A Decade of Teaching

Back to school month, for many anyway. I'm looking back over what has somehow become a decade of teaching art--hundreds of students in a variety of public and private venues. I feel so much pride for these individuals and knowing who, how, and why some of this work got made makes it even richer than what these images can show. But that is private, this I can share, this tip of the iceberg of work produced by my students over these ten years.

Messy

An excerpt from a grant application. The grant is for artists who are also parents, so they want to understand how having children impacts your life and creative work:

"I live in the Pacific Northwest with my commercial fisherman husband and my three children, two daughters and a son, Emerald (13), Dare (10), and Liam (4). The kids have spent much of their childhoods homeschooling in our humble home. They and their friends are around all the time and are welcome into my studio space which is always inside our home. Artmaking, homemaking, schooling are interwoven--if I have five minutes while the pasta boils I work. I work early in the morning, late into the night, and grab moments throughout the day.

Truth is this life can get real messy. With my husband gone fishing much of the year parenting is often a solo job. The kids get in the way, sheer volume of mess, illnesses that hit at the height of a deadline crunch, kids' most urgent needs tend to happen late at night during my only sustained work time, that is just how it is. But it is big, it is rich. It is worth it. Making art is a non-negotiable part of who I am, I am a better person when I am actively working, this helps me be the parent I want to be. In turn the kids feed the art work. Their creativity is astonishing. I often collaborate with them and am inspired by their choices. I also find intense satisfaction in teaching my kids, their peers, and within my community at large. This is a good feedback loop.

I like to put it this way, I am "living my whole life right now." Sometimes I confidently own this powerful statement, other times it is a quiet mantra used as a reminder that I chose  all of this. Always the message is that the different areas of my life are not separate from each other--I choose not to put anything off until later."

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