Archive for the ‘teaching’ Category

the loss of civility…

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

bloomin’ peony

Yesterday I was reminded why I quit the lecture circuit. I really enjoyed speaking to guilds and groups for the years I did it; until I didn’t. I remember exactly what group I spoke to when I decided to stop. I told people I was no longer giving lectures because of the wear & tear on my body. In reality it was the wear & tear on my nerves that did me in.

I was reminded yesterday as I bore witness to what happened to me, happening to another speaker. I was present to hear a 90 min lecture on trash & recycling, given by an employee of the garbage hauler. Her job is to educate communities and companies about sorting their trash, compost & recycling, to ease the demand on the public landfill, which is filling at an alarming rate.

The landfill was rapidly filling before the rash of wildfires and floods, where hundreds of homes were destroyed; and their contents dumped there. Since I have become obsessed with plastic in our oceans and on our beaches, I wanted to hear what this woman had to say.

She started by saying she would take questions after her presentation. She had not said two sentences when someone interrupted her with a question, then another, then another, then side conversations. She reminded the group of seniors that she would take questions after the presentation. She started in again. A guy interrupted asking if she really thought anyone was going to read this brochure of garbage policies? Then continued to rail her about how stupid it is for a corporation making millions of dollars to hope that educating people about garbage is just that, garbage.

And what about the Mexicans, another woman shouted. They don’t sort their trash, she said, adding she was not racist.

The speaker continued, slightly rattled. Another interruption, and another, and another. One woman pointed out that she could improve her presentation with a handout, to which the speaker told the woman she was holding the handout! It just went on and on and on.

I found myself getting upset by all the interruptions, and also by the speaker, unable to ‘control’ the room. My thoughts migrated from trash talk to anger over the lack of civility in the room. Perhaps a whip and a chair was necessary?

What really annoyed me was how do two generations (the “greatest” and the boomers) who were raised to be so friggin’ polite, courteous and considerate behave like a bunch of spoiled children in a public forum? Since when has a lecture become a public discussion group? A lot of the questions people peppered the speaker with were answered in her presentation, had they only listened.

Some might blame our current administration, which granted has done nothing to encourage public civility. But my last lecture was 7 years ago when this behavior first began to annoy me.

The last time I gave a lecture was in a college town to a group of quilters about photo editing. Everyone in the room was an expert on the subject and they interrupted me constantly. I began to question why they even came to hear me when they were all experts? I decided right there at the podium, that I was never going to do this again. And I blamed it predominantly on this being a college environment. Little did I know…

Yesterday I learned it is not just the millennials, it is pervasive in our society. Perhaps the old folks have lost their ability to communicate as much as the kids never learned it in the first place. We have lost our ability to communicate with civility. What a sad situation.

The conclusion I came to from yesterday’s meeting is I will continue to conserve, recycle and use as little plastic as possible. I will not become an activist though. It just makes me too angry. I don’t want to spend the rest of my days arguing in public with people who just don’t listen.

I’d rather go into a quiet room, turn on some music and make art.


getting caught up…

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

painted-linens-100811The past month has been a whirlwind!

I finished, sold and installed the two Vineyard pieces with a new collector.  And I designed two other small pieces including Keeping Up Appearances #6 which is a donation to the annual Arts Guild of Sonoma REPO fundraiser. The requirement is all artwork must be made of 75% recycled materials. Since I use vintage linens in much of my work that was not as much of a challenge as it could have been. The background fabric is a vintage handwoven cotton metallic tablecloth upon which I screen-printed text. The piece is 14″ x 14″.

I received word that Morning Smoothie sold through the Tasty! fundraiser at the San Jose Museum of Textiles and Quilts. And Currents #21, 22, 23 have found a new home in Sonoma.

I am about to start another small piece for exhibition while simultaneously reviewing my retrospective lecture for a gig mid-March.  And then (drumroll) I will begin a new exciting and challenging collaborative project. More to come on that…

Meanwhile back at la casa…After procrastinating for well over a year I made a promise to self the end of 2013 to get on with the kitchen remodel. So I have spent most of this month shopping in person and online for appliances, countertops, backsplash materials, paint, etc etc etc.  The decisions have been made, the contractor and subs are all lined up and I am feeling excited.  Before now all I could focus on was the inconvenience yet now I am ready not only for the upgrade but for the clearing of the brain space that this renovation has occupied for far too long.


on jury process…

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Yesterday I had the privilege of being a juror for “Out of the Comfort Zone: New Directions in Quilting” which will exhibit March 2-July 29, 2012 at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, CA.  It was a wonderful process, a lot of fun and an interesting observation of my own artistic process.

Much of the work submitted for the exhibit was designed by quilters who had made the transition from traditional to ‘art quilts’  but not to professional presentation. With no desire for being so, early on I became the ‘quilt police’ as the borders and bindings choices and constructions drove me to distraction often being so wrong for the piece.  Beautiful design and imagery were completely lost when misshapen, poorly sewn and often bizarre color choices were attached to the outside edges with the idea that each piece must have these. They need not!

The finishing alone separated the women from the girls in this exhibit with just one male entry. Those whose work bore neither  bindings nor borders and those whose work did but completed with precision and professionalism really stood out for me.

As I wrote my jurors statement I pondered how truthful I should be! Should I write all pretty and rosy as some do or should I be straight with them?

The truly gratifying part of the experience is how far I have come and how much I have learned and implemented in my own transition from quilter to visual artist. Yes, honesty is important!

time management again…

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

One of the things on my pre-surgery  list has been to  flesh out two of my five lectures.  With one finished I am hard at work on the other. All five lectures have been given numerous times so it is indeed time to freshen.

Initially I was scheduled to deliver one in mid-November but when my surgery was postponed to October 17th I had to also postpone that lecture. Still I thought it would be of great benefit  to have this tedious task done before surgery rather than procrastinating on it afterwards.

I am just now back to work on it after taking a 2 pm lunch break. I meant to eat an hour ago but kept putting it off as I copy-pasted.  I know now  it was a very prudent option to work on it sooner over  later. I cannot imagine being able to sit at the PC for hours on end after having my knee replaced.

Revising a PowerPoint is both fun and arduous. The artistic creative side of it is great fun and I continually get lost in the play. I am forever adding a key point here or there which in turn means it has to be copied to many more pages. Then I keep re-arranging the order of pages. As I shuffle through the presentation suddenly I come across a page that I moved but not updated. It seems the more I do to flesh it out, the more work I am creating for myself!!! If this were me 20 years ago I would have gone all the way through making one particular change, then all the way through making the next change. Instead the right brain is riding high in the saddle on this one plugging in images here, and text there ad nauseum with no concern to continuity. That’s when it hit me that this is going to take twice as long to do as my former left brain self would have allowed.  So this  becomes a 100 hr prep  for a 1 hour presentation.

But that’s okay…if I weren’t doing this I might be fretting about going under the scalpel again. Right now…who has the time?!

5 enlightening days in denver…

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

I am back from Denver where I taught a seminar on juried exhibits (4 times in 2 days) at the annual SAQA conference. It was great fun, insightful, enlightening and exhausting all rolled up in one tidy 5 day package.

Last spring SAQA put out  a call for teaching proposals at their 2011 conference to be held at the Brown Palace Hotel.  Having taught solely at the regional level, I applied for my own artistic growth. My proposal was accepted and I was elated.

I delivered this same PowerPoint in the fall at the Petaluma Art Center; the class was 45 mins. Shortly after I heard from SAQA that my seminar was to be 90 minutes!  So I procrastinated for at least 3 months and finally fleshed out the talk to double the length and triple the information. Ah success.

It all went well. I addressed a wide range of audience from those who had never entered a juried art quilt exhibit to those whose work hangs in NY galleries.  I enlightened some while others enlightened me. It was overall a wonderful experience.

In between I re-acquainted with friends and other artists and met new ones. I really enjoyed deep discussions with two artists who have done or are about to do the same courageous and creative excavation work than I have in my TG series. I listened to some powerful lectures & interesting panel discussions and gleaned from my roomie Franki Kohler some of the nuggets she  got from the breakout sessions she attended. The theme for the conference was visioning. Speaker after speaker addressed their own process for their creative vision. 

I gained incredible insight for the future of my Tall Girl exhibit.  For some time I have grown weary of telling the tale but still feel the work has  importance and carries a good social message; it needs to be out in the world yet I have no desire to accompany it.

So I decided to develop a DVD that is circulated to school districts. A brilliant and doable idea!  All along I have felt a calling to share this powerful work. Further I am going to research donating the entire series to a museum when I am through exhibiting it.

As one who sets annual art goals I was quite smitten with the report on Regina Benson’s marketing strategy. It seems she set her long term goal and continues to make, show and market her work from that point to the present. In other words, making an end goal rather than an annual goal. As I ponder that I realize some of the things I do now might not really serve my long-term goal!  Brilliant.

As a long time believer in creating one’s own reality I found this topic fascinating.  And if I had not actually believed it I had an instant reminder.

Saturday afternoon when my last class was finished and the adrenaline left my body, I was exhausted. My eyes were aching/burning and my body just spent. I had however been drinking gallons of water to keep hydrated at the high altitude so I was in basic good shape,  just pooped. I predicted to my roommate that before I got home I imagined I would either burst into tears or sustain an injury.

Careful what you envision…after arriving at Oakland airport I slung my heavy bag into the trunk because I was too impatient to wait 30 seconds for my husband to walk around the car to help me and pulled a muscle in my back. :0(

So this week, beyond the icing I need to ship the Tall Girl exhibit off to OH for its next exhibit, see a guy about a new knee and get back into the studio. I am so ready!

The photos are for those who  care only about the weather!!!

back on the hamster wheel…

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Years ago a favorite yoga teacher said it takes as long as an event to recover from said event. At the time it applied to my physical recovery from being primary caregiver to a dying friend for 20 months. Of course months passed and eventually I felt like myself again. And then I forgot about it…

Until I came home from 11 glorious days in France.  I figured it would take me about 9 days to adjust to the 9 hour time difference. And it was a true nine days before I was not falling asleep at 8:30 pm. But  it was exactly 11 days from when I arrived home when I felt the vacation calm leave my body. It was both weird and wonderful.

It was weird as I actually felt the change in my energy.  And it was wonderful because I was conscious enough to notice it.

So now 19 days after I came home from a glorious relaxing trip to France I am back on the hamster wheel.  I am no longer waking up when it is still dark and  drifting off at dusk.  Suddenly I have too many things to do in a short amount of time.

Truth be known I knew this was coming. I had seen it on the calendar since January. And I was prepared in many ways and yet one more thing was tossed into the mix and soon I was back on the hamster wheel.  Relief is in sight… well really around a corner and down the bend but close enough to be serenading me.

Until then I am unpacking and repacking the Tall Girl exhibit to ship to its next venue, the Park National Bank Gallery at UCClermont College in Batavia Township, OH.    I am packing Upheaval #4 to ship next week to the Arvada Arts & Humanities Center in Arvada, CO for the first of 3 exhibits in the next year.    

I have finished rehearsing my lecture which I give 4 times next weekend at the SAQA conference in Denver.    I have figured out what clothes to take and made a last minute run to the cleaners.   

I continue to do my 5 knee exercises, 10 reps, 3 times a day before I see the surgeon when I get back from Denver.     I am processing work to take to a new gallery this weekend.    And I managed to cram 30 minutes of backstroke and cardio into this  morning.    Oh and I have an artists’ reception for the 2011 fiber show in Berkeley this evening at ACCI.    As well as a half-stitched piece on the machine which I would like to finish this weekend so the remaining stitches resemble the first  half.  When I finish that I can pack!

Remind me next time I take a wonderful vacation to schedule it during a time of year when nothing else is happening so I can enjoy the afterglow a bit longer…

The top image is a detail of papier mache piece  from the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris.