Friday, August 19, 2011

He Was Right...

How many times do we hear the voice in our head saying - "Oh, I'll never be like THEM.
They don't know what they are talking about...They come from a different time, a different place and today it is different." Those thoughts have been passed down from generation to generation, it seems. The younger, fresher blood always has a reason to discard "The Old Ways".

And yet, there comes that moment, when the realization that maybe they do have a point, they have had experiences that mirror what we are going through, that maybe, just maybe, THEY are right.

My father thought I would make a great teacher. But I didn't want to be a teacher, because at the time teachers were paid so was the 70's and I was going to be a commercial artist- make more money and have more prestige.

And so through many experiences and lifetimes, I found myself on the threshold of teaching. Finally not resisting what the universe presented to me, step by step, one day at a time, I followed the official path of being a teacher. Forget the fact that I was teaching children English in Italy...they were learning so well that many of my students were passing their proficiency speaking exams with flying colors. But in Italy, the story I told myself, was that I wasn't a "real teacher" because I never got my certification.

Coming back to the US, after some attempts to get back to my commercial world, but now having a young son to take care of, I felt, OKAY, I will do it...go back to school, get the validation and be a teacher. Always, it seems, looking into the future, and not honoring what I was doing now.

So after landing not one but 3 different art teaching jobs and then being put through the political educational ringer of job reductions and excessing, I was told I was not an "effective" teacher... a blow to the ego.

Nursing my wounds, little by little I found though, that my father was right. I am a natural born teacher, but not in the way our society or educational structure would have us think.

Just because I am not teaching now does not mean that I am not a teacher - not allowing one moment to define you has been an awakening experience. I am teaching all the time...teaching my son about friendships and relationships based on experiences garnered through trial and error. Teaching about my love of mosaics and how I am building my business. The moments seem to come fast and furious these days...just waiting for someone to ask to be taught.

A young couple, my nephew's friends, visiting and seeing the garden I have worked with my father becomes and opportunity to teach. Once again, the universe gave me the chance to express my passion for the flowers and plants in the garden my father inspired. Teaching handed down from generation to generation. My father lives on through my teaching others about gardening and my mother through her cooking and love of her children.

And so I am now the "family expert"...seems so funny, me who could not be bothered with gardening, now have my nephew's girlfriend asking me what to do with the abundance of tomatos she got. Imparting knowledge/experiences gained and being a channel to another form looking for knowledge...the essence of teaching. My father was right all along...I was born to be a teacher...just not in a district that tried to label my abilities as effective or not- not in a brick and mortar school.  Each moment is an opportunity to connect with another being that is looking for some of what I have gotten from the generation before. Teaching lives in me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It Starts with a Stone

Literally. The making of a mosaic begins with one piece - a tessera - and you just keep adding more, changing the position, the size, the color, the texture until this organic form begins to materialize into a tangible form.

It started with a stone for my father's garden.

Getting on in years, I realized that he could not plant and care for his garden and his frustration materialized in grumpiness and depression. For my father, his garden became his refuge from the world. - A pediatrician by profession, his heart was always in the land. I remember him stealing moments from his day, between patients, to care for his garden.

A son of a middle class farmer from Sicily, he was the only one of his siblings to go on to higher education- all on a scholarship. It was my grandmother, along with her brother, a priest, that determined he would continue with schooling. My grandfather did not want him to continue. He needed my father for the farm. Having only one other son, study meant the loss of another pairs of hands for what- an education?

And so my father always has had his garden- his connection to the earth.

I, on the other hand, was looking for excitement in so many different places- I couldn't be bothered with taking so much unnecessary time to spend tilling, planting, pruning and harvesting.

The moment came always starts with a moment... when I accepted what was being presented before me- a chance to connect with my father in his twilight years. And it was through his garden.

And so, combining love of art with love for my father, I decided to help him take care of the garden. And the first thing I saw was the path- a misshapen avenue made with wood, stepping stones and pebbles- not pretty at all- what had to happen? A place for my first mosaic. A garden stone.

The process then started- how to make a mosaic- but I wanted to do it right- learn from a master, as all the great Renaissance Artists and Artisans did. And so the journey to finding the perfect mosaic master.

The internet is truly a wonderful thing.... a search resulted in Unicorn Art Studios.
And Yakov Hanansen and his wife Angele gave me the fertile ground and watering to create my first the time I did not really think it would turn into a calling, but there was something incredibly stimulating and enticing about the studio and the world of mosaics...I finally felt at home and at peace.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Staying the course

I created this blog quite a while ago, but did not know what to do with never ceases to amaze me how a moment can change everything. Leading up to today, I have actually had many "moments" that have brought me to "now" I defined myself as something I have always wanted but was afraid to do - call myself an artist. More to the point, I am a mosaic artist. I went to art school and studied commercial art to make a living and then proceeded to be just that - a designer, not an artist. The distinction may seem small, but for me it has been massive.

There was not one form of art I felt I could call my own. As one of my careers, I was an art teacher, able to create lesson plans and show techniques to students across a myriad of media. I had a friend, who asked me if I wanted to display my "art" a few years ago - but I did not. Nothing stuck.

Now, in this moment, I say with all my heart and soul..."I am a mosaic artist"...and I feel peace.

There were many moments in the year that I made the decision to "do mosaic art" something I sniffed around for quite sometime, but never had the courage to explore.

I hope to express the joys and frustrations as I begin this new journey- one that started with a simple first mosaic piece accepted into a juried national mosaic art exhibition.

And so the journey begins.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Awareness is everything. Somewhere in the last couple of months, I got lost for a moment.

Yet going to a get together of the first job I had over 30 years ago propelled me back to now. Where did the time go? It brought back memories of my hopes and aspirations - I could, wanted to, do anything I set my mind to. But somewhere just floating along the currents of life, life just happened and here I am still wondering what am I going to do when I grow up.

Courage of your convictions is the hardest thing to maintain. So many choices - what we choose or let slip away defines the next moment.

Today my new moment reminder is to just make art - pursue my passion - mosaics and hopefully the rest will follow day by day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Now Moment

So here I am at the graduation waiting on line for the one bathroom available with so many people complaining about the long wait, griping about how ridiculous it was there was only one unisex bathroom - I chose to stay in the moment and took out my  iPod - a little girl was crying to her mom "I can't wait, Mommy!" - Her mother was trying to hush her -I surrendered to the moment and told the mother she could go ahead - she was so grateful - got to the bathroom enjoying a conversation allowing the now to take center stage - as I left I went to the gallery since the bathroom was in the art center - as I entered the art gallery, this is a photo of what caught my eye - the power of the present - what a wonderful now moment.

In the Moment

In the Moment