Just before the workshop Jennifer will give a short family performance for children and their parents. The performance is free, courtesy of the Mother Lode Storytelling Guild.
Jennifer Aguirre has been telling stories on the Mother Lode for nearly 20 years. When her own children were small, she discovered Waldorf education and its long traditions in puppetry. Bringing nursery songs and rhymes to very young children became a direction for her work that has grown over the years.
A part of that tradition includes the art of felt-making, which involves a complicated process of sculpting with naturally dyed wool fibers. The results create beautiful forms that embody a natural quality. Jennifer not only makes her puppets using felt-making techniques, she has also sculpted a series of exquisite aprons that she uses in her programs.
Jennifer keeps a busy performance schedule as one of the artists in Central Sierra Arts Council’s ARTS-Reach to Schools program. And the children of Sierra Waldorf School are very lucky to have her as an integral part of the school’s faculty where she teaches both puppet making and puppet play production. A 2005 article in our local paper, The Union Democrat, told the tale of Jennifer and her SWS protégés.
This Saturday’s workshop will begin with one of Jennifer’s family performances, which is offered for free to families, courtesy of our Mother Lode Storytelling Guild. And of course, we send special thanks to The Angels Camp Mercantile for giving our guild such a wonderful space to meet!
I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in on Jennifer’s performances during the Strawberry Music Festivals. It’s such a delight to observe her holding an entire audience of 60 people with her soft delicate voice and no sound system. She truly is magical! — bz
The first time I had to do a library story time, I was tossed into the story hour room of the Tuolumne County Library with about 30 minutes advance notice. I was terrified! Two weeks later I did my first library Hallowe’en program. I dressed as a ghost with a ghoulish face of white face paint. I terrified the children, and they were too scared to listen to stories that day. I knew I needed some help. Fortunately some very experienced Children’s Librarians from the Stockton Public Library mentored me.
I’m guessing that some of you wish that you could have some help and encouragement with your storytelling programs. And The National Storytelling Network exists just for that purpose. NSN’s newest California region is The Sierra Nevada Foothills, which runs along Hwy 49 from the home of the Mariposa Storytelling Festival in Mariposa County to the home of the Sierra Storytelling Festival in Nevada County.
In this region we have 3 storytelling guilds and 7 county library systems. The guilds include the Sierra Foothill Storytelling Guild in Auburn, The El Dorado Storytelling Guild in Placerville and the newest, the Mother Lode Storytelling Guild, which serves Tuolumne, Calaveras & Amador Counties. These guilds exist to support all levels of storytellers–storytellers in libraries, in schools, in daycare centers, at home or on the stage. (Mother Lode Storytelling Guild has a Facebook Page! “Like” us!)
The National Storytelling Network wants to help connect all storytellers. We also want to help strengthen the ways that people use storytelling in their daily lives, whether it’s for work or play. The classroom teacher, the therapist, the memory care specialist all use storytelling, as do moms, dads and kids!
On Saturday, January 21st, MLSG will host a workshop with storyteller & folk musician Bill Roberson on Storytelling for the Very Young. This should be a whole lot of fun! Bill is not only a master storyteller, but even better he is a master of kids. Among many children he’s simply known as “Billy Button.” A longtime early childhood education specialist, Bill brings smiles, giggles and brilliant moments of wonder to everyone he meets. Join us at The Angels Camp Mercantile, located at 1267 S. Main St. in Angels Camp, from 4pm to 6pm for a workshop of “Storytelling for the Very Young” and some shared tales. Like always, the Mother Lode Storytelling Guild meetings are free (although we do appreciate donations now and then).
Then in February we will host a workshop on Storytelling with Puppets with Jennifer Aguirre, The Story Apron Lady. She wears an apron with lots of pockets, and from each pocket she pulls delight, whimsy and magic! From a special basket, she whisks out beautiful puppets, each one made by Jennifer.
But even more magic is in store, this time for adults! On Tuesday, March 13th, MLSG will help present a wonderful storytelling concert for adults, featuring one of America’s very best storytellers, Connie Regan-Blake.
The National Storytelling Network’s goals (and the activities of our regional guilds) are to improve your storytelling, your outreach to families, organizations and individuals in your communities by helping you strengthen your storytelling. I hope that you’ll contact the Mother Lode Storytelling Guild, check out the National Storytelling Network’s website and come to one of our many storytelling presentations. As the National Storytelling Network likes to say, “We are growing storytellers…one story at a time.”
Well, it’s here!
On Saturday, November 5th, I’ll be doing FOUR Christmas programs here on the Mother Lode. Our community is all a-flutter about Christmas early this year because the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is coming from our backyard! I’ll be at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds telling Christmas stories as a part of our HUGE community celebration.
Then later in the day, I have the pleasure of telling Christmas tales at the Sonora Soroptimists’ 3rd annual “Nutcracker Tea.” We will be having lots of fun with stories, dancing dogs and a wonderful corps of fiddlers! Here’s more information about this very special annual event–a benefit for Sonora Soroptimists’ scholarship fund.
And by the by, if you are in Sonora, be sure to check out one of our hidden treasures: Dorothea’s Christmas Shoppe, a year-round magical moment that is always filled with Christmas Joy!
Yes, Santa, Christmas on the Mother Lode has begun!
With 7 Hallowe’en programs in the works, I’m jamming to rehearse and prepare for a wonderful week of hauntingly fun storytelling gigs. I’ll be traveling close to home, but managing to reach out to 3 different counties with programs: Amador, San Joaquin and right here in Tuolumne County where I live. With audiences ranging in age from tiny ones to adults, I’m trying to make sure to have a good cross-section of spooky to not-so spooky. So far I’m planning to share “Chunk O’Meat” from Grandfather Tales by Richard Chase, the story of the Jack O’Lantern: Jack & The Devil, “How Bruh Sparrow and Sistah Wren Lost Out” from When Birds Could Talk & Bats Could Sing by Virginia Hamilton (permission given by her hub). Plus, I’ve got the ukulele and the concertina out dusting up some old favorite songs, like “Have You Seen the Ghost of John?”
I just got home from a 4-day jaunt up to Bainbridge Island, WA, where I hung out with family. But storytelling wasn’t too far away! I had a chance to share stories at my great nephew’s 2nd birthday party–a little mini-House Concert. I felt like I was at our weekly Baby Storytime. A sweet gathering to celebrate a wonderful little guy. And then in the spirit of the Season, I helped pull together two Hallowe’en costumes for my niece’s two little kids. One will be an elegant princess and the other, that birthday boy, will be one handsome FROG.
So, Happy Hallowe’en to all of you from this California storyteller! And may the spookiest thing that happens be your chance to hear some well told GHOST STORIES! And by the by, let me recommend a new favorite Hallowe’en book that I recently discovered: Bone Soup by Cambria Evans, Houghton-Mifflin, copyright 2008. A delightful twist on the classic folk tale “Stone Soup.”
And if you’re looking for some Hallowe’en fun of your own making, hop over to this page here on The Hive!