Take Care of You! 

            Many conversations happen when working towards your Bachelor of Fine Arts (“BFA”), such as what does becoming an artist entail?; work style; firing style; your work’s message; are you making a statement?; discussion of what lines mean in your work, etc.  These discussions go on and on, however there was one thing that we did not discuss nor did I expect.

            Goals have been reached and exceeded in the last four years.  I look back at a very full and successful run towards my Bachelor of Fine Arts.  Four years of studies that included all the general studies required of all degrees. I was honored to spend a month in the Topatopa Mountains with the Beato crowd of Kevin, Sheryl, MaryAnn and Richard, which was life changing on so many levels that I am still integrating this experience.  I have had professors and visiting artists who have encouraged me to reach my goals and pushing me towards graduation.  I received a fantastic URSA grant that allowed me to travel and work with Sergei Isupov and Leslie Ferrin in Massachusetts.  On the side, I was working at Alaska Satellite Facility that has supported me and cheered me on, thank you!  Last, but not least of all is my family and friends, which is a serious supportive crowd!  Rex, an extra special yell out, as you have spent countless hours with me as I have been preparing, firing, exhibiting, etc., most of the time you were right beside me through those long nights and weekends, Thank You, I love you!

            The goals seemed simple which was to receive my Bachelor of Fine Arts and graduate, which included a thesis, defense and solo show, which are Master of Fine Arts goals in most other schools.  University of Alaska Fairbanks expectations are a tad bit higher of which I am grateful for pushing me to exceed in areas that I would not have expected to be reached. I have obtained skills through this process that most BFA students do not walk away with.

            My Bachelor of Fine Arts focus was titled, “Do You Count?” which was a close up look to the devaluation that occurs when humans have experienced violence.  Through many stories shared with me, this is a larger problem then even I had thought to be true.  The subject of my show was intense to say the least, however something that as a communities we need to discuss. 

            Five months have passed since my Bachelor of Fine Arts Show was presented, along with my defense, plus graduation all within several days of each other.  Was it intense?  YES!  Was it marvelous? YES!  Did I have a large village to thank for supporting me? YES!  In preparation for my show, presentation and defense, I knew it was going to be exhausting work.  There were long hours, including firing the kiln several times a week every week my last semester leading to my BFA show.  Writing my thesis took months with many eyes looking upon it with their opinions.  Days to set up the show hoping and praying that all the planning would come together to create a “cohesive” show.  The public viewing my show offering support and many sharing stories that made my heart cry in response to the subject matter of my show.  As a community, we bled and shared, which is the beginning of  the conversation and healing.  We have only begun to crack this door open and there is much work left to do.

            After graduation and the take down of my show, there was something that happened, that I did not anticipate.  There was sadness and emptiness that caught me by surprise.  I created space around me in an effort to afford healing and recovery time, however it did not feel ample.  Upon discussing this phenomenon with other professional artists, I was informed that there is even indeed a word for this, which is “Show Postpartum”.  Yes, it includes all of the emotions of exhaustion, sadness, disconnect, however most importantly it includes the need for recovery.  This is not a negative.  This means that you, the artist, have put your heart and soul into delivering a show that left nothing on the table.   First, Congratulations!  Second, schedule the time now before the show to allow you to heal and recover after your show.   True friends and ones who love you will be waiting for you to return once your recovery is complete.  Friends, a call, offer of meeting for coffee, making molds, or mostly just being present is what is needed at this time and those who truly love and support you will be there when the healing is complete and the next show is bubbling to come to life.  The next show will bubble to life!!!