You may know that I am a self-taught mixed media artist. But by self-taught, what I really mean is that I have followed what excites me and inspires me, whether it be books, blogs, or taking classes from other artists. I have been taking what resonates with me and my taste, and practicing. Playing, experimenting, and practicing; embracing trial and error - figuring out what I like and don't like, and making more of what I like. This is what learning means to me. And I want to always be learning. Because what I have discovered is that it is the process of creating, not the perfect end result, that gives me joy.
This is the opposite of how I was a "student" in school. In high school through law school, my perfectionism allowed me to be successful, but also disconnected me from who I am as a person, a human. Getting the "A" was the symbol of success, and anything less meant failure. What a limited existence this is! I finally realized that you cannot learn anything unless you are willing to fail, make mistakes, and improve as you go. When I began creating playful art, trusting my intuition, focusing on the process and not the outcome, I was retraining my brain. I began to see "success" in a far less limited way. I realized perfection isn't possible, but progress is, and those standards I held myself to were limiting my life. I didn't realize it at the beginning, and I think I have only come to really understand this in the last seven or so years. But as soon as I started realizing this, I started experiencing JOY.
I am a teacher in Fodder School 3, but I am also a student, and learning from Di Venter, Tiffany Sharpe, and Barb Smucker this past three months has definitely brought me joy!
I'd never painted on fabric or bound a journal with Coptic stitching before Di's Fodder School lessons in October. I made three!!! For one of my sketchbooks, I took inspiration from an embroidered cap I bought in Sayulita, MX. Then I used that journal for some thumbnail sketches based on my photos of Sayulita.
In November, I caught the floral ephemera fodder fever with Tiffany's lessons, and was inspired to create a "journal folio" in which I could use some of my beautiful botanicals. The process of creating these florals, and then fussy cutting them, is, for me, very meditative. And, as many a Fodder Schooler will attest - addicting!
I made so much of this floral fodder that I added it to my DIY Postcards for iHanna's Fall Swap; and sent a few little florals in the envelopes along with the cards.
This month, following Barb Smucker's lessons, I have been delighted to experience color mixing and new ways of gel printing. But it's Barb's expertise and enthusiasm for collage - her forte - that got me seeing collage in a new and wonderful way. Barb is so talented, but she is also a great teacher. She conveyed some pretty technical art theory and principles in a way that was really accessible and inclusive. I got to incorporate my own style of creating with some new techniques and understanding. I am so happy with what was able to create!
You can still join in on the fun and the learning in Fodder School 3! You'll have "lifetime" access to all of the lessons, including the first three months, so you can take them all at your own pace and timing. If you sign up now, I recommend starting with the first full month of lessons in real time. That is, start where you are, with the month we're all in. This way, you'll be on pace with the rest of the students and feel engaged and supported throughout that month as well as the following months. Take up the lessons you missed when you can. It's a great online class, with some really amazing teachers, and a wonderful community of supportive students. Each month is full of mixed media exploration (lots of learning:), friendship, and joy! And it's a fantastic value. Click below for more information!