Everyday I walked into my school, went about my day, taught a lesson, helped with a project, showed another PowerPoint, and moved on. It was like clockwork, I was going through the motions, but as my body seemingly moved without thinking, my mind was somewhere else.
I had interviewed for another job at another school. At this point, a few days had passed with no word, but I was trying to be patient. I was in job-search-limbo, stuck in the unknown. I had spent two years at my school in Covington, GA. I spent two years commuting 70 miles a day, dealing with standardized test BS, teaching on no budget, dealing with more students than I had space, and baking to support my program. However, I had also spent two years cultivating relationships, building my classes, developing projects, and most importantly getting to know my students. I loved my students. I hated that I knew there was a possibility I would leave, and they had no idea.
Although I loved my kids, I wanted to leave my school more. There will always be kids I am attached to, there will always be another class I could wait to see graduate, so I have to put myself first. This school exhausted me. The schedule, the non-art-related-seemingly-pointless extras, the energy and effort I put into an underfunded program was wearing me thin. I needed change, and I went looking for it.
I interviewed for a 4th/5th grade photography/printmaking art teacher position, at a prominent private school, a very short distance from my house. I loved the facility, other art teachers, principal, supplies, and of course commuting distance. I was hesitant about moving from my beloved high school position to an elementary school; but I was willing to take the risk. I walked out of the interview feeling like I had the job. I truly believed I nailed it, but now the waiting game began.
As the days passed my patience began to wear and other stresses crept in. This job was not only important for me, it was also important for my fellow art teacher, Morgan, whose position was recently cut due to budget cuts. She wanted to stay, it was the best place for her to be. And here I was dying to get out, how unfair was it that I got to stay and she had to leave? If I got this job it meant a new start for me and a secure job for her. The sense of responsibility felt heavy on my shoulders.
I continued to go about my day. I tried to focus, act like nothing was going on, but I couldn’t help but be distracted. The future of Morgan and my careers were on the line, dependent on a single e-mail or phone call. I just wanted to hear the words “I’m sorry” or “Congratulations”, I just wish I knew what was coming next…
- Visual journal
- rubber cement
- Old book pages
- Magazine image
- Packaging tape
- “W” magazine image
To create this visual journal page I took a look in my visual journal folder. Whenever I find things in magazine that I love, but don’t have plans for just yet, I stick it in my folder. Every now and then I pull out my folder, flip through, and consider what page I will be working on next, and if anything can be used in it. I had previously saved the fancy letter w, thinking I would use it in some Whitney themed page, but instead I decided it would be a nice addition to this one; and that’s where I started.
Next I flipped through a few magazines in search of a female figure in a thoughtful, longing, or forlorn stance. I hate having a specific image in mind, and trying to find something to fit in the small box I created. However, I was very lucky in this case because I happened to stumble upon an image of a girl, standing in a doorway, looking at something unknown, just out of reach. It was perfect, and I immediately ripped it out.
I decided to create a tape transfer of the image to create an even more euphoric look. I stuck packing tape to the front of the image, sticky side down. I then rubbed the back of the magazine picture with scissor handles, to ensure the ink was stuck to the tape. Next, I soaked the image in water until the paper began peeling off the back. I rubbed the paper away with my fingers, until only the ink was left, stuck to the tape.
Since there was a lot of ink on the image, the tape was no longer sticky. I decided to attach it to the page using rubber cement. This turned out to be a very happy accident. A chemical reaction happened with the rubber cement and tape. The tape began to bubble up, and as I tried to flatten it to the page, the ink began to smear. I was very shocked at first, the perfect image I found was now ruined! But as I took another look I realized you could still make out the figure in the doorway, and the swirly ink made it look even more dreamlike. I have learned form my mistake and if I want a nice clear image I use Elmer’s glue or more packaging tape to attach my tape transfers to my pages, if they are no longer sticky on the back.
To frame my tape transfer I ripped up yellowed book pages, and glued them down around the edge. To reflect this on the left side I ripped up sections of the book pages without text, and glued it into a strip. I then wrote my text with a pencil, to help me decide where to place my elaborate W. Once I had everything laid out I glued down the W with rubber cement and went over the pencil text with an extra fine sharpie.
Create a visual journal page about a time you experienced limbo in your life; whether that means an unknown future or the game!
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