Monday, September 15, 2008

I am an Artist!

For the past several years I've been fortunate enough to have had a shared studio situation in downtown Kalamazoo. The gentleman who gave me, and several other area papermakers, this incredible opportunity was no longer using the space and equipment as much as he would have liked. He opened his space and his arms to several of us struggling to work. Papermaking is not a messy art but it is sloppy and does require a lot of room, water and drainage. Sure, it can be done in the kitchen. A garage works too. However, neither spot is ideal. When I got the call that I was to be included in The Kalamazoo Paper Collaborative it truly was a dream come true. Everytime I went down there I felt so "cool". I finally had a place to work, I worked regularly, I got better. More importantly, it gave me "permission" to call myself an artist. When asked "what do you do?", I now could confidently and proudly say "I am an artist". For some that mental barrier comes down with the first commission check, for others it might be the day of graduation from art school. I suppose for others it might not be a barrier at all. All I know is that it felt great!

This summer the studio was dismantled, moved and turned into the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. It is an even larger space that has printmaking and bookbinding equipment, in addition to all the papermaking equipment that was moved. They offer great classes too. The opportunity for even more people to use this space is now possible.

Maybe now there will be more "artists" in our midst. I hope so.



Joanne Huffman said...

You certainly are an artist and I hope it's something you loudly proclaim.


DymphieM said...

Congrats! Love your papermaking equipment.

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