Sunday, March 6, 2011

Changing myself through altered books

There's a chance that I might appear on the entertainment schedule for the 2nd Saturdays event here in Tucson. Not my name specifically, but the demo that I'm doing for a workshop on altered book art that I'm helping to promote through a place called Arts Marketplace.
I'm doing the demo and promoting the workshop because, along with my fabulous friend Lauren, I am leading the workshop.

This might be as much of a shock to me as it is to you. I have a degree in social work, and all of the art that I've created has been for my own personal use. My experience with teaching art is non-existent. Yet somehow I am finding myself being paid to teach other people how to create something beautiful. I am beyond thrilled, incredibly excited, and terrified.

I stumbled upon this opportunity in February when I saw this altered books sign hanging in Arts Marketplace. Therese, the woman who runs Arts Marketplace, was thrilled when she saw me taking a picture of the sign and discovered that I was interested in this workshop. Despite having only know me for about 30 seconds, she eagerly petitioned me to take a leadership role in the workshop. I told her I would think about it.

To make a long story short, Therese was elated when I officially agreed to run a workshop despite the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing and I don't have any experience with altered books. She even told me that she screamed when she received my e-mail acceptance.

When Lauren, Therese and I met last week to plan, I literally began shaking at the thought of having a group of 8-15 people watching me while I create something and looking to me for instruction on how to do the same. Not only will I be teaching something new, I will be sharing my art with people who I only just met. I will be making myself vulnerable by sharing something that has previously only been shown to people who I trust. That, my friends, is a recipe for a panic attack.

But it is also a move in an exciting direction. I will get to meet new people who share a love for all things crafty. I will get paid for making art. I will get to teach! And, most importantly, I may have the opportunity to teach further workshops. When Therese mentioned to Lauren and I that we could teach other workshops of our choosing, I began to develop plans for teaching children and teenagers how to use art to manage stress and express hidden emotion.

Since I officially agreed to this and began planning, I have been alternating between breathless giddiness and trembling anxiety. One moment I will be imagining myself retiring from social work and making a living as an art teacher without ever returning to college. Then, one hour later, I will be close to tears thinking about how inexperienced I am, how many other artists are out there, and how terrified I am to teach, even with Lauren by my side.

Paul reminded me that this opportunity could go as far as I want to take it. It could stop with the altered books workshop or it could grow into more art and more workshops. It could be a realized dream or a realization that art is not something I really want to do. No matter what happens, I will be proud of myself for taking a risk and stepping way out of my comfort zone to do something that makes me happy.

To learn more about altered books, check out this website. If you're in Tucson and want to join in on the workshop fun, contact me. The actual workshop will be taking place on April 9th from 3pm to 6pm. We would love it if you would pre-register- in fact, we'll give you a discount if you do! The cost is $10 for pre-registration and $15 for drop in the day. Price includes supplies and refreshments.

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