Homework for Kerr's workshop

I'm leaving one week from tomorrow for Ohio to spend a week at the Nancy Crow Timber Frame Barn studying with Kerr Grabowski. I've been looking forward to this workshop since I made my last drive down Thunder Mountain Road in a billowing cloud of dust. That vivid scene was on the last day of the workshop that I took with Kerr and Rayna Gillman last summer at Peter's Valley. Come to think of it, I started this blog just a couple of days later, after reading Rayna's blog and being inspired to give it a try. I'm a little conflicted (but only a very little) about taking a second workshop from the same person. There are some really great teachers out there. Shouldn't I be looking for breadth instead of depth? I guess I'm more of a depth kind of guy when you get right down to it. Anyway, I don't expect this workshop to be a repetition of last summer. I'm going with the expectation of refining an developing some of my skills, getting answers to some of my "what am I doing wrong here" questions, making great cloth, meeting interesting people, and working in the Barn. It's going to be great. I'm already wishing that it was a 2-week workshop, but my boss would have a fit so it's just as well that it's one week.

So, Kerr sent an e-mail yesterday to the whole class giving us a homework assignment. Can you imagine?! Like I don't have enough to d0? : )

First we need to bring "2 objects that you feel strongly about" and these are to be used for inspiration--sketching, collage, etc.

Second, we are to do a critical assessment of our work, looking for common themes, characteristics, etc.

2 Meaningful Objects This shouldn't be hard, but it is. I've done several laps around the house and come up empty handed (but I did do a little cleaning as I went!). I've come to a sort of weired realization: it's the house and it's contents as a whole about which I feel strongly. I have real trouble picking up a piece of pottery or some other object and saying, "I wouldn't want to live without this." Everything I see or touch has a shared memory attached to it. It's something that Dan and I bought together, built together, some connection. This is an amazing and emotional realization.

Now, I still need two things to take with me...I feel strongly about the cats, but Hillary and Isabella would not enjoy the trip. Isabella had a panic attack the last time she was in the car for more than 5 minutes.

I've settled on two odd things, but they are full of meaning. The first is a journal from a couple of years ago. It includes the beginning of my discernment period (the one I'm still working through), the time of my first serious fiber workshop (Jane Dunnewold), and my conscious, verbal acceptance of myself as an artist. Other volumes and this blog have followed, but this first volume represents the whole.

The second object is a pair of Gingher shears. They were a Christmas gift from Dan more than 10 years ago. They weren't terribly expensive, but something I had hesitated to buy for myself. It wasn't a big thing, but one that was incredibly thoughtful. I opened this gift in front of most of his family and sat there in silence with tears welling up in my eyes. I think it was the validation and support that was so moving.

That's enough of that for now. The critical assessment part of the assignment is going to have to wait for the next posting.