At Central Junior High, they were determined to give us a well rounded education. There were no gender specific classes. Girls took “shop” classes. Boys took sewing. We all took everything. Drafting. Plastics. Woodworking. Cooking. Metals. Sewing. Mini-courses they called them. Six weeks each. I’m not sure six weeks was enough time to become experts at any of it, but we were introduced. And this was revolutionary.
I have no proof of this knowledge gained. The soap dish I made in “plastics” – the yellow pear with the sparkles inside – has long since disappeared. Along with the two-tiered shelf and towel rack that I made in “woods.” The stuffed dog I made in sewing. All gone. No food, certainly, from cooking class. But what I do still carry with me are the most delicious memories.
I see him every time I make a frame today, the shop teacher who waved his “multiple fingers missing” hand through the air, smoothing out the point, “Flush. It has to be flush.” Ellen Patrick, my partner in cooking class — tired of waiting for the pie to finish, kept checking it in the oven, ranting about how we had to get to the next class, unaware that the potholder she held in her hand was completely in flames. I’m still laughing.
I will admit that I like things well done. Am I a perfectionist? A little. (Can you be a little bit perfectionist?) I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I want to get better at it — being loose — a little less worry. Seeing the joy in the attempt. The beauty in the effort.
I love a finished painting. Details gone over, again and again. But I must admit, some of my loose sketchbook paintings are also favorites. You can feel the movement. The care-free strokes. And they feel alive.
When I try a new medium, there is always a learning curve. But I have found, each attempt brings something back. I see something with the oil pastels, how they move, grab, blend, and I bring this knowledge back to the acrylics, and I can feel the growth. This, I suppose, is the main thing I received from Central Junior High — learning how to learn. What a gift – this courage to attempt. We won’t be good at everything, some projects may even “go up in flames,” but oh how we will learn. How we will laugh!!! How we will live!
I am not afraid to try!