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Reflections Gone Viral

Outdoor Exhibit at KZNSA (hope to dig up artist's name)

As artists and individuals, our work practices vary greatly. I’d like to share a bit of mine with you. I do believe that looking at one’s practice offers a new lens for self-discovery.

I am a process artist; one who follows the meanderings of the mind as I work. As I stitch or paint or address a journal page, my imagination is not focused on the final product. Rather I accept and often struggle with the challenge of working “without instructions,” by the seat of my intuitive pants. Heart, spirit, my gut and the work itself propose or determine completion. The process is quite circuitous. Waiting is a favored tool, patience the practiced skill. Over time, incremental revelations appear. During the process, I take notes to remind myself of what has happened along the way.

When I reflect on these seven months in South Africa, challenged by the Covid-19 lockdown, I’ve applied many of these same skills. I’ve kept track of the moments of fear, the curtain of isolation, my interrupted freedom. With no clear look into the future, (like the finished project), literally no control of my life beyond my four walls, it has been an opportunity to mold the day-by-day into meaning.

I’ve found time to examine my work as an educator in the changing social climate. I kept connected by participating in several virtual workshops. As part of a WhatsApp group, I received life drawing assignments from our generous instructor and I participated in two poetry workshops on Zoom. I witnessed great generosity on other platforms as well: the global community rallied. I’m grateful I could dive into the virtual pool, having done most of my teaching virtually for the last six years. My website and other technology platforms make interacting with my students pretty organic.

Lockdown a guru of sorts, I am redesigning my workshop offerings to meet the times that will continue to challenge us. The lessons will still focus on process as the means to students’ creative self-discovery, while holding the spark to something beautifully made. Clearly arranged, self-guided instructions with sample process images and video of me working on the project will support your journey on your timeline. Depending on your needs, virtual conferencing can be scheduled as a separate offering. I’m also open to suggestions about topics.

I will send another email with further details. Until then, I want to share the ordinary narrative of the last seven months.

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