Saturday, January 25

Cold... but warm

This winter is so long and dark. Despite my northern ancestry, my blood longs for the Mediterranean.

I had a beautiful morning tessellating patterns for block printing with my adult students at Fleisher. The snowy afternoon chased away my teens, and only 2 showed up for class. But that's special too- having a chance to connect one-one-one with young people who would normally speak barely 2 words to an adult. I wonder if my elementary students connect to their classroom teachers the same way as they do with me in art. Is it art? Is it me? I seem to get their smiles and hugs and best behavior more often than not. It's a privilege to share their joy and creativity and growth.
Yesterday morning after we said the pledge all together in the cafeteria at school, a first grader took my hand and held it as we walked up the stairs with her class. In the evening I went shopping at Old Navy and one of my (sometimes challenging) 3rd graders was there. He rushed over to hug me, and I got to tell his mother how wonderful he'd been doing in class that morning. She looked so happy and relieved- I don't think she hears good things very often from his classroom teacher. I have so many moments like these that fill me up.

I get impatient sometimes for my studio, my needle and thread and cloth and paint and dye. But what's the most effective means of making a better, more beautiful world ? Filling it with beautiful objects that may last beyond my lifetime fills me with some satisfaction of eternity.. or at least longevity. But being a positive element in children's and people's lives, connecting them with creativity, helping them be better communicators of ideas, encouraging them to be empathetic, attentive, and careful may have greater reach in the world.
But I still have to stitch and draw and paint and print.

Wednesday, January 22

And more snow days...

I've been hibernating some more. In the studio it's been slow going on the blue monster, interspaced with more watercolor geometries. I also started binding the edges of my urban sampler that was finished a few months ago but never bound. It's too cold there to be terribly productive. We had another snow day today. Strange to feel weekendish on a Wednesday, but I slept in... had breakfast at lunchtime... shoveled out my car to be ready in the AM... and decided to stay home and paint instead of trying to go the 1 mile of icy road to the Papermill. That's just laziness really.
 I searched around for india ink to no avail... since moving into the studio last year there's a dearth of art supplies at home. But my trucky little Schminke watercolor set was handy for some sketchbook work. I was given this watercolor set by my former classmates from the lycee in France the year I spent abroad when I was 16. I think it might be the best present I've ever received. All those lovely young French people whose names and faces have faded from memory (Regis and Claire- where are you now?) knew even then that I was an artist.
 I have a few images pinned to my Patterns pinterest board that I've been meaning to sketch and paint. So I filled the spread of my sketchbook (oh thank you Michelle for the most beautiful sketchbook I could have ever asked for) by simplifying and combining some of the patterns. This looks like broken down tile, revealing plaster and grate..
It's so nice to paint. It's faster than stitching. But the repetitive focus of painting these circles and tiny diamonds and the patience required for watercolor mirror my embroidery so well. It's all layers and watching something unexpected happen, watching it grow under the brush.
Back to school tomorrow. I will have to wait till I'm very old to live the studio life I think. In the meantime, I'm thankful for unexpected snow days.

Monday, January 6

Snow days

 Winter break is just about over. It has been ever so wintry. Snow is beautiful... and annoying... but mostly beautiful.
 The snow hushes the city. Nobody wants to drive. All you hear is the crunch of your boots.
 Icicles grew to massive proportions the day after the storm. Its a marvel that there is melting even in below freezing temperatures.
 I've been trying to spend lots of time at the studio despite the cold. It only made it up to 41 degrees there today... here's my studio wall:
I've been moving between little geometric watercolors... vibrating circles... and quilting the blue monster (still). I wish I could just be there every day. Something different would develop. We underestimate what happens during sustained time.Time to think, absorb, reflect, encounter chance. When I only go in for a few hours and stitch- it's too direct.
But little children await me this week. 500 pairs of bright eyes and eager hands and imaginations. It's a different kind of development. The paint and cloth will wait for me.