Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I am late.
I was supposed to post my "dream" page last week as we have scheduled our summer with weekly prompts to guide us in our art making and our writing. 

My dreams are full.  My dreams are busy.  My dreams are many.
My dreams consist of Croy.  I wish he was still here by my side instead of sitting in my heart. 
I dream that I could turn the clock back and bring him back to us. 
I dream that all of the little events that eventually led to his untimely death could be erased - the horrific nightmare of a hospital in Savannah, the ambulance ride that seemed to take forever to get us to Atlanta and the numerous mistakes made by Children's.  I often feel that Croy should be here with us - but then I have to hold deep in my heart that God needed him.  Croy did so much "good" here on Earth - he spread his joy, he loved unconditionally - so my new dream is that I can live as fully and as whole as he did. 

The definition of dream is:
"A series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. A daydream; a reverie.  A state of abstraction; a trance. A wild fancy or hope. A condition or achievement that is longed for; One that is exceptionally gratifying, excellent, or beautiful."

And to explore the act of "dream" used throughout time:
MLK:  "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."   Amen!
PAUL MCCARTNEY: The tune for "Yesterday" came to him in a dream...
MARY SHELLEY: Frankenstein was inspired by a dream - "when I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nore could I be said to think...I saw - with shut eyes, but acute mental vision - I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out and ..."
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON:  He described dreams as occurring in "that small theater of the breain which we keep brightly lighted all night long".  His classic novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was conceived, written, re-written, re-re-written and printed inside of ten weeks in 1886 and was conceived in a dream.
JACK NICKLAUS: This golfer found a new way to hold his golf club in a dream, which he credits to improving his golf game back in 1964.
STEPHEN KING: "Dreams are just another part of life.  To me, it's like seeing something on the stree you can use in your fictioin.  You take it and plug is right in." 

So this week I will consider all that could be locked away in my dreams - there is documented proof that famous creative ideas materialized from dreams - writers, poets, musicians, philosphers, athletes, artists...dreams inspire and so I hope my dreams will inspire me to write and create my story.  My story about how my Croy informs my life now - my curricula, my daily actions, my future.

"Dream Spread" - Visual Journal Entry - dewestudio - May 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

I think I've made an interesting correlation between memoir and research and how the 2 merge.  I am such the "teacher thinker" that I believe I am always searching for creative ways to explain difficult concepts to my students. As I have been pondering some of my upcoming summer grad school questions regarding the empirical aspects in my dissertation, I find it confusing.  So the other day, I had a revelation of sorts and here is what I wrote: 

"I was thinking about my jewelry collection the other day.  I love my jewelry. I consider it to be my art that I get to wear, my proverbial "artwears" for the world to see easily without having to enter my house or art studio to see my art collection that hangs on my walls.   I have been collecting this wearable art for years now, starting on my 12th birthday. I can still recall purchasing my first ring at a “real” jewelry store, and learning the term “filigree”.  My step grandmother, Esther, took me to the store and together, we picked out a dainty, 14K yellow gold (that was a REALLY big deal back then) filigree ring with a topaz stone in a beige brown tone, that I adored!  In my young mind, it defined me, this ring with a historical definition and a stone that told the world that I was born in November.   I loved that ring, maybe as much as I loved my Esther.  In fact, when I think about that ring, I consider how it symbolizes my eternal, neverending love for this remarkable woman.  I think about how she was the ultimate teacher, the teacher who could make a simple shopping experience a true learning experience that will forever be embedded on a young artist’s mind.

As I sit here today, as a 46 year old woman, a teacher, I slowly begin to count the jewelry that I am wearing.  39 pieces of jewelry are adorning my body at this moment! 39!  From my stacks of rings, 4 rings on 2 fingers and a thumb ring that I put on during my sophomore year of high school and have yet to take off.   Each ring has a significant meaning, each necklace has a deep, personal meaning.  From the thumbprint of my deceased son and the small diamond cross from my best friend Dee who saved me on the day of his memorial service, to my wedding band and engagement ring that symbolized my husband, Chuck's commitment and love for me,  to Croy’s medical bracelet that I took off of his little wrist as they wheeled him away to donate his organs, to my toe ring that my daughter Carson and I got together at the beach 4 years ago. 
I have a multitude of silver bangle bracelets, one to document each of my trips to Mexico and St. Martin, my souvenirs, each with a memory that brings me joy.  I have jewelry that has text inscribed in it, such as my ring that now sits in between my engagement ring and my wedding band that simply says, CROY CARSON, and my ring that states, PURSUE HAPPINESS, a gentle reminder to do just that.  I have a bracelet that says, MAY YOUR CRAYONS NEVER MELT that sits right next to my classical Tiffany heart link bracelet given to me by my Chuck on our 5th wedding anniversary.  I have a tiny diamond stud earring in my 5th earring piercing that is from my Mamaw, and 2 anklets that I started collecting a few Christmases ago selected by Carson.  I could go on and on reflecting on the individual stories each piece of jewelry represents, in fact, I could reflect on the contents of my jewelry box and perhaps write my entire dissertation.  These stories from each piece of precious jewelry take on a life of their own and I begin to understand the essence of how memoir meets research.  As I reflect on my jewelry collection, the gold and silver metal that adorns my body, I become intrigued about the history of jewelry.  I think about how Esther, who lived in Tucson and worked with Native American children, had a beautiful jewelry collection and I want to know more about her jewelry and the jewelry from her Navajo friends and the symbolic meanings behind the engraved silver and turquoise pieces that define a part of their culture.  So I begin to research the history of jewelry. 
And this is how it begins.  My personal story and interests lead me to the scholarly information that is out there and I begin to better understand the relationship of how one's personal life story becomes a part of the research "data"."  And in my case, I then begin to form and write new curricula around the merged personal story and scholarly info to inform a new genre of learner - it's a beautiful circle where the learning never ends. 
And it all started with a simple story of an art teacher's jewelry collection.
From this short memoir, I am ready to begin a bit of historical research on jewelry to combine my story with that of the academic story!  Who knew there was so much to learn by taking a moment to reflect on the obvious in our lives.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Our first prompt was SUMMER EXPECTATIONS - I had fun making the cover for my visual journal, I am calling it my book of "Marks" since I am very interested in using mark metaphorically in my dissertation.  I think the large, overarching goal of my research is to not only see how life informs curricula, but look closely at the "art of the mark" in both the 2D realm and the 3D realm. 

I am adding my cover image as well as my first page of summer expectations.  I have merged my text into my imagery and blurred the message a bit.  Bottom line - my marks will be informed by the elements of art, line, shape, color, value but on a much larger playing field - these will fuel my summer as I will search for deeper meaning while reading, writing, creating and appreciating my family while relaxing at the beach.  I will search for peace - I will love unconditionally - drinking in life and living fully!

Visual Journal Cover - dw2012

Summer Expectations - dw2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Drew, Tammy and Debi are excited to share this blogspot where we will post weekly reflections from our lives.  We are all moms, Ph.D candidates, teachers, artists, writers and friends.  Our goal is to continue to push ourselves as creative beings and through this site we will post weekly.  We have prompts that will guide us on this journey of working in our visual journals, improving on our craft.
Enjoy!  And know that we enjoy and appreciate creative comments!

NOTE:  I have used a piece of art for our header done by a past student, AE.  This is a piece she was working on for her AP portfolio 2 years ago and she never completed it.  It reminds me of the metamorphosis we all go through during our lives - growing, changing, learning, observing – when we pay attention to the little things in life that help us to spread our wings and eventually fly with confidence, we illuminate with positive energy and beauty! 

There are so many things I love about this piece of art, the old discarded wood that it was created on, the bold marks created with various media that tell the story of my student’s growth as a divergent, creative thinking artist and what a joy it was to watch her grow over the years that I was her art teacher.  AE is now a student at SCAD and she is indeed growing, changing, learning and sharing her stories with me.  Another student continuing to make me proud!