A Summer Camp in Frenchtown Boro Park with a Lenape theme! Thanks to the Roving Nature Center for creating a wonderful way for kids to enjoy summer right on our beautiful, bubbling Nishisakawick Creek.
July 9th-13th & August 6th-10th
Dances with Turtles
Ages 4-6 9:30AM-NOON
Little Beaver is a young Woodland Indian of long ago, living in a place he knows as Lenapehoking, or the land of the Lenape. He and his sister, Touching Leaves, enjoy life in the village – there is so much to do! Learn how to gather food and create pots for cooking. All week, create a marvelous longhouse out of sticks and leaves! Play favorite Lenape games and enjoy songs, stories and dancing! Come, learn the ways of these gentle people who lived in harmony with the land, and their friends, the animals, in a lively and an adventuresome week in the Lenape Village.
Today we celebrate the mural at Frenchtown Boro Park! The sun has broken through the clouds and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day!
Pictures of the event to follow. Hope to see you there!
It was an amazing day.
I love our park on the Nishisakawick Creek. It is so well designed for community events, with a nice balance of large shady trees and open, grassy space and our lovely creek flowing clear and clean just a little stroll down the bank. There are swing sets, a slide, a merry-go-round and sand box to occupy young children so that the adults can relax under the pavilion at the picnic tables and chat.
Kevin Two Steps telling stories from the Original People
Kevin Two Steps built a lean-to of saplings and deerskin the morning of the event to set the scene for an afternoon of captivating stories from the Lenape tradition.
Thanks to Gerry St. Onge, Bruce Yellin and John Geiman of the Mankind Project for bringing us their Talking Stick and Drum Circle!
The Lenni Lenape inhabited the area now know as New Jersey, extending north, west and south into the neighboring states. They were divided into three clans: the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Turkey Clans, which were determined matrilineally at birth. The Turtle Clan occupied the area of central Jersey which would include Frenchtown. All three clans are represented on the mural. The turkey has left a feather on the ground between the wolf cub and the turtle that is peeking out from the ground foliage.
The European version of events implies that the New World was sparsely populated by a few wandering heathens. The fact is that the Lenni Lenape had a written history known as the Wallum Olum (the Red Road) that spanned 10,000 years. It’s contents describe an amazing migration from Asia to the Atlantic Coast; a rich history of the Original People and how their destiny unfolded.
Painting the Lenape Mural was a wonderful experience on so many levels not the least of which was connecting with people walking by who stopped to chat. One gentleman, on holiday from Britain visiting Frenchtown, had a unique observation. He asked me if I was familiar with the Beatles movie, Help? Well, I was a huge Beatles fan and when Help opened in the theaters in the summer of ’65, I was standing in line with the rest of the teeny-boppers. The gentleman said he saw a striking resemblance between my Lenape woman and British actress Eleanor Bron, who appeared in Help. She is pictured below in a still from the movie with John Lennon.
The finishing touches were painted on Friday May 18th. Bill Brokaw arrived on site at 6AM Saturday morning to shoot the photo for our 16 x 22 inch poster. With his awesome photoshop skills, Bill disappeared the guard rail and black fence that obscures our view of the lower left of the mural, also the sign on the upper right. Bill also worked some magic with the window to kick it back. Thank you, Bill!
Next step is to Graphic Imaging in Pipersville, Pa to make the prints from Bill’s photo file.
We are in the final days, detailing the cracks in the wall and painting in the foliage. I am also painting out more foliage: as you can see on today’s photo, the tree on the right is diminished. The foliage on the left has become more distinct. We plan to perch an Oriole in the branches above the wigwam. Several viewers requested an American Bald Eagle, and we have fulfilled their wish.
Close up of the eagle on the upper right.
We’ll be finishing the mural on the next sunny day, forecast to be Thursday.
Several important changes have been made to the mural in the last two days, as you can see in the comparison photos above. On the left: the white egret, the fishing canoe and the branches of the tree are all a problem. On the right the egret is transformed to a Blue Grey Heron and the fishing canoe is larger, in more credible proportion. Notice that the fisherman in the boat could, on closer inspection, quite possibly be a woman. In the native tradition, this figure may represent a “two spirited” person. It was by accident, not by design but apparently this person wanted a life in the mural. I’ve also painted out the connection between the foliage on the front right with the distant reflection in the water. It was hindering our view and sense of depth. Lastly, the wigwam has more definition from the background and some deeper shadows.
Today Don designed the slab of cement to the right of the image that will be our Dedication Stone to acknowledge the donors to the mural at the level of $1,000. and up. Just a few more details and it will be complete, ready for the donor’s names.
I changed the Great White Egret to a Blue Gray Heron today. Note that the water at the shallow level is now a little greener. I’m almost finished with the sycamore tree at the right. I am starting to think that the Lenape in the dugout canoe needs to be a bit bigger to be in correct proportion, so that might need to change tomorrow. Fortunately, all my paint is pre-mixed in plastic containers, making it fairly easy to make changes like that.
Today I painted the highlights on the 21st century guy’s red t-shirt and blue jeans. The shirt and the jeans are nice rich colors in contrast to the earth tones of our Lenape family, but they still needed to pop more. It is crucial that his life sized figure reads as real and the more I can do to increase his 3 dimensionality, the more the mural will “fool the eye”, a.k.a. “trompe l’oeil”.
Don spent most of the day on the “upper deck”, making sure the new areas of sky we’ve revealed by visually breaking open the wall are well blended.
Tomorrow I will change the white egret to a Blue Heron and finish the foliage on the right side. His sneakers need to be painted, too. Our goal is to finish the mural by Monday.