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Archive for the ‘Professional Life’ Category

Time to Change

rachelbeckman.com

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As I’ve mentioned, MICA’s Holiday Art Market is right around the corner. If you’re around Baltimore, come to MICA’s Campus, Leidy Atrium in the Brown Center, this week to explore the ultimate holiday shopping ground. There will be 250 vendors consisting of students, staff, and alumni selling everything from jewelry  and pottery to handmade books and fine art prints. I will also be there, selling delightful handwoven gifts to tickle the fancies of book worms and textile lovers young and old. Come check out the sale, Wednesday December 9 to Saturday December 12, 10 am to 6 pm. And check back here to see more examples of what I’ll be selling leading up to the Wednesday sale.

Bookmarks and Bookmark in action

Fringeless and Fringed, Twills and Rag Rug

Fringeless and Fringed, Twills and Rag Rug

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I know there has been a serious lack of updates lately, but this artist is busy busy.  After being a TA and an RA for MICAs pre-college program, an experience that had me working with amazing artists (Valeska Populoh and Margaret Hluch for two) teaching fiber (garment, sculpture, shibori), I took a few weeks off to travel and enjoy my summer. That’s not to say I didn’t get a lot of work done- pictures to be posted soon of recent work- but I also made myself stay off the computer as much as possible.

So now school has started once more, and I wanted to give you an overview of what this semester will be like for me, both academically and professionally, with more details to follow.

September:

  • Try to figure out how to make clothes for my costume class, and develop some sort of confidence about fashion illustration.
  • Meeting between my Woven Imagery class and the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. to start planning an interactive and educational exhibit involving the documentation of the traditional Ikat process to compliment their show on Asian textiles due next fall.
  • Weave my little butt off and plan for/ install my work in a show for October.

October:

  • Weaving show at el Rancho Grande with  friend, former employer, and member of the Charm City Craft Mafia, Miss Carly Goss. (Running through November)
  • Planning for the Textile Museum exhibit

December:

  • Collapse in a pile of satisfaction at having completed another 18 credit semester full of film theory, fiction writing, costume design, weaving, and some other nonsense.

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This ostrich has nothing to do with this post

This ostrich has nothing to do with this post

Some of you remember way back an exciting post sharing my offer of employment for MICA’s summer Pre-College program, and some of you may be wondering why the heck there is an ostrich at the top of the post and not new beautiful embroideries or that dang rag rug I keep promising. Never fear! Those things will come. But for the time being, the past two weeks and the next two weeks, my posts will probably (possibly) be sparse (non-existant) as I am very busy with my wonderful students and residents learning great new things and having the time of our lives. So maybe the ostrich is a metaphor for my absence, like having my head in the sand. Except instead of hiding, I’m having the time of my life!

The super exciting part is that I am the teacher’s assistant for both the fiber core class (meets three times a week with an instructor, three times just with the TA) and the fiber workshop (once a week with the teacher, once with just the TA) and I have a lovely fiber TA partner for both. I am absolutely amazed with my students; they are polite, respectful, eager to learn, hard working, and absolutely a delight all around. Take a look at our class blog to see what I’ve been up to and what we’re thinking about: Pre-College Class Blog! (To clarify, I didn’t create the blog, I’m just super excited that there is a blog so that people can see what a great program this is. Valeska, our lovely teacher, is to be credited.)

This weekend we will be going to D.C. to run around and see some amazing exhibits, so maybe I’ll have some things of interest to post after Saturday. Until then, wish me luck on my teaching adventure!

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Experience in Professional Development

I believe that part of self-educating yourself involves taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. You never know what kind of asset an experience is going to be to your search for knowledge and wisdom–or for your resume. There can be many benefits to one opportunity that may not be evident from the beginning: working for Carly, I benefited from getting a look into the business of craft, practicing my weaving technique, receiving school credit, and making a friend while learning how to network with artists in Baltimore and beyond. I have high hopes for my summer job as a TA and RA for MICA’s Pre-College Program; not only will the teaching experience look great on my resume, but it too is a chance to network within the school and explore my options as an artist. Something I’ve learned is that you have to take your career into your own hands, even if you are uncertain of what that may be, and the earlier you start, the better.

Fist Print, Spring 2008

Fist Print, Spring 2008

Contests and Calls for Entries

Part of building professional development outside of the workplace is respecting yourself enough as an artist to put your work out for the public to see. This is something that I feel a lot of artists struggle with–finding the confidence to say that my work is good enough to hang on gallery walls and be printed in magazines. I’m lucky enough that I have an excellent support system that is always kicking me in the butt to take risks and apply myself. Last year, I submitted the above print along with some other miscellaneous pieces to the Fiberarts Magazine’s annual call for student submissions. Even though I didn’t have a cohesive portfolio at that point, I’m glad I submitted my work because it was practice for this year’s competition, and I’m busy ironing, photographing, and formatting my very fluid body of work–my weaving–this weekend.

For those of you who are also looking to exhibit your work, an excellent opportunity that has recently come to my attention is a call for entries at the Textile Museum in D.C. with a deadling of January 2010–so you have plenty of time! I say go for it, you never know what may come your way in the future;  the best thing you can do for youself is keep your eyes open to possibilities.

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Otherwise titled: “What am I supposed to do with a degree in fiber arts, and do I really need to keep going to an expensive, though prestigious, art school in order to pursue my dreams? Thanks biased American culture, thanks.”

Apron based on vintage pattern, Fall 2008

Apron based on vintage pattern, Fall 2008

Ok guys, I don’t know what to do. I am not a designer. More specifically, I’m not a fashion designer, nor do I have any desire to be one. And while making the above apron was so extremely satisfying (as my first piece of clothing, I think it’s pretty awesome, let’s be honest), I know that making clothes is not going to be satisfying for me as a career. I enjoy setting up my dress-makers mannequin in my room as a creepy presence; doing anything more with it just doesn’t make sense to me. Taking costume design in the fall is going to be good for me, something to fall back on, but it’s not what I want to do and I have a feeling that class is going to find me hugging my mannequin, the two of us swaddled in layers of muslin, and me feeling extremely lost. Nor do I want to design industrial fabrics, home decor, or be the person who operates the embroidery machine in those sportswear embellishment shops. Nor do I really want my weavings to do anything; they don’t need to be dishcloths or towels or table runners. Or scarves for that matter. It’s just not me.

And, as I previously mentioned, I have an old and beautiful copy of A Dress Maker’s Pattern Book sitting on my shelf, do I really need to still be in school to continue the things I’ve already learned how to do?  A good artist can admit that there are always things to learn, but do I need to learn those things in the small perspective nook that is MICA’s fiber department? I can’t afford to study abroad, and now that I’ve invested this much time (and dough) in MICA, I can’t very well leave now. Not that I really want to, but it does seem silly to me that if all I want to do is just weave beautiful cloth, what am I doing here? The way I see it, most people don’t do anything with their college degrees, but as long as they have one they are good to go in today’s career world. But higher education is more of a business than anything else, and I kind of hate the fact that I’m playing in to it. I have a loom, I have the basic skills, and I’ve always been self-educating, yet I keep on giving MICA more money to not challenge me.

Someone get me out of here!

Coming soon: “The Quest for Professional Development in a Really Hilariously Strange Art Medium”

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Good News!

kidportrait

This is totally how I feel today.

Dear Rachel,

It is with great pleasure that I offer you summer employment as a Teaching Assistant/Resident Counselor (TARC) for the 2009 Pre-College Studio Residency Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

I just got this lovely e-mail today, after months of brow wrinkling from worries, so now I have a job for the summer! Not only is the job an excellent opportunity for giving back to my community and working with students in a teaching capacity, but it’s also a great resume builder- especially if I get assigned to teach the fibers class (it makes the most sense! fingers crossed!).

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