24 December 2013

My Favorite Creative Experiences From 2013

1. Being back in graduate school: Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. I love school and being around other academics discussing art. I also tend to like my art getting it's ass kicked every once in a while. If you have never sat through an art critique in a college setting, do it. Listening to a large group of people--say 35 of them--pontificate on your artwork while you stand in front of them (between your artwork and them, like a protective mother) and attempt to defend everything is incredibly eye opening . . . And--dare I say--fun! Not to mention all of the book learning and paper writing that goes hand-in-hand with the experience. Three cheers for being back in school!

2. My residency in India at The Sanskriti Foundation: Another amazingly life-changing experience, and I'm still completely going through this! I have loved meeting everyone at Sanskriti and making new connections with all of the resident artists. Residencies create a special--different--kind of bond: you are brought together, make art furiously, and then you go on your separate ways. But there is always an amazing bond that exists. Thanks to social media, everyone can stay in contact for years to come. And perhaps one of these days, I will meet up with these artists at another residency or perhaps the same one. Just another fabulous example of art creating connection!

3. Oh my goodness, our first ever Stamford Community Mural: It's exciting to be part of the inaugural mural project that the students have begun working on in collaboration with Kallang Community Club . . . Each Thursday when my students go to the wall to paint, they discover a new friend or accept a new creative challenge. It's inspiring to watch.

The current feedback we have been receiving from parents about this project sounds something like this:

"I keep hearing such great things about this CCA . . . How can my child be involved with this project?"
"This is the one CCA that I facilitate where I go home and feel really energized!"
"I saw the images on Facebook the other day of the mural! What a fantastic project!"

4. Living with Wanalee: This might be my most inspiring life event ever. I am so lucky to be living in a part of the world that encourages travel. All of the trips I have been on in the past year have been incredible. But living with Wanalee for three days: that was the absolute best! Have you ever been around an elephant for a long period of time? They are the most gentle creatures on the planet . . . Make eye contact with an elephant and it will change your life--I guarantee it. She was patient and helpful, and she had a great sense of humor. I am scheduled to see her again over Chinese New Year. Hooray!

5. Trade School Singapore: Creative exchange! Decorating umbrellas and making new friends. Parade Arts never looked so good!

6. Soap-making with my second graders: Two weeks of bombastic artful energy disguised as play. The students had an absolute blast making their own soap and designing packaging that reflected their personal style.

7. Screen printing 101 with Stamford teachers: Very rarely do I get a chance to hang out with my teaching community creatively. The workshop that Sarah and I devised was successful on so many levels: it created a community of art makers among Stamford teachers, it showed teachers how they could use a creative technique in their classrooms to teach non arts-based classes, and it gave the teachers a space for play.

8. A for Arbite's CRAFT: A fingerweaving installation at one of Singapore's best kept secrets. Good food, great beer, and the celebration of craft. Sign me up again!

9. The first installment of Buoyant Echo in Kentucky: A collaborative project in the works with my good friend Corey D. Newton. It's a survey of my experience living in Singapore that combines performance, installation, sculpture, and music. The second installment of this project will take place in Singapore in August of 2014.

10. Writing about my friends and fellow art instructors: It's fun to peek into the lives of art teachers and see what makes them tick . . . Check out some of my fave art teachers: Camilla, Sarah, Adrienne, and Nicholas.

11. Stamford's gala artwork: It's always exciting to make things with my little people! Especially when it's for a great cause . . . So many hands went into the making and finishing of these three giant paintings!

12. French cooking class: Finding friends through a random Meetup has been one of the most rewarding things on the planet. I never even used Meetup in the States, but thought it would be a good idea living in a new country. I was right! Underground Chefs has been a blast to be a part of! (Now if only our wayward leader Jes would come back from learning how to make amazing pastries in Tuscany so we could continue on already!!)

13. Being a part of Handmade Movement's Craft Fair in January: Hanging out with some super lovely ladies in the pouring rain whilst attempting to hang up buntings and bobbles was hilarious. By the end of the day, we were all freezing cold and exhausted. But man, the turnout was incredible! At that fair, I met some of my closest friends in Singapore. To continued hilarity and success!

Honorary mention: Panca Mahabhuta Retreat. How could I not include my experience in Bali at Thanksgiving? Just being there for those four short days left me feeling refreshed and focused. I can't imagine what will happen when I attend the 21 day event . . . Look out!

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