Friday, January 11, 2013

Art Blog: Full Circle

As I get older, I see the pieces of the puzzle coming together. When you start to work on a 1000 piece puzzle, you start with the edges. You get the perimeter. You frame it. I did that decades ago. I am a lucky girl. I know how I got my creativity and spirit to MAKE. When I was a very young child, I would hang around with my dad. He was a maker. He would use all kinds of materials to make stuff. It was very low brow stuff like upholstered vinyl plaques or chairs. He loved black and red vinyl with lots of big, silver rivets. Even though I was preschool age, I remember watching him work with awe. It was during these years, I was putting down the pieces of the puzzle frame. It was already boxed in before I was five years old.

When I started school, I went to a school right across the street from my house. It was Thorne Elementary School on Pennie Street in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.

This was so lucky. I think I got a great experience from grades K-3. However, the most important thing was the after school activities they offered. Mind you, this is around 1960ish. It is totally "old school", pun intended. Behind the facade of this school was an art shed. After school, kids could go there and meet with the recreation arts and crafts person. You could tell them what you wanted to create and they would give you supplies for a nickel or dime charge. These art people were teenagers with an after school job. I loved them. So, I would head over to the art shed each day after school. We could make all kinds of stuff. I loved pouring plaster into tiny rubber molds and painting the "sculptures". Another option was using "gimp". I never heard of that word until adulthood when I got to Florida. In Michigan we just called it "plastic lace" for key chains and such. It doesn't matter what you call it, I became obsessed with braiding, knotting, weaving or whatever with plastic lace. Again, it was a simple craft. It was low brow. At that time, I didn't care. I was MAKING and it was fun.

Then there were years and years of high art. I was involved in fancy, smancy openings, great gallery shows, commissions, and gallery sales. I am a lucky girl. I have had such a great art life. However, there is a time you might get in your art life when you long for those days of being happy just to CREATE. There are no deadlines, expectations, competition, or standards. You just want to feel that feeling of being six years old and making a lanyard and being so proud.

If you read this blog, you know I just got a new job. I am not teaching college level anymore. Nor am I teaching school at any level where you are bound to standards, rules, assessments, and curriculum dogma. NO. I found a job working in the field of recreation. I work with at-risk kids who are learning a trade, but need a break "after school". They come to my room to MAKE stuff. It is not hoighty toighty. It is low brow for sure. However, WE are having fun creating. This is what it is all about. The puzzle is starting to be filled in and I see the whole picture.

In the meantime, we are having lots of fun using gimp, pouring plaster, drawing, painting, etc. just to express ourselves.
Isn't that what it is all about?
In other words, things have come FULL CIRCLE for me.
I can introduce young people to the thrill of making, yet be happy enough to realize the joy of creating in this last chapter of my own art life. It is all good.
The puzzle is being completed.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Art Blog: GOOD Art

OK. Enough of the job stuff. I have a steady income again and I am ready to roll back into my art world. What is next? My mind has been swirling with ideas. I have so much to do. I have already decided to ditch a few of my series and do what I really want to do. I can feel new things coming.

As usual, I have pondered, wondered, and thought about my art too much in the past months. I am like that. I think too much. However, it serves a purpose. It helps me to figure out the next steps in my artistic path. Now that the dust is settling in my new transition, it is time to get to work on my art life. What should I do now?

Today is my day off. I was having fun playing with my dog on my bed. While wrestling and poking my playful attack dog, I looked up at my crazy quilt. I bought this quilt eleven years ago. It is dated 1903. Every square has the initials or name of the quilter. My eyes focused in on one square. It was like I had never seen it before. I imagined the "artist" who created this square. She signed it "M.E.D.". I wondered about her. I also noticed her square was so different from the others.

So here I am in 2013 looking at a tiny quilt square made by a woman in 1903. I am mesmerized. I analyze. I see the WOW. Then, it all came tumbling down. I get it. This is what GOOD ART is supposed to be. It is about the legacy. It is about seeing something you have never seen before even after years of looking. It is about making things that delight you and others. It is something that will be there when you are gone.

M.E.D. You are dead now, but I thought about you.
I love your quilt square.
You did good. :-)