Sunday, November 25, 2012

happy thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you had a nice holiday.  Corey and I have both been off work since Wednesday and enjoying every minute.  We cooked a huge Thanksgiving feast for just the two of us, and have been savoring all of the leftovers since Thursday.  This is what we had (labeled above for my ongoing holiday plate photo collection): Tofurky (of course!), mashed potatoes and cashew gravy, homemade dinner rolls, sweet potato casserole, roasted vegetables, and cornbread stuffing.  Oh, and apple crisp for dessert!  I tried a lot of new recipes and was really happy with each of them.  Here are links if you're interested:

Cashew Gravy (so delicious, a repeat favorite of ours)

I cut some of the sugar from the apple crisp and sweet potato casserole, and did not miss it at all.  I was pleased with the healthfulness of all our dishes!

The next morning, I started to work on my holiday cards.  Last year, I had my go-to printer do them for me (from my design) but this year decided to screen print them.  I'm not quite done but will finish up today!  The design is simple but fun, and I did thank-you cards too for post-holiday thank-you notes.  As you can see, Millie loves helping me screen print.  I don't have many screens right now (2--and both are better for using on fabric--basically the mesh is more open so more ink is deposited which is better for fabric than paper, and while they work on paper, it's hard to get fine details to print) and am thinking of ordering this six pack of screens so I can have multiple designs exposed at once without always having to wash out my screens.  I wish they offered slightly smaller screens though, because I have limited space for washing them out.  I really want to expand my Etsy shop in the direction of screen printed items.  I have a lot of ideas and after a year and a half of screen printing under my belt, I'd say I'm proficient enough for the challenge!  What types of screen printed items would you be interested to see in my shop (prints, fabric, cards, sewn items...etc.)?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

speaking about the job search

Hello, blog.

It has been awhile.

Truthfully, I haven't missed blogging very much.  I'm not sure that I have had the time to miss it.  Sometimes I have a thought that I know I want to write down, and I don't, and I think of this space, but that's really it.

Not so long ago, I was truly overloaded with my thesis work.  When I finally finished, the relief barely set in before it was time for graduation.  (I have my MFA, hurray!)  After graduation, it was time for my first solo art show.  And after that, I moved my art-making things into a new studio and darkroom with my grad school colleague Steve.  And after that, the new school year started, and I found myself teaching two college classes and an elementary school class, rushing to my studio to make my own work on my days off and fitting in the fun things I love to do, after two years of being bogged down by grad school (hello, figure skating, so nice to see you in my life regularly again).  And now, it's Thanksgiving break (woohoo!) and I'm in serious job application mode, looking to transform my professional life from lowly adjunct to full time professor (dreaming big here) or at least something full time.  In my field.

I'm thinking of ways I might use this space now, or contemplating starting a new blog.  I need somewhere anonymous to write about my job search (proper nouns left out, of course).  Mostly I just need to process the negative feelings, the ones that hit me every day saying, "You could have chosen something SO much more practical!  What have you done!  Everyone wants these jobs, and there are so few of them!  You're only a few months out of grad school, why will anyone choose you?"  They are met with positive ones that say, "If you really set your mind to this, and don't give up, eventually you'll get there!  Don't sweat it!  What's a few years in the grand scheme of your life?"

I used to have a wonderful art history professor who would say a line like that.  She would say, "What's a few dollars in the grand scheme of your life?"  She would say it in reference to travel, or going to see something you really want to see at a museum, or other cultural things.  Basically anything you want to do that's meaningful to you, when a few dollars is going to stop you for some silly reason.  "What's a few dollars in the grand scheme of your life?"  You won't look back and be glad that you're $5, $20, $50 richer.  You'll regret not having the experience.

It's the same way for me right now.  What's a few more years in the grand scheme of my life?  If you asked me my first year of college if I'd have an awesome career job by the time I turned 26, I would have been absolutely, ecstatically positive.  Of course I'd have the job I wanted!  I'm smart, dedicated, I work hard, I pursue my goals until I reach them.  Of course I wouldn't be sitting on my futon (I'd be sitting on a couch, duh), holding my breath and constantly wondering if I'll get enough classes to teach next semester to get by without getting a second job, holding my breath even harder wondering if I'll be hired somewhere full-time for fall.  Of course I wouldn't.  I would just have an awesome job, doing something I love, and that would be that.

I was very idealistic at age 18.  And what I realize now is that it's just not always that easy to do something you love.  It doesn't mean you're a failure, to see others you went to school with in other fields buying lovely houses and traveling and having awesome careers already.  It means that you picked something that's harder to break in to, and you're just gonna have to suck it up and try a little harder, just a little longer than the next person who is trying equally as hard.  You're gonna have to keep on making art, no matter what, keep expanding your portfolio, applying for shows, going to conferences, talking about art, being immersed in art, teaching art until it works out.  Not because you send out a hundred applications and hope, just hope, that someone takes a chance on you.  No.  Because you send out those applications knowing that there is not one word that could be edited better in all your cover letters, your CV is perfectly formatted and without a single typo, your references are glowing, and knowing those schools could really use your expertise as a researcher and as an educator.  So at least I know, if I don't get the job I want yet (because I will keep trying until I do) it is not because I did not do everything right.  I will not halfway do this thing.  I am determined.