Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Camaraderie of Fellow Artist Educators

Today I spent a blissful, sort of muggy, but blissful none the less afternoon in the company of fellow artist educators from the Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art (MATA).  We came together for our midsummer "Luncheon on the Grass".  It was wonderful to relax and unwind, but also engage in stimulating conversation and art making.  Those present had the opportunity to create ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and then exchange them at the end of the party.  It was a great way to while away the hot summer afternoon.

The breezes blew through the trees while we chatted, ate and created.  At one table there was a conversation about whether or not the images were Jungian or not.  One person didn't buy into Jung and the shared consciousness, while another did and had participated in a group that discusses dreams and Jung.  Another conversation was about the ramifications of cuts to the visual arts programs at local schools.  Who will still have a job?  Who may be forced out?  How many positions will just cease to exist as art educators retire?  These were some of the heavier conversations.  We also had lighter discussions such as one member sharing how she met her husband through the MATA group.  A much younger member then became interested.  Perhaps she is looking for a spouse or at least a boyfriend!  The food was lovely, as was the wine and water and desserts.  One person made a beautiful trifle that towered high in a cloud of mocha cream. 

After much eating, drinking and talking we finally engaged in the ATC making.  I always find it fascinating to create art and crafts in large groups.  Sometimes my inner anxiety gets the best of me and I find it difficult to work as I worry if my art is as good as the other people.  Other times I watch the group members because I learn a lot from watching their techniques.  How do they use paint or ink or fabric?  Why is she scratching and sanding that image?  How did he get that flower to stick?  Then finally I settle into my work and become engrossed and barely speak to the rest of the group.  I finish creating and instead of wondering if it is any good I get instant feedback from every body else as they wander by.  Art isn't supposed to be this competition, but somehow I always end up thinking this way.  For the ATC trade we drew numbers and each person went up to choose the card they wanted.  Instead of worrying that I wouldn't be chosen, which is normally my inner voice, I actually worried that other people would choose the ATC that I wanted!  Silly!!  It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed seeing these miniature works of art and learning how others create.


  1. What a wonderful post. I love the image of art educators in the park making art! Keeping your creative juices flowing!! Thank you for sharing.

    BTW - in case you didn't know, SchoolArts Magazine hosts an artist trading card contest every year! The photos you posted are gorgeous. You should consider submitting if you don't already.

    Take care and thank you again for sharing.

  2. Thanks for reading my blog. I am glad to know that somebody is out there reading what I write. I was aware of the Davis thing, but not all of these cards are mine. I did photograph them, but they've all been created by various people. I'll have to check out your link and see the details of submitting.