Monthly Archives: March 2012

artist with.in

This week’s word is artist. To me, an artist is someone who chooses to share their passion with others. This could be a painter, a crafter, a musician, a dancer, a singer, a photographer, a writer, someone who draws or anything else that shows expression. To be an artist takes courage because you open yourself up to criticism because you choose to share a part of yourself. Criticism is difficult because it can trigger so many emotions. You can question your abilities if people do not like your work. You can question your medium or subject based on feedback you receive. You may not feel as passionate or become even more passionate about what you do. You also know that you have touched others with what you do because you have caused them to think and form an opinion. They may not agree with your work, but you have enlightened others.

An artists subject is also important. You must feel for your subject whether it be negative or positive to be able to convey and evoke emotions in your audience. You also have to understand your audience and what you want them to feel.

As a photographer, there are times when I have taken a picture and fallen in love with the result. However, when it comes time for my client to order, that shot is not even in the top group they have selected. I can’t let that discourage me. I simply have to read my audience (client) and produce other images that will be of their taste. However, I still have to stay true to myself and offer the images that I prefer along with others.

I face the same issue when I make soaps or sugar scrubs. Some customers request fragrances that I would never think of producing, or that I may not like. But I still work my best to attempt to produce what they like because not only they, but others may enjoy those scents and it will gain me clients.

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Knowledge with.in

I don’t know why, but this prompt of knowledge has been the hardest for me so far. To me, knowledge tends to define who we are in society. Your knowledge can sometimes define your job function. It can define your hobbies. You can be known as a photographer because you have knowledge on how to take pictures. You can be known as a crafter because of your knowledge on how to make things. You can be known as a chef for your knowledge on how to cook. But what drives that knowledge? The thirst to learn.

This past year we were out at the in-laws’ ranch. My mother-in-law had a bar of handmade soap in the bathroom. I saw it and became intrigued. The thirst began. I smelled it, ogled it, touched it. Took in everything about it. Then I wanted to know more. I went to the maker’s website and it drove me to dive deeper. I wanted to know how to make my own. I continued my research. I went to websites and forums that listed recipes, tools, and had a vast array of knowledge from experienced soapmakers. I decided this was an adventure on which I wanted to embark. I found my first recipe, gathered the necessary tools and ingredients and soaped away. My first batch was acceptable and not a total failure, so I saw this as something I could do. I wanted to be able to make my own soap to use, share and sell. I have made several batches since then, some of which were utter failures, but I continue to learn and fine tune recipes.

i think the best way to look at knowledge is to treat it as an adventure. My learning about soaping was an adventure to me. Most of my skills are self taught, like crocheting and knitting. I hope that by quenching my own thirst for knowledge, I am setting a good example for my daughter. I hope that she sees that if you are interested in something, you can set out to learn more about it on your own. I try to encourage this when she comes to me with any questions. I help her research whatever it is that she wants to know instead of just giving her the answer outright. I want to give her the tools to be knowledgeable and how to acquire that knowledge. I want her to see that learning can be fun, and not just work that you have to do at school. Here, our schooldays are focused so much around testing and teaching to testing standards, that I think the teachers have lost site of teaching children to make learning fun, and how to use the knowledge that they have in everyday life.

I worked for the school district for a while. During my stint there, I presented the idea of Project-Based Learning to the school board. Even though at the time they seemed somewhat interested, I now see that my presentation fell on deaf ears and non-motivated people. I wanted to work at showing teachers how to make learning more interesting and show children why they were learning what they were and how to incorporate their knowledge into everything they did. Projects would also help teachers to utilize the strengths of the students. They could put children in different roles during the project that would show their strengths. If a child was more creative, they could put them making posters or flyers or creative items. If they were more analytical, they could review results of research. If they were comfortable in front of people, they could present findings. So many possibilities that are dreams now because no one was strong enough to accept that change was needed and to try to implement that change.