Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Helen Thomas, White House Correspondent

Helen Thomas, the veteran White House reporter, appeared at the Michigan Theatre located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, on Tuesday, November 24th and I had an opportunity to attend the lecture & book signing. The event was co-sponsored by the Ann Arbor District Library and Michigan Radio. It was wonderful. The 89-year-old delivered. She's just as passionate today about our country and politics as she was when she held her first job as a neophyte reporter in the early 1940s. You can read a great event review about Helen Thomas here: Ann

She has covered more presidents as a member of the White House Press Corps than any journalist working today. Her new book is "Listen Up Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do."

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

November Recap

I made a decision last month to take some time off. I didn't realize how tired I was until mid-October, at the conclusion of KENTUCK. While most artists gear up for holiday sales right after Halloween, I found myself looking for a quiet place to exhale. The calls and emails starting coming in weekly from various organizations and individuals requesting a donation of art for various holiday fundraising venues. As flattered as I was at being asked to participate, I realized that I had to simply say "no." I needed to stop the roller coaster ride. This self-imposed non-committal phase will continue thru the end of January 2010. It the best decision that I've made, in a long time. For the next couple of months I'll adhere to my personal art/production schedule and mine alone.

Two months before I began my hiatus I made a commitment, to visit a group of 3rd grade students at Advent Episcopal Day School in Birmingham. I'd promise to come to the school before Thanksgiving. The students had written to me (29 letters!!) inquiring about the project which I had developed with a grant awarded by the Cultural Alliance. I kept my commitment. I planned my "speech", packed my samples and supplies and arrived on time ready to go. I had thirty minutes to talk about a project that had taken more than a year to develop. I honestly can't remember if I spoke about my project "WALK IN THE DIRECTION YOU' GOIN IN." I recall pulling out a pre-cut lino block, ink and paper and asked each of the students to come to the desk so that they could make an impression by rubbing the back of the paper with a baren. As they stood in front of me, I inked the block and assisted each student, individually, as they positioned their paper and prepared to put a little muscle behind the baren. I wanted them to feel the block, smell the ink and to engage them in the physicality of making a relief impression. The rest is a blur. They were sooooooo enthusiastic. Smiles and giggles. Oooh's and aaah's as they compared their prints with each other. Thirty minutes passed so quickly. I'm sure they don't remember anything about my Cultural Alliance project but their bright eyes and smiles made me realize that kids are VERY interested in learning about art and curious about new forms of creating art. It was a won-der-ful session!

Look for updates here as the new year approaches. Tentative plans include teaching linoleum block relief printing at Samford University through the SAMFORD AFTER SUNDOWN program. Also, my website -D RIFFE DESIGN-will finally get a much needed redesign. Keep checking!

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