Friday, July 27, 2007

Why I love being a crafty artist

I used to be a big conceptual art snob, and looked down on all things related to craft. I was young and too ignorant to really understand that stance, even though it was always important to me that my craftsmanship was unassailable in critiques. I eventually shifted from all thinking to all making, and then understood why some people like to not ever think, b/c making brings so much pleasure.

Cut to the ranch.

I felt like everyone's mom. You know, the mom who has everything in her purse in case of emergency? It was fantastic.

Markus: rope for photo shoot
Gaelyn: knife, triangle, & awl for photo mats
Jill: knife for scraping bones
Andrew: sharpie & tape for tool labels, knife & glue for art labels
Don: thread for hanging horseshoe as an instrument
Don & Rebecca: clothespins for laundry (that they later sculpted into a message for me)
Laura: knife & straightedge for student presentations, sharpie for diplomas
Hope: pruning shears for flower arrangements, awl for something else, Anacin for headache and aches (oh, wait, I can't take credit for that one - dad packed the first aid paraphernalia).

I was dumbfounded, thinking, "No one brought a knife?? Doesn't EVERYONE travel with a utility knife?? And scissors?!" What I learned: not everyone travels with sharp tools and bone folders. To be fair, I did borrow needle-nose pliers from the new toolkit to snap off a couple blades (I left my pliers at home), and I borrowed a small needle from Markus to sew silver thread into an old slip (I only had large needles for binding, tapestry, and sewing sails and carpets). But it felt so good to be useful, and to have tools that made sense beyond bookbinding and papermaking. That must be why I do what I do - b/c it doesn't require super specialized tools, like robots or egg white separators, just basic things that translate into a million different uses.

I also had a fantastic time teaching bookbinding classes. My first was a beginning session with Gaelyn, Gustavo, Laura, and Don. We did a single-sheet folded book, an accordion, a pamphlet, a stab binding, and a non-adhesive tipped-in photograph. That last one got passed onto Gaelyn's and Gustavo's workshop students, who used it for their own work. My second was a private session with Elizabeth, covering all the same bindings. My last one was an advanced seminar with Don and Rebecca - I think they were binders in another life! We did a single-section cased pamphlet with paper I had made on the ranch and cereal box covers. They turned out great; I'm hoping they'll take pictures.

No wonder I didn't feel like performing this time around. I was perfectly content being a book and paper artist.


elizabeth ross said...

and you did well, princess!
oh, and actually, l had scissors and my swiss knife too!

aimee said...

hahaa!! you're so right - there were LOTS of swiss army knives floating around. i miss you!

elizabeth ross said...

l miss u too...did you see your link on my blog?

aimee said...

yes!! i saw it. you're so brilliant.