Sunday, November 08, 2009

Weekend itches + it takes a village

I haven't been able to work on any of my stuff since Friday during the daytime, but at least the apt is clean. Yesterday, Ben took me to the arts and craft center so that we could both get trained and cleared to use the wood shop and ceramics studio. The latter was not as exciting, since none of what I would find interesting (glazes, firing, throwing, and hand building) are part of it, but the wood shop was an interesting social experience. Five men, one male teacher (all military), and me. Luckily the teacher only made a couple references to me being weaker than everyone else. He could tell I was terrified at times - either from my hanging back or likely the look on my face - and set the pushing guide next to the table saw even though I was the only one who used it. Or he'd say, "don't be afraid of the machines; just respect them." I enjoyed the DANGER signs with bloody hands with severed fingers. He also liked to say often, "don't but the Bluebeard lock on it!" I only understood this reference since reading the wolves book a few months back.

It made me appreciate the time and place I grew up, b/c I was in a public school system that still saw fit and had the budget to have mandatory wood and metal shop starting in 7th grade. That was the most shop experience I've ever had. Everywhere since, in schools and residencies, I mostly steered clear of the equipment. But yesterday felt like middle school again. Except that the boys were a lot better behaved and polite!

Also, an interview I did with Wura Ogunji is up on the Diaspora Vibe blog. After having read Outliers recently, I wanted to add shout-outs, in the order that they are mentioned:

Thanks to Helena Meyer-Knapp, who has been a great supporter of my work and working life from the first time we met in Seoul over a big group Fulbright dinner.

Thanks to Younghui Kim in Andong, who was a grounding inspiration and guide to me on two visits there, where she made exquisite tea in her hanji-covered home, and told me the story about her mother using a woven hanji chamber pot on her journey to her husband's home for marriage.

Thanks to Rosie Gordon-Wallace, for having the faith in me and my vision to invite me to show in Miami, with work sight unseen.

Thanks to the artist residency program run by the Weir Farm Arts Center at the Weir Farm National Historic Site, for the perfect place and time to be alone, and work.

Thanks to Mi-Kyoung Lee, an artist and fiber arts professor at UArts in Philly, for being such a pivotal teacher for me at Haystack for two weeks right before I left for Korea. And thanks to Haystack for the scholarship making it possible to be there!

Thanks to all the women in my life. And all the men in my life.

Thanks to my family. All of it.

Thanks to Oberlin College's Allen Art Museum for having such a great collection, open to its students, and Robert Harrist for bringing our class to the museum to see Chinese paintings on hanji.

Thanks to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for hiring me to run its education programs, where I met a headhunter who was the best friend of the woman who founded and chaired the department (thanks, Suzanne!) where I eventually went to grad school.

Thanks to Nanette Yannuzzi-Macias for introducing me to book arts in the most expansive way possible.

Thanks for all of my teachers and mentors in Chicago, especially Melissa Jay Craig, my graduate advisor and the one who could tell from my app that I wanted to do this and later was the one who kept me from dropping out of school.

Thanks to Andrea Peterson for nurturing my initial venture into papermaking.

Thanks to Jami Attenberg, who wrote Instant Love.

Big up to my hometown public library!!!

Thanks to Joan Dickinson, a performance teacher who helped me get a much clearer framework for thinking about and performance art.

Thanks to Daniel Gardner for teaching me about service learning, and the study abroad program that made it possible for me to do it overseas.

The obvious one but maybe not directly mentioned: thanks to the U.S. Fulbright program for making it possible for me to spend that year in Korea!