Saturday, September 20, 2014

22 Year-Old Candy Canes, An Enormous Room (Unfinished), and Some Wet Clay

What a strange week. On Wednesday, after some of our convocation events were over, I decided to tackle cleaning my work office. I moved into the strangely shaped room in Palmer Hall last February after the painting and drawing instructor retired. He left behind drawers and shelves full of old paperwork, equipment and files. 

I didn't take pictures in my office (too scary), but it looked kinda like a paperwork version of these trays of recycled clay.

Cleaning out someone else's old stuff is not exactly a priority during class time and in June I wanted to get right into my clay studio. Even this week cleaning out someone else's stuff didn't sound appealing, but it would be nice to be able put things away and use my file cabinets. So I turned on my audiobook and started the project.

Deciding to recycle the course catalogs and schedules dating back to 1983 was easy enough and quickly freed up one whole file drawer. Next I moved on to the hanging files with information about the department, the renovation of Palmer Hall (in the early 90s, I think) and old course outlines. The drawings of the proposed renovations for Palmer Hall were most interesting and I kept them just for fun.

The office cleaning process was as exhausting but less sticky than scooping up the partially dried clay to wedge.

For those of you who haven't been in Palmer Hall, its a funny building. It is round--in fact I usually give directions by telling students to find the round building. It used to be a library before it was repurposed for the art department, print shop, mailroom, security and media services. A few years ago media services moved to the newly renovated library, but the rest of us remained.

The art department has about half the building in three studios with exterior entrances and two offices in the center of the building. The very middle of the building is a series of rooms and halls that make it difficult for students to find the part-time office. The part time office is absolutely tiny and shared now by four faculty who literally cannot all sit in the room at once.

During the week I didn't get my studio work done at home. This weekend I had to try to salvage some clay I was trying to recycle. Some of it got too hard so I sliced the chunks of clay up and stacked them, interspersing dry and wet slices before re-wedging them.

As a contrast, yesterday the art department (and a few extras) took a tour of the replacement Palmer Martin building being constructed on the south side of Nob Hill Avenue. A three-person part-time office in that building is at least four times the size of the current four-person office.

The tour of the new building was fantastic. We had to wear hard hats and stand in the blazing sun for a while as we gathered, but we were taken all through both floors of the new building. The walls and windows are mostly in place and they are working on flooring in some areas. None of the rooms have sinks, cabinets or other built-in furniture, but there are visible electrical and plumbing connections that give clues as to the eventual use of the rooms.

Unlike my studio, where I have to reclaim my clay by slaking, drying, cutting and wedging by hand, the new building will have a dedicated clay storage and mixing room.
The clay studio looks absolutely immense. Of course we will fill it pretty full with tables, wheels, carts, sinks, shelves, and cabinets, but it is still impressive. The other faculty were teasing me about having the biggest space, but there are two large studios for drawing/painting and design, a lecture room, a computer studio, and another studio/classroom space.

The hallway down the middle of the first floor will have an enormous, long painting by Robert Fisher and a central area for a small student "gallery" space. The office area is downstairs and similar to, though smaller than, the Glenn-Anthon office space. For those of you out-of-state, understand that the office area is just really nice. 

I was able to finish recycling and wedging my clay on Saturday. Unfortunately I was not able to finish cleaning my office during the week.

And our public art installation in the entryway should be beautiful and inspiring. The building should be ready for us to start moving in this summer and classes will start next fall. I absolutely cannot wait. Which is why I have to clean my office. 

I spent all day Wednesday cleaning my office and in the early afternoon realized that I wasn't just cleaning the detritus of one other instructor. In the third drawer I discovered grades and old files and memos from the instructor who was in the office until about 2006. (I wasn't in Yakima at that time so I'm a little unsure about the timeline.) The odd thing is that when I came in 2006, I inherited whole shelves of books and a stack of files from that earlier instructor myself. She managed to have so much stuff that she left it stored in two offices. And I got to clean them both.

I spent Thursday night comparing and contrasting the strengths and weaknesses of four new (to me) Art Appreciation textbooks

The cleaning effort was eased somewhat by the discovery of entertaining oddities and bits of history. The strangest was found in a file of grades and old communications from 1992. Filed there with the old letters and test scores was an aged candy cane. I did not try it. Guessing that we had passed the date that people would need to reference the candy cane, I threw it away and shredded the grades. 

Unfortunately the most workable of the new texts has a sadly plain front cover--at least there's a cut-out. 

Unfortunately, I was not able to finish organizing my office this week. I had every intention of spending most of Thursday and Friday cleaning, but Thursday morning brought a surprise in the form of textbook troubles which took two days to sort out, more or less. Classes start Monday but I am still hopeful that I might have a chance to at least clear some surface space early in the week before students come rushing in with questions and things that need to be graded. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell me what you think about my work or this post