A beautiful quote about the importance of the arts for everyone –


This book has actually helped me to rethink my entire philosophy on art making.  The exercises suggested are unique and I have used many of them in my teaching.  The philosophy of drawing that is included has revolutionized the way that I have approached my own art practice and the ways in which I guide others on their journey.

This book has been indispensible to me, an incredibly valuable resource of activities and ideas using minimal materials.  They are adaptable to any age group, and I have found great success in many of the projects.

Camilla Engman is one of my favorite artists, and I was lucky enough to acquire a book that was produced by Uppercase in Calgary.  It is essentially a sketchbook, with inserts that focus on home, life, art and more.  I refer to this book whenever I am needing inspiration.

An absolutely inspiring book that has helped me to develop many book projects.  See my Showcase for a sample of a book making project designed for secondary students.

An indispensible guide to printmaking (my first love) in all its forms.  I refer to it often.

One of the most imaginative books that I have ever read.  This debut novel explores the nature of text, textuality and creating images with words in a variety of ways.  Very inspiring.


In this powerful TEDx talk from 2011, John Bohannon explores the incredible possibilities that emerge when the Arts and Sciences meet.  The ability to use visual metaphor to explain otherwise challenging scientific work sets a powerful example for the teaching world.  Perhaps we can use our bodies, our art, and our music to explain concepts in such a way that we can all access them.  Knowledge is for everyone.

Dianna Laufenberg’s talk is all about asking students to play, to inquire, to think for themselves and allowing them the room to explore.  Experiential learning, empowering the student voice, and stepping away from a fear of failure.  The movement away from a culture of one right answer.  Each of these things informs my practice in the work that I am doing with students today.

Sir Ken Robinson is a well-known speaker on creativity, education and the current school system – he speaks to something that was on my mind as I began my teacher education.  I believe that we systematically teach creativity out of our children.  He talks about the importance of being wrong, the importance of taking risks, and the importance of creativity in all our lives.

Adora Svitak gives youth a voice in this Ted talk sharing her perspective on learning, reciprocity and the innate wisdom of the young mind.  I believe in the truth of this, and as a teacher, I hope to be open to the wonderful world that my students have to show to me.  Education should be reciprocal, and I think that we should take a good hard look at the reason why we tell our children “you can’t do that” instead of “give it a try and lets see what you can make happen.”

Dave Eggers TED wish is one of the most inspiring talks that I have heard to date.  He is a favorite author of mine, and I was not surprised to see that the work that he has done to bring literacy to the after-school workshop environment is nothing short of incredible.  Giving young people access to artists and teachers alike might well change the world.

Erin McKean talks about the importance of play and experimentation with language.  In a field that is often dominated by rules, she asks us to use language freely.  I believe that the same can be said for art, drama, music and even math.  We can and should engage in play.

“Where do ideas come from” is a wonderful example of an animation technique that I have practiced in the past.  It was one of the most challenging things that I have ever done, but it allows the visibility of the artist to help solidify ideas that might otherwise be too abstract to be fully explored.  He speaks about the importance of allowing ideas to ruminate, incubate and be elaborated on.  He also highlights the importance of collaboration, connectivity and openness to others ideas.

*the following two videos have some graphic language*

What Teachers Make is a powerful piece of Def Jam style poetry, about the importance of the work that we do as educators.  A few favorite lines include “I can make a C+ feel like a congressional medal of honour, and an A- like a slap in the face” and “I make parents see their children for who they are and who they can be.”

This piece of Def Poetry, “Sign Language” by Rives has inspired me to learn sign language.  The way in which he is able to appreciate the voice of those who are deaf is inspiring, and the whole piece is quite beautiful.  A favorite poem “Last night I had a dream, that I was young again, and I could hear back then, but the silence in My house was deafening.”


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