Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Real Scoop

    Thank you , thank you for letting me know that you are my friends and do read. I am usually upbeat and ready to try anything but there was a reason for my whining this time. (yes, I did say this time- I really hate fussing in my kids so I promise to be better.)

This is long but a good story. Fabrics mail ordered from Modern Organic Fabrics.

     The reason. Well, my husband suggested I check out the local art college here to see what they might have to offer, ( He realized it might- at least- last as a diversion for about a week about me yapping about where I am going with this whole art thing-he is very smart.) So, I  checked it out online and decided ok, I 'll see what they might have to offer me. Appointment on Monday with the academic advisor.

     I  was prepared and had intelligent questions and my work in hand for the appointment. I sat there in the waiting room, with two other moms and their sons. My name was called and the advisor said, "Colleen?" and I stood up. He said laughing," I was expecting an 18 year old." Went back in his office and explained why I was there. Figured out that I could take three classes as a guest student without having to formally apply and go through the portfolio process. I questioned him on the portfolio process and what I would have to do. He noticed my bag and asked if I had brought my work. In the same breath , he said he really didn't have anything to offer a quiltmaker. But he asked to see my work. I asked how long the appointment was scheduled for-an hour. So, I spread out my  3 works and he looked at me and said-how about you explain your process. And I did. How about your inspiration? I did that too. Why did you choose these colors or line placement with the stitching? I did that too. He looked at me and said, "It takes guts to come in here cold like this and explain your art . You just did a portfolio presentation. I think you could benefit from these classes . Would you like to see the student work from these classes? " So, I did. I was extremely patient with this young kid showing me around. A little irritated when he asked me if I needed to take the elevator or if I would like to walk a flight of stairs. Yes, a flight of stairs.

    When he was done with the tour, I thanked him. And I told him that he might like to think of quiltmaking as more of an art from now on. He agreed that he definitely would and he would enjoy seeing where I end up after a few classes here.

     I was crushed as I walked away. It wasn't the whole quilt as art thing. I was proud of how I presented myself and my profession. It was the feeling- so old- thing. Of course I knew I was 30 years older than them.  It was the first time I really recognized I am almost 50.  I look at myself and I don't see who I am now. A little grey and a little overweight. I just see who I use to be. I was so sad. Not really about how I look but the old part.   I am not a vain person and don't really think about what I look like all day long. He was rude but I was old. A definite mid life crisis thing. I was sad.

    But, then, it changed. Now, I am slowly realizing there isn't time to waste. I can push myself today and do what I want with my day which is to create with my hands. And the old can be experience. And wisdom. I just need to believe, that no matter what I decide to do, I can do it.  I am really glad I am old and have chosen not to stick one of those round earrings in my earlobe to stretch it out. The earlobe is really going to sag when you add another 30 years of old to it.  My art observation of the day.

    So, thanks for reading this really long explanation of why I was whining. A mid-life crisis.  I will continue to blog. And try to figure out where I am going. Off to sew.

    Be creative, my friends!



  1. Colleen, what an interesting experience, good for you to have the courage to do this! Good job explaining your art! I think as an older person we don't think about that as we go through the day, the fact that people are looking at us that way. If we did we would probably cry. Inside we feel the same as when we were younger. Yes, just create, take a class if it will help you. It might be just what you need. But don't be down on yourself You have so much creativity inside you waiting to come out!

  2. this is really beautiful. i found you through jeana's blog. and i just have to say that as a student who was insanely young in college. my biggest thought was that i hoped no one found out. i hated being different but our local university is very diverse and i always enjoyed returning students, older people, who came back. they added a focus, and experience to a class that no young students could.

    my mom was a stay at home mom my entire childhood. when i was 17, because of my parents divorce she was forced to find a career to support herself. it took years, and a lot of painful interviews and she was often taught by those fresh out of college, but she's excelled at her chosen profession and her younger colleagues now thank her because she is less fearful of situations they shy from (she works in criminal justice)

    life is balance
    and being yourself is beautiful.
    i love your fabrics!

  3. i get it too and while i applaud and commend you for going out there, i personally think you would do just as well on your own.
    what do you think you will gain from the academia that you cannot get through mentors/classes workshops etc?
    i am so aware of how many middle aged people become artists that i never feel inadequate that i am 49 and only have 5 years as a 'real artist' under my belt. yeah there is plenty of youth filling up the art scene but probably just as many if not baby boomers.
    i'd say make a list of what you feel you need to learn and find how to find it out. save yourself money and time and find your way. :)

  4. Gail- yes maybe I will or just buy a used book on amazon on 2d design. :)

    Serena-sooo nice to meet you.

    being different -yes that what doesn't feel good-but that's what we want out of our work, isn't it?

    No where to go but forward! thanks for commenting. very sweet

  5. Paula-yup do the work and find my way. That is my conclusion. it was very expensive and not sure it works in fiber. like I said to Gail -just buy the book or go to the workshop. I am not in to spending more.

    the list needs to be done. Thanks Paula.

  6. there ya go :)
    you have made so many steps in the last year, think about it!!!!
    and a year from now, i know it will double. keep looking and asking and trying. you got that going for you so you aren't going just sit around collecting dust. THAT i know.

  7. I think that is good advice from Paula! It sometimes gets discouraging, but keep working on your ideas. Figuring out what you still want to learn and how you can do that is great advice.

  8. Well, you are certainly not old. First of all, its a frame of mind. If one is 90 and is creative, adaptable and involved, then that person is not old.

    And if you're old, then I'm old. And I'm not old. Having a crisis, yes. Old, no.

    That you were able to walk into that situation and explain what you do is tremendous. You are most definitely moving forward.

    I like Paula's ideas of mentors and workshops.

    And installing a disk is one's ear is just dumb and unattractive. My opinion. But its is good opinion -- a result of experience and wisdom.

  9. It's necessary to know the principles and theories of art in order to apply them to your own work. However you get that knowledge is unimportant, but getting it is. From what I know of your experiences, I think you are well on your way. Getting to the point of intuitively incorporating your knowledge takes awhile ... takes making a lot art and making a lot of assessments about what does and does not work ... and knowing why. It's an ongoing process ... it's a journey ... it's what keeps me going.

  10. Yes -making lots of art can't necessarily be hurried, Nellie! And the journey and process-I need to enjoy the journey. Just excited and wanting it all to hurry up! But knowing it can't.:)

  11. Before I took a class with Nancy Crow, I was skeptical that art could be taught. But I found that one CAN be inspired, informed and pushed beyond one's safety zone into that unknown place where "Art" can occur. After realizing how little I knew, I, too, have debated looking into local art education options.

    It is disheartening to hear that an art school has such preconceptions against any medium, but especially against one as amazingly diverse and exciting as fiber/quilt/textiles. This bias about "real" art is not just a local problem--I know of a couple of students from the School of the Chicago Art Institute who were derisive of ArtPrize, not willing, or even curious enough, to give it a chance. A local art prof (who is probably from the same school you visited) was quite critical of the event in 2009, saying it would be more legitimate if a trained jury decided the outcome. Have you seen the 2d winner chosen this year by the Dean of Graduate Studies from Rhode Island School of Design, one of the top design schools in the country? The choice certainly doesn't lend credence to the idea that academics have better answers. Yet, I do know there are some basic tenets that are important--all the rules are not dispensable, it's knowing when and where to apply them. Some of that we can find out on our own, but what a gift to find someone to help us through the woods.

    One note about age: I went to art school after high school and regret how little I absorbed--probably a combination of my age and the environment, it was a perfect example of "youth is wasted on the young." I needed to learn more about life and what's important before I was ready to get off my duff and explore. Now I try to remember that if I only had a year (but hopefully more:) left to PLAY with art rather than just THINK about it, how lucky is that?

    I appreciate your post. Makes me realize how lucky we are when we do find teachers (and fellow artists) who help keep us fired up. They may be lurking inside art schools, but it will take some work to find them. Until then I'll follow YOUR advice --Work -work!