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Norse Chess Set

Most of the fund raisers at the kids school have been much like the school itself: beautiful, fun and not terribly efficient. Non Waldorks usually think of a Waldorf education as being very nebulous and free, when there is actually a great deal of structure and discipline built into the curriculum. The people who choose to send their kids to private Waldorf schools are generally well off and very intentional about their belief in Rudolf “Crazy Pants” Steiner’s educational philosophy. My kids go to a public “Waldorf inspired” elementary, and the parents are a different breed. As parents we spend a lot of time griping about the discipline problems at school, but when I take a deep breath and look at all the parents I understand why our kids are all bonkers. Most parents put their kids in the school because they hated school and wanted something more peaceful and magical for their kids. What a bunch of attention deficient iconoclasts! Soooo many artists and massage therapists! Social services and carpenters! We are definitely a very Portland school, which means we are all pretty hot and very silly.

The fundraiser on Saturday was very mature and classy and I felt a little like an asshole. I wore a vintage, slinky black velvet dress, enormous false eyelashes and my fanny pack with a flask in it. You decide: fancy or asshole.

I couldn’t figure out how to take a selfie that showed my fanny pack!
I was glad I had the flask though, because they stopped serving wine during the live auction LIKE MONSTERS! The work from parents was lovely, but the real show stoppers were the projects each class made. You can really tell these kids are going to an art based school when you see the sophistication of their craftsmanship.

I spent a lot of time thinking about a project that Fox Boy’s class could do. I wanted an object that reflected their class and was also a lovely and useful object which would bring pleasure to the buyer. They just finished studying Norse mythology, which is traditional in Waldorf fourth grade. I have always loved chess sets with character, and knowing that many families in the school love chess it seemed practical.

I had all the kids draw their interpretation of Norse gods and villains. Their drawings are amazing, the entire gambit from abstract to very detailed representations.Fox Boy drew Heimdal, guardian of the rainbow bridge.

This guy

He actually made many drawings, but my favorite and the one I used was a sort of collage of Heimdal’s attributes; he has nine moms who are also ocean waves, he has a bitchin’ horn, a rooster, solid gold teeth and hearing so acute he can hear the grass grow.

Handsome Librarian helped me cut some 1″x2″ pine strips into simple shapes and then I had the kids help me sand them. I woodburned the drawings into them and stained the gods gold and the villains red, glued round wooden bases on the bottom and polyurethaned the whole thing.

This project required a lot of beverages.

A super talented dad in the class volunteered to make a storage box with a board on top. He only had two days between trips but somehow made this gorgeous thing:

Thanks Tom!

He got it done the day before I had to turn it all in and when I saw it my blood ran cold: I had forgotten to tell him about the round bases and there was no way you could close the lid with that extra eighth of an inch. So I took a deep breath, let it out, and stayed up all night prying off the bases, filing off the glue and re staining and polyurethaning. They looked so beautiful!


It was so exciting to listen to the bidding on the chess set, nervously sipping cheap vodka out of my wine glass. It went for seven fifty, and was bought by a mom in the class who I have a major friend crush on.

The auction was classy and fun and even more fun was dancing and burning stuff afterwards at Gypsy Queen’s house. I hope the school made lots of money and I’m so glad that I have the ability contribute to our amazing school with my art.

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