Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rising to the Occasion

Do you ever set yourself up for a challenge? I'm pretty challenge-averse, in fact, I'm somewhat of a coward.  But somehow, this fall, I've committed myself--sequentially--to four new activities, and taken together, they amount to a great big challenge.  So I'm carrying around a great big load of nervous.  

All shall be well, I keep telling myself, and I know it will.

Meanwhile, let me tell you what I'm up to.

For starters, I'm still teaching felting at Hartford's Chrysalis Center, and it's going great:  well-received, and therefore rewarding.

These students are working on copyright-free images taken from a design book CD  and printed on raw silk.

Please note that I'm only taking photos of peoples' hands.  And I'm not giving their names.  Though I know all their names.

In addition to teaching felting at the Chrysalis Center, this month I've taken on a new gig there with my friend Carol:  teaching sewing and quilting. Yes.  That class has just begun, and today I was flying solo because Carol had another commitment.

It was a little draining, because I was the only teacher, but the vibe was great, and people had fun.  They were really getting off on the technique in the book Crazy with Cotton by Diana Leone.  This is one of my favorites and an excellent start for a new quilter.

This student is showing the first quilt square she ever made...and all of it today!

We do have one guy in this class, and here he is, tattoos and all, working on a Halloween-themed piece.

Fortunately, some folks in the class already know how to use a sewing machine, so that's a good thing.

The sewing class at Chrysalis is the first of the new endeavors I've taken on this fall.  The second was teaching The Felted Landscape at the West Hartford Art League.  That happened on Sunday October 16, from 10 am to 4 pm, and I have to say, it was so compelling that all students worked straight through that entire time, skipping lunch. 

So I'm happy to say that went well, and I hope I can say the same of my next upcoming gig:  teaching kids at the New Britain Museum of American Art. 

I've certainly worked with kids informally, so it should be fine.  But still, it's new to me as a paid gig.  And the museum is so august.  I mean, the students are going to be drawing their inspiration from paintings in the museum's own collection, like this one:

This is a view of New Haven's West Rock by the American painter Frederick Edwin Church.  West Rock is a trap rock ridge, one of many in the state, collectively known as the Metacomet Range.  As a New Haven native, I appreciate its history, especially in its capacity as shelter for three judges who signed a death warrant against King Charles I in the mid-1600s.  There's a stunning view from the top, especially at night, especially on Saturday nights.  I'm still wrapping my head around my transformation from from someone who views West Rock historically and recreationally to someone who teaches in an institution that owns its image.
Teaching  at the New Britain Museum is challenge number three of the fall, and it hasn't happened yet.  Neither has challenge four, Open Studio Hartford, which will occur on November 12 and 13.

This event takes place in several different venues all over town, but I'll be showing in the Connecticut Historical Society. (By "showing," I mean showing my art quilts). The Historical Society is a pretty august venue.

Image result for ct historical society

That  means two august venues for me and my art this fall.  
I'm sure it will all be fine, but meanwhile, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. And I'm planning on rising to the occasion.

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