Thursday, November 29, 2018

Looking Back: Year in Review

Annual Photo Album

Every year before Christmas I made a photo album featuring photos of my daughter with family and friends. I've been doing this since 2011. I make the photo album online and order copies for our family, the grandparents, and the aunts and uncles. Making the album feels a bit like working out. I dislike starting but feel better after it's done. I do enjoy some parts of actually putting the album together, but the process is exhausting and often frustrating. The biggest stressor is always trying to make sure that all the family is represented equally.

7 years of photo albums

I don't remember to take photographs very often at family events and only one side of the extended family consistently does remember. So the photo album always has candid photos of our family, usually featuring cats, and a bunch of posed and candid photos taken by my Dad and brother, who remember to take photographs. This sometimes leaves a gaping hole where all the visits with the other side of the family should be. It stresses me out because it makes it look like I've excluded part of the family when really it's just down to who remembers to take out the camera.

Our big family project of the past few weeks--Legoland Yakima

Most years, with my family far away and my mother-in-law close by, we remember to take photos for the big event of traveling to see family and forget to take pictures the many times we visit with Grandma. This year Grandma moved away too, so maybe we'll remember to take enough photos of everyone for next year. I guess that's a silver lining.

There were an extraordinary amount of cat pictures this year.

This year, without any family in-state, we didn't do much for Thanksgiving, so I had time to start on the photo album early (usually I panic and start it right after the quarter ends). The first step is going through all my photos from the year (or since mid-December when I made the last album) and looking for the family pictures in amongst pictures of my work, my students work, and the cats. I was really surprised by what I saw when looking back at the photos from last year.

Busy Quarter

This quarter has felt exceedingly busy, busier than most quarters, for a variety of reasons that mostly matter only to me. I'm always busy, but this year the busy has been heavily focused on school-related stuff and I've spent very little time making my own work, doing shows, or even applying to or planning shows.

Also we're getting ready for the fall Clay Sale at YVC (November 29 from 11-7)

Whether the busy quarter is just a normal thing that is only noticeable in the moment, or whether this quarter is unusual, the feeling has been that I'm busier with my day-job than usual. I've felt like I'm working hard and still barely keeping up. When a break comes, like it did over Thanksgiving, it feels great to do very little.
I do have excellent support at YVC, our Program Assistant made this t-shirt that we'll be selling at clay say for $15.

During this summer, I felt strange and didn't even make work in my studio during most of August. This fall I have neglected this blog a bit, both because I feel like I spend too much time already on the computer doing grading, and because I haven't felt like I've done that much worth writing about. (Who really wants to hear about the nuts and bolts of my attempt to gamify my classes? Me!)

Last Year in Review

plates for my brother

When I looked back at my pictures from December, I was surprised to see how much I'd done last year. Actually, I was surprised at a how much I'd done from December through March. Last December I was finishing both a custom set of cat nesting dolls for my nephew AND a set of dishes for my brother and sister-in-law. How did I find the time to do that? 

nesting cats for my nephew

In January I had new work at a Nasty Woman exhibition at Yakima Maker Space and in February I had work at an Art as Activism show in Hood River. I also undertook a major studio clean-up project in January that I finally finished in May. Why did I have so much extra time?

planter commission for my aunt
In February and March I finished and shipped a commission of planter sculptures for my aunt. In February I also installed new work at Yakima Maker's Space and at the end of March I presented twice at NCECA! Also, though I haven't written about it, I did finals and finals grading at NCECA and the day I came back, then immediately spend my Spring "break" doing an on-campus ESCALA training before beginning both the Spring Quarter and my ESCALA project.

NCECA 2018
But it didn't even end there, I had work in yet another show in April at Boxx Gallery in Tieton, in May at  Gallery One in Ellensburg, and immediately after the quarter ended, I made two sets of new work for an Art a Day show in Hood River in August. Then I joined a new gallery in Yakima. And during this time made a bunch of demonstration videos for hand-buildingflipped my classes, our cat died and we adopted three more, and I made a set of 3D printed work for the YVC Viticulture program. I didn't make any work in August, in part, because I was exhausted (also, I wanted to do all this gamification and rewards for my online class).

Political Bulb from one of the installations last year
I'm exhausted even now. I guess I went full speed ahead through Winter break, through Spring break, and even skipped my usual "buffer week" in June. No wonder I haven't felt like doing anything this fall.

Best Friend at 20 years

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