Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood :)

     I have realized that I am anticipating the future way too much right now. So, I have taken a step back and reanalyzed what I am doing for the next few months.  I have a lot to look forward to, but I found myself looking too much to what is going to happen, I want to focus on what IS happening right now. 

HERE is what is happening: 

Quiznos is working out quite well. The people there are very friendly, it is like a big happy family, or rather a small one, since not a lot of people work there.  I have decided to look at this job not as a "fast-food" job, but as a new experience and a lot to learn.  Two days ago, I learned how to use a meat slicer. Yesterday, I sliced mozzerella and swiss cheese, turkey, ham and prime rib. I have to admit that I kind of like that weird? Over the past few days of working there, I have gotten to know the workers a lot better and I am pretty happy with my choice (and the opportunity) to work there...(specially since my boss is giving me almost 40 hours a week!)

I have started new adventures in making art as well. When it comes to my art, I always have a plan (kind of like my life).  To venture out from such a formated frame of mind and stretch my boundaries, I have come up with a new project.  Funny enough, it has to do with the future, in a way.  My idea is to make 69 brooches, for the 69 days I will be at camp this summer. I will wear one each day, but they all have to be made before.  I am assembling them quick and easy.  What I want is for them to be like sketches are for illustrators. I need something like this to get my mind flowing again.  They will all be cold-connected (riviting, capturing, sewing and even gluing...if it's not soldered before now, then it's not happening now).  They will be all found objects too. I have a lot of stuff cast in resin from my senior thesis show and I want to use them.  A great deal of the resin pieces have the most random objects in them and it will be fun to find a way to wear them without making the usual setting for them.  The goal is loosen me up and really push my boundaries.  Pictures will be up throughout the summer.  Like Jenny said, I really have to not think about them and just make them.  Hey, I already have about thirteen-ish done! :)

Another artsy thing I have been doing is sketching.  If you know me, I am most definitely a 3-D person.  I CAN draw just because I had to learn how to, but I do not really like it, nor is it my strongest suit.  HOWEVER, my father said that it would put me in an uncomfortable position with my art and within that, I might grow. SOOOOOO here I go sketching :)

A few months ago, I put in my resume and a kick-ass cover letter to Portrait Innovations.  I know they are a chain portriat studio, however, it would be a secure career in my area-ish.  Well, anyways, it would be a good opportunity to know how to work a camera and get paid for it. I would be working with people (mostly children, I am sure) and making them literally smile! Does not sound like a bad gig, does it?  It is really good money too. ANYWAYS, the HR Recruiter sent me an e-mail saying they were interested in working with me to find a position here in Grandville, MI.  Which is GREAT, but I am moving out of the state! When scrolling down to the bottom of the e-mail, it looks like their main branch is out of Charlotte, NC!!! I e-mailed her back right away and tried to sound very professional (and very greatful) but I told her that I was moving out of state and if it is not too soon, I would like to see if there were any positions in, or near Raleigh. I told her that I would be willing to commute if needed.  I am sure it will take a while for her to get back to me, but there is that possibility there! I would actually be able to pay all my bills AND be able to afford a decent appartment all by myself! :) ANNNNNNND I would save money for grad school! :) How cool is that! I could also afford to buy tools and equpitment for my art....

Ok, Ok, now I am getting ahead of myself again, time to pull it back to the now. HA! I think I know what I am doing with my life and it is really exciting.  I am really fortunate to have so many opportunities and blessings in my life. I thank the Lord for everything he has given (and is continuing to give) me.  I am young and happy-go-lucky! Anything is possible right now and that is SUCH a great feeling!

stay know I never stay in one spot for long! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The beginning of a new chapter...

Dear Family, Friends, People I haven’t spoken to in forever and anyone else who cares to read this,

    Recently, I have made a big life choice and instead of hearing it through the grapevine, I have decided to send out a mass e-mail to let everyone know what is going on.  It has come to my attention that a lot of you want to know what I am up to and so in order to make it as efficient as possible, I am starting a blog.  It seems like the easiest way to keep everyone informed and in the loop.  I am usually pretty decent in keeping in contact, but this past year, I have been slacking quite a bit.  It does not mean that I do not want to keep up with you, I have just been trying to figure out the next step in my life and it has kept me quite busy. SOOOOOOOOOOOO, here it goes! (JUST to warn you, it is a long first entry, but when have you ever known me to NOT be long-winded?)

    In December, as most of you know, I finally graduated from Grand Valley with my BFA (Bachelors of Fine Arts) in Metalsmithing and Jewelry (*insert applause here*) and have been on fire with making my art.  My senior thesis show was a huge success (thanks to everyone who came! And if you did not come, please feel free to check out my photo album of that on facebook, titled: ConvergeDiverge). After all of the excitement, I went home for just over two weeks, which is longer than I have been home in over three years combined, and had a nice relaxing break with my family.  I came back and the job search was on! Unfortunately, the art scene in Grand Rapids is not as vivacious as other cities, and finding an artsy job here (or in Michigan in general) was not very likely.
    During my senior show, I met one of the assistants at the PAC Gallery (shout out to Alison Jones) and found out we had a lot in common! We started chit-chatting about our lives and what-not and at the end Alison had asked me to help her curate a few shows at the Mustache Gallery in downtown Grand Rapids. UMMMMM YES, PLEASE!
                      *side note: For all of you who do not know, I am really interested in curating
                                    shows and getting involved to promote art in the community*

It was amazing! I learned a lot and hopefully, at the end of everything, did a good job. ☺ I really enjoyed working with Alison and wished that I could stay in Grand Rapids. I think G-Rap is a great city and full of some really cool things. It has grown so much in the past six years I have lived here. It is one place that I will miss.
    Along with all the stuff I had going on here, I was searching for something more.  Something was tugging me in a new direction and I believed it was the need to know more!  Soon enough, I was at the computer researching graduate schools and places to live.  At the beginning of my search, my mind was set on getting my MA in Museum Studies, so I developed a trip around that.  I am very fortunate to have AMAZING and WONDERFUL parental units who have supported me from day one.  My father said that if I were to propose a trip to him, to visit schools, then he would pay for it.  THANK YOU DADDY! ☺
    There are not too many schools that offer a Museum Studies program, or even one that I would be interested in. I was looking for something very specific.  I wanted a program that was centered on the actual art history of things or rather just art.  In my research I found a good chunk of schools that offered a MA, but in more concentrated areas of Public History, non-art museums and archeology (although, ever since I was little, I had always dreamed of becoming an archeologist…hmmm). FINALLY, I found a program that seemed PERFECT! University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. It was actually a “Museum Communications” program and offered all the core classes I was looking for. All right, AWESOME, that would be my first stop on my trip. Second was University North Carolina Greensboro and third was East Carolina University.  Although ECU did not have a museum studies program, they do have one of the best Metalsmithing Schools in the country right now (I’ll get to that later) and I needed to see this place for myself. Besides with faculty like Linda Darty and Bob Ebendorf, I just HAD to check them out!
    After I had been in contact with all the professors and set up times to meet, I had found out that UArts did not want just a meeting, they wanted an interview! I had not even applied to the school yet, and they want to interview me!? Dang, I am good! Haha. Two weeks later, I set out on my long road trip to Philly. It is a good thing I have done this drive a few times back in the day…I was mostly familiar with where I was going.
    Arriving in Philly was easier than I thought. Finding a parking spot? That was a whole other question.  Apparently the Travelodge does not have parking within their hotel. I was not prepared for that and either was my suitcase.  I found a garage to park at two blocks away in Philly’s version of “Little China” and walked the two blocks back to my hotel in the heart of Philly at about seven o’clock at night with about forty extra pounds on my back. OH, did I mention that I was in a not-so-nice part of Philly? YIKES! It is all right though; I kept my cool and just looked straight ahead.
    That night I did not get a good amount of sleep.  For one, I had a big interview tomorrow at one and I had almost no clue where I was going; two, I had cable for the first time in months; three, the sheets and blankets were NOT warm at all, they were paper thin and I ended up using my winter coat and extra blanket to keep me warm that night.  When I awoke the next morning, I got ready WAY early and then, thought I was going to be late to UArts.  Nope! I was there fifteen minutes early and Professor Vosburgh was very impressed…weird that he was impressed that I was early…but cool, I guess. 
    The interview ended up going VERY well and I enjoyed hearing about the program and talking to him about what my plans were.  I really loved the program and its projects.  I was impressed with the amount of “real world-hands on” coursework they had, but it was my first stop and I had to keep an open mind for the rest of the trip.  Later that night, I met up with an old friend and had dinner at a little pub I had been to before on a recent trip to Philly the year before for a Metalsmithing conference.  That was nice and refreshing to see a friendly face and have a great conversation. 
    The next day I was off to my next destination.  My next meeting was not until Thursday and it was a Tuesday morning.  So, what did I do? Well first I stopped and had lunch with the wonderfully talented illustrator, Jacqueline McNally, in Baltimore and then headed diagonally to Scottsville, VA.  It was dead center in my journey from Philly to Greensboro and who happens to live there?! Why, only some of my favorite family members! I was so excited to see them! It had not been quite so long since I have seen them, but it had been TOO long since I was able to spend some quality time with them. I stayed at Amy and Eric’s and I happen to have come in on Uncle Donny’s birthday, where we had YUMMY soup and grilled cheese OH and birthday cake! Carey, Taylor and Dillon were there as well! Later that night Aim and I kicked Tay and Eric’s butts in Wii Bowling and then I got mine handed to me in golf…The next day I had a wonderful day with Carey and a relaxing evening with Aim and Eric.
    Each day was passing so quickly. It was already Thursday morning and I was off to Greensboro where I stayed with a good friend, Dan Clouse!  I had got there just in time to grab some delicious Mexican food and then go to my meeting.  I had a little bit to kill before then and Dan showed me around their Art Building…which, I have to say is GEORGOUS! Then I walked through the Weather Spoon Gallery and headed to my meeting.  Let us just say that I basically walked in and then walked right out.  It was a half an hour long and the professor was pretty much telling me to go somewhere else.  He had failed to mention in the TWENTY e-mails that we sent back and forth that it was a Museum Studies CONCENTRATION in Public History. NO THANK YOU. Although, it would be interesting, it was definitely not what I was looking for. SO, since I had a lot of time to kill and Dan was still teaching, I headed down to the little “main street” and popped my head into a few vintage stores and almost bought some really cool books, but alas, I needed to save my money for gas…I mean I had to get home, right?
    Later that night, Dan and I had dinner at a psychedelic pizza place and headed to a local brewery, where I met a few of his friends. We had a few drinks, some good laughs, but ultimately I was TIRED!  I woke up the next morning and Dan had a full day planned. We went to the studio where he is taking some pottery classes and he gave me a tour of the town.  Later, we went back to the Weather Spoon Gallery to see the featured artist, Leonardo Drew.  If you do not know who this guy is, you NEEEEEEED to check him out!  He is incredible. Absolutely inspiring!  I guess you could say he is like a contemporary Louise Nevelson…kind of.  I was taken a back and fired up more than ever to get back into the studio and work. Just AMAZING.
    My next meeting was not until Monday at ECU, so I stopped again in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Jenny, one of the other artists I showed with, and her boyfriend Matt, just moved down there.  Also, my old roommate Brandon lived there.  I stayed with Matt and Jenny for the weekend and had a really nice time and pretty much fell in love with Raleigh.  It reminded me of Grand Rapids, but a lot bigger. There was more of an art scene and there were plenty of galleries and museums all over the place.  Besides Raleigh is pretty much center to all the other places that I was going to in North Carolina.
    Finally, it was Sunday night and getting to the end of my journey.  One last stop before I drive the fourteen hours back to Michigan.  Luckily, I have friends all over the place, thanks to Blue Lake, and was able to stay with my friend Nathan.  He lived within walking distance to the school.  Even though both him and his roommate gave me directions, I still ended up walking the wrong way and was forty-five minutes late to my meeting. BAH!
    I walked in and immediately felt home.  It was a combination feeling of being back at my old high school and GVSU.  I met with Professor Eagle and he gave me an hour and a half tour of the school! Along the way, he introduced me to faculty and other art students as either a visiting artist or a potential grad student! Ha. Everyone was so supportive and welcoming.  They stopped and asked me a few questions and I even had a ten-minute conversation with the Director of Art Education!  Their facility is quite incredible.  I believe every discipline had a room for undergraduates and another separate room for graduates, and of course all graduates had a studio. 
    After my tour, Scott took me into the metals studio where I met Tim Livine and Bob Ebendorf (unfortunately Linda was just getting back that day from a conference and was unable to meet me).  Tim and Bob welcomed me right away and made me feel at ease.  We sat down and I handed them each a resume and started talking. Luckily I had brought my computer with me because they wanted to see some of my work.  We then proceeded to have about a two-hour critique on my art, my life, and where I saw myself in the future.  Surprisingly, I was completely comfortable talking about my work.  It was a new body of work, so it has not developed all the way, so I was nervous I was not going to be able to get my point across, however, I did it (and quite well, I might add).  Everything was so natural and fluid.  For once in my life, I was able to state exactly what I wanted and how I was going to achieve it. I had not only surprised them in my decisiveness, but myself as well. 
    I told them that this was a new body of work. It was still a baby and definitely needed to be refined. I was not looking to apply until at least the fall of 2011, but I wanted to visit the schools and feel out the areas in which I would be applying. I told them my first instinct was to go for Museum Studies, to be a curator, but through my travels, my idea started to shift.  Museum Studies was not what I wanted. Sure, I wanted to be a curator, but of a gallery, not of a big huge museum. 
    You see I have always wanted to own my own gallery and have a studio attached to it. A studio where I could do my own work, but also teach people how to be metalsmiths and potters.  Not just anybody though. I want my facility to be a place where mentally and physically handicapped people can come and learn these tedious, but relaxing techniques.  I do not want to be the art therapist (that is for my Lynne to do), I want to have the equipment and facility for them to come and learn.  This is why I think it is important to have a background in art. I do want to teach, just not in a traditional classroom. 
    Once I finished, the room was kind of quite for a moment and we continued to talk.  They explained that there is a Gallery Assistantship as well as a type of Gallery Management course.  This would be perfect, I thought to myself.  After everything, Bob showed me a few more things and then dropped me off in the Graduate Metals studio, where I hung out and met some pretty cool people. They were all so nice and inviting.  This is the kind of school I was looking for.  Although my body of work is not ready for this place, I will be quite soon.  I tagged along to a gallery opening where I met the head of the MFA department and the Director of the Gallery I would be doing my assistantship with, if I were to get in and get it. 
    The show was in light of the speaker they had coming that night. I cannot remember his name at the moment, but he wrote Three Cups of Tea.  Apparently this is an upcoming book and I will definitely have to pick this one up! ☺ After we got back from the show, I decided to head back to Nathan’s, freshen up and head over to the gym, where the author of Three Cups of Tea was speaking.  Nathan had a lab that night, so I did not feel bad about it at all! The speaker was amazing and I am so glad I went.  It was a life-changing event and I think I sat in my car for about ten minutes just trying to process what just happened. 
    Yes, this trip is coming to an end; I thank all of you for reading THIS far into it. I still have a few more things to say.  At the end of the Monday, I was just blown away and on cloud nine.  This is destiny calling my name! I now, know what I want to do, but I decided to sleep on it for a week and come down from the amazing life-high. The next morning, I packed up all of my stuff and headed out. It was a long drive and I was NOT going to make it.  SINCE I have friends almost everywhere, I was able to stop in Dayton, Ohio and stay with my super-star, Charis.  It was so great to get to see her, even if it was not that long. I arrived late and left early, but I was able to relax. My trip had basically ended and I no longer had any doubt about my next step. 
    Before I left Dayton, I had one more stop to make.  As many of you know (well only my family, really), my great grandparents are from Dayton and have been buried there.  It has been just over a year since my Great Grandma Haught had passed away and she was one of my biggest supporters (and probably still is), along with my Great Grandpa Haught who passed away when I was eight.  Both of them have made major impacts on my life and even though they were with me on this whole journey, I had to see them and be with them.  I found the Moslem, sat down and talked with them for about a half an hour.  It was a very emotional moment for me.  I know they are finally together, but I miss my grandma a lot.  I am so, incredibly lucky that I was able to have twenty-three years with her, but I still cry every time I think about her. This, visiting with them, was my favorite part of the trip. 
    As I made the final drive of my journey, I was able to really reflect, mostly because my CD play had jammed up an hour and a half into my trip, but because of the rush of a week and a half I just had.  I got home to my mom, brothers and dogs, and took a huge breath and sigh of relief. I now have my plan. Since you have read this far, I believe you won’t mind reading this part, too much…

    MY PLAN: I just got a job at Quiznos Subs for a few months and am still working at the Gardens (just catering) until I leave for Blue Lake (yes, I am going back for a fifth summer! And I could not be more excited).  After Blue Lake, I will be going home to Tecumseh for a few days and then venturing down to North Carolina, where I will stay with my friends Matt and Jenny for a week-ish (hope that’s ok with you two!) and finding a job and a place to live. I will be claiming residency, taking a few classes at a community college to brush up on my writing and art history all the while, creating art and building up my body of work.  Once I feel that my work is adequate enough, I will apply to graduate school at East Carolina University and get accepted (I hope).  It is a highly competitive school, but I am ready for this and I want this more than I have ever wanted anything before.  So, LOOK OUT WORLD, HERE I COME!

                      *Side Note: This will probably be one of the longest updates I will ever have, but  that is just because I  

                       got back from this amazing trip and I wanted to give details and how I arrived at my decision! So stay 
                        tuned for more updates, for I never stay     in one place for too long….*