Cool stuff from the selectors. What more could you ask for? Food, Cats and Storytelling

CoverDavid Wiesner And The Art Of Wordless Storytelling
This is definitely a book for someone who has an interest in children’s illustration as it contains well-researched and far-reaching essays on the history and development of book illustration as an art form.

David Wiesner is of course the focus, and I enjoyed revisiting his wonderful illustrations. I remember sharing these books with my children, all of us having varying viewpoints about what was happening, delving deeper into each illustration with each reading. This is a beautifully produced book.

CoverFrom the sublime to the ridiculous! Crafting with Cat Hair is the sort of book you just have to have a look at because it is so unlikely. Taking itself completely seriously, this book gives you in-depth instructions on how to use your moggie’s fluff for felting crafting pleasure.  Perhaps if you are so inclined, it could be a way to immortalise your feline friend.

CoverFood Fights and Culture Wars
Chomping away on my couple of pieces of dark chocolate, it was interesting to read about the violent past of chocolate. The chocolate we eat today is barely recognisable as the cacao that was produced by the early Mayan people.

Cadbury (whose Dunedin factory is set to close next year) was founded by Quakers. Their desire to fend off slavery underpinned the chocolate trade. Filled with beautifully reproduced pictures from the British Library, this is a fascinating romp through history and food.

Samoan Language Week – Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa 2017

Talofa. Samoan Language Week 2017 will take place from 28 May to 3 June. Here at Christchurch City Libraries, we welcome you to join us for:

  • Storytimes in Samoan
  • Samoan computer session Thursday 1 June (1PM to 3PM) South Library. We will look at the latest online news, music and videos online from Samoa. E mana’omia lo outou susū mai tatou fa’ailoga fa’atasi le Gagana Samoa ma fa’ata’ita’i le fa’aaogaina o le Komeputa. E a’o’aoina ai le su’eina o tala fou, musika ma nisi mea aoga mai Samoa i luga le upega tafa’ilagi (internet).
  • Samoan Se’evae Tosotoso (Jandal) Craft Activity
    Create and design your own Samoan Se’evae Tosotoso (Jandal). Participate and enjoy learning some new Samoan words and greetings.

See the full list of Samoan Language Week activities.
Subscribe to the Facebook event.

Samoan Language Week

Samoan language resources

Find more information about Samoan Language Week and Samoan language. Our Samoan Language Week webpage includes links to books and resources in Samoan. There is a booklist Samoan language books and resources for children, as well as videos and audio. It features our wonderful colleagues Tai Sila and Jan-Hai Te Ratana performing some short Samoan songs:

NZ Music Month 2017 – Live in the library

Christchurch City Libraries has a brand new initiative for 2017 and it’s all about MUSIC!

NZ Music Month

We are celebrating Christchurch stories. We are celebrating music. And most of all, we are celebrating libraries and the way they can enrich any creative pursuit you are undertaking, at any stage of development. Christchurch City Libraries have a wealth of resources that can help you learn, discover or simply enjoy music.

Our collections and our communities can also inspire the creation of music and we are fortunate this year to have Adam McGrath to share his expertise.

Adam is best known for his work being the driving force of the band The Eastern, who are widely regarded as the hardest working band in the lands. But did you know about his social conscience and the value he places on not only community but public libraries too?

During the time of the earthquakes Adam and his band played widely across Christchurch, acoustically and at no charge. His drive was to help communities in their recovery in the best way he could – by giving relief from stress by way of music. He continues to contribute to the creative output of our city, playing regularly here in New Zealand, touring across Australia and over to Europe, sharing the stories he has gathered along his journeys.

Image supplied
Image supplied

In the lead up to New Zealand Music Month, Adam will be spending time in our libraries all over Christchurch. He’ll be reaching into the depth of our digital resources, searching and exploring our physical resources, and most of all he’ll be connecting with the people of Christchurch by hearing their stories and discussing their lives/loves/losses. He will use much of what he discovers to inspire new works, songs and music, and during May, Adam will be performing a series of “Live in the Library” concerts, during which he will tell his stories of us, the people of Christchurch.

Come and celebrate with us at one of our concerts – hear new work by Adam McGrath, performances from our communities, or even a group made up of some of the musical talent we have on our library staff. Who knows….. YOUR story may be put to music by Adam McGrath.

We’ll be speaking with Adam throughout his process and he’ll be giving us some insight into his creative processes, and his musical background. Keep an eye on our website for interviews, Q&A, and more. Stay tuned!

Browse our full list of NZ Music Month events and performances.

Nanogirl in Christchurch: Quick questions

nanogirl-2016-250x250Nanogirl is coming to Christchurch with a bang! She is putting on two shows on 5th December at the Isaac Theatre Royal. Expect explosions and excitement at Little Bang, Big Bang – the Live Science Show. One hour of science where Nanogirl blows things up, blows things over and blows your mind!

Covering Bernoulli’s principle, firing a massive air vortex cannon, holding fire in her hands and exploding thousands of ping pong balls, this show has science like you’ve never seen it before!  Safe for all ages, this family friendly show shows you simple experiments you can do at  home.

We asked Nanogirl – aka scientist Michelle Dickinson – a few questions ahead of her upcoming visit

CoverWhat resources would you recommend for kids interested in science?

Actually my favourite place to go is online to places like the Science Learning Hub as they have great New Zealand content for all ages and for teachers that includes local content.

I also love Rosie Revere, engineer as an engineer myself, it’s so great to read a book with such a strong female engineer lead character to get girls and boys interested in and familiar with the word ‘engineering’.

What did you read as a child that you enjoyed? What books inspired you?

I read a lot of science fiction books which I loved as they helped me to think about what a future world could look like which helped me to think big about working on solutions that could help our future by helping to create technologies and materials that don’t exist yet.

What do you enjoy reading these days?

Now I’m a total non-fiction biography addict as I follow influential leaders that I admire as I try to piece together how others have overcome challenges in their lives to create the successes they were aiming for.

What role do libraries play in your life?

Libraries used to be the place that I went to borrow books when I was younger but now they are spaces of technology for me as I help libraries who have 3D printers and robotics centres in them and instead of the hardback books I used to borrow, I’m now an avid audiobook borrower from my local library.

 

Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough - 3d Printing
Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough – 3d Printing. Flickr CCLFunPalaces-2015-10-3-Fun Places – 41 – Fun Times – 41 – 1912

What advice can you give young people wanting to pursue a career in science?

The best scientists and engineers are always asking questions and always testing their theories through creating experiments and researching their ideas, so my advice is to never stop being curious.

More Nanogirl

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Science and technology at the library

See also our post: Inspiring girls to work in STEM – Ada Lovelace Day 2016

Cool stuff from the Selectors: Art, Science, and a bit of literarty

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The art of typewriting
Our Selector has always found creating a picture using type to be rather appealing so has enjoyed the 570 illustrations ordered into letters and numbers, punctuation pictures, interlocking words, animals, household objects, maps and texts.

An Astronomers Tale: A Life Under the Stars
Gary Fildes, Bricklayer and average guy,  had a secret.  Eventually he came out – and followed his passion to become an astronomer.

The Fall of the House of Wilde
A new and interesting slant on the many times subject of biography Oscar Wilde which puts him as a member of one of the most dazzling Anglo-Irish families of Victorian times, and also how the family were involved in the broader social, political and religious context of the times.

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Hankie Couture: Handcrafted Fashions From Vintage Hankerchiefs
Designs for that special doll in your life, or perhaps you will just enjoy browsing the pictures, I know I did!

Black Dolls From the Collection of Deborah Neff
Keeping with the doll theme, but from a totally differnt angle this book presents over 100 unique handmade African American dolls made between 1850 and 1930 from the collection of Deborah Neff, a Connecticut-based collector and champion of vernacular art. It is believed that African Americans created these dolls for the children in their lives, including members of their own families and respective communities as well as white children in their charge.  Stunning photography.

Outlander Kitchen
You’ve read the books, watched the TV series, now it’s time to cook Mrs. FitGibbon’s Overnight Parritch; Geilli’s Cullen Skink; Murtagh’s Gift to Ellen; Sarah Woolam’s Scotch Pies and Atholl Brose for the Bonnie Prince.

Fun Palaces – Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October 2016

Celebrate art, science and creativity at this year’s Fun Palaces festival! All activities are fun, free and suitable for all ages. Central Library Peterborough will be a Fun Palace from 10am to 2pm on the weekend of Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October (it’s the middle weekend of the school holidays).

Fun Palaces

Here’s the schedule for Fun Palaces 2016:

Saturday 1 October

Fabriko Electronic Sticker Fun Palace

Make a card, paper critter or a fan that will light up with a special electronic circuit you make with stickers, batteries and LEDs! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Spider Phobia Demonstration

Who’s afraid of spiders? Don’t miss out on this experience to have Virtual Spiders creep and crawl all over a desk and up your arms! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Nao Robots

A HUGE success last year! Swing by and interact with these incredible humanoid robots! Both days, 10am – 12pm

Nao Robots - Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough

Interactive Trampoline Gaming

Come alone and have a try of the world’s first interactive, digital gaming system designed for a trampoline. Saturday 10am – 2pm

Springfree

Quiver Augmented Reality

Experience the exciting world of Augmented Reality! Colour in images the ‘old school’ way and then watch them come to life using Quiver! This is a magical and engaging 3D experience. Saturday 10am – 12pm

MineCraft

Get imaginative and create your own Fun Palace through MineCraft. Work on your own or with friends to create the MOST fun environment you can think of! Only 20 computers available. Saturday 10 – 11.15am and 11.30am – 12.45pm

HTC VIVE

Experience a 360-degree virtual world! This is the very latest in augmented reality technology. Both days, 12 – 2pm

Sunday 2 October

Fabriko Electronic Sticker Fun Palace

Make a card, paper critter or a fan that will light up with a special electronic circuit you make with stickers, batteries and LEDs! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Spider Phobia Demonstration

Who’s afraid of spiders? Don’t miss out on this experience to have Virtual Spiders creep and crawl all over a desk and up your arms! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Virtual spiders - Fun Palaces, Central Library Peterborough

Nao Robots

A HUGE success last year! Swing by and interact with these incredible humanoid robots! Both days, 10am – 12pm

HTC VIVE

Experience a 360-degree virtual world! This is the very latest in augmented reality technology. Both days, 12 – 2pm

Bee-Bots!

Come and learn about Robot technology by having a play with these cute little guys! Sunday 10.30 – 11.30am and 1 – 2pm

3D Printing Demonstration

What’s all the hype about 3D printing? Come in and see yourself during a live demonstration. Learn a little about how these cool machines work, what we use and other facts about this exciting technology. Sunday 11am – 1pm
Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough

Kitchen Science Lab – Solar Oven

Build your very own solar oven and harness the power of the sun to cook yourself a wee treat. Sunday 12 – 2pm

Start Making! An interview about zines with Alice Bush of Christchurch Zinefest

Christchurch Zinefest 2016 is happening on Sunday 18 September, 11am to 5pm at Space Academy / Kadett (371 St Asaph Street). I spoke to one of the Zinefest organisers, Alice Bush –  a graphic design student at University of Canterbury. She’s been making zines for four years. As well as going to Christchurch Zinefests, Alice went to Wellington Zinefest last year.

Zinefest at Darkroom, St Asaph Street
Zinefest 2014 at Darkroom, St Asaph Street Flickr 2014-10-18-IMG_2732

Tips for Zinemakers

Don’t feel intimidated by what is out there already!

Start making,  not worry too much about what you’re making. Know that it will be accepted in a community. I think that all zines are valid – no matter how hi-fi or lo-fi they are.

Fave topics?

At the moment, I’m really into Riot grrrl feminist type stuff.  What she said by UC Femsoc is a great feminist zine. Filmme Fatales from Melbourne is another great read.

I always love a good funny zine as well, batshit weird … I saw a zine in New York dissecting Home Depot as an art store. There was one at Wellington Zinefest called “Sock review”, which was pretty awesome.

I like zines because they can be anything that you want them to be, no matter how weird your idea is.

Zine culture in Christchurch

There is Zinefest once a year, but that’s about the only event we have at the moment. The zine culture has been laying low, and the Zine Library that was in the Darkroom disappeared last year. I’m trying to build up the culture a bit more, getting people involved and doing more stuff.

Zinefest at Darkroom, St Asaph Street
Zinefest 2014 at Darkroom, St Asaph Street. Flickr 2014-10-18-IMG_2731

Space Academy has started having zine nights. The culture is there, but it is not as big as in Auckland and Wellington. It’s hard to do creative stuff in Christchurch when everything goes into rebuilding.

Zines and the Internet

People used to make fanzines and send them to their friends, now fan-culture has moved on to the internet and there’s not really any need for zines in that culture anymore. It’s interesting to see zines or digizines on sites like Issuu. It is for magazines, but I’ve seen tons of zines up there.

I’ve been reading this article by Bryce Galloway. He’s been involved in zines for a long time.  In the early 2000s it started being closed off, and away from the outside world and the Australian and American zines. It’s good when people put their stuff up on the web, because then everyone can see it. You’re getting your work out there to everyone.

Zines and libraries

I visited the Wellington zine collection when I was there. Zines have always been away from the mainstream way of publishing, and it is interesting that they are now in that context of the library.

Zines have been made since the 1920s. They started with sci fi, fanzines, and poetry. I’ve been trying to track down things from that era, most of it is in America. So it’d be great if the zines we make now will last to influence and encourage aspiring zinemakers in the future. I’m all for archiving things and making sure that things last.

I want zines to last as a form.

More about zines

Zinefest at Darkroom, St Asaph Street
Zinefest at Darkroom, St Asaph Street. Saturday 18 October 2014. Flickr 2014-10-18-IMG_2726

Adult Learners go mad on 3D

My colleague Katie and I learnt something new this Adult Learners Week – how to make stuff and 3D print it! We visited the learning centre at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre. Thanks to excellent training from Danny McNeil, Learning Specialist (and 3D wiz), we went through the whole process of creating an object and printing it. We learned how to design stuff using 123D (software now on library computers) and Inkscape.

Words like extrude and chamfer are now in my vocabulary. I saw how a background in gaming – particularly Minecraft – can help kids (and adults) design. It gets you familiar with working in a three dimensional space –  orbiting, rotating, and viewing objects from all angles can be tricksy and new when you are not used to it.

3D printing
Designing a cat toy in 123D – involves some maths!

Danny took us through the process from woah to go – you can watch his how-to videos 3D modelling a step by step guide and have a try. People who’ve done his class have gone on to make all sorts of interesting things – new bits for their tools, flying vehicles, and more.

3D printing
Ready, set, 3D print!

I highly recommend getting out of your comfort zone and learning something new – this week or any time!

3D printing
3D printed cat toy

3D printing
3D printing

More photos from our training.

More

Where do you get your ideas from? WORD Christchurch

Audience question time at festivals can create some truly cringe-making moments. Turns out it is not that easy to ask an intelligent, succinct question. Most of the time what we really want to do is make a statement and leave the onus up to the other person to decode that into a question. Bit of a cheek really, expecting presenters/authors to both create and answer the questions that we have lurking somewhere in our subterranean minds.

The Art Gallery on a Saturday morning was where we all went for a bit of help with our ideas generation from four bright and beautiful young things: playwright and actress (Alice Canton), National Poetry Slam champ Mohamed Hassan, songwriter Hollie Fullbrook and cartoonist Toby Morris. Actually make that five beautiful young things – Poet Steven Toussaint asks the hard questions and he’s not that ancient himself.

Prize for worst question ever goes to Where do you get your ideas from? Steve asked them to explain

Why do you hate that question so much?

Alice

I steal ideas from everybody and I don’t really want people to know that. Although now you all do! I also hate the question because I fear some of my ideas will be considered superficial. Then I just want to wet myself and melt onto the floor to force the interviewer to move on to someone else.

Alice Canton. Image supplied
Alice Canton. Image supplied

Mohamed

The question is just too broad. I don’t have a secret stash of ideas, it’s not like I’m hiding my ideas in a place where they all have some sort of private life.

Mohamed Hassan. Image supplied
Mohamed Hassan. Image supplied

Hollie

I fear I will jinx my ideas if I reveal how I get them. It’s like the Sufi Centipede story. The centipede could dance beautifully until someone said: ‘How do you do that?’ And the centipede tried to explain. And could never again dance after that.

Hollie Fullbrook. Image supplied.
Hollie Fullbrook. Image supplied.

Toby

I take big topics that resonate with me and make them more accessible by connecting them to my personal life. What I hate is when people ask me What pen do you use? Like it’s the pen that is being creative!

Toby Morris. Image supplied.
Toby Morris. Image supplied.

What do you do when inspiration is scarce?

Alice

I go to other shows and I steal ideas!

Mohamed

I can’t write when I am comfortable, I suppose I have to get out of my comfort zone. I explore.

Hollie

I try to associate with people who believe in me.

Are there ideas that are too explicit or personal and you will never explore?

Alice

Ideas that are too explicit just don’t interest me.

Hollie

I hide in my songs – I give the difficult, personal, explicit, political, awkward stuff to other characters! In this way I shroud the real situation.

Mohamed

I don’t like it when things become aggressively confessional. There are some things I will never write about. Sometimes I think people reveal too much.

At what point do you decide to let go of an idea because it really just isn’t up to much?

Amy

I cling on for way too long, I take bad ideas to full term. That seems to be how I learn.

Hollie

I abort bad ideas very quickly. I know they are bad when I start having to try too hard.

Toby

Looming deadlines make me give up on them.

So there you have it – out of the mouths of babes. And let it not be said that we weren’t fast learners, because the quality of the questions from the floor at the end of the event was of a very high standard!

More WORD Christchurch

Your life as an artist

The Wayward LeunigThere are three stages to your life as an artist: young and artistic; middle-aged and completely useless; and the Third Age in which you will do anything to stave off dementia.

According to research, Seniors (in addition to exercising, eating well, doing crossword puzzles and cleaning their teeth with turmeric) are being exhorted to take up drawing, painting or sculpting – with a wee glass of red wine on the side. Because Seniors who picked up these creative skills later in life are 73% less likely to develop cognitive impairment than those who did not. (Readers Digest, November 2015)

But long before we get old, we seem to lose our creative confidence, as art lecturer Linda Carson recalls:

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?”

And maybe most of us did forget, but not all. Some very creative, successful adults carried that child-like creativity into adulthood – and made a fortune while they were at it. Here’s a selection of contemporary artists who made it big, just by staying connected to their inner child – and who have produced beautiful new books as proof:

  • Michael Leunig: Leunig is an Australian cartoonist who started his work life in an abattoir and only took up cartooning a little later on. I love his drawings and the pithy words he so often gives his characters – who always have exaggerated noses!
  • Grayson Perry: Perry’s sketchbooks take the reader on a journey of discovery through the complex sexual life of the author – who realised he was a transvestite in his teens. He rediscovered his love of drawing when he and his daughter started drawing together for fun. Sketchbooks is an inspirational peek into the life of an artist.
  • Quintin BlakeQuentin Blake: Best known for his illustrations of Roald Dahl’s books, Blake’s illustrations are quirky, witty, cerebral, physical and endlessly creative. According to Quentin Blake by Joanna Carey, his mother wasn’t a fan of her son’s drawings though, she called them “unfinished”. But he just powered on, and to this day draws with an old-fashioned pen and ink. No expensive equipment required.

Make Your MarkAnd there are others, like William Steig, Ralph Steadman, Tristan Marco with the stunning compilation of up-to-date art in Make Your Mark, and James Hancock who was so lonely when he first moved to New York, that he decided to draw all the buildings around him.

And if you are a confused late bloomer in your artistic career, just turn to your inner child who, like the little darling in the quote below will tell you how it is all done:

First I think. Then I draw my thinks.

Easy Peasy.