers.
        > > It's when they were, as aritsts, completely happy.
        > >
        > > We invited all the "suits" in the Arts School to our first 1/2 year
        > > exhibition in the classroom. I asked all my teacher/student friends to
        > come
        > > so we'd have a "crowd" to please my students. They cleaned up the room,
        > > floors, desks with clean paper, junk put away, chairs in place and a
        > > welcome poster on the door. Each student stood behind his/her desk with
        > > their books displayed in front of them. They were instructed to show off
        > > any special items or to open a book to display the text or illustrations
        > > inside, and to urge people to handle the books themselves. The "suits"
        > were
        > > duly impressed, I think. Although they probably didn't have a clue as to
        > > what these books could possibly be for.
        > >
        > > When we got to the part where they were to learn to lay out a text on
        the
        > > computer, Mustache, Dragon and Sheng Li (the only name I did remember)
        > > showed their expertise to the max. They understood the routine
        > immediately,
        > > and proceeded to lay out, illustrate and print some pretty amazing book
        > > texts. Their bookbinding skills were still in the shakey stage, but
        > getting
        > > better. I was encouraged by their computer expertise, and thought,
        > "There's
        > > hope for this bunch yet." The second book they made using the computer
        for
        > > the text was bound at their own choice. Most of them went back to the
        > "Faux
        > > Coptic" binding they'd learned a month before. That was the favorite
        sewn
        > > structure. The accordion was, of course, the second favorite. And
        > > illustrating the book was their favorite general activity, beside
        talking
        > > and laughing.
        > >
        > > When we nearly reached the end of the semester, I gave them their final
        > > assignment. Three books, one sewn, one accordion and one free choice.
        None
        > > to be miniature books, and one of the three to go to my personal
        > collection
        > > to travel for other book artists to see. They got the idea of making a
        > > really large book to display at our final exhibition. I suggested one
        > about
        > > two feet high, but they said as one, "NOOOooo...really really BIG!" and
        > > their hands went way up and way down. I knew that supplies for a book
        that
        > > big would be a problem, but they wouldn't be talked out of it. So a
        > > committee was chosen for exhibition posters, for binding each person's
        > page
        > > and for making the covers. Two days before the exhibition I asked about
        > the
        > > binding, but they hadn't figured out how to do it. I dropped a couple of
        > > suggestions aside and left them to be picked up. The book was finally
        made
        > > - wooden covers and all - and it was the pride of all the class and the
        > > centerpiece of the exhibition. There were many more and better books
        this
        > > time, and the main entry hall downstairs was our gallery. They put
        posters
        > > all over the campus and invited all the instructors they could find. We
        > had
        > > a great turnout and everyone took pictures and was very very proud of
        > > themselves. I was proud too, of course. That evening we had a wonderful
        > > dumpling-making party up in our classroom. Beer and dumplings. They said
        I
        > > folded my dumplings funny.
        > >
        > > Two days after the books were all removed to their owners (except for
        the
        > > precious ones for my collection), I took four big boxes (with the help
        of
        > > TallBoy, Sheng Li and Dragon) to the post office to be sent to my next
        > > school. We hugged and said very sad and tearful goodbyes. And my three
        > > favorite boys said, "I love you." There can't be any better reward than
        > > that. I was their first foreign teacher, and they were my first Chinese
        > > students. As I traveled to Xi'an, I thought, "Well, how's that for being
        a
        > > one-in-a-1.3-billion book teacher!"
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • francesj14@cox.net
        Thank U!!! one big grin here. Love this story. Do keep us updated. again thank you frances ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 18, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          Thank U!!! one big grin here. Love this story. Do keep
          us updated.
          again thank you
          frances
          > From: "monguio" <monguio@...>
          > Date: 2004/11/17 Wed AM 11:28:03 EST
          > To: <bookartsconnection@yahoogroups.com>
          > Subject: Re: [bookartsconnection] Patrice in China
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.