Friday, April 24, 2009

Art Blog: Our ROOTS

Once I became an “official” artist with degrees, bodies of work, and art sales, I would also teach workshops or classes at art centers. This is how this teaching thing started. I would make art every day and then go teach a class or two on the weekends. This would help me get out of my studio, bring $$$ into my life, and allow me to teach the world about “HIGH” art! I concentrated my teaching lessons to all things related to NY/World contemporary fine art. That’s it! LOL You see, I had M.F.A. syndrome. This is when artists have a bad case of “Highfalootinitis”. I would never, ever, ever teach anything that was unworthy of my fine art world.

As the years have rolled on, I have changed. I have seen the light. I realize now I need to teach kids what they are interested in learning. I have taught severely emotionally disturbed students for 16 years. They don’t give a flying flip about Picasso or Puryear or any other high end, “famous”, modern/contemporary artists. They don’t. That is not about their world.

This change in me started with plastic lace. All the doors at my workplace are locked for security purposes. I have a whole ring of keys I carry each day. I saw some plastic lanyard lace and remembered how I made key chains as a child. I bought some to make a key chain for all my teaching keys. The kids went wild. They yelled, "I want to make that too!" So I bought more plastic lace (Some places they call it “gimp” and others they call it “boondoogle”.) Whatever you call it, it made my life so much happier and easy. The kids glom onto this stuff. They want to MAKE something. They are so focused while they are creating and feel so proud when it is done. There is this look on their faces that says "I made this!". I understand that look. This sounds good to me!

I started thinking about all this. I was amazed for a moment. Then, I remembered. This is how I got my start. When I was a very young girl, I lived right across the street from my elementary school. When the school was closed, there was a shed out back. It was the “Art Shed”. You could go there and buy supplies to make a project. The cost back then was minimal. I would take a quarter and purchase my supplies. I would then sit for hours and make SOMETHING! I couldn’t have been happier.

Thinking of these memories, I remembered the stuff I used to do. I would make little plaster sculptures poured into rubber molds. I would make fiber potholders all day long. My grandma had them all over her kitchen. As I reminisced, I realized these stupid, simple projects formed my roots. There is nothing wrong with just making things. I did all this as a child. I turned out just fine! LOL

When I was such a little girl, I made all kinds of crafty things. I wanted to MAKE stuff! It is just fine and dandy to encourage kids to do simple projects like this. You never know.
They might just turn into an artist like I did! LOL


Miriam's Art Journal BLOG said...

Oh Sheree....loved this post! I just reached that type of realization with my kids as always, love your words.


Claudia Olivos and Sergio OlivosM said...

I also love teaching kids of all ages! Love to introduce them to everythingfrom charcoal and acrylic on canvas.. to art with found objects ...someprojects don't even make it out of the studio in one piece: it is the process that is so much fun,engaging and a great learning experience!

Sheree Rensel said...

I am so glad you have realized this. Kids need to be kids. I was a kid once. I did silly, creative crafts. There is nothing wrong with that. With time, we grow. Just being creative in any way is the SEED.

Sheree Rensel said...

I would never say I love teaching with the amount of enthusiasm you express. LOL I don't. However, I teach 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 180 days per school year. These numbers tend to jade you. I admire your enthusiasm. I believe you are a marvelous teacher! It is hard to keep that verve when you do it every day all year long. If you ever did this full time, you would understand what I mean. I am not complaining. My teaching job brings great things to my life. Sometimes, it is hard though. :-)

Diana said...

I started that way too, with plastic lanyard lace. I didn't remember what it was called. Thanks for the memories!

I wish I could teach art. I don't know where to begin.