Sunday was the second day of my workshop, and this is a detail of a collage I completed. Some of the material came from a communal stack of magazines and stash of odds and ends, and some I had prepared in advance. I brought envelopes filled with clipped text, scanned family photos, sewing notions, and clippings from vintage magazines. I also brought a small set of alphabet letters and an ink pad; there is a stamped section that says "All who wander are not lost." I sure hope that's true. I wanted to somehow put in the notion that my past, trips with my grandparents, Mother's sewing things, and photography all are part of my current image making. I really like using maps, so the piece of an old Wisconsin map ties the various elements together.
What surprised me most was how attracted I was to a vintage women's garter, the sort that held up nylon stockings. It's right in the middle, hanging like a medal. I have an idea for using these garters in a project, but have no idea where to find more. They were awful, uncomfortable things that made dents in my legs, and we won't even think about the girdles from which they hung. My guess is that most women burned them once inexpensive pantyhose became available, and of course now many women either wear long pants or go bare legged. Still, if I can find some, I'll find a new use for them.
The instructor, a kind woman who listened well, wanted to know what each of us got from the workshop. I learned that I need to be careful about what classes I take, and really understand the purpose of the workshop. This time I'm certain I read my desires for learning more about working with mixed media pieces into the workshop description. I see now that I read the course description selectively.
I learned that time is an issue for me. Unlike many other students, I have lots of available time to make art in that I'm not at work all day, then struggling to work in housework and appointments. But I have a real sense of finite time, as in none of us know how much time we have left on earth. That lends an urgency to the things that are most important to me, and it makes me impatient with whatever stands in my way.
I also learned that I can't just take classes to be around other artists. It's like paying people to be my friends. I need to find other people who can challenge and inspire me, who can give me honest and compassionate feedback. I hope I can do the same for them, whoever they are. I think for me it has to be more than just kindred spirits I find online; it has to be a person or group of people I can meet face to face.
I learned I need to find a way to get my artwork out of the closet (or the coffee shop) and into somewhere where it can find a new home. I do show sometimes with the local art league, and the WRAP program, and I post images of my art online. But I need to do more, or I will be buried under artwork.
Enough of this, I have a suitcase of materials to put away, and issues to address.