Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Are you Well Educated? What are you Afraid to Learn?

Garden of Eden, by Georgianne Holland

Fiber artists are often educated in fields other than art. Like actors and artists of all mediums, our creative output as artists is often supplemented by another field -- endeavors often unrelated to the fiber art we create. Singers wait tables in fancy restaurants to pay the rent, photographers teach history in high school, and so on it goes. Some of these supplemental jobs require a huge investment in education and others do not. What is your educational status? Do you consider yourself to be well educated in the field that is your primary source of income? Are you a creative entrepreneur who considers herself to be self-taught? Are there lifestyle situations you face today that, if time allowed, you'd benefit from some additional expertise?

Creative people like me are often self-taught through many hours of experimentation, trial and error, and good old book-learning. The textile and fiber arts communities of Great Britain are inspirational to me because they have many influential college and guild programs to help fiber enthusiasts become professional practitioners. In the spirit of that example, I recently researched where in Colorado a fiber folk artist like myself (self-taught), could pursue a college-level education. Have you ever looked into this option for yourself?

Artist Tom Lundberg is my new fascination on this topic of higher education and fiber art. Since 1979, Tom has been a Professor in the Department of Art at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He is the coordinator of the BFA and MFA programs in fiber media. It makes my heart sing to think of a program such as this in a neighboring town! Tom has accomplished what so many of my contemporaries dream about: he has established himself as an artist who uses embroidery as his medium. Extensively exhibited in solo shows and select international venues, this award-winning fiber artist is someone I study today as a source of inspiration.

What do you study today? Are you a lifetime student, or did you hang up your number 2 pencil and notebook years and years ago?

There are so many topics a creative person can study and add to the ways in which we are educated. I recently heard about Babs Didner in Texas. "Babs Didner never learned how to cook. She grew up the youngest in a large family in which her mom and oldest sister ran the kitchen. 'I was always totally intimidated by cooking,' says Didner, 50, a school administrator in Austin, Texas, in a recent issue of Experience Life! Magazine. "My friend Michelle loves to cook, so we’d get together and she’d explain cooking basics to me while we fixed our food. Sometimes we’d follow recipes, but she knew how to cook without recipes, too, and she’d explain ways to do that, like how to thicken a mixture or what spices went with what type of food.”

I love this example of facing the fear of learning something creative and important like cooking healthy food. It has been said that cooking is the only art form that you consume. What have you been putting off as a new skill? Think about your circle of friends for a minute. Not everything you desire to learn requires enrollment in a bachelors' program in a university (however exciting that would be!). When I think about the wide variety of people I am happy to call friends, I know that there is boundless expertise and kindness they are willing to share. For instance, I have a great friend who is a professional photographer, and he has tirelessly helped me understand how to improve the photographs I use on my online Nestle And Soar shop. What could you teach a friend that would add to their success at home or on the job?

I am a strong believer in Adult Education. I didn't finish my college education until I was 39 years old, with a 15-year focus on raising my children in between my first attempt and my final diploma. I loved going to college with other adults who were on a mission to learn something important and knew exactly what field they wanted to master! And my continuing education continues. I am in the process of becoming an Integrated Health Coach, pursuing my education through the Institute of Integrated Nutrition in New York. This year-long program will enable to me to add Health Coaching to my art practice here in Colorado and share my message of a vibrant, balanced lifestyle to new friends and old. So like Tom Lundberg, I will be an exhibited artist and helping folks learn at the same time...it is a wonderful combination!

I would love to hear what area of expertise you are studying today! Please leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks for stopping by,

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