Sunday, January 24, 2010

Things Don't Always Go as Planned

Sketchbook entry, 01.22.10

First day working with clay in basement studio, 01.23.10


Story Loom warped and ready for weaving.


Have you ever noticed how no matter how much you plan something, work out the details in your mind, sketch it down on paper, that things never....NEVER....go as planned. Not precisely, anyway.

Sometimes the veering off-course brings about disaster, but sometimes (hopefully most times) it brings about new insight and interesting new directions.

Enthusiastically, I am a student again. I love to learn and had been waiting for an opportunity to present itself for me to return to school. When Heartwood College of Art came up with a low-residency MFA program that was feasible for me to do while still keeping my full-time teaching job, I jumped on-board. The official start-date of classes was January 18th. My mind has been working overtime for the past month mentally mapping out project ideas and physically pushing myself to the point of exhaustion to get the two studio spaces primed for production.

How this new program works is this:

The student artist moves at a pace of two "classes" per semester. A mentor/advisor is assigned who oversees the student. Before this current semester began, I submitted two "class" proposals. There were some basic guiding parameters which needed to be followed, but within those parameters, there was still plenty of room for my own interpretation and ideas. Other than self-directed work, we have weekend intensives on campus where we participate in critiques and workshops.

I designed two well-thought-out proposals. I knew the clay I would use, the way I would warp my loom, the surface treatments, the final presentation.

However, from day one working in the studio, things started to not go as smoothly as I imagined in my mind.

It threw me off for a bit. I had this set plan and finished product that I had sketched. I knew what I wanted. But...it wasn't going to happen.

Thankfully, I put the perfectionist in me to the side, and decided to try another route. Once I did that, I was on a roll, back on schedule, albeit with some re-designing.

(note: I had begun this blog entry only to be interrupted by unforeseen circumstances....what follows is the rest of my blog entry, written two and half hours later than when I originally started this morning. I am making a great case for the title of this blog entry!)

Until this morning.

I woke raring to go. I "stumbled" out of bed, literally. A bit of a dizzy spell. No biggie. Happens once in a while. This won't stop me - I have a "plan".

THE PLAN
1. 7:30 a.m., turn on heat in basement pottery studio
2. 7:40 a.m., feed cat, make cocoa, return to bed, blog, read a couple chapters in required book for MFA program.
3. 9:30 a.m., eat breakfast, put-on pot of chicken soup for quick lunch and supper
4. 10:00 a.m.,head into basement and put-in 5 hours with clay: pomegranate sculptures and test tiles, listen to some excellent tunes
5. 3:00 p.m., shower then spend a couple hours journaling or weaving

Well...that sounded like a wonderful plan. But....it is 11:00 a.m. and here I am trying to finish the blog I began at 7:45 a.m.

here is how it actually went down:

1. 7:30 a.m., turn on heat in basement pottery studio. (Check)
2. 7:40 a.m., make cocoa (check)

Now this is where it all goes off-course.....

7:45 a.m. - What the heck? Still dizzy? The floors are feeling a bit rounded to me today. Is the house off kilter? I mean, any more than usual? This place is over 150 years old. Hmmm

8:15 a.m. - I think I'll reposition myself in bed. Oops, dizzy again just trying to sit up.

8:30 a.m. - downstairs to take blood pressure. gee, that looks fine. Hmmm. floors still feel funny when I try to walk on them.

8:40 a.m. - back to warm bed, work on blog. Mind wanders. Yesterday was first full day in basement working on pottery - with the new propane heater in a tightly closed space. What if? Oh no. What if there is a carbon monoxide problem in the house? Hmmm....what do I do about this? I don't dare to drive an hour to Calais to buy a monitor, too dizzy. Not safe.

8:45 am. -put on clothes, begin to open doors and windows....just in case. Open the door by deck that is closest to propane tank, smell gas, hear hissing noise. Crap. This happened back in December. A leak again?

8:50 a.m. - put on boots, stand back up after tying laces, almost fall over. Wow, that was fun (not). Sit down in chair to rebalance self. Stand up slowly, head down to basement, turn off propane heater. Open cellar door, walk to tank, still hissing, stinky propane. Open cover. Tighten cap. Hissing stops.

9:00 a.m. - Call poison control and ask "who do I call if I need to have carbon monoxide levels checked in house?" Lots of questions...they tell me to call fire dept. Call fire department. More clarifying questions, tell me to call 911. Call 911, assuring them not an immediate emergency, but "just wondering how I can find out if leaky propane is an issue."

9:05 a.m. - sirens, firetrucks, ambulance, cars....people with monitors walking through house, checklists. My vitals are good, no carbon monoxide issues.

10:15 a.m. - totally embarrassed but grateful that folks came along to make sure that things are okay. Closed up windows and doors, warming up under electric blanket, eating breakfast, blogging. Feet up. Propane company has been called.

So, that brings me up until now, which is 11:30 a.m. I am finishing up my blog, have a full belly, and am awaiting the next visitor who will check the tank and probably remove it since this is the second time it has leaked. I am itching to get into basement and work with the clay. Taking things slowly though and keeping check of dizziness.

I think Bello would be content for me to stay put here in this chair. He seems quite comfy laying on my legs which are just underneath the warm electric blanket. Alas, there is work to be done downstairs, and I will, being careful to keep myself steady, make my way down there, turn up the tunes, and begin to wedge me a clump of clay.

3 comments:

Fearless Nester said...

Oh dear! That sounds a bit scary...hope it's all settled out by now and you can stay warm and "undizzy." Do stay careful! I really like the idea of a clay pomegrante. Happy potting to you! --Lili

SHANNA WHEELOCK said...

scary, and a wee bit embarrassing! but all is good now. life moving along as usual, and lots of creative projects in the works.

happy potting to you too!

Kim Hambric said...

Hope the rest of the week has been better. I see you have a label for firetrucks -- hope you don't ever have another entry to file under that label.

I'm not sure that I've had more than a couple of days EVER that have gone according to plan. But then I don't seem to plan as well as you do.

By the way, most people think of firetrucks as exciting, not embarrassing.