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Sunday, 20 April 2014
Sammy Squirrel's Easter story, and some Easter Egg cards.
Topic: Stories

It was Easter morning. Sammy Squirrel had promised his friend Rudy Rabbit he would help him with his Easter delivery rounds. He had really wanted to do this when he promised. But now that the morning was upon him, he just wanted to sit there and muse upon things. To sit and look at the world just around him. To ponder the way of it. To be idle. He loved being idle and being able to daydream. He also loved to rush around and do things. It felt good to get excited and make things happen. The things Sammy Squirrel liked to do, or usually found himself doing, was to find food and either eat it then or find another place to hide it. Usually he would scurry off from where he found the food, dig up a little hole in the ground, put the food in the hole, and cover it over. He kept very busy at this task for most of his day.

One could think it was work. Sammy liked doing this. He could not help but do it. He had to do it. It felt so good to him to do this, it was so easy for him to do. Was it really work?

Often times other animals, like bluejays and crows, followed Sammy Squirrel around as he buried his treasures. They knew what he was doing. As soon as Sammy was done covering one food cache, they would go uncover it and take out the food for themselves. Bluejay might go hide it somewhere else himself. He did not usually bury it in the ground. He just put it in a pile of leaves or old grass and covered it back up. An acorn or nut could get moved around a few times. Perhaps a crow or a seagull would see what the bluejay had done with that nut. Crows and seagulls do not have the patience to bury something themselves. They are bigger and need to eat all the food they can find when they find it. Seagulls are not fussy what they eat.. 

Seagulls are so gluttonous they will swallow things that are too big for their throats, just so they can eat it before another animal, even another seagull, can get it. And then the seagull squawks around with the lump of food in his throat, while another seagull follows it hollering at it to try to take that food hiding in the other seagull's throat. They squabble and tussle over a bit of food. Anyone watching might worry that the seagull with the food in his throat will get stuck like that.

This also happens along the piers and harbors, where the people set out their fishing lines. A seagull might grab hold of a fish as it is being pulled in on a line, and swallow that fish that is on the end of a line. Now the seagull is on the line too. What happens? How often does this happen?

Here was Sammy Squirrel thinking he did not want to go help Rudy Rabbit. He wanted to daydream about all the acorns and nuts he would find that day and go bury in the lawn that had just started turning green after the long cold winter. 

He'd seen where the crocuses were coming through and blooming. That had already started over a week earlier. There had been yet another snowstorm just a few days before, but that did not matter. Sammy knew it would not be long before it got warm and stayed warm. Before there were lots of plants around. Before there was lots of shade because the trees were full of green leaves. Everything would be green. There would be lots of bugs around. The sun would shine a long time on most of the days. In the winter the sun seemed to shine for such a little while every day that it was out. It always felt as if it had hardly come up for the day before it had to disappear again for the night. 

That was why it got so cold during that time. It got so cold that there was not much food around. The best someone like Sammy could do was to sleep as long as he could. He would curl up in his leaf nest high up in the tree branches and go to sleep. During this cold weather there was also no good place to hide food if he found it. The ground was too cold. It was so cold it was frozen. 

On some winter days it warmed up a bit and the ground thawed a bit. Those were the days that Sammy's friend,  Rory Raccoon, who slept most of the winter time, woke up and came out to look for a snack. 

The day had flown by as Sammy Squirrel sat there pondering and  munching on the acorns from the pile he had dug up. He had not gone to help his buddy Rudy Rabbit with his  Easter job. He had seen children running about with Easter baskets on their arms, screeching with glee every time they spied an Easter hunt trophy. Some where cleverly hidden waiting for the older children to find. Some were practically out in the open for the youngest children to find. When they had found all there was to find, they went in their houses to eat their goodies and play with any toys they might also have found. Sammy knew they might also be having a big feast for Easter. Not all families did that though. Lots of kids were fussy about their food and did not even like the foods served at Easter dinner. One child he knew only liked ham and Easter cookies at Easter. Perhaps the fussy eaters were served hamburgers and hotdogs. 

Sammy sniffed around at some of the candy wrappers that blew through the grass in the spring breeze. He did not care for chocolate. He could smell some peanut odors  in the wrappers but there were no peanuts with these wrappers. 

Cory Crow flew down and picked up the shiny candy wrappers. Cory Crow liked shiny things. He collected the wrappers and took them off to his special treasure cache. He even put some wrappers in his nest. They would make his nest sparkle.

Rudy Rabbit went home to his burrow quite tired from all the work he had done that day, delivering Easter baskets and hiding Easter eggs and treasures around his neighborhood. He felt good that things had gone smoothly, even though Sammy had not come out to help him. Ginger and Jolie Rabbit had helped. Rollie and Renee Rabbit had also.  Other rabbits saw to the Easter deliveries in their own neighborhoods. It had been a satisfying day for them. They did not have to think about it again til the next year. Now they could go back to their daily business.

C.K., 4/20/14

Caran d'Ache crayon resist and watercolor on copy paper 'frenchfold' card.

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 6:09 PM EDT
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Sunday, 30 March 2014
April Art - art workshops for adults, with Catinka Knoth
Topic: Art Class
April Art Workshops for Adults at Rockland Library

Rockland - Catinka Knoth  will lead a drawing workshop series for adults, on creating 'April Art'.  Attendees will explore themes such as Spring papercuts in celebration of Hans Christian Andersen's birthday;  Easter eggs and cards; and Spring flowers. Classes meet 11 a.m.  Mondays, April 7, 14, and 28th; in the Community Room, Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St.  Led by Knoth, participants will  create their own art. Knoth provides the classes free of charge, with materials supplied. Friends of Rockland Library host the workshops, which are open to the public. FMI Knoth at 596-0069 or Rockland Library at 594-0310.

4/07    Spring Papercuts
4/14    Easter eggs & cards    
4/21    No Class - Library  closed for Patriots' Day 
4/28    Spring Flowers - Tulips & Daffodils

Knoth will provide instruction and guidance in drawing and creating the April themes. Each week is a different subject. Participants will work with pencil, colored pencil, and crayon, and sometimes scissors, with a focus on drawing in color.

Knoth paints watercolors of Maine and whimsical animal scenes, which she offers as cards and prints. She also teaches a free weekly children's drawing class at Rockland Public Library, which is sponsored by Wendy and Keith Wellin. For more information about Knoth's work visit www.catinkacards.com. April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 01 Rabbit Papercuts

April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 02 Easter Egg card

April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 03 tulips

April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 04

April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 05 daffodils

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 5:50 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 31 March 2014 9:24 PM EDT
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Saturday, 22 March 2014
"Let's Draw April Awakenings!" - Easter, Cherry Blossom Festival, Spring - for Children's Drawing Classes
Topic: Kids Art Class
Press Release:

"Let's Draw April Awakenings!" - Children's Drawing Classes at Rockland Library, 2014

Rockland -  Children will draw in celebration of Spring this April at Rockland Public Library. Participants draw along with artist Catinka Knoth as she demonstrates. Subjects may include fairy tale papercuts in honor of Hans Christian Anderson's birthday; Easter eggs & bunnies ; koi kites and cherry trees for the Japanese Spring Festival ; baby animals such as bunnies, puppies, kittens, lambs, and colts; spring peepers,  birds' nests and fledglings, and spring flowers such as crocuses, daffodils, and tulips.
"Let's Draw April Awakenings!" - 
4/01    Fairy Tale papercuts
4/08    Easter bunnies & eggs cards and scenes
4/15    Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival
4/22    Baby Animals
4/29    Spring Peepers,  Birds Nests, Spring Flowers

The ongoing workshops, sponsored by Wendy and Keith Wellin, for age 6 and up, (including the young at heart), are free and open to the public. Library policy requests that children age 10 and under  have an adult accompany them. Knoth expects participants to be able to work independently for the most part.  Classes provide all materials and meet every Tuesday, 4-5 pm., Community Room, Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St., hosted by Friends of Rockland Library. FMI - Jean Young, children's librarian, 594-0310.
Spring & Easter Papercut Cards
spring Easter papercut cards by Catinka Knoth Large image Spring Easter papercut panel cards by Catinka Knoth

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 6:58 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2014 6:28 PM EDT
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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Ten subject ideas for March
Topic: Seasonal/Holiday

1) Iditarod dogsled races 

2) Women's history month

3) Ides of March

4) In like a lion, out like a lamb

5) March winds and kite flying

March winds and kite flying coloring page


6) St. Patricks's Day

7) Celtic designs

8) March Madness - basketball & ice hockey?

9) Arrival of Spring

10) The circus comes to town

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 2:02 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2014 2:48 PM EST
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Saturday, 22 February 2014
A Winter Carnival and the Ice Crow - a Crow Story and Papercuts
Topic: Stories

A Winter Carnival and the Ice Crow - a crow story, and papercuts, by Catinka Knoth

Black crow papercut by Catinka Knoth
Crow papercut by Catinka Knoth

Cory Crow was flying aimlessly about trying to decide where he wanted to go that day, what he should do. At the moment he felt he should be either gathering peanuts from the feeding area and hiding them in caches, looking for crabs on the seashore, or gathering sticks for a nest it would soon be time to build.

It was sunny this day. Cory could see his shadow flying along across the snowy field below him. He stopped on a tree branch of the maple tree. It had snowed that night. The branches were all topped with snow. Cory drew his beak across the snow crisscrossing the branch with it as if it were a knife being sharpened. This beak and head gesture was a bit of head weaving that said to any nearby crows that he wanted to be friends, that he wanted to share in their food. As he did his beak rubbing he scooped up some of the snow and ate it. He hopped along the branch scooping up more snow, as if his beak was a shovel, He got a load of snow in his beak and swallowed it down. Snow was what the crows and most of the animals had instead of water during much of the wintertime.

Where should he go? As he flew about wondering what to do he saw cars gathering near the water's edge in one part of town. People where gathering there dressed in all their winter gear - snowsuits, heavy boots, mittens, scarves, colorful puffy hats. There were lots of kids. Some were dragging sleds, and sliding saucers. Some carried skates. Some carried skies. And some carried long sticks with a bend on the end.

It was the annual winter carnival the town was holding. The carnival had an ice carving competition. It had a snow fort building contest. A snowman contest. A sledding, sliding, and snowboarding hill for the kids.  Places to do cross country skiing and snowshoeing. And an iceskating pond where the hockey players skated around so fast as they hit a puck on the ice with their hockey sticks trying to get it through the goal while keeping it away from the other team.  All of this event depended on there being plenty of snow on the ground. This day was perfect for a winter carnival.

Cory landed on a nearby maple tree to watch the hockey skaters whizzing about. The icecarving competition sparkled in the sun as the carvers worked at making ice sculptures from blocks of clear ice. Cory, as do most crows, loved sparkly things. They fascinated him. The sunlight danced off the shiny clear ice in many shimmering rainbow colors. Cory went over to see if there was any way to pick up one of the lights. There were too many people around for him to feel comfortable going any closer than the tree branch he  found. How he wished he could grab one of those lights and take it home with him. Then he would be able to watch it sparkle up close. He could watch from his branch though.

As Cory watched the carving he began to see animals taking shape from under the carvers' hands and tools. One was making a rabbit. One made a sleeping cat. There was a barking dog and an eagle with outstretched wings. And then Cory saw it - the Ice Crow. It was at least four times as big as Cory but he knew it was a crow. And it was clear - a crow one could see through. Was this a magic crow? Was it going to fly into the air? Did this crow need to eat? If so, how much food did it need? Was the crow inside that ice block the whole time? This crow had not come out of an egg. It had slowly appeared from the ice block as the carver hacked and chiseled away ice.

Cory had to find his friends to tell them what he was seeing. Perhaps he could tell them from where he watched on his branch. He started to holler as loud as he could in hopes the others would hear him. He also wanted to talk to the Ice Crow, but he was confused. Ice Crow was so big, transparent, shiny and sparkly. How did one talk to such a crow? Could that crow talk or hear?

A few of Cory's friends heard him faintly. Cory and the carnival were quite far from where they all usually liked to be. Some  crows who lived near the carnival heard him too and came flying over to see what the commotion was. Cory's friends followed his faint but urgent sounds and came shortly. They were dumbfounded at the sight of the Ice Crow once they saw what Cory was hollering about. After a moment they all started hollering. They also saw the Ice Eagle with its wings spread out. The eagle never went in the air. They saw the dog barking. At first they thought they could hear it barking but that was only their imagination playing tricks on them. There was no sound coming out of the barking dog. The cat kept sleeping. Nothing odd about that except that their hollering did not cause the cat to twitch an ear or peek up at them. The rabbit too stood still. It was not afraid of the sleeping cat, the barking dog, or the eagle. All of these were animals that would normally like chasing and maybe having rabbit for supper if they caught  it.

The Ice Crow stood still and did not answer their calls.

White ice crow papercut by Catinka Knoth
Ice Crow papercut by Catinka Knoth (negative from previous cut).

They were entranced by how sparkly and glittery it was, so they did not give up in trying to get it to answer them. They were also secretly hoping this Ice Crow so big, shiny, glittering, and magical looking, might be their leader and tell them what to do whenever they got confused about things. They often wished they had someone to decide things for them, to tell them what to do, to tell them the right things to do so that they could usually be right in whatever they did.

It was still winter though and the sun was starting to set - early as it always did in winter. The crows had gotten no response from the Ice Crow. They flew home to their usual fir trees for the night. They would come the next day to see if they could change the Ice Crow's mind.

The next day was Sunday. The sun rose making the sky pink. It melted some of the snow on the branches so that they formed ice droplets twinkling in all the trees. The crows, after they had eaten from the food that the lady in the truck so often brought for them, flew over to see the Ice Crow again, and to ask it again for help. They started their hollering at the Ice Crow. This time they did not holler as much but did some of their gurgling clucking sounds, just the way they talk to each other when they are being friendly with each other or asking to share in the food. First Cory pricked up his head because he thought he'd heard an answer from the Ice Crow. He cocked his head to listen better. He noticed that the Ice Crow's beak was not so pointy anymore and the eye could not be seen as clearly. The feathers were disappearing and the body was looking wet. Cory thought he'd heard the Ice Crow saying "Be your own leader". Another crow stopped with his mouth open because he too thought he had heard the Ice Crow talk.

"Follow your nose!" is what he thought he had heard. One by one the crows fell silent as they each thought they were hearing the Ice Crow answer them. "Be as a crow!" one heard. "Live!", "Fly!", "Eat!", "Play!", "Holler!", "Make a nest!" . They each heard something different but not really that different. The Ice Crow was silent. Its beak was shorter and stubbier. the eyes closing, Where there had been feathers was now quite smooth. The sun was setting again.

The crows flew home to their roosts. They talked a bit about the things they thought they'd heard the Ice Crow say. They could not agree on what they'd heard. They wondered what they had heard.

That night the wind blew in from the South. It was a warm wind. By morning it was very warm out. The skies were grey. It looked like rain. And then it did rain. It rained almost all day. The crows stayed hunkered together in their roost  in the fir trees. By late afternoon the rain stopped though the sun did not come out. It was still very warm out. Most of the snow was washed away. The crows could not wait to  visit the Ice Crow again to find out what it had said to them.

They flew over to the winter carnival site. It was not much to look at without the snow around. The ice sculptures had melted down a lot in all that rain and warm air. There was not much left of them. The crows looked at what used to be the Ice Crow and was now just a lump of ice, like a little tree stump or ice log standing up. They could not believe what had happened to their glorious Ice Crow. They gave a few hollers at it. They hopped over to have a closer look. There were no people around now to scare them off. It was not even sparkling now.

Had the Ice Crow spoken to them? They had been so busy hollering and talking at it that they could not be sure what they had heard. They wondered at the mystery of it and talked with each other about it. They spoke and listened to each other. They wondered if it was perhaps themselves they had heard. They remembered they had been happy as crows without a leader before, so they could be happy now without a leader. The Ice Crow had been beautiful, but had soon melted away.

©Catinka Knoth 2/03/13

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 7:03 PM EST
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