May 19, 2016

The Little Redneck That Could

Holy crap it's been a long while.  I guess I lost my mojo somewhere back there and didn't pick it back up.  How ya'll?  I'm doing alright I suppose, stress and life beside.

The daily:  helping Honey keep his business alive...trying like hell to get mine going...trying to keep the dogs from killing each other...gently pushing my child out of the nest and her comfort zone.  Yeah. that's about it these days.  Oh yeah, and school.  Well....I made a 3.75 this semester.  The first time ever in college that I've done that.  It shocked me quite a bit.  While I may not be accustomed to failing, neither am I accustomed to passing with such a high mark.  I was a solid B student in high school (mostly out of choice) and during my first round in college I was basically a solid failure...again...mostly by choice.  When you use college as an escape route, the grades tend to be an afterthought.  As far as art goes, there is a smidge of natural talent there but not enough that I don't have to work at it.  As with all things, there have been some little internal discoveries and struggles to conquer.

I was sitting around in the studio one morning chatting with my instructor and one of the other students and inadvertently in conversation dropped a couple of F-bombs.  After my instructor dropped one of his own it hit me, " crap, now I've got him doing it and that's not normal for him!"  My pattern of speech has been in a state of repair since the ex took his leave years ago.  Being an English major he believed himself to have a mastery of the language and therefore thought it appropriate to use vulgar words on the regular because it was "part of the language."  Never minding the fact that tactful prose is a far more important part of the language.  Not long after the beginning of our relationship my speech pattern got worse and worse and it's been a hard habit to reverse.  Sitting there and going through the rest of my day I felt boorish and rough.  I told Honey that evening that I felt base and ignorant letting my old habits take over.  Living with a man rough of nature and speech, then working for so long with men who spoke however they wanted hardened all my edges...however soft they may have been previously.  In my previous lines of work, I had to be just as rough as those around me otherwise I'd have gotten harassed or run slap over.  I'm not there anymore.  These are my instructors, the people who are my chronological equals, the ones with whom I want to be associated.  Maybe they don't speak or act in highly proper ways, perfect examples of etiquette, but they do speak and act as though they have class and education.  Oddly enough, that is how I was raised to behave.  My parents had very little money, but they had pride and class.

Our department went on a field trip to the museum district of Houston with several of the instructors and about 70 students.  As usual, I wasn't sure where I should sit, stand, be.  I ended up on the "teacher bus" by default simply because I got there a little late.  It wasn't uncomfortable and I was able to chit chat with a few of them during the trip.  At the end of the semester there was an impromptu gathering at a local joint for some live music and many of the same teachers were there (it was a rough semester for them).  Again, I went along and chatted with those who were comfortable enough to humor me.  As I've mentioned before....I'm still searching for where I fit.  I'm too old for the "kids table" and yet not quite engaging enough to sit at the "adults table".  They talk about graduate school and the first projects they made 10 or more years ago and how terrible they were.  They talk about London and Florence with ease, while I'm still clinging to the year I spent in Japan and the wish to see Vegas just once in my lifetime.  There's the middle again, I've traveled a bit, seen some things.  But I've never spent time in a country for education or pleasure and the one place I've really seen is Japan...more than most, but not as much as some.

In the midst of all this I'm trying to find my footing as an artist as well.  There are other students who are closing in on their senior courses that are having to develop a concept for their first gallery show.  I'm still a class or so away from that point but it's right there, just around the corner.  Am I industry?  Am I heartbreak?  Am I organic forms and internal organs?  Am I subtle Mother Goddess messages?  I'm still digging.  It'll get there I suppose.  There were a couple "a-ha" moments this spring that hit me:
I am more process oriented than outcome oriented.  Meaning, it's the process of making, not the finished product that gets me.  As long as what I make shows the love and respect of the process then I'm doing good.
I really like silver, bronze, and brass.  I also really love alloys of various kinds.
I'm infatuated with making my own tools and doing things the hard way--raising, forming, chasing...all the things that take time and energy to complete.

Intro class was about humility, intermediate has been about discovery.  From here on out it's alll about process and concept.  There have been a lot of things to reconcile about myself these last few months.  I suppose it'll all work itself out in it's own time.

Silver rings. Summer project.


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