wonder box

Work on the wonder box continues. This week’s adventures include final tweaks to the cyclorama, paint, light tests, stars…

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…and, soon, using these materials I ‘bought’ during a walk in the park (seen here in the bag and bucket)

Question: Let’s say you stumbled across a plain black box in an art museum that turned out to be a magic portal to a July night. Would you want to share that experience with others? How would you most like to share? Or would you want to keep it a secret for yourself?

This is for you: Children, art and gifting.

I had originally intended to share this work along with some thoughtful musing about the natural way children give art as gifts, the specialness that soaks into mundane objects when labored over or given with love and the ways in which working with children and experiencing this gifting first-hand have me thinking differently about art, exchange, gifts, gift-economies, value and the gallery gig-

But I’m having one of those weeks where a rare lull in studio work AND work-work have allowed me to get excited about new ideas, and now there are too many thoughts about too many things happening all at once in my head for me to do anything other than mull. Also it’s Friday. And warm. And now a cat is laying on my arm, greatly reducing my capacity to type.

 

:A collection of spontaneous art-gifts from children, generously given and joyfully received over the past year (an incomplete list)

a boat caring loved ones on an adventure (L) attached to an illustration of said adventure (R)

a boat caring loved ones on an adventure (L) attached to an illustration of said adventure (R)

A double gift: both a creature and a new interesting way to think about puff balls as a starting point.

A double gift: both a creature and a new interesting way to think about puff balls as a starting point.

Another gift that's many gifts: A custom-made wand that came with a) a tutorial on how to make more wands for other friends b) the power to transform the classroom into rainbow colors and c) an invitation to make magic and play together.

Another gift that’s many gifts: A custom-made wand that came with a) a tutorial on how to make more wands for other friends b) the power to transform the classroom into rainbow colors and c) an invitation to make magic and play together.

A first edition hand-made book by Chiara.

A first edition hand-made book by a new friend…

An explanation of Easter rituals (bunny, kids and EGG)

…withn explanation of Easter rituals (bunny, kids and EGG)…

...And interesting and inexplicably hilarious juxtapositions (as seen here with 'Ice' and "ice cream'.)

…And interesting and inexplicably hilarious juxtapositions (as seen here with ‘Ice’ and “ice cream’.)

Berms and Swells

In honor of my hero in all things tied to water, chance, earthworks and mobile photo as legitimate art making tool, here’s a little accidental photo collage as found in my photo library while hunting for something else:

L: documenting the water flow in my garden R: capturing an image of work by Esther Niesenthal Krintz for use in a pre-K program.

L: documenting the water flow in my garden
R: capturing an image of work by Esther Niesenthal Krintz for use in a pre-K program.

Blog as a platform for dialogue

Two weeks ago today, I was on a plane, flying from New Orleans back to Columbus. I had spent the previous three days meeting with other museum educators, art teachers, administrators and artists at the National Art Education Association’s 2015 National convention. My stomach was roiling with half a cup of airplane coffee and my head was absolutely swimming with conversations, ideas, things I saw, things I heard and new connections between it it all.

While I was only in New Orleans for the Museum Ed. pre-conference and one day of sessions, it’s probably good I didn’t go to more, as over a week later I’m still in the thick of processing, reflecting and synthesizing all of the conversations.

During our last day in NOLA, a dear friend and former colleague asked my co-worker Steph and I, “So, What’re your big take-aways? Cause you know you’re going to be asked when you get back.” Had I really tried to form an answer right then and there, I’m pretty sure my big idea would have been, ‘beignets are superior to donuts’ or something equally as meaningful.

Even now, I’m still churnning through notes, catching up on sleep and rehydrating (talking to strangers + 80degree temperatures in March had me in a perpetual state of ‘DAMP’), and trying to suss out not just what was most interesting/relevant, but what it means for me in practice. While  I can’t say what my biggest takeaway was or even just how many I have- there were a few big ideas and essential questions that have rose to the surface. I’ll get to the rest in time, but first and foremost was the need for real, open conversation, within conversation, the importance of articulation and, for me personally, that old itch of improving my capacity to  mull things out in the quiet public/private space of the written word.

So why am I rambling about this here?

I’ve been slowly carving out this space online for almost 6 years. That’s 1 year longer than I’ve known the love of my life, 2 years longer than I’ve known how to cook and nearly 3 years longer than I’ve fallen sideways into education. If this blog were a person, she’d be reading and writing, ready for school. From time to time I have an existential crises about it all, leave for a bit, and come back. I always find a ‘why’ for me to keep writing, but NAEA has me wondering if my own ‘whys’ are enough. The question isn’t just ‘why should I write here for myself,’ but also ‘why should I write here where you can see it and what’s in it for you?’

Whether you’ve been reading from the 1st days of portfolio/show promotions or you’re new, I want to invite you to start responding- Not with affirmations or quick encouragement (though those too are wonderful and make me feel all warm and fuzzy), but with your real thoughts, ideas, answers and questions. For my part, I promise to try and give you questions and ideas of my own that are worthy of provoking a response, and to value your words, to really listen, to join the conversation just as thoughtfully, and we’ll all grow smarter together. You in?

 

[As I open this dialogue, despite the disclaimer on the right sidebar, I feel the need to make another, more explicit and intentional disclaimer: While I work for, and sometimes write for the Columbus Museum of Art, there’s a weight that comes from writing ‘for’ an institution. While CMA is my home base, and while there are many wonderful, like-minded people who share many similar philosophies that influence my own (and whom I will give credit when I inevitably pull from their brains) this space is my own. My words (especially if they provoke or offend) are my own and in no way reflect the institution, or even my department as a whole.

Also, despite this addition of the and shift towards dialogue and pull towards learning, I am a teaching artist and thoroughly incapable of living compartmentally. Expect the regular non-sequiturs, in-progress studio shots and cat nonsense to continue.]

Creative ecology, permaculture of the mind.

Currently in the process of absorbing the following into my brain:

Studios, collections, spaces for exploration and discovery, permaculture, self-sustaining ecologies, learning ecologies, living lightly, living deeply, the connection between life and artistic practice, collections, our intrinsic need to touch natural materials, space and aesthetics, summer.

(all images linked to their original owners.)

 

 

 

“But what do you DO?”

“But what do you DO?”

Being a teaching artist sometimes looks like this:

research a-go-go.

research a-go-go.

But just as often, if not more often, it looks like this:

teaching artist 2

(glitter hot glue- it’s a thing.)

And this:

research and development a-go-go

And best of all, this:

(co-learning. it's a thing)

(co-learning- it’s a thing)