The Room Was Humming Harder*

How not to start your Saturday morning, the first day of the weekend: interacting with the DMV website. Just don’t do it. Don’t try to be efficient and get the new ID now, because you know your driver’s license is up for renewal and that way you won’t have to do it again before 2020. Because you’ll have to take a day off work to do it, if you’re a teacher. So renew online now (after fighting their stupid registration system) and then renew again in the summer! Because that’s not a waste of time and plastic and aargh resources. I hate this shit.

But the girlchild is messaging me from Madagascar, so that’s cool. And I’m going to the zoo today, so that’s nice. And I will have to work today and tomorrow, BUT! I finished tracing Wonder Under last night on the new quilt, so that’s awesome. Actually, tracing is pretty calming and meditative, so I only really mind it if my feet are tired.

I came home yesterday and walked the little dog. I think we both needed it. He was so excited. It’s been a while. School is just not conducive to stuff afterwards sometimes. I did stay a little late at school, because Monday is Day 2 of labs, and after having to deal with lame lab results all day, we tested our calcium chloride and realized the old unsealed stuff really wasn’t working. So I cleaned mine all out and then set up for Monday, so I wouldn’t have to stress as much…also because I have morning and afternoon duty every day starting Monday (oh what fun). All I have to do is pour out the new CaCl and everything will be ready. All good.

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I am no longer anywhere near caught up with grading. I think we thought we’d get some time this last week to grade while kids did stuff, but after the first day of interest in the topic, those who are lazy as fuck and would really rather pick their noses than complete things were behavior issues and I spent a lot of time managing them. On these larger projects, even though we break them up into really user-friendly to-do lists and rubrics, there’s very little understanding of “I didn’t finish that yesterday, so I have to finish it today.”

It can be very frustrating. But more labs Monday. Hopefully reading instructions will go better as well. Also a difficult thing.

So I really needed this walk. I needed a longer one, but puppy isn’t good at those without Calli (who was at her dad’s house)…plus it was close to sunset. I’m still wary of the coyotes…as well I should be…they’re everywhere.

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So I was in this exhibit for Martha Sielman’s art quilt book series, in the People and Portraits book, and the exhibit started at IQF in Houston back in 2013 and then traveled all over the place, but when it got to Grand Rapids, Michigan, all hell broke loose, some woman imagined a penis in my quilt (there wasn’t one), and both quilts got pulled from the rest of the exhibit run. As part of the exhibit, they asked us to make a small sample quilt (I think this is like 11″ square) for a book where people could touch the pieces and see construction. I made this uterus in the hand (of course) and it then disappeared…I wondered about it briefly and then wasn’t sure who to ask about it, until I got an email earlier this week asking if I wanted to pay to ship it back to me, or (what they really wanted us to do) if I could donate it to the Texas Quilt Museum. Yeah, well, I’m pretty sure the TQM wants nothing to do with my uterus quilt, so I offered to pay to ship it back, but Martha is awesome and has been very supportive during this invisible penis crap, so she shipped it back to me. (The show and this little uterus were actually at the TQM in early 2014.)

I was expecting it to be dirty and maybe even looking a bit ragged after 4 years of travel and touching, but either people are scared to touch uteri (a possibility), or it travels well. It’s in great shape. I’m going to take the interfacing sleeve off that they used to put it in the book and pop it on Etsy, I think…just to see if someone wants it. It’s got a little fetus in there as well…gotta take a better-lit picture of it first.

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It’s nice to see my stuff wears well. I don’t make a lot of little pieces any more. I made some for a while, birds and cats, and sold a bunch to people I know, but the market was saturated. I like the speed at which I can make smaller pieces, but I also like the immersion of a big piece. It’s like reading a long book…I love being hooked for days on the story and the characters, completely sunk in the experience.

After dinner and some space-out time with a puppy in the crook of my knee (he was very happy there)…

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I went back to this and traced the last 100 pieces. It’s just short of 5 yards of Wonder Under there…

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It was close to midnight by then, so I didn’t start cutting yet. Maybe tonight. It was just over 9 hours of tracing…I suspect it’ll be about 5 hours of cutting, so that means I should be ironing to fabric hopefully sometime this week. It also means I have to clean up the studio and put away all the old fabrics from the last quilt…maybe I should do that today just to get a head start. I know this week coming up has way too much going on…meetings and gaming and tutoring and 2-hour staff meetings…fun stuff. The fabric part is fun though…

Meanwhile I’m waiting on a connection for this show where we pair up with a male artist to see what we have in common artistically, as part of opening a conversation about women in art. Some part of me gets irritated that we still have to do that, but then I think back to my professors at UCI…all the art professors but two were male. I got along with one of the females, but the other was either completely absent from our class and let the TA handle it (male TA) or she was a dismissive wench. I purposely did this painting of a giant penis to try and get her to respond (I’ve always had authority issues, what can I say?).

Art classes in college…I look back at those that were the most helpful…the professors who forced us to be creative even when we didn’t feel that way, who made us talk about our work, who talked about their own work in a real way, like how do I go home and do this every day, how do I find the space and time and balance? There wasn’t a lot of that. I remember getting into an argument with one professor who wanted me to show up during the day, but I was a double major, so I had overlapping classes across campus. I had picked Independent Study for that reason. She didn’t know I was showing up every night at 10 PM and staying until 2 AM, until she realized all the work I had sitting on the racks drying (ceramics class). She wanted me to interact with the other students though, so I had to try to do that. But I was very much in my own head even then. That’s been a useful skill, because honestly, I don’t have a lot of interaction with other artists living out here in East County and working in fabric. I get more of that interaction online. Like minds populating the world, but not my neighborhood.

And I’m OK with that. But I have a troubled response to the male/female artist inequality. I guess that makes this show useful. We’ll see. One on one, the relationship of a male and female artist, our art speaking to each other…that’s pretty easy. I don’t know if it solves the larger problem, though, because I don’t know that it’s the artists who are willing to show with us who are the issue…or society in general, the larger structure of the art world, the male artists who think we’re better at babymaking? Anyway. Something to think about…to ponder.

But for now, I’m going to ponder breakfast…a shower…and zoo animals.

*Annie Lennox, A Whiter Shade of Pale