July Episode III: From Dinosaurs to Sharks to Jedis

StoriesShort Story Writing can be a hard thing to master, and a harder thing to get published, but thanks to an hour with Amra Pajalic we all feel a lot more confident about it. From the structure of a story all the way through to getting it published we learned the ins and outs of what is becoming quite a niche field in the writing world!

No story is complete without proper grammar! So we had Claire Sessions to fill us in on the Grammar They Didn’t Teach Us In School. We learnt the basics about English grammar: verb tenses, word categories, common misconceptions… all mixed with some fantastic web comics (Hyperbole and a Half, for example) and some good laughs. And what about your typeface? Veronica Grow from Old School joined us for another round of Typography: Build Your Own Alphabet and we sketched and shaded, cut and glued our way to typographical bliss!

Dinosaurs!Sasha Candy Sparkles Briseno is as great as her name predicts and our TerrariumARAMA class was a frenzy of succulents, colourful stones and plastic dinosaurs! We learnt how to take good care of our succulents, how to layer a terrarium and above all we all end up with rocking terrariums! Mine even has a dinosaur fight!

Getting sustainableSustainability is something everyone can be a part of and in Creative Sustainability Michele Grimston showed us how we might throw in a bit of art, some collaboration, and a touch of the bizarre to promote engagement in this vital human endeavour. After presenting some inspiring installations and artists from around the world, we worked together to come up with an idea and turn it into a plan of action. By the end, the class was more like a community, full of discussion and wide-eyed hope that change can be made! They were even crocheted sweaters for sparrows…

From guilty-looking puppies to wide-eyed toddlers, Peter McKay invited us to empathise with these characters and decipher their emotional state. Emotional Intelligence is what humans use to relate to others and to ourselves, and we discovered how psychologists are using this theory to explain human behaviour and gain insight into how to improve our interactions with others. However, you may want to keep your emotions to yourself at the card table and we had an evening working on our game with Daniel Merkas in Poker: Swimming with the Sharks. We learnt, or reminded ourselves of, the basic rules and then moved onto tactics and tricks including different hands to bet on or fold, what your seat position means to that round, and how to keep your poker face on. Bring on Vegas!

Fun in the UN!In our Introduction to the United Nations Valeria Coscini got us to begin by choosing an animal. Each animal represented a country – a red fox was the UK, a Panda was China… – and we were now the Model UN representatives for those countries! We learnt about how the UN works and picked up heaps of interesting facts, all through the medium of role play: did our UN side with Jamaica or Cuba over the resources found on Terror Island? Great fun!

In Massage Like A Jedi we learnt how to use “the force”… Well, not quite, but Shannon Maxwell did teach us how to organise the perfect relaxation massage! The key is to plan ahead and consider things such as ambience, music, oils, talk about no-go zones and plan the movements so they flow. A great tip: try to keep one hand at least always in contact with the person you are massaging.

Brading with Theresa Winters is also such fun and useful class! I can’t believe I used to think it was hard to do all these pretty “celebrity” braids and now I whip them up in the train on my way to work! We learnt the basic braid, French, Dutch, waterfall and upside down braids. This time we even got a few great attempts at the double waterfall braid!

In Light Painting with Maria Yebra we once again painted the air with angels, devils, walls of fire, and orbs of light. Then, we set our cameras to long-exposure-time and voila: frozen moments of light in motion! Then, Sarah Howell opened her class on Making Mini Comics by showing us the 6 basic emotions: joy, sadness, surprise, fear, anger and disgust. With the aid of the Grimace Project, we saw how every other subtle emotion can be created by combining the basic 6 together in different amounts. After a discussion of good versus bad comic layout, we set off to create our own mini-comics using emotion and theme suggesting cards randomly drawn from a pile.