That’s the Hard Part

January 7, 2018

In 2003, I started writing an art journal to myself, just documenting where I was with certain pieces and shows. I sucked at it for the first two years. I think there’s two entries in 2003 and maybe three in 2004. Then about halfway through 2005, I calendared it. And then started writing weekly because my computer told me to. Occasionally outside stuff slips in, personal life stuff, stuff that doesn’t even make it on the blog. The journal is where I document all the time on any given quilt, plus all the shows I enter and whether I get in or not. I write almost every week…with a few lost weeks due to computer glitches and a few lost weeks due to brain glitches. I started teaching full time in 2003 as well, so there’s documentation of the effect that work has had on my other work. I can search through the main document for mention of the old quilts I just pulled out of the pile to finish…I can find BirdFoot, but not the other one…mostly because (a) if it has a name, I don’t know what it is, and (b) I think it’s older than 2003. Then on top of all that, I’ve been writing the blog since 2004…although again, I didn’t start a regular schedule until 2006 I think.

I’m reminded of all this because this week is the first week of the new year. I used to just keep one huge document, but every time I opened it, it took forever to load, so now I write one year in a document and then add that to the main journal at the end of the year and start a new one. An 11-page document is easier to handle than a 150-page document. I also download a copy of it onto the computer about once a year, just in case the Google Doc (which is where I write now, because I can access it from multiple devices, even if I’m traveling) has some issue and disappears. There’s something important to me about the documentation. I use it a lot to remind myself of how things went, what I was thinking, where I was going.

So where am I at right now, the day before school starts up again? Well my right hand is still speckled orange and red, which will freak my students out (I’m OK with that). The left hand is barely green. I ironed a bit yesterday. I drew a bit yesterday, but more for fun than for an artistic goal. I had a meeting. I’m not ready (I’m never ready…this shouldn’t surprise anyone who hangs out with teachers. We never feel ready. We don’t sleep the night before school starts…sometimes every Sunday night is troubled.). We’ll get some planning time tomorrow, because we’re starting the week with more professional development, so that means we can figure out what the hell we were thinking before break (probably not very coherent thoughts, honestly). I looked at the calendar and my head hurt, so I stopped reading. I need to run some errands today, write warmups for the week, send the parent email, grocery shop, prep lunches for the week, and get my teacher brain out of storage. I can do all of that.

I ironed for a little bit yesterday. The tree leg is horrendously complicated. It’s not hard to do…just time-consuming.

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I went to an art group meeting…so far, being in this group has gotten me into two shows, so I feel good about it. I stitched during the meeting, because I don’t know how to sit still.

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Strangely, now I’m wondering if the face was supposed to be back stitch or running stitch. I finished the Palestrina knots around the body and then started the running stitches.

The meeting was at the Mingei Museum, which is one of my favorite museums in Balboa Park. They’ll be remodeling in 2018 though…so fewer shows. Too bad. They have a great kantha exhibit in there right now, plus a Navaho rug exhibit.

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I had seen this show already, but Arline Fisch is in our group and talked about her work in the museum, which was cool.

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Her wirework is fascinating.

Then I had to hang around for a while in Balboa Park, so I drew in the Sculpture Garden bar area…

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No sunset…too many clouds.

I started working with that skelly back and a front-facing figure, seriously trying to work stuff out, but it quickly devolved into whatever I felt like drawing. Hence the antenna I guess…

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I didn’t really finish, because I had to go wait for my ride. We were going to an opening downtown, so we didn’t want two cars down there (parking is awful) and there was no point in my coming all the way home.

The exhibit was Seeing Is Believing at Sparks Gallery (you can see most of the show at the link) and had some cool work in it…Larry Caveney’s Wonder Woman

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Polly Jacobs Giacchina’s Spiral Progression

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Cheryl Tall’s Couple from Madrid

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and her Horseman.

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Christopher Polentz’s William.

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David Cuzick’s Stop Yelling at Me #2

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Marissa Quinn’s Connection In-Between…

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And Alexander Arshansky’s Life of Pi

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Perry Vasquez’s Florbeza dominates the front window of the gallery…

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It was an interesting show. I went because of the surrealism aspect, although honestly, I’m not sure how surrealist it really was. Lenore Simon’s show is still there, so that was nice. We had a good dinner at the same place we keep ending up at when we’re in that area and then hightailed it back here for an early night. Sleep has been the mantra this break…which should tell me something. But trying to fill weekends with art seeing and making seems like a good goal for the next few months. The stress of work is always there…being able to mentally escape it for a few weeks is a relief. Now to continue that mindset throughout the rest of the school year. That’s the hard part.

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Everything Looks Perfect from Far Away*

October 29, 2017

So grades are due in about a week and a bit. Again. End of the trimester though, so higher stakes. This means I have been grading a lot of stuff. The best line from what I was grading this weekend so far: “Everybody liked him, girls were dying on him, but he did not like any of them. They were all ugly and they did not look cool.” In case you were wondering, he’s writing about his Element Superhero. I don’t remember what element it was, but this was what he cared about in the story he wrote.

I did spend time at the San Diego Museum of Art (the Monets are there!) and the Mingei Museum yesterday with my stitching friends. We attempt these outings occasionally to get together outside of our monthly stitching meetings…and it was good. I have way more pictures than this…I may post more later this week.

This was a montage of some of the really amazing kantha stitching at the Mingei right now. The woman on the left is giving birth…her waters are breaking. And that’s a tiger on the bottom right. Don’t question the spots. He’s a fucking tiger.

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This is a children’s exhibit of Frida Kahlo at SDMA…there was more, but I liked the monkey on the wall. down low where the 2-year-olds could see it.

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At the Mingei…my camel is obviously underdressed compared to this one.

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And Arline Fisch’s wire flowers hanging from the ceiling.

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Then I came home and graded for over 4 hours. Seriously. I did. The plus is I’m almost done grading that assignment from hell. It was great for the kids, great for a learning opportunity, but I basically had to memorize 55 elements and their physical and chemical properties to be able to grade it well. I know more now than I used to. That might be a good thing.

Then I headed out for my regular session of Draws-in-Bars, where I watch that band do their thing and try not to get annoyed by some of the other patrons. Which was harder last night, but eventually got better.

I did this one before dinner arrived…in the mood for Halloween? Might as well start with a skelly.

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And then this one. I really like her facial expression. Those are really hard. And another skelly.

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Anyway. Not a solution to the current drawing issue yet, but it was relaxing. And yes, eventually I put all that away and I danced to the music. Of course, I can’t breathe this morning…not sure if I’m STILL sick or if I’m getting sick again. I’m going for still being in recovery.

I came home and did two nights’ worth on the right…more filler in that cretan stitch.

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A little bit of relaxation, some fun, some educational stuff, some work, some dishwashing happened and a little tiny bit of laundry. Today will be more of the work stuff and less of the fun and relaxation, but that’s always what Sundays look like for teachers. You gotta catch up with everything someday. Well. That’s a joke. I never catch up.

*The Postal Service, Such Great Heights


Allied Craftsmen Today at the Mingei

August 16, 2013

So on Wednesday, Julie, in an attempt to force my brain from its nasty circular crap, took me to see the Allied Craftsmen Today exhibit, which is at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park (San Diego) through January 5, so you still have time to go see it. It is an interesting exhibit with great variety and some awesome and inspirational work. That link to the museum includes links to all the artists, so to save myself some trouble, I send you there if you are more interested in a specific artist.

Of course, I start with the one piece where I didn’t get the artist’s name…and I went through the website and couldn’t figure out which one it was…but it’s what looks like wooden balls the size of bowling balls with stains and paint rubbed onto them and animals wood-burned into the surface. I know there was some reference to constellations as well. If Julie remembers who it is, I’ll edit this.

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Arline Fisch’s crocheted metal neckwear…

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Viviana Lombrozo’s Markings…a quilt that curves out from the wall.

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Kathy Miller’s two pieces Speak Softly to Me

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and Character Map, both using a twine/fiber made from Japanese calligraphy pages.

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My camera was being its usual bad self, by refusing to let me see anything in the viewfinder. Annoying.

Both Miller and Linda Litteral are in my women’s art group, FIG. I recently posted about Litteral’s paintings after a visit to her studio…here is some of her delicate ceramic work that those paintings reference…

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The faces repeat around the bowl as they did around the paintings…

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And the insides are carefully glazed as well. She calls these Possibility Bowls.

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Julie really wanted me to see these pieces by Sasha Koozel Reibstein. This is Inadequate (with thready pulse)…

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and Inadequate (with jagged breath). The ghost image of the ribcage is to show that “we are sometimes inadequately equipped to defend ourselves from emotional blows.”

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Yeah. You got that right. Here is a detail of some of the stitching.

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Truly beautiful work.

I liked the finish on this piece by Warren Bakley…this is Winter Landscape #1. You can’t really tell in the photo, but the glaze is cracked.

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This is Cheryl Nickel’s DNA Mobile

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And Gail Schneider’s animal leg…wish I could tell you which one this is…possibly one of the two Emus?

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Joanne Hayakawa’s Inhale…Exhale…ceramic lung paired with lung formed of thorny rose stems, with a background of drawings related to the lungs.

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Hayakawa also made this Crow Tea II, a tea set with crow as teapot, exploring what the crow means in our culture.

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Is it the harbinger of doom or something else when we drink tea from the crow? As someone who uses crows often in her work, I can tell you they mean many things.

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Jeff Irwin’s Jumping Deer Trophy…a porcelain deer that seems to be made of wood and jumping through the wall.

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Charlotte Bird is in California Fibers with me. This is one of the three pieces she has in the show, Living Fossils 3.

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Julie and I had a discussion about the prevalence of teapots in ceramics…and why. These are seemingly fairly useless as actual teapots, unless you want your tea to fly off without you, which is not to say that they are not beautiful in their own right. These are by Kathy Kapolka Grudzas, who says these are metaphors for the balance in her life.

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Upstairs is an exhibit from the permanent collection of the Mingei of animal art…called Menagerie. These two were perched up high on a divider. They are by Ricardo and Miguel Linares and are called Alebrijes, from a dream of their father/grandfather, Pedro Linares.

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I liked the shape of this bird.

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This is a tapestry woven under the direction of Joseph Domjan. It’s called Fire Peacock and is based on a woodblock that Domjan created.

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The museum had a wall covered with batik tjaps that was nice to look at…

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I have a few of these somewhere in my house that have never been used. I should just hang them on the wall as art.

The Mingei always has great stuff in their shop. The glass reflection on this piece is unfortunate, but really, I just want the story behind it. We have a cobra-like snake tail coming off some sort of demon…the cobra surrounds the head of a woman.

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The demon holds the hands of a child, while standing on the back of a man who is holding the child’s legs.

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Yes, there is a drawing in all that somewhere…but I don’t want to copy it. I just want it explained, and then maybe I will draw my version of the demon pulling people apart.

Julie and I wandered the park a little bit, since it was a nice day. These are cocoons of the caterpillars I saw back in June when I was here for my science program…same bush and everything.

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Most of the cocoons (chrysali?) had already hatched, but there were a few caterpillars who had procrastinated…

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There was also a butterfly or two, but having a shitty camera did not help and they were all blurry.

Christmas gift for Kathy: New functional camera. But I also need a new down comforter. Which one? They cost the same, neither cheap.

Anyway, it was 2 hours where I could think (mostly) about things besides being depressed…although I never seem to leave that behind. It’s always knocking on the door, reminding me that I would have come here with someone else, that something large is missing. I seem to be unable to deal with social situations well…they suck my energy in a disturbing way. I am trying to stay positive about school, since constantly assuming the worst is not allowed, but I feel incredibly drained after social interaction, even in a professional development environment where I don’t even really need to speak. Everyone says I will be better, even using the word “happier” (does such a thing exist?) when school starts. No, I will just be distracted. Maybe that will allow me to recover better…who knows. Maybe I will just come home and crawl into bed, pillow over the head, blocking out the rest of the world. There’s just no way to predict what will happen. I guess my move from negative to positive thoughts includes this intermediary step…from negative to NO thoughts. Positive thoughts require me to have an emotion that just isn’t there at the moment.

It’s a nice exhibit…intriguing and strange and interesting. It’s open until January. Check it out. Good for the happy and sad.