Whenever something is not going my way, I try to remind myself that my problems are minimal and I am very lucky to have the life that I do. Nothing could further solidify this than learning about the girls in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. Between 2008 and 2010, the Taliban brutally took over the region and destroyed hundreds of girls schools. This tragic event was followed by a major refugee crisis, and finally a devastating flood.
My mentor and friend, Eileen Foti, teaches the printmaking workshop at aTi and brought The Swat Relief Initiative to our attention. SRI makes education for girls a high priority in addition to developing programs for women's health, teacher training, economic growth and building a sustainable environment. Through this initiative, women learn to sew and use traditional methods to make crafts. We had the opportunity to empower these women and children by purchasing their beautifully handmade jewelry, embroidery, and bags. All proceeds will go directly towards efforts to help this disadvantaged population. I hope to be able to bring these crafts to The Denville Farmer's Market to raise more more money for this incredible cause.
Today we continued our work in the lab to edit our photos and prepare for printing. Whenever I am in a lab and there is mention of a printer and a queue, I automatically get a pit in my stomach. It brings me back to many anxious moments in my undergraduate graphics lab praying that printing would go smoothly (it hardly ever did). My designer friends will sympathize with the stress over losing printer "points" and having to find someone to hopefully give them back to you.
I am happy to report that printing was a smooth process all day! I really enjoyed watching the large format Epson printer slowly output my photos. The anticipation felt like a continued part of the journey. I am very pleased with the outcome so far and look forward to exploring more ways to alter my photos.
Before lunch I asked my classmates, Laura and Denise, to take photos of me holding yoga postures in front of the art building. I've always been very self conscious about having my photo taken (I grew up pre-selfie era). While shooting this week, we have all been naturally inclined to take photos of one another. The experience makes me feel more comfortable with the concept. The time I feel most comfortable in my skin is when I practice yoga so why not practice some outside on a bench and have some excellent photographers document it?
At lunch I had the opportunity to chat with a newish art teacher. It's so interesting to have a conversation with someone who is at the start of an incredibly rewarding and frustrating career. With only a few years under her belt, she has a lot of different perspectives and a lot of questions. I tried to instill something in her that I've realized during our journey this week. Teachers who attend workshops like aTi are teachers who are ARTISTS. We yearn to create and to learn and to bring back our knowledge to our students. I promised her that the first year of teaching any course is always a little bit of a hot mess but that's OK because every year is an opportunity to make it better. When you are a teacher who cares about your craft, you are always willing to improve and strive to be the best mentor possible.
To continue my printmaking piece today, I applied copper leaf onto boueys and cut out teeny tiny turquoise (say that three times fast) lifeguard chairs and umbrellas. I am super pleased with the direction this work is taking and hope to complete it tomorrow afternoon.
After dinner, I am off to get my namaste on at a local studio this evening. Like in art, I enjoy taking classes with different yoga instructors. Every individual has something unique to offer and I always leave my mat learning something new.
Oh... and I saw two more ants today!! Namaste.