I seem to have meandered away between this post and the last one. At first I blamed it on the fact that my internet was down, then family things arose, then came the fury and aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene. But, in fact, I think that it is the young artists’ work that I am writing about that elicited a response in me that needed some time to ripen.
Sometimes a response rises unexpectedly and I have to just wait for the calm to come before I can see what’s there. This particular moment of transition accompanied the pop-up workshop and exhibition at my local library (which, thankfully, was untouched by Irene).
Unlike my usual relationship to the student work that I see, I had virtually no involvement in the works that were created by the young people who were teaching and displaying their work in our local community. I had the luxury, then, of observing the flow of their work, which reminded me of how profoundly significant it is to support arenas where people can be creative.
This library exhibition and workshop came about because of group of dedicated elementary students decided that they would show up at Salem’s North Main Gallery week after week and work on moveable book arts projects, with gentle nudging by book artist Ed Hutchins.
Sometimes I would stop in at the gallery and see these students working. Sometimes they would be deeply focussed, and sometimes, I was told, they would be singing together. But always, their hands and minds were busy, making decisions, adding color, creating little universes with paper, scissors and markers.
The Book of Fleeb’s Lunch
These past few weeks I haven’t written a post, drawn a picture, or sewn a book. This makes me feel like a tree without leaves. While it’s okay, even good, for a tree to have no leaves for a while, too much of that is no good. I’m reminded that providing the space and the skills that allow children to make decisions, to acquire new skills, and to work together is like helping them grow parts of themselves which help to define themselves and enhance the world around them.
Here’s one of the student/instructors at the workshop. More photos to come