Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Whirlwind in May

"Old One"
on view at the Chesterfield Public Library, Mass

During our "inspirational tidbit" at the start of class recently, I asked my students  
what archetypes they resonated with that day. In the midst of a whirlwind week, 
I sit and type and find it would be a useful question for me today. A moment of 
deep breathing, of closing my eyes and feeling what is stirring in me, reveals 
the archetypes of The Mother, The Teacher and the cycle of Death & Rebirth. 
I feel a bit like a mother who's nest is emptying. I had a vision of a Robin sitting 
by her nest, watching her amazing fledglings take off, just as I witness some 
students I have worked with closely for many years head out into life. 

The whirlwind started Saturday with an Arbor Day Celebration at the town library
with a small installation of my tree drawings and watercolors, an invasive species 
talk with a local forester, and the trimming of a large old Maple on the library grounds. 

I hung a collection of scratchbord panel drawings on a small wall in the library. 
I very much like the beautiful architectural detail surrounding them. Also included in 
the exhibition are several prints of tree drawings on scratchbord paper and watercolors. Outside, my friend Tim was busy climbing and trimming the old maple with a few spectators watching him swing effortlessly from limb to limb. 

Sunday brought warm sunshine and the celebration of Beltane at a nearby farm. 
It was a long day of being on the land, walking the labyrinth, visiting a peace cairn 
and stone circle, and dancing the Maypole. Seven baby goats had just been born, so
they were paraded around the ritual site to bless and be blessed. 

Monday was the last day of classes - final critiques all day... 
Below is a collection of books from my 2-D Design class. 

Nina's cool book of eyes. The large eyes are drawings of 
irises close up, mounted on patterns based on animal 
eyes - spiders, geckos, cuddle fish.... I love the three 
dimensionality of this book. 

Sarah with her water book: 

Megumi with her book about Japanese aesthetics: 
(It was fun to teach a Japanese student a bit about traditional Japanese book binding)

 One of the pages from Megumi's book is a watercolor of Cherry Blossoms... 
she missed them this year!

I love this next piece, from my Myth & Symbol class. 
Victoria did a series of paper cuts based on traditional 
tattoo designs. The detail is amazing and created 
interesting shadows. 

Detail of Victoria's piece:

Geraldo, also from Myth & Symbol, did a series of 
designs exploring faces and optical illusions creating movement. 

The amazing Olivia James did a series of wire sculptures at the start of our directed 
study together. As the process developed, they became sculptures for the body - and 
she has found a new passion for jewelry making! She painstakingly wraps wire 
armatures making forms based on natural objects or ancient artifacts. Olivia is graduating, so I'm so pleased that she's found both a meaningful process and concept to carry out the door with her! Do click to see the one below in better detail.

The last few images are from the Senior Thesis Exhibition at Clark University.  
Today I sat on several thesis panels, also of students who I have 
worked with for many years. Its a wonderful show - rich and 
varied and full. Below is an installation of small paintings 
by Jessica Richland. 

Detail of wall installation, Jess Richland:

Two paintings by Phoebe Cape:

My favorite of Phoebe's:
(click for detail of texture)

Quite a beautiful installation of chicken wire sculptures 
covered in beeswax by Katrina Beshears - wonderful, 
ethereal shadowplay. 

Idalina Abdo-Viera created an incredible paper 
installation.... I was enchanted!

I am full, and tired, and ready to sink into the land. I will 
have a bit of time in the morning to sit with the mosses and catch 
my breath before more roving about to a retirement celebration, 
and a Georgian polyphonic singing workshop on the weekend. 
Goodness, how time flies when one is flying themselves.... 
I do look forward to tending the garden now that the snow 
has finally all melted. 


Umā said...

How incredibly inspiring!

steven said...

valerianna, i can't express my awe adequately! thankyou for sharing the work of these incredibly talented people. steven

Unknown said...

V - congratulations to you AND your wonderful students. I really enjoyed seeing this body of work. Your local library is amazing! -sus

Ms. said...

To share ones gifts with others is the highest good. The pieces on exhibit are simply wonderful, yours and the eclectic range of your students works.
What a pleasure to be reminded of inspirational exchanges between students and teachers. I had a few like you in my time, and they made all the difference.

A mermaid in the attic said...

Wonderful and inspiring post and artworks Valerianna!

The Cranky Crone, she lives alone! said...

Thank you for sharing the art of your students, so honoured to be able to sit here in the uk and enjoy their work.

Lynn said...

What fabulous works of art. I love the variety of medium and style. You have incredibly talented students - and the quality and diversity of their work says so much about how brilliant and talented you are as a teacher. Thank you for sharing these. I'm inspired and moved.

Penny Berens said...

You must be so very proud and what lucky students to have studied with you.

Donna~Q~ said...

Your paintings look right at home on the library wall ~ just perfect! And how fulfilling it must be to watch your talented students soar...

Michala Gyetvai (Kayla coo) said...

Wonderful images and you must be so proud of your students.
I too will miss our A'level students as they have only two weeks left.

angela recada said...

I came here to see the fabulous tree in your first photo. But I'm absolutely blown away by all your talented students and their gorgeous work. Well done, everyone!

Tammie Lee said...

I love your tree, the top image of this post! An ancient majestic creature!!
Your students are is fantastic and wonderfully varied. I enjoyed each and every piece you showed with us, fabulous. Thank you!!

mycuriousteaparty said...


I am thrilled that you popped over to my place, my curiosity sent me back to yours and what a joy..

The work that your students have produced is amazing, and some of them quite extraordinary, the paper cutting by Idalina Abdo-Viera it as you said quite incredible. Jessica Richland's small paintings, how I would love to have a closer look and Nina's book, fantastic.

You photo of the maple being trimmed looks a little sad, but I'm sure a hair cut will keep it disease free and strong, they just look a little sorry for themselves until they put on their green spring coats.

Here the weather has gone crazy, so, so hot, we have been walking around in summer clothes, for weeks on end, just sunshine.... No rain at all! Very worrying....

Despite that, my garden is in full swing, the currants are begining to go red, we have eaten copious amounts or rubarb, the beans are begining to climb their trellis and the potatoes have their heads up above the ground and at this rate will soon be in flower... All about 2 - 3 weeks early. Amazing.

Velma Bolyard said...

maybe my earlier comment got lost...well, the eye book is wonderful, and your students are working well and hard, i think. and, finally, your tree drawings on the wonderful wall look perfect. i like the symmetry of the tree outside being lovingly trimmed, not slaughtered.

Karen said...

Wonderful works! Thanks so much for sharing Valerianna x

summertime dreams said...

I love love seeing students artwork! You're right the detail on the 2nd piece by Phoebe is fantastic :)

Jo Potter said...

Hi Valerianna,
I think the library venue where you exhibited the tree drawings and watercolours is perfect! ;-)
Your trees are magical. Beautiful detail and texture. You could sell some pictures in your etsy shop too!

It sounds like you had a wonderful May Day... I went to Avebury and saw the May celebrations around the ancient stones. It was lovely warm weather.

I just have to say I think that all of the students artwork is excellent. They have such new and fresh ideas. It is a real treat to see these beautiful art pieces. The wire jewellery is very inventive. Just great! :-)

It was good to visit you again.
May Blessings,

barbara said...

My earlier comment is gone ... I was telling you that you - as their teacher - made it happen. They have amazing talents and images that brought forth this gorgeous work, but you came with that special flame in the beginning and kindled it all over ... lucky you and lucky students !

Donna Iona Drozda said...

I agree with you...the library's woodwork and the feel of the space make such a lovely backdrop for your beautiful trees.

And...what a thrill to see such a thoughtful group of student work, so diverse and all so meaningful and well crafted...I so enjoyed walking through the gallery with you.

Now may you relax with the moss and stone people.

Ruthie Redden said...

Valeriana, what eye catching works from your students, such a high standard, you must indeed be very proud. The book of eyes & the paper cuts are amazing. It must be an emotional time on mnay levels having been with each of them on their creative journeys & now having to stand and watch them walk on out into the world. Your own work looks wonderful and very at home in its space. x x

yew tree nights said...

Wow! What a lovely parade of amazing artworks! Thanks for sharing. And I hope that your polyphonic singing workshop went well... that sounds like a really wonderful thing to do.

Valerianna said...

Hi everyone -somehow like took me and I didn't get to answering everyone's comments... but I did on the more recent post! Thanks for all the great feedback, I told my students to come take a look, they were flattered!

rivergardenstudio said...

Oh Valerianna, these works are amazing. What a wonderful job you have, inspiring and encouraging these artists, and for you to get to watch these projects as they evolve, how inspiring for you! Thank you! roxanne