“One shop teacher suggested to me that ‘in schools, we create artificial learning environments for our children that they know to be contrived and undeserving of their full attention and engagement. Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract and distant, and the passions for learning will not be engaged.’” - Matthew Crawford, NYtimes
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to have more tactile experiences, in other words, make things. Things that don’t involve pixels, or computer based algorithms. Things that I could touch or where the output is not a plan. Things that I could actually rip up to pieces or throw when I got frustrated because I’ve messed something up in the creative process. Not that I was devaluing the processes or the output of my knowledge-economy based life, anyone who knows me knows my passion for and the beauty and power I find in the digitization of things, I just wanted more.
As I have become more and more transient over the last couple of years, my life has seamlessly become more and more digital as I subconsciously adjusted the settings of my day-to-day through different technological means. A slew of amazing products, start-ups and technologies allowed me to build, organize, communicate and transfer my creative processes in intelligent ways for my nomadic lifestyle.
Although I am constantly inspired by traveling and seeing the world around me, I began to have the feeling that something was missing. At first the feeling was small and barely noticeable but over time it grew bigger and stronger until I felt like there was a giant bolder sitting on my shoulders all the time. I tried to fill the void my making wilder ideas and more efficient and organized plans, but no matter how much I read or art I visited I still felt this void and it started to make me feel a little sad.
Over the holidays I went home to New Orleans with even more anticipation because of my new apartment. Although tired and mentally exhausted, I quickly slipped into a routine of clean, paint, clean paint, clean, paint, unpack. I was so tired and out of practice that I made several mistakes – using the wrong paint, breaking things while unpacking, buying the wrong materials and became increasingly frustrated, but the desire for wanting to finish made me push harder. Eventually, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and the work became more cathartic and almost zen-like. During these routines my thinking became more clear and I became incredibly inspired not just about process of interior design, but for other projects I had been working on for months. When the time came to go back to New York, as always, I made a promise to myself to find more balance in my life. But this time it was different, this time it wasn’t about balance between work and non-work; it wasn’t about adding more yoga and more museums and more sleeping. It wasn’t about more downtime. It was actually about more active time; less time thinking and more time doing (which ultimately leads to more time thinking).
So, I signed up for a membership at 3rd Ward and got back to the basics and since have spent my nights and weekends taking classes in Drawing, Photography, Silversmithing, Casting and Textile Dyeing. The textures, the chemical processes, the fire, the people, the failures, the frustration of not remembering what to do next in the process, the experimentation, the anxiety of having to do all of this in front of other people – I love it all. My favorite part about the experience is how much it stimulated creativity in all other aspects of my life. I suddenly find myself inspired to make dresses again and go to the theatre and learn to play piano and THIS is what made the boulder on my shoulders go away.
So, I am a little bit in love with 3rd Ward.
The rest of the photos are here.