Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On the Road and Back Again

Harvested from "The Tomato Jungle"
(aka "our messy veggie garden")
For the first time at our homestead in Lubec, gorgeous sunflowers have bloomed!
My former student Mara, now an architecture student in college, stands in front of her sunflowers on the gorgeous duct tape mural that she visualized and facilitated for the Lubec Market.
Cinder Conk, performing Balkan music at the Lubec Market. How many farmers markets do you know of that have live Balkan music?!
Check out their music at:
Feast with the Rubenstein/Motzkin clan, visiting Lubec from Saratoga Springs, New York.
Chris stands in the middle looking as though he is trying to talk his way out of some sort of mischief. Check out Linda and Jonathan's "Bread and Torah" website - where art, bread, and spirituality meet!
 I enjoyed these accommodations during  my weeklong stay at Berri's house in the heart of Kennebunkport. Thanks, Berri! Hey - this gorgeous house with character (and awesome porch, artist studio, and backyard!) in a wonderfully artsy coastal village is for sale. Interested? I wouldn't wait too long!
Wax resist on paper at Kim Bernard's
Charyl and Patrice trying out their new mold-making skills at Kim Bernard's Maine Coast Encaustic Workshop Retreat in Kennebunkport. Check out Charyl's work at:
 I got to try mixing a batch of encaustic medium (beeswax and damar resin).
It looked like a shimmering pot of gold!
Kim set-up the pendulum for workshop participants to try.  Here is the beginning of the pendulum spin with hot wax dripping from a small opening at the base of the aluminum cone.
 Almost complete!
Adult spin art!
I returned to Lubec after eight days away to do some of the more mundane tasks on my to-do cleaning out my studio closet. What a mess!
 Several hours later....
The last time I blogged I had just announced my resignation from the public school job that I have held for ten years. In fact, the last fourteen years of my life, until this week, I have been in a classroom handing out art portfolios to kids the day after Labor Day. This year, I spent that day organizing my thoughts around "next steps".
Up until the official start of the school year, I still felt the usual anxiety around time running out and not being able to accomplish all that needed to be done. But once yesterday was here, I felt a calm come over me. As usual, things popped up that were unexpected, but instead of stressing over whether or not I could finagle the schedule to deal with them, I just kept telling myself that I had plenty of time to figure things out. And so that has been how the last three days have been for me - figuring things out as I go.
In preparation for this new journey as a full-time artist, I cleaned out my very messy studio closet. I am the type of person who feels unable to begin a new project unless things around me are in order. It's one of my personality quirks. So, once that closet was cleared and re-organized (a several hour project!) I settled in to working on my MFA proposal for my sixth semester at Heartwood College of Art. Once that was handed-in for mentor perusal, I moved onto studio tasks. A pile of pottery had collected that needed shipping to various places across the U.S. and there were calls to be returned, vending schedules to be worked out, and supplies to be ordered. I'm still working on all these things today, but managed to toss in a kiln bisque load and a short throwing session before the thunderstorm hit. Tomorrow, after a few hours at the potter's wheel, I will hit the road to deliver work for an upcoming solo show at Washington County Community College.
As school begins, I am thinking of my students that I have bonded with over the past ten years at Lubec Consolidated. Their faces pop into my mind and their incredible colorful artworks and art shows. I look forward to going into school to visit them once everyone has adjusted. What I am not missing is all that "other stuff".....inventory, sorting schedules, purchase orders, recertification paperwork, sub plan packet, grading, rubric writing, and curriculum aligning. If teaching was only about teaching, it would be a dream job. But it isn't. The demands are high, the pay low, the stress through the roof. People who have barely set foot in a classroom, if at all, make laws and are quick to discredit. It boggles me how much mud-slinging occurs around teachers and education nowadays. As they say, unless you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes.....
I am so grateful that in my ten years at Lubec School I was surrounded by an immense amount of community support. Without that support, the art program would not have flourished as it did.
While my fellow former colleagues were in workshops to prepare for the year ahead, I was in Kennebunkport for a week to assist Kim Bernard as her "work-study" at the Maine Coast Encaustic Workshop Retreat. A lively group of twenty artists from all over the U.S. congregated to play with melted wax. I loved their energy and laughter and was continually amazed at the creativity and talent. Kim is an expert at organizing her workshops and is a patient and informed teacher. It was an honor to work alongside her. I was additionally blessed to be able to stay with Berri at her gorgeous and peaceful abode, which was located right down the street from the workshop venue. Most days I walked to the carriage house where my duties began at 7:45 a.m. Often, Berri and her greyhound rescue dog, Pencil, would join me for the early morning jaunt. Near the end of the week I snagged a couple hours to myself to enjoy a walk to the beach at sundown. Sitting in the cool sand, listening to the waves comb the shore, a full blue moon on my left, and the darkening pink and grey sky on my right....there was nothing more perfect in the world at that moment.
The week out of town, even though I was busy with assistant duties, was a bit of a respite from the hecticness of August. August is always super busy here in Lubec. The shop is active, I have been vending the Lubec Market, trying to keep galleries stocked, attending family gatherings, and of course, organizing Lubec Arts Alive. August is also the biggest tourist month for Lubec, and in August, many of our friends who live in places far away return for their annual downeast excursion.
We first met Jonathan and Linda in 2006. They are an incredibly interesting couple from New York, co-Rabbis in a Saratoga Springs synagogue. Jonathan is a bread maker, and Linda an artist and scribe. They are "Bread and Torah" and run "Slice of Heaven Bakery" out of Temple Sinai. When they visit Lubec, we feast and participate in conversations where we always learn something new and interesting. This year's visit was additionally exciting because their daughter Ruhi had just become engaged to her partner Jacob. The proposal occurred here at the West Quoddy lighthouse! Jacob and Ruhi are following in the footsteps of their parents, studying to become Rabbis as well. It was an honor to be in the presence of these four insightful and compassionate community leaders.
A few days before I hit the road for Kennebunkport, Chris and I ventured to Eastport where I was one of five women to present a short discussion on the topic of "A Women's Aesthetic" at the Eastport Art Gallery. I look forward to continuing work with this group of artists, brought together under the guidance and vision of Sherry Ashby Cunningham. It looks like we have a group show on the roster for next summer - and from there - it's all an adventure!
I am about to read the first chapter of Chris' novel. It's still in the editing stage but I think I have finally harassed him enough into letting me begin the reading. So, for now, I will sign off and settle into the night with a chapter and a cup of tea, and a toast to new beginnings!

1 comment:

Linda Starr said...

Your studio closet before puts mine to shame now, what a fun and creative time you had away, refreshed and renewed I am sure.