Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Vimala Alphabet

Today I was reorganizing my art supplies in preparation for the upcoming school year (paints and brushes are now in the laundry room, by the utility sink, which is where I want children washing them out... NOT in my bathroom and definitely not in my kitchen) and found a jar of Mod-Podge. Which got me to thinking about the old card table that I got from my Aunt Janet. It has a few rips in the faux woodgrain plastic-fabric covering on the top but otherwise is old, old fashioned, and sturdy as all get out. So I decided to do a collage on top of it. It's only ever used by kids playing card games or doing art or puzzles, so it doesn't need to be super-fancy. And if we ever had a fancy occasion it would be covered by a tablecloth anyway.

Next decision, where to find some images suitable for making a collage. I thought first about magazines but we don't have any that we want to rip up. Then I considered any picture books of which we have duplicates. Then I remembered a book which was in a Sonlight box, lo these many years ago, and which I never really liked but never got rid of.

The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury:
Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud

This may look like a great book but it isn't.

Why? NOTHING against the original books in this collection. But when you take a picture book and turn it into a chapter book, the art work and the breaks in the storyline don't make sense. And all of those details were carefully chosen. It's a huge disservice to the original author and illustrators, not to mention that it completely ruins the story. Four pages of Good Night Moon crammed into one? No thank you. Where's the slow pause as you turn the page and it gets closer and closer to bedtime? Gone. This is like watching a movie which has been edited "pan and scan" as opposed to letterboxed. It's like someone else completely recut the whole movie. And it is not at all how the original was meant to be.

But the artwork is great in this book and so I kept it. Although I never once read it to my kids. And now that great artwork is going to be collaged onto my card table!

In other more homeschool-y news, I love my new purchase:

Animals, Pen, and Ink:
The Letters of our Alphabet and How We Write and Think!

I have owned

Soul Development Through Handwriting:
The Waldorf Approach to the Vimala Alphabet

since November 30, 2007, according to Amazon's little note to me at the top of the page, and I can tell you honestly that I never once got around to reading it. But this little book, although it looks childish, reads in a very friendly and inviting way and it sat on my dining room table for only a day before I picked it up and read the whole thing. And I'm very excited about teaching this method of handwriting to my children!

I didn't know this before but the Vimala Alphabet has a few things about it that are cool, besides the way that the letters are shaped and the soul quality that is developed by forming each one. For one thing, the Vimala Alphabet puts the letters in a different order. This is because they are grouped by families. It goes like this:

Aa Oo Dd Gg Qq Pp

Yy Uu Ww Vv

Mm Nn Hh

Ll Ee Ii Jj

Ff Rr Ss

Tt Kk Bb

Cc Xx


Obviously, I don't have the Vimala font in Blogger so forgive me for that. But you get the general idea.

This is also the only alphabet I've ever seen that gives you a choice of how to form certain letters. Really! There are two ways of doing a capital M, and both are right. Two ways of doing a capital N. Two lowercase e, two lowercase r, two lowercase t.

The letters are grouped in families as follows, based on their similarities:

The Family of Communication - a o d g q p

The Family of Learning and Evaluating - y u w v

The Family of Honoring and Expressing - m n h

The Family of Insight - l e i j

The Family of Creativity - f r s

The Family of Status - t k b

The Family of Trusting and Inner Authority - c x

The Grandfather Letter of Contentment - z

There are many things that are traditional, like the three zones, and having your paper slanted at an angle when you write (although she says that "There is no right or wrong way to hold the pen or pencil" which almost made me fall out of my chair).

Lastly, and most curious to me right now, is that "In this book you will discover Vimala's insights into how letters live in families, along with the meaning of the letters, and how to draw them. Her unique vision includes an animal representing each letter. Animals have certain characteristics that are unique to their own species. Vimala teaches us that each alphabet letter is like that too, with a personality or flavor all its own. It's fun to think about the animal whose traits seem to blend into a letter."

Ready? Here they are:

    A dolphin

    O hawk

    D dog

    G elk (wapiti)

    Q horse

    P porcupine

    Y peacock

    U owl

    W wolf

    V eagle

    M swan

    N chimpanzee

    H butterfly

    L whale

    E baby harp seal

    I lioness

    J bear

    F spider

    R silkworm

    S snake

    T tiger

    K deer

    B camel

    C white buffalo

    X goose

    Z pelican

    Th hummingbird

Update a few hours later:

* How to Decoupage: The 7 Steps to Perfect Mod Podging Every Time *

I am putting this here for your convenience...

(I didn't actually look it up until I messed up my first three pieces of paper and had to rip them off the table in haste. They were a wrinkled mess. Should have read a how-to article beforehand! Don't have a brayer but smoothing with a putty knife totally works.)

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