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Monday, February 27, 2023

CHEERS FROM FINLAND

These cheers do not come to you from any football fields or some other sports events. They are simply greetings from my native country. Finland celebrated her 105th anniversary of independence on December 6th, 2022. That day was quite chilly and windy, not in the least enticing for me to take a walk outside. So, I turned to my old armchair and turned on the TV.
The ecumenical church service in Helsinki Cathedral had just started. Because of Independence Day, the atmosphere felt more solemn than in ordinary Sunday services. President Niinist√∂ and his wife were sitting in the front row, with members of government behind them. The ordinary’ members of congregation were seated further away.
When watching this, I, as an ordinary member, felt at home. Listening to Bach’s Cantata, performed by a Boys’ Choir of Cantores Minores, and short speeches by representatives from Orthodox and Catholic churches; various religious institutes and the Lutheran Bishop’s sermon – sum and substance of all this just witnessed was CARE! And especially care for and take care of. Or whom should we give care to? Everyone in the cathedral knew who was meant - the Ukrainians.
I continued celebrating Finland’s birthday by changing the channel. Yes, there it was- a familiar scenery in my small hometown Hamina near our eastern borderline. Lots of people by the roadside waving small Finnish flags and a ceremonious procession moving slowly along. It was a National Military Parade arranged twice a year somewhere in Finland. Officers in front of their groups of thousands of trainees from all over the country, tanks, modern armament, and even members of a female civil defense organization.
Once again, I could not help thinking of the Ukraine, and of care. When
you give care, aren’t you collaborating? My home country has really collaborated by giving shelter to thousands of Ukrainians, mostly women and children. In Hamina, housing has been provided for about a hundred persons. Having a temporary permit of residence, adults could try to seek work. Finnish courses were launched, mostly for adults, but a permanent teacher was also found for elementary students in one small school. Several concerts have been given for refugees’ support. Voluntary work helped them receive clothes and household utensils. Here, you will meet my friend, a recently retired school counselor. Besides teaching Finnish (without any pay) at least twice a week for adult Ukrainians, she also took them to school kitchens familiarizing them with Finnish food and even preparing simple meals together. And what I really want to thank her for is that she asked almost all her Ukrainian students to come to her home to spend Christmas together with her family!
As a member of the International Committee of Educational Excellence I am interested in finding definitions for excellence. Summing up very practically - the above Finnish birthday party and Ukrainians’ needs helped me to fill any excellent teacher’s toolbox with care and collaboration.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Get inspired by Tampere, Finland!

Here the International DKG-conference 2023, will be held July 26th - 29th.

Tampere is the hidden gem of Finland! Plan your visit to Tampere and its region and find yourself a new perspective in the most loved city of Finland. 

Plan your visit to Tampere and its region and find yourself new perspectives in the most loved city of Finland. Tampere is the most populous inland city in the Nordic countries. It is the third biggest city in Finland with its population of 249 060. Tampere is one of the major urban, economic, and cultural hubs in the whole inland region. The capital of Finland is Helsinki on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. It is approximately 160 km (100 mi) south of Tampere and can be reached in 1 hour 30 minutes by Pendolino high-speed rail services and in 2 hours by regular train services or by car. The distance to Turku is roughly the same. Tampere has often been rated as the most popular city in Finland. The positive development of Tampere has continued throughout the 21st century, which is largely due to Tampere being one of the most migratory and attractive cities in Finland.

About the DKG International Conference 

The DKG International Conference 2023 in Tampere will be held at Tampere Hall, which is situated in a nice park. The conference hotel Courtyard by Marriott, Tampere, is right next to the Tampere Hall under the same roof. The website, registration and hotel reservation are now open. The Tampere City Reception at Vapriikki Museum Centre main hall will be a very nice event on Wednesday evening after the opening ceremonies at Tampere Hall. Bus transport is arranged to the reception place. The conference will set up five general sessions with excellent speakers from Finnish Universities, School Authorities and other institutions. A considerable number of workshops will be provided on topics like leadership, personal growth, teaching and learning, art and humanities as well as society matters. 

The conference is being set up with utmost accuracy and together with the splendor of the surroundings you will have a wonderful adventure in Tampere. Welcome to Tampere!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

DKG Arts Gallery Blog: Artist’s Spotlight: Theresa Azoti

An Open Artists’ Discussion on Creation, Technique & Opportunity

Theresa Azoti – Connecticut State Organization – Zeta Chapter


1. Briefly, tell me a little bit about yourself as an educator and as a photographer?


My career as an educator spanned thirty years beginning as a third-grade elementary school teacher, returning after having a family as a reading specialist and ultimately retiring as the only reading consultant for the K-12 special education department in a smaller Connecticut town. Five more years after retirement were spent as a volunteer para-educator in various elementary classrooms, assisting teachers and students.

My interest in photography began using analog film cameras for many years, first to document family events and vacations, but grew to an amateur hobby including photos of nature, especially favorite flowers. Still photos of flowers are utilized on greeting cards, which are sent to friends and family members. It is a way of sharing my art.
 
 
2. As a photographer, where do you find your inspiration? Do you search for a particular subject, or do you just have your camera ready? Do you use any special equipment?

Inspiration is found in nature and all things unusual. I also get inspired by attending photography exhibits as much as possible and perusing online galleries and photography magazines. Famous photographic works by master photographers are also a source of inspiration.

Living in a condominium now there is no longer a huge garden of flowers. Most of my work now is done in-house, primarily on still photos. Attending International Conventions and Conferences afforded me many opportunities to photograph over the years in settings other than my home and state.

At times I search for special subjects to photograph if entering a competition or have an idea for a special greeting card. Many competitions give categories of subjects to which the photographer needs to conform. In these instances, one needs to look for photos to fit the subject matter. This is always a challenge.

I moved from analog camera to digital cameras when I found the ease of digital and the non-waste of analog film when a photo did not come well. Presently, I have three cameras, two Sony Cybershot digital still cameras and a Canon SLR EOS Rebel XSI. I most always use a tripod to balance the camera and use each camera intermittently depending on the subject being photographed.

 

3. When you start framing your subject, is there a process that goes through your mind? As an example, your photograph, ‘Shapes & Shadows’ is photographed looking up at a ceiling as opposed to your photograph, ‘Slowly Fading’ which is a triple exposure photo done in a studio.

Framing a photo depends on the reason the photo is being taken. My eyes are trained to look for the unusual, looking up, down and behind when photographing. ‘Shapes and Shadows’ was an industrial ceiling in a Chicago hotel at a DKG Convention. The geometric shapes intrigued me as I stepped off the elevator and looked up. The shadows coming from the light through the skylights above added to some unusual photos.

Whereas, ‘Slowly Fading’ was taken in my “living room studio” of a still vase of flowers. Wherever I am, I visualize what I want to create and frame the photo in such a way that achieves that vision.

    
4. ‘Slowly Fading’ is a triple exposure photo done in grayscale. How did you achieve this outcome? 

'Slowly Fading' is one vase of Black-eyed Susans. The photo was achieved by setting the Canon camera for black and white photography on a tripod. The vase was in full frame and the camera on manual for longer exposure. I moved the camera from left to right at 8-10 second intervals two times. The resulting photo captured three exposures in one photograph giving the feeling of fading away.

 

 
5. Another picture entered in our Spring Gallery was titled, ‘Heavenly Hydrangea’. How did you create the composition & photograph this picture? 

 

   

‘Heavenly Hydrangea’ was inspired by a Georgia O’Keefe painting of a purple Iris on an all-white background. Substitution of a blue Hydrangea for the Iris and a crumpled bed sheet as background produced the photo. The flower is in a small vase fitted inside a tube of a wide roll of bath tissue and the sheet was set up around it. The resulting photo was ethereal, hence the insertion of ‘heavenly’ in the title.

       

 6. What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?

     “Fill the frame.”

“Have a vision.”

“Keep shooting, everything, everywhere, and anytime.”


7. Do you have any tips for others looking to take still photos?

For still photos, my preference is to use a black background in natural light because light Backgrounds in natural light can have shadows directly to the side or behind the subject making objects look double. Lighter backgrounds are used only when shadows are intentionally wanted. Once backgrounds are set up, the photographer can take as many shots as wanted, taking from all angles, both vertically and horizontally. Selecting the best is a process.

With digital cameras the photographer can take as many photos as wanted. Editing out the ‘bad’ shots can be done while the equipment, background, and subject are still set up so additional exposures can be taken if not satisfied with initial results.



8. Have you entered your work in other competitions?


I have entered work in other competitions, at first with much trepidation, as a self-taught, amateur photographer. After the use of two of my flower photos for our local garden club yearbook covers, I submitted photos several times into local and state garden club competitions to garner second place or honorable mention ribbons. My proudest achievement was a National Garden Club competition in which my photo ‘Tornado’ was accepted in the category of ‘Climate Change’ (altered reality using creative camera techniques in camera or in post/processing). The competition featured images of the environment of the Americas and received 225 entries from the United States, South America and Central America. ‘Tornado’ was one of 24 entries selected to be exhibited in print, power-point, and YouTube format at the National Garden Clubs’ annual convention in Biloxi, Mississippi. The shot was achieved by photographing a vase of abundant orange lilies using again a tripod and moving the camera horizontally from left to right to obtain multiple exposures. After editing, the photo was turned vertically to achieve the effect of a lively tornado.

I also was honored to have one of my photos from the DKG Gallery published in the Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin Collegial Exchange Magazine.

 

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Spotlight on the Member Art Gallery - DKG International Conference 2023

  

A Painted Desert - Oil - Suzanne Irwin

Calling all DKG creative artists to beautiful Phoenix, Arizona, this summer! The Arts and Humanities Jury is excited to announce the addition of a Member Art Gallery at the DKG 2023 International Conference in Phoenix, July 18 – July 22, 2023. The Jury and host committee will feature a Member Art Gallery to showcase our members’ talents in the visual and literary arts, photography and musical composition. This multi-faceted art exhibit will take place during the conference at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass and be open for viewing on Friday and Saturday, respectively, for attendees’ enjoyment. We look forward to many of our members attending the international conferencing sharing their artistic talents for this enrichment opportunity.

The application process is an easy format and follows the Art Gallery submission categories and format. The application will be featured on the dkg website in the spring of 2023. Here are details to consider as you prepare to share your art with the gallery.

Application Process: One DKG member may submit one work of art. Work submitted must be original (not from kits), one-of-a-kind, and creative. All media, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional, will be considered. Creative writing can be displayed on two panels displayed side by side. This includes but is not limited to painting, drawing, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, photography, quilting, embroidery, needlepoint, stained glass, or mosaic. Artists must upload an image of their entry to be reviewed by the Arts and Humanities Jury. Entry selection will reflect the most originality, quality, and space limitations of the venue. Note: Submissions will not be accepted that violate the Society's position on inclusivity (religion, race, sexual orientation/gender, etc.) Applications must be submitted by 11:00 p.m. on June 5, 2023. All applicants must be current Delta Kappa Gamma members. Members must apply via Application for the Member Art Gallery. This application will be available in the Spring of 2023.

Selection Process: Submissions will be reviewed to ensure the quality and professionalism of the exhibited work. Notice of acceptance, along with the details of the exhibit, will be emailed to the applicants after the selection process on June 12, 2023. Each artist will have a designated space to display their artwork. Due to limited space, if art is larger in size, it will be considered for inclusion based on gallery space. For example, larger items like quilts could be folded or draped to allow viewing while also saving space.

Member Art Gallery Details: All participants will receive a card thanking them for their participation along with their entry displayed next to their art during the conference. We are excited to have some of our artists choosing to sell their art during the convention. This would be a private sale via a personal check or other arranged payment made directly to the artist from the buyer. Members can also indicate if a portion of the proceeds of a sale will be donated to the DKG International Educators Foundation. This is an exciting opportunity to not only purchase art from our talented, international sisterhood but to contribute to this worthy cause.

Let’s keep the conversation going. If you have ideas or comments for the Arts and Humanities Jury, please let us know. For more information about the International Conference Member Art Gallery,

Contact Information: Linda Eller: Tennessee, Southeast @ lseller01@gmail.com



Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Why Did You Choose DKG? Share Your Story!

 

Why did you choose DKG? It is likely all of us have been asked this question. The Communications and Marketing Committee would like to hear your answer. Your answers will help us promote the value of membership and communicate this value to key women educators throughout the world.

Of course, we want every key woman educator to be a member of DKG, but how do we get the message out? One way our committee wants to spread the word is through “My DKG Story”. Everyone has a story and we want to hear it! We encourage you to complete this form. We would love to hear from:
  • The 50 year DKG member to the first year DKG member
  • Members from Canada to Panama and Japan to Finland and all those in between
  • Retired, veteran, and early career teachers
  • Members with a long list of awards and those with a long list of goals.


In short, we want to hear from you!

Our committee will randomly select members from the completed DKG Story forms to interview in a podcast. These podcasts may be shared on the website and social media platforms. Perhaps yours will be selected for a follow up interview. Each of you is urged to fill out the story form. Help us thrive and grow our society.

SHARE YOUR STORY

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