Friday, September 18, 2009

Mixed Bag of Emotions

Mixed emotions, anxiousness and excitement combined in the same easy swallow gel cap that I threw into my mouth and washed down with a cup of tepid water over a year ago. This is how it always begins as I move towards the goal of the next exhibit. In this case, November 1, 2009, my still untitled solo exhibition at Columbus State Community College. Some anxiousness because I'm returning to the "box art" process for this exhibition and producing approximately 25 new pieces. As always, there seems to be a million things to do(mostly unrelated to the show) and the clock is ticking.

Tonight our son is starting in his high school's varsity football game for the first time and has shared over the past few days his nervousness. As my husband pointed this out to me yesterday, I turned and shared my Mother Wisdom(as I'm always more than eager to do)with him. "I would think something was wrong if #3 child(when did I first begin calling our children by numbers?)wasn't nervous. Why if he weren't I'd think that he was too cocky and that state of mind can set you up for a hard fall. Besides, he'll be just fine whether he performs well or not on the field." Somewhere in that conversation must have been talking to myself!

So it's the mixed bag of emotions gel cap that I swallow each time a date is placed on my calendar for the next exhibit. Emotions that keep me grounded and serve as a reminder that I'm not in total control of this artist comes from a place deep within, so relax and let it flow.

The top left photo shows boxes on my studio shelf awaiting use while the top right are boxes so generously donated by the Norwood family...thanks guys! Bottom photo shows my dog expressing mixed emotions over the huge bag of boxes being brought into the house...guess I didn't check in with her first.

Each week I'll be sharing some of the process of making a "box art" collage.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Teaching the Teacher

Well, my mother shared some insightful words of wisdom with me the other day. As I was excitedly telling her about experiencing a change in my teaching experience this summer( game was stepped up)she calmly informed me that "that's what teaching is all about." Now my beloved Mom is a retired elementary school principal and prior to that taught in the classroom for many years, so needless to say her words of wisdom go a long way with me. So, if this sensing of ones' skills being elevated to a new level as a result of the interaction with students and support staff...why did this feel so new to me after many years of teaching? If you're expecting a profound answer from me, I'm not sure you'll find it here. The only thing I know for certain is at the end of the summer I experienced a heightened sense of responsibility and honor that comes with the profession that many often respond to with a loud guttural "ugh!" I realize that I've been blessed with the capacity to really enjoy working with children. My students are always greatly appreciated for their honesty(even if I don't want to hear it), humor(nothing funnier than a classroom of kindergartners, for example)and capacity to express their love for you through countless pictures that are thoughtfully executed and left on your desk, hugs, and offers to share their candy(even when they've already bitten into it).

Each day I find myself praying that God will show me how to make art exciting for those I serve. What I now know, is that he's been answering my requests all along and even threw in a bonus of allowing me to experience many "aha" moments that come when the students teach the teacher. Therefore, to God, Mom and my students I respond with a heartfelt "thank you!"

Monday, September 7, 2009

Aaahh! It's Good To Be Back!

Well, after many months away from the good ole' blog site, busy with the May exhibition and teaching this summer...things are winding down and returning to my regularly scheduled program. This summer was a blur but lots of fun with highlights being: all the children home(and boyfriends) for our nephew's wedding in Dayton, Ohio...festivals...driving to Winston-Salem, N.C. to meet friends for the National Black Theatre Festival...the beautiful catalogue that the King Arts Complex provided for the exhibit and the wonderful words shared in statements by Dr. Barbara Nicholson, Executive Director and Ms. Bettye Stull, Curator... closing reception for Evolution of the Girl Child... and Women of Vision coming down from Pittsburgh to join us and the delicious food we had at LaVerne's afterwards.

This summer had me teaching for the first time at the Ohio Craft Museum, which was such a learning experience for me that I felt that I was enriched as an instructor as a result. Was able to chat with fiber artist, LaVerne Kemp a few times during break periods and peaked in on her wonderful felting projects. The kids were fantastic, thanks Ms. Betty Talbott for getting me involved with the program and the wonderful children. Thanks to the Greater Columbus Arts Council(GCAC)and Ohio State University for our Art In the House(AIH) visiting artist, Jingfei Li and Jeff Chan(OSU)
for sharing the art of Chinese kite making with our students in July.
I'm always excited when there's an opportunity to share a new experience with my kids in the AIH program particularly. To actually have Jingfei visit on her tour of the U.S. from the province of Yunan was quite remarkable and memorable! The history behind the kites was very interesting. Thanks Oulanje for the arrangements made in order to get them to us on short notice. We had great fun even though the weather didn't allow us to fly our kites that day!