Back from Raleigh, where I spent the weekend at the Southeast Fiberarts Educator's Meeting. My friend Pip came in on Thursday: we spent the day at the North Carolina Museum of Art, which has a pretty substantial permanent collection that I was unaware of until now. We had a great lunch at the museum, then walked through the Sculpture Park. On to Chapel Hill, where we went to the Ackland Museum, then walked around town. I scored a great brocade 50's top at the vintage store, and we both found a few good books at the used bookstore. Thursday night we went to Hillsborough: Tupelo's for dinner, then to the Blue Bayou. The band was ok, but not the cookin' blues that I am used to seeing there, and I was a bit disappointed for my guest.
Friday, I needed to get a fuse changed in my car. I drove to the Honda dealer at 10 a.m., and they said "Drive it right in to the garage, we'll see what we can do...". FIFTEEN MINUTES and EIGHT DOLLARS later, I drove off in my fully illuminated car. Yes, you heard me right, my Miami friends, eight dollars and 15 minutes.
We hit the Goodwill store, my first trip since the move to NC. I was a great thrifter in Miami, and Pip used to be one of my favorite thrifting partners, so it was just like the old days, except there were no hoochie mama dresses, fun sundresses, or elegant evening dresses, only church dresses. I found a few jackets to embellish, and a pair of painting overalls. We went to Uncle Bud's Fabric and Foam, where i controlled myself, and the antique mall, where I fell in LOVE with this picture, and had to have it. Our kitchen has lots of red in it, and while I would not say it has a dog "motif", I would say that there is fair number of found dog images on the wall, and a collection of antique dog statues on one shelf. So this
(excuse the glare, and the toned-down color, it is really Technicolor) was a must-have. While Pip agreed that the picture was amazing, she also remarked that I probably waited too long to get my first dog. We picked up my friend LM on the way to the conference, stopping in Chapel Hill where another friend was having a show. We went to dinner at a member's house that night, where I met some really cool new fiber arts people from all over the Southeast.
We spent Saturday showing our newest work, fondling fabric samples and sharing information. SEFEA is a great group of women, very warm and supportive, and most unusual for an artist's group in the area of sharing information. One of the things that we spent a great deal of time talking about was the concern that many shared over the decline of drawing as a problem solving medium, sketching as a way of working through an idea to improve upon your original concept. It seems that lots of students expect that "process" is having a fully-formed great idea pop into your head, then making it (or having someone else make it).
It also seemed that lots of people were fighting against the administrations in their respective places of higher education, and that the new corporate model that academic institutions are following is leaving art programs (and, ultimately, art STUDENTS) in the dust. The changes that I have witnessed in my nine years of teaching are chilling, terrifying, and not unique to my ex-university. Art Departments do not generally make money for the university, because of small class size, and it would not surprise me to see many art disciplines, or even art departments, folding in the coming years. Several professors reported that the administration was pushing for distance learning.... imagine! Learn to paint at home in your pajamas, staring at a screen... just like watching Bob Ross.