Monday, June 16, 2008

Rewind: me as cheeseball

I've recently found that I've lost my ability to articulate the things that I've been thinking. I suspect that it has something to do with the beyond-human amounts of energy that I am focusing onto my departure. So here I am, in my scattered thoughtland:

1. I'm starting a subscription series! For 150 USD, you can subscribe to my work while I am in Korea. $150 will buy you six pieces sent via mail over the course of the year. I'll send one every other month. I'm completely averse to having PayPal buttons on my website, but b/c I am leaving the country on Friday and dealing with checks will get harder, I've done the [cringe] inevitable. Now we can all participate in the American spirit of consuming online at the click of a button. But it's for art! [If that button doesn't work, let me know.]

2. Haystack was FREAKING AMAZING. I'm sad about my recent loss of articulation, but SO happy that I went. It was exactly what I needed, in none of the ways that I predicted. Or, all of them. Depends on when you asked me what. If you ask me NOW what I got out of it, I'd say:

a. An amazing teacher. She was generous, intelligent, articulate, kind, demanding, hard-working, and insightful. She triggered my massive brain shift in how I see and make work, and gave me permission (well, she just told me) to stop feeling so trapped by the book form. She encouraged my performance work, and I ended my 1.5-year hiatus last Thursday!

b. A beautiful group of peers. There were ten fibers students and a TA, all women. It was a supportive place to make work, full of laughter and storytelling and knitting circles. There were some cold days and rain and fog and damp, chilly times, but overall, it was soooo good. It was nice to have women older than me to get advice from and to give advice to those younger than me and so forth. A real open atmosphere of exchange and dialogue and discovery.

c. Set meal times! I had to wash a LOT of dishes for my work portion of the work study scholarship, but I still ate at 8am, 12pm, and 6pm, which was excellent for my clock. The food was good and there was fresh fruit 24/7 and popcorn at night. I bitched and moaned about all the kitchen work but I shared my shift w/a couple of women who held their own, so it wasn't all bad. I especially loved Eleanor, who is finishing up her MFA and totally reminded me of Chela and was in the papermaking class. She is super hardworking but also really chill and easy to be around. I'm in her fan club for life.

d. Nature and ocean. It took a while to get used to the sound of the water lapping below our dorm. I first thought it was an alarming disturbance or stormy rain, but then I realized that we were right on the shore. The water is visible from most points on campus, and was a soothing constant. I did NOT go in, but lots of other people did. Good for them. Once I saw them each go into momentary respiratory arrest from the shock of the cold, I knew I was just icing my feet and running off. Too bad the trees were all flowering and setting off allergies, but it was mediated by the salt air. Whenever I'd freak out in the studio, I'd go outside and it would be like an instant cure. I also amazingly only got one mosquito bite, on the last night. Glory be!

e. No contact w/the outside world! I completely forgot that TV was a part of my life. I no longer had that frantic hallucination of my phone ringing all the time. The dial-up was notoriously slow, with a long line of people waiting for the one computer, so I only did Fulbright business and once my flight was booked and award authorized, I stopped going entirely. Besides, I had no time for anything but washing dishes and working in the studio. I made several pieces and a performance, and then a million little things in my sketchbook. I also liberated myself from all of my handmade paper by simply giving it away. Then I started to give away everything else that I could imagine myself without. It was an ideal purging process pre-Korea.

f. Super staff. I was way impressed by the administration there, and being a former arts administrator, that is saying a LOT.

g. I was present. This made me realize that my natural state is one of panic and anxiety, and that I don't only run around in urban environments. I run around EVERYWHERE. While other people walked leisurely from place to place, I'd be scurrying up and down the paths and being a terror to anyone in front of me who was going at a slower pace (that would be everyone). But the good news is that I sustained no studio injuries! I only broke skin once doing dishes and on the last full day I cut my thumb on a really crappy umbrella that I was using as a parasol. But no art injuries! Wohoo!

I could say, it sucked having soft water and dirty laundry and weather that changed every five minutes and bathrooms that were outside and a flight of stairs away from my bed. But it's true that all those things get cancelled out once I got away from it, and the good things take priority in memory.

3. This post just took about five hours to write b/c of interruptions (I just took a Korean language test over the phone. Pretty hilarious). The picture up there is of me laying out the huge knit piece of paper yarn before I printed onto it, after it was soaked. My days in the printshop already feel a million years distant.

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