Sunday, March 20, 2011

Flow



I am creating a new piece of art. The piece has been coming for a while now; it is ready to manifest. If you have been following my story, you may recall the big dream I had about a tree I perceived as a piece of art that came flowing down the brook behind my home. It was rushing at me very quickly and I wanted to retrieve it, but the wise woman who stood by my side seemed to encourage me to let it float, and so I did.

The dream was a year ago, it was a hint that the artwork, Flow, as I named it for the dream, was getting ready to be fashioned. But even before that, I had another dream six months prior; it may have been my first indication that the artwork was imminent:

I am being shown around a school where I once was a teacher, for a potential job. The first thing I notice is the entire school has been redesigned into long corridors of cubicles. The cubicles run along the left and right with the narrow corridors between them. The small compartments are now the classrooms and consist only of wooden booths, nothing more. The spaces are dark and uninviting. I am concerned that the school has been rebuilt this way.

I am shown my potential teaching space; it is a room behind the cubicles, minus the walls. It abuts a common area where professionals will meet for lunch, where they are encouraged to exchange ideas.

 I wonder if this space will be too noisy for the students but feel fortunate at least we won't be stuck in a cubicle.

The teachers file in for lunch and my positive feelings are confirmed, they are to the point in their actions, not noisy, so there is no problem. I am still very concerned about the overall school set up, but no one else seems to care.

Then the floor opens up as a huge crack forms, it reveals a river of flowing, sliced, fermenting apples. The cubicles are blown right over, destroyed.

photo credit, deliciouslyorganizedblogspot.com


This dream speaks to me about what is happening in education right now, the education system is, once again, being "rebuilt". Learning is being cordoned off into an extreme structure that I consider to be “box-like” in thinking. A great deal of energy is being spent on learning how to take “the test,” the one that all children and educators will be measured by.

The fact that I have concerns about the small, dark and uninviting learning spaces in my dream, and that I am being presented with a potential learning space that is open--without walls, a place where nourishment and idea exchanges will occur, thankfully outside of the "boxes"--reflects to me my own way of thinking and learning. As a student, I was not very moved by rote, or uninventive education, but give me something to touch, provide for me tangible evidence, and a lasting impression was made.
That’s why I became a teacher, I knew I needed to return to what I saw as a lackluster system and make it palpable for students. I was passionate about meaningful education.
This passion still bubbles over into everything I do, raising my son, my artwork and teaching art classes, my writing, and my walks.


My favorite part of the dream is the upset and the breakthrough with the flowing symbol of teacher-- the apple--sliced into neat little pieces maybe, but burbling effervescently nonetheless. It is this dream slice I want to recreate in my art. Gone are the uninviting dark boxes cast aside for what lies beneath the surface, an unstoppable force, a flowing alchemic river of revolution. This is where Flow, the artwork, comes from, it's about revolution. It's about following one's dreams and believing in the process.


As I walked today, this was the very ground I trod upon.

The floor is opening up; Flow is present. The dream is alive bidding me to bring it forth in a tangible form for others to see, to experience. And so I shall.