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.