Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 Michigan Art Ed Conference

This past weekend has been many things for me: amazing, a moment to get away, reconnecting, eyeopening, inspiring and finding a new (old) craft for me. While I was at my annual Art Ed. Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan I was in awe of all the amazing things my colleagues are doing in the classroom. From advocating for the arts to finding new ways to further their own craft and just how we love sharing ideas. Yeah, I treat this as a moment to get away and get some rest at a nice hotel but, the reconnection that happens is something I live for. Back in school on many occasions feel like I am by myself and I know they feel the same way. We usually are the only one in the school doing what we do and its at this moment that being with each other we appreciate. Discussing art techniques and showing each other new ways of doing an old technique. I presented in two different seminars what I thought was a new way to approach an old craft: Paper Pulp–Paper Mache'. I had approximately 25 art educators on the Thursday night and 30+ the following day Friday morning (workshop images). To engage them I even tried a new way of starting my presentation, I created a video with website xtranormal which is very easy to do and one I recommend we show our students how to use. From there I discussed several different ways to use the pulp mixture and then turned them lose in a hands on workshop. They took off in ways I never dreamed of creating amazing products that they will wear and take back to school to show their students. I love creative people, problem solvers and "Out of the Building" thinkers they are. I once worked for a Creative Director and he told me something that has resonated with me until this day, "Creative people are the greatest problem solvers in the world, cause that is what we do all day long," The following days people who were in my workshops came up to me stating, "I can't believe how quick and easy that project is to do," "I love the results," I will be using this instead of ceramics to teach figurative sculpture this year," And, the list goes on. Yes, I am very happy about the results of what I took to the conference, inspiring educators in a new way. But, I came upon a vendors booth that was selling their felting supplies. They had a demo table where people were creating small samples. I watched. I inquired. I asked questions. I began to create. And, then one of the ladies working the booth (Back To Back Fiber Products) says, "Why not felt your bag?" Me, " I can?" Well, need say no more to me I was off and running with my felting needle and Alpaca wool in hand. My burlap messenger began to take on a new look and one I know will continue to evolve. I couldn't stop. Every where I was sat, I was felting. Even while working the booth for the College for Creative Studies, I was felting. People were walking up to me, "your the one that felted the burlap bag." Yes, that was my small moment of celebrity status. I even thought about it, is this something I want to take into the classroom? Or, just use for me? It is so relaxing and therapeutic that I found myself settling right down and concentrating on what I was doing, felting. Not to say I won't take it into my classroom but at the moment it is for me! I was even talking with a colleague about getting together with friends, bring some wine and your felting materials and create with great conversation. I'm in for sure. Well, of know that is about it, I have more to right about the conference but I need to gather my notes, organize them and write. So, continue to allow the creative spirit to run freely through your every part of your body. :)

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