Tell Me Why It’s So*

Hey. First Friday of the school year. I’ve almost survived the first week. It’s gonna be a challenging year. Which is why I’ve come home every single day and launched myself into artmaking as soon as I could. I’ve walked dogs and gone to the gym and done some ball throwing and general lying on the floor so dogs could check in, but mostly, I’ve come home and made art. Luckily there’s been food in the fridge, so I haven’t had to do a lot of cooking.

And some time Wednesday night, my brain released most of the crap about AQS and their statement (I had already released the censorship part…it’s just irritating stupid crap that I will keep running into as long as I make the art that’s in my head). I’m in serious Fuck You mode on all of it now. I briefly considered making a quilt of a certain AQS high muckymuck with a penis coming out of her head, and then I grew up and continued on.

OK. I still have that image in my head, but I don’t have to make that quilt. Honestly, I don’t have time. And I don’t care enough about it to do that. I have a million other deadlines I’m dealing with right now, and I want those quilts NOT to be reactions to this, although the censorship angle…it works for a show I’m hoping to be in next Spring. So maybe that’s where I go. I was going that direction anyway. Honestly, so much of my work is feminist and/or based on women’s lives and experiences, that all this focus on a penis that was never there is kind of a slap in the feminist face. Or a highly amusing, ironic event that got my work some eyeballs they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. So there we are. Come for the imaginary penis! Stay for the real art!

This is how I keep my head straight. Well, as straight as it ever is.

Yeah, I saw SAQA’s statement. I saw it ahead of time. I honestly think they are trying to make all this work. I really really don’t want them to pull the whole exhibit because of this. And I am still concerned, because I think my work will still be an issue…and I know that because it’s pretty recognizable, there are probably jurors who will see it and think, um, do I want a Nida quilt in this show? And they’ll decide no. But they probably would have said no anyway. So thanks to the jurors who say yes. And I’m OK with the jurors who say no because it doesn’t fit. Because that happens. But yeah, the gut is still concerned. The brain has a tiny bit that worries all the time. Well. A not-so-tiny bit. I’ve told it to shut up and have a margarita and get back to me when it wants to worry about real shit, like paying for college.

I do exhibit in art shows too…but that’s a challenge as well. So. I guess I’m up for some more challenges. Bring it.

If it seems like I’m ironing all the time at the moment, it’s because I am. I have not organized this for two days. Wait. That’s not true. I organized it right before I started ironing because I couldn’t find anything.

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And it’s messy again. That’s my real issue with cleaning.

Kitten sat in the box and squished all the pieces down. I kicked her out, turned around, and she was back in it. Sigh. So it looks like less than yesterday, but I did all that detail stuff…hearts and veins and tattoos and lungs and hair and I don’t even know what else. A knife.

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I still have a rocket to do (they keep showing up in the last few quilts)…and the top part of the main figure’s face, because it’s not flesh colored. And then the clouds and everything (fucking tiny pieces) in them. So I realized this morning I really only have about 150 pieces left. I can do that. Not right now. Even though I’m already exhausted. And it’s morning and I have to get through a Friday with 140 7th graders on their first real lab day. Yeah. I’ll be FRESH when I get home. And after I go hang out with gamer buddies and maybe play games. Uh huh. No really. I usually do work on Friday nights too.

It’s a big quilt. Not as big as the last one. Taller than I am. Not that that means much.

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My students make cover pages for each science unit, and I always do one too. The girlchild says this is weirder than usual. The snake happened because I had this empty space and the kids said, “you’ve been talking about snakes getting loose all week…where’s your snake?” So I drew one. But he was up in the air, so he needed wings. And then he was too fat in the middle, so he must have just eaten. Probably shouldn’t fly so soon after eating.

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I kept calling the mad scientist female, and they were convinced it was a man. Oh my. Well we will have to change some of that shit this year. Yes children. Girls SCIENCE. That’s why she has pink pants. Because I would never wear pink pants, but in their minds, a male never would either, so they HAVE TO SEE HER as a woman. And I didn’t even give her boobs and a uterus. Ha! Yes. I think that hard about what I teach and how I teach it.

So today, we will science. And hopefully I will have more patience than yesterday.

The dogs aren’t helping. This is a brief moment of quiet truce. Otherwise it’s been chaos.

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I love making art. I love drawing. I love picking fabrics. I love ironing it all together and seeing the image appear. I love adding the stitching line and waiting for the official photographs. I love coming home almost every night and coming in here to iron or sew, or sitting on the couch with a pile of pieces that need to be cut out or with a binding that needs sewing. That’s the shit I need to remember. I love all that more than I love mailing it off for a show. Really. I do.

Thanks again for all the comments. I’m buried and overwhelmed with trying to answer all of them, but know that I’ve seen them. And they mean something to me.

*Tom Waits, Tell Me

4 Responses to Tell Me Why It’s So*

  1. Janice says:

    I thought the SAQA response was wishy washy. I know they want venues and if have understood previous posts they give AQS option if removing items prior to show. If that is the case then they should not have removed your work

    Like

  2. I don’t see a good reason to grow up. Go with the penis head quilt! Is revenge quilting a thing?

    Like

  3. Jenni Brown says:

    Oh how I wish my 11 year old, art-loving daughter had you for her science teacher 🙂

    Like

  4. Maddie says:

    “Come for the imaginary penis! Stay for the real art!”

    This is the best! I think we need tshirts with this quote on it

    Like

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