When an artist works outside the studio it is hard to keep a rhythm in studio creations. As a teaching artist, I am also all over the place with my creative style, medium of choice, and art forms. If I still have any followers, you deserve to know what I have been up to and why it has been so long since I posted here on my nearly-forgotten blog.
This year (June of 2009 to June of 2010) I have taken a series of course weeks and weekends at John Campbell Folk School and one Saturday workshop at Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association- all accumulating to a total of 256 hours training in enameling, calligraphy, watercolors, metal works, machine quilting/embroidery, polymer clay, encaustic painting/collage, book arts, and the art of puppetry. From the variety of class choices it is no wonder that I am not nailed down to a particular interest. This is partially because I teach. My job requires that I have a broad understanding of the creative avenues that could: 1) be used in the classroom to help promote hands-on learning opportunities; and 2) be used in after school clubs to give middle and high school students creative outlets to explore and adapt as hobbies or career choices.
An example of how this training is utilized can be best noted in the weekend course in Coptic Binding (book arts) at JCFS taught by Annie Fain. Approximately 20 of the after school art club members each made a Coptic bound book using old book covers and folded art paper, which they used as a sketchbook and a place to insert artworks throughout the year. Next the art history class made a smaller version to use for recording a master artist research project. Several other classes used my help to make Coptic bound books to use in other lessons. Then near Christmas, several students came to me to show them how to make these special books for gifts for family members. All total, over 100 Coptic bound books were made by students as a result of that one weekend course! Not to mention that my own family received some of my own as art gifts also.
In addition to learning and teaching I have coordinated, managed and attended many art-related fieldtrips and events this year with students and teachers. Some of these include studying architecture and design while touring the Biltmore Estate in NC; learning about Leonardo Da Vinci at the High Museum of Art; seeing the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe put into puppetry arts at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta; presenting (with three students and another teacher) our programs at the annual Appalachian Studies Association conference in Dahlonega, GA; attending (with five students and another teacher) the national annual Arts Advocacy Day presented by Americans for the Arts in Washington, DC; producing (with the help of our Learning Center TEACH Team) a multi-arts experience ART ROCKS event at school for the community featuring: a literary arts showcase, visual arts exhibit and contest, drama and multimedia arts presentation, and a jazz and rock music concert; then led/mentored a group of seven advanced art students in painting a public mural for the community; and finally with a partner arts teacher taught a three week summer arts camp (including a three day visiting artist residency) to finish the school year off.
So now, I look at my long deserted studio and wonder- what do I do now?