In the last eight months the artist in me has come to life again. It’s not that I ever stopped doing art, I just realized that I wanted it to be more than something I do every six months or so. Art has always been a significant part of my life, beginning when I was a young child. My mother is an artist and she always made sure we had plenty of supplies and resources to express our creativity. Among my childhood materials were mud, water, sand, wood, paints, paper, clay, crayons, and lots of fabric. Over the years I’ve gone through dozens of artistic phases. My pattern is total immersion, often crossing the line into obsession, and then when I’m saturated I move on to the next medium. It happened with watercolor, macramé, weaving, and polymer clay. My current artistic passion is collage.
What I love about collage is the layering and the freedom to create something spontaneously from natural objects, photographs, different textures of paper, and paints. I love the surprise that happens when random elements just seem to fit together. Collage reminds me of what it’s like to work at a school, especially at the beginning of the year. Each teacher is the artist, starting with an assortment of children, parents and intentions. Day by day, learning experiences are offered to bring everyone into a cohesive community. Some combinations work well right away and others need more time. Friendships form spontaneously and learning begins to take shape. Every teacher works in his or her own way. For example, in the Preschool 3s class last week, each child made a batch of colored macaroni. The colors were combined and as the class paused to look at the “explosion of color and contrast,” Kevin pointed out to the children, “Just as each student poured their own batch of macaroni into the large bin, you each bring your own special thing into the classroom.”
This kind of teaching is true artistry and I see it every day throughout our learning community. The teacher/artists and their classes become part of a larger, more complex collage. Together we make each day into a living expression of life lived to its fullest with curiosity and creativity at its heart. I feel so fortunate to have this kind of inspiration as part of my life work. It ignites my creativity at school, and at home in my own studio. Each time I set aside a few moments to play around with my collage materials, I offer my gratitude for the privilege of being a part of a living work of art.