So last week I had the honor of being a guest lecturer at an Intro to Fiber Arts class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This is actually a pretty big deal to me. I’m basically an untrained artist other than the occasional local painting class. Because my technique is based in experimenting until I find something I like, I usually don’t feel like I have anything to teach anyone. And my mother is an alumni of SAIC, having studied fashion design there 60 years ago. Her best friend there was Angela Paterakis, who went on to become the head of the school for many years and a dear friend and mentor to me. So I’ve grown up in the shadow of SAIC,
A few months back I received an email from Stacia Yeapanis, an artist I did not know tho’ I was familiar with her cross stitch work, asking me to present at her upcoming class. Of course I said yes. Thankfully I’ve had enough experience at this point talking about my work to not get too stressed about another presentation but I was impressed nonetheless with the invite.
And what fun it turned out to be!
Stacia brought some examples of her work and it was great to be able to compare techniques and concepts.
She also has the kids reading “The Subversive Stitch” by Rozsika Parker, a now classic book I have heard of but never read, and it was fascinating to be part of this feminist discussion of women and embroidery that brought stitchery out from the private world of female domesticity into the fine arts.
I really envy the art student who gets to go to spend their days studying art history, experimenting with different art forms, and having no agenda other than to learn. Hope the kids enjoyed my presentation as much as I enjoyed giving it.