Saturday, February 16, 2013

School Daze

looks a little like kindergarten 

in the printing studio

Alena photobombing me!

my color wheel based on a Bauhaus design from 1931.  Pretty cool.

Well, I have been in school for two weeks now.  Sorry that I took this long to write.  It is the nature of things that the more exciting and full and memorable one's time is, the less time one has to write about it.  I have made a little outline for myself so I can remember what I wanted to say and so I can be quick and concise about it.  I could go on and write a novel already, but I won't since I don't have the time and you probably don't either.

This brings up two other issues that I forgot to put on the outline: going faster, and being more organized and to the point.

Anyway, to start at the beginning:

The first days were so exciting.  I was not nervous because I only had myself to please and my only goal was to get as much out of it as I could to push myself along artistically.  Straight away, the people and teachers seemed nice, easy-going, and supportive.  The other students are a mixed bunch- very mixed in age, backgrounds, and ethnicity.  The only uniformity is that (except for one) we are all women.  As usual, there are quiet people, loud mouths, highly competent students who do everything correctly and with ease, and flounderers and flakes.  I would be one of the flounderers.  However, since there are 15 of us that are together in all classes, we have to work together, get to know more than the surface of each other, and hopefully become friends to some extent.  As one of the teachers said, we have to be nice to each other because we don't know who of us will become famous, and we want to be on their good side.

The teachers are all women in their late 30s to mid 50s probably.  They are all artists with eccentric personalities who seem to like teaching, but love doing design and printing more.  Our Colour teacher wants us to have fun and be kind to ourselves.  We will be spending 2 and a half hours monday morning playing with color using gouache paint and our color wheels.  After that, we have her for Fibers, where we will learn about the important features of various fabrics. Some people find this course dull and unnecessary, but it is my idea of fun.

The first day of class she told us how she had a successful business with one of the other teachers, but they were too much alike and when they went to India and Asia on a buying trip, they were having too much fun riding motor scooters and chasing boys, and they stayed too long and spent all their money and gave up the business.  Her advice was to go into business with someone who is different to yourself.  This other woman is our teacher for Design, and for our Printing studio.  She is fun and artsy, and a little bit Rock and Roll.  She doesn't talk a lot but gets very enthusiastic about looking at and producing designs.  We spend SIX hours in the print studio with her every Wednesday and 2 hours with her learning about the elements of design such as value, texture, color, line; and the principles, such as repetition, proportion, harmony and balance.

The other classes are: Drawing - 2.5 hours a week of terrifying, therapy-inducing, ego-challenging pencil and paper calisthenics; Computers - again, all of the above with a mouse and a screen instead of pencil and paper; Designs for Printing where we actually construct and form or images into the final artwork that goes on the screens.

tables for printing 3 meters of fabric

the teacher showing us how to blast the screens

I can't believe I get to spend three solid days a week for a year doing this stuff.  It is scary, sometimes painful, and exhausting.  But, it is also thrilling, endorphin producing, and rewarding.  I have dreamed about doing this for so long that I thought it was just a fantasy or a cop-out excuse for not being satisfied with what I was doing.  I always imagined that if I could get the support, the structure, and the instruction to do and improve my craft, I could really work and produce the kinds of textiles and products that I wanted to, then I would be satisfied and happy.

Now it is actually happening and it does feel really good.  It is a positive, fun, creative thing and it feels like a dream.

That is not to say that it is a piece of cake.  The work load is, as they say, "full on".  The amount of work is compounded by the struggle with old emotional baggage; the voices in my head saying "you are bad at this," "you can't do it," "you can't keep up," etc.  and the other side saying "just do it, "don't give up,"  "do what you like," etc.  There is no way I am giving up, not a chance, but it is exhausting, emotionally, to face these demons.  I have to reprogram my brain to say "Yes, I will make mistakes, but I will learn from them because the goal is not ego judgement, but design production and print work plain and simple."

Part of my hold up is that I am, by nature, a slow moving person.  I am also non-linear (i.e. disorganized).  I don't feel too bad about this because I think there are positive aspects of it.  I like being creative and thoughtful and careful.  However, in order to get as much as possible out of our one year course, and to get us used to the demands of a fast moving industry, we are expected to move fast and absorb and keep track of a multitude of subjects, projects, and tasks.  I am trying to get used to making lists so I can go back to whatever I have missed.  I am working a lot in the evenings to finish what I don't finish in class.  And, really, it wouldn't hurt me to learn to be a little bit faster.

I am also, simply exhausted from so much happiness.  I am not used to being able (in fact, being asked) to focus all day on my own ideas and creativity.  It is a strange feeling.  Lucky me.

just because I always like to show flowers - the lotus blossoms at the botanical gardens

and  I like the lines on this lily

Chinese New Year in the park

and in the QVB shopping center. great lines and shapes for printing inspiration

I cut back my retail job to 2 days, and I have the week-end to do homework and housework, maybe have a little fun going out or to the beach and spend time with my family.  I will also really, really try to write because it is so important to me to chronicle and to share this crazy journey.

I can just see a vague outline of my future self.  It is somewhere in between the linear and the non-linear, the verbal and the non-verbal, the creative and the rational.  It is being formed by what I think, what I do, and what I record.