Where I've Been, Where I'm Going...

As you might have guessed during these wintery months, when someone mysteriously disappears from Blogland, it is usually due to a having a cold. That is the case with me and my recent disappearance, at least. Although I'm not sure if it was entirely a cold or a bad case of allergies (sinus infection) or a little bit of both... In any case, I think it is on its way out, and I'm thankful for that! I haven't been sick in a while, and I've forgotten how much it sucks, ha ha.

So now you know where I've been, but you are probably wondering where I'm going. I've decided to make learning and art a priority in my life once again, starting this summer by (hopefully) going to Penland. Last week, I sent in materials to apply for a scholarship since I can't afford the tuition on my own, and I am really really really hopeful. It would be exactly what I need to begin the transition I want to embark on. I won't find out the results until the end of March, and the suspense is killing me!

Now, what is this whole "transition I want to embark on?" Well, I've decided to go back to school for art and get my MFA in studio art in about two years. The deadlines for applications this year have already passed, so that means I will apply around a year from now, which gives me plenty of time to build up a whole new portfolio of work with which to apply. This means I need to spend the year making focused, academic level work that all revolves around the same theme. I am so excited about making this kind of work again, but also a bit fearful because it has been so, so long since I've worked this way. But mostly I am excited!

Why am I going back to grad school? Not because I have any grand illusions of graduating and becoming a "famous artist" or anything like that, but simply because I miss learning, I want to make better work, and I miss teaching art. I want three years where I can focus 100% fully on my art making, immerse myself in the process, and come out on the other side full of new ideas and a new body of work. Where I will go with my degree after that, I don't know. Maybe residencies, maybe try for one of those elusive university level art teaching jobs, maybe work at an art center... For me, the journey is the destination, and the journey is what I'm craving right now. I need change.

Don't get me wrong, I love both of the jobs I am working right now, and I can honestly say I am working for the best bosses I have ever had. I mean, when I teach knitting, sometimes the students and I are given ice cream cake, and when I go to my other job, sometimes we are required to jump around and dance to music as soon as we arrive. Life isn't bad at all. But lately I have been feeling like my mind has been turning to mush because I am just not THINKING as much as I used to, specifically because I am not learning and growing. I have also been fantasizing about taking a week off from all my obligations just to make art in my studio, but I know a week wouldn't be enough to do all the work I want to do and make all the progress I want to make.

My goals for art school are simple: learn to make better work technically (drawing and painting specifically) and conceptually (allow my ideas to expand, grow, and evolve), become a part of a community of artists again, and learn to write and speak about my work better so that I can communicate my ideas more effectively. Now comes the challenge of figuring out where I will apply...

I am so excited about this journey and all the changes that are about to take place. In fact, it's all I can think about lately. I hope you will take this journey with me, as I will be reporting all about my art making process during the next year and my grad school experience in the upcoming years on this blog. Yay for change and yay for learning more and focusing on what I love!


  1. Congratulations on your decision. I just graduated from undergrad and am waiting to hear back from grad schools but already I feel that my knowledge is slowly seeping away, leaving me with a head full of mush. I wish you the best of luck constructing your portfolio. And yay for having great jobs already. There aren't many people who seem as happy as you are about their current employment.

  2. Anonymous7:22 PM

    Tessa- Your goals and attitude are infectious! I'm so excited for you- it's wonderful when you listen to your heart and understand the direction you want to go. It is about the journey. You GO GIRL!!! I'm glad you're feeling better!

  3. Congratulations! I'm so proud of you!

  4. So glad you are feeling better!
    Congrats on your decision to go to grad school - there is nothing wrong with wanting to learn and grow as a person and an artist - good luck with reaching all your goals!

  5. Anonymous7:23 PM

    Cheers to continual learning!! :)

  6. GREAT idea!

    I do hope you'll blog as you learn!!

  7. great idea! changes are good!
    good luck with the school though!!! i was thinking to go back to the art things as well ..will see what comes next :-) xx cat
    CiTiEs of B


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