Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Keeping it real ...

I wish I looked like this more often. Laughing, carefree, like I don't have a care in the world. Nice hair, on the beach with my happy husband and just chilling. But it isn't - I swear my hair is getting greyer by the second.

A nice surprise. Dear Sandy sent me an email today in response to seeing our work here on my blog - it is 'our' work. She put in so much effort when I would get fed up she would come along and unstick my wheels. It was good to hear her 'voice'. I only spent a week with her and yet I learned so much. She is so talented. And 'earthy'. Not for me the use of plastics and stinky chemicals (well shellac perhaps) but you know what I mean. I love to use raw wool, driftwood, dirt, plants, sea shells - it is integral with the way I am. I don't go in for complicated processes too much, I want to be able to create while sitting on the beach with my kids, and I want to dye my fabric while my tea is also cooking.

And this raises another tight little corner for me: I want to learn and create but I also must raise my kids, clean my house, cook the occasional meal and have some sanity.

So far I don't think I've succeeded particularly well. I tend to live at extremes because frankly, I am not the world's best organised girl with a wall planner and filofax. I do have a diary but that's because I just wanted to make a really cool book covering with my delicious green moss felt, and dye samples from India Flint's workshop. I have days that are loaded with mother-guilt. You know, I think to myself I will be godly today, the perfect mum and the kids will just sizzle with delight when I pick them up tonight. Yes, today I will listen to my kids, I will be soooooo giving, and I will feel good about my parenting. I will bless them to bits. ... And then they wake up and forget to turn their ears on, can't find their shoes, turn on the tv and sit in front of it and don't move, are always running late, are messy, don't answer me and then do answer me with lots of attitude, tell me it's parent/teacher meetings on the day, need me to write a letter for this and pay for that, don't get dressed until I nag them, don't get their breakfast til I nag them, don't put their dishes on the bench until I nag them, and it can just take the wind right out of me. What happened to lovely mum. She's nowhere to be found. Boy can I yell. My son told me I am impatient sometimes. No kidding. I need balls of steel for this crew. It goes without saying that I love them to death, sometimes literally but this job, is definitely underpaid and I am so underskilled. I will probably be a great mum one day and that will be like a week before they move out. Murphy's Law.

So perhaps I should stay home. Make it my life's work to make perfect lunches for them, drive them everywhere, clean my house and be available because when art school isn't the lovely experience I want it to be, then I start to thinking that my kids just might be lacking and need me. I don't know any mother that can successfully avoid guilt.

Still I think I would DIE of boredom with my own company and without structure. I wish I could find a job where they would pay me to create and play and have fun. I also think I am a better person doing what I love. I cannot imagine having a boss. I honestly know so much stuff these days that I wonder if somehow I need to be somewhere I haven't yet found. Do you know what I mean? I used to hope I could work for the church and really use all my skills there, but I don't see how anymore. I love my freedom and peace of mind. Well for now that isn't a decision I need to think about, but it does seem the perfect place for some of my skills at least.

I admit, I find parts of my course draaaag. The drawing / design class on Monday frustrates me. I admit it is good to have a day to fine tune my drawing skills but really, one whole day a week drawing! Rrrrrrrrrr ... it a room only designed for about 20 students (there are over 40 of us) on a hot day, well, poor tutors. The vibes are not positive and after lunch when that room warms up, it's difficult to find anyone excited. Still, if my drawing skills could improve then it won't be a waste. Last year I had never drawn properly before. Just little stick men. You know. And the odd spiral doodle. Now I am confident that my life drawings have movement and form. My style is loose, I hold my pencil on it's side and almost paint my graphite onto the paper. It's figurative and it's free. And what's more, I actually feel good about those final drawings from last year.

Then there's trying to learn a language and I am considering returning to counselling one day a week - voluntary but it would bring me back up to speed in that field. Then I love writing and photography and want to grow those skills and areas too. I have the opportunity to do some freelance feature work but where the hell do I fit it in?

And tit! To top it all off, guess who went to an amazing Fibre Fair day today that included fibre traders, a wearable art show amongst other things and forgot her bloody camera! The thicko who is sitting here still kicking her dumb self. I got talking to Hugh, an older man who sat quietly balancing his work on his lap in the midst of a major fibre fashion show. He was needlefelting of all things and wearing the most amazing hat. His wife had knitted him a hat, and then he had needle felted right over the top of it and pinned all these miniature knitted, crochet and felt creations to it. Then he pulled out his pincushions he sells and it breaks my heart to say that i did not have a spare measly $6 to purchase one. I so love to support artists but I only had $20 odd dollars to buy my silk thread skein. In fact I am going to track him down and get one, at least to put in my gift box for the odd thank you I need to do every now and then. I am going to start doing that sort of thing more often. I don't have a lot of spare cash but I read about someone who has a gift box and fills it whenever she spots a great crafty thing, and it makes sense for me.

I am grumpy today, we did screenprinting and I get frustrated with tight processes. I tend to put a lot of thought into my ideas but still like the freedom to respond to the materials I use pending the way they behave. I think the truth is, I am a perfectionist and this is my second time screen printing. It is quite a process from selecting images to putting emulsifier onto the screen, exposing the screen to light and then washing away the excess. We also have to set up the studio and clean it afterwards and it makes for a lot of work. I get frustrated when I can't get something the first time. I am not patient in my art learning either. (chuckle) ... still somewhat of a difficult student perhaps after all these years ... nah!

Hats off to Deb though as she guides her students through - we are all at different levels and there's no denying, we are a colourful bunch. There are those who want to control the whole process and intensely go at everything, there's me who loves serendipity and texture and spontaneity, there's my Pacific Island brother and sister who spend a lot of time laughing and cruising, listening to music and when they do work they pull the most amazing things seemingly from out of the air, there's my friend who oozes talent and is naturally inclined to make and form things all the time, and there's our newest student who is so keen and excited to be here. So she has her hands full but Deb is generous. Supplying us with lots of samples, books, mags, materials and not too worried when she has to explain things again and again, and just rolling her eyes and sighing when something goes wrong again (not making me feel stupid) but just continuing to teach.

Well I like to think that when people remember me, I kinda look like the picture above and that their experience of me is mostly a positive one. You know, where we are happy and having a good time. And I hope my kids get more days when I look like this than the alternative. I hope your day was better than mine. Tomorrow will no doubt be brighter, I live in perpetual hope you know.

1 comment:

ArtPropelled said...

Aah, the modern mum trying to find balance in a life jam packed with so many "must do's". I remember those days only too well. Trying to find balance. A full time job and racing home to cook supper, listen to homework, run baths, pack school lunches, tidy up, read stories, chat to hubby and still have time to do art. Eventually I gave up the full time job and made art for a living. I think we modern day mums are pretty darn amazing!