We made ’20 minute sculptures’ today, the ‘Newbies’ and I.  She said “you have 20 minutes to create a sculpture out of these ‘environmentally damaging and questionable materials’.  Go!!


I looked down at the environmentally damaging materials on offer…..searching for the colour black.  Even before I had consciously decided what I was going to make, my subconscious had it down as if on cruise control.  I found one item amongst the environmentally damaging materials that was black.  The crepe paper was unceremoniously ripped into short shreds and in pompom-like fashion I fashioned a fuzzy, round, black sheep using pipe-cleaners to tie it and use as legs.  I poked in a small semi-inflated black balloon for my sheep’s head and stole some Twink from a passing child (quietly glad I wrote those two characters the correct way around) and drew a smiling sheep face on it.   I was done in about 6 minutes.  I fiddled around with some more environmentally damaging materials to make a stack of rocks while I waited.

I thought I was being funny and clever, describing myself as a black sheep.  That would explain a few things that I felt about myself and allow me some leeway when I eventually did a few things that might be misconstrued as being out-of-the-normal range of acceptable behaviour.

I sat and listened to the other stories about sculptures made from environmentally damaging materials.  I learned that I work with some incredibly talented and skilled educators now, and while listening to their stories the whanaungatanga cut to yet another level as I formed links and ties to each of those who spoke.

“Black sheep do not make ties” my previously mentioned ‘subconscious’ taunted.  “Black sheep do not hang out with other sheep…..they need to stand out….alone in their field….doing shit……shit that other sheep don’t do…like using swear words in blogs and other baaad baaad black sheep behaviour.  It was at this point that I became a little emotional sitting on my bean-bag….the air-conditioning was running cold and making my eyes water anyway.

In my head the debrief and struggle to understand was brief but brutal as I realised that I had always felt like a black sheep and therefore felt rather unaccepted in many contexts and company.  I guess that’s why I always find myself in the kitchen at parties….(it is already a song).  In all honesty being told that “the real Pete was left at the zoo and we bought a monkey home by accident” didn’t help ..Mum!

So where to now?……um…..?  a few points I guess:

  • I am different than some others and I love it.
  • I love other black sheep because I understand them.
  • living outside of the paddock exposes ewe to all sorts of different experiences.
  • The view out there is quite different, so you often see things from a different perspective.
  • I can hang out with white sheep too…and some of them are cool.
  • I didn’t choose to be a black sheep but I can choose not to do black sheep shit.
  • Even black sheep need to be shepherded from time to time.
  • And….we can use better resources for this activity that are less environmentally damaging.