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Field Notes 03/18/16

glombaguzm's picture

Friday, 9am
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When I arrived, I immediately went over to the sculpture station in order to work with *Sam*, whom I had been paired to work with for my time there, but *Sam* wasn’t there. I aimlessly walked around the center trying to find someone to explain my situation to. It felt very strange because at times it was difficult to discern who was an employee and who was an artist. This often bled into a very problematic situation in where I was almost asking myself, “does this person have a disability?” It was very disturbing to me, but I also couldn’t help it. It was as if I had no control over the way my brain was working. I finally spoke to someone about the situation and was told that *Sam* recently had a death in the family and wasn’t going to be here this week. The person was unfamiliar with how the field placements worked and told me to find someone to work with.


 I ended up working with *Ana* at the clay station. In the beginning there were 5 people working at the station. I was unsure of what my role would be at the station, so I just began speaking to some of the people working at the station. I spoke for a while with *James*, who was working on a clay chalice. He was very funny and very interesting to speak to. He spoke a lot about his artistry and about what makes him unique as an artist. He was very open about his artistic path and his flaws. Most memorably, he was very confident in his art. Confident in a way that might turn people off, but it was actually very refreshing to see someone appreciate and love what they are making. I then spoke a bit ; it was more difficult to have a conversation with her. She asked me if I watched soap operas, when I said I didn’t, she became very frustrated with me. She then asked me if I was on a diet, when I said no, she also became frustrated. I almost wanted to lie to her so that she wouldn’t get angry with me.


Another man, *Harry*, was working with *Ana* on some leaf drawings. *Ana* was showing *Harry* techniques on how to most effectively draw leaves but *Harry* was focused on his band aid. The band aid was on his hand and seemed to bother him when he drew, but he didn’t want to take it off because he didn’t want to get his paper cut infected. *Ana* became a bit frustrated with *Harry*. She ended up telling him that it was his body and that if something was bothering him, he had the power to do something about it. The other people at the table were more quiet; they seemed to be focused on their art work. As the day went on, some people left the station and some people came back to the station. *Ana* kept telling me, “I’m sorry it’s so boring back here. It’s usually not like this.” I told her it was fine; that I was not bored at all. She then also mentioned that they were very understaffed today and that’s why no one was working on a big art project today.


In the last half hour that I was there, another student from Haverford came to the station and asked if she could take one of the artists from the station. She needed him to do some work for a project they had been working on. The artist left with her, but quickly *Harry* made it clear that he also wanted to work at the “Haverford station.” *Ana* had to explain to him that this was already a pre-chosen group and that he couldn’t work at that station. *Harry* seemed hurt. He then asked if he could just see what was going on. *Ana* said, “You can see, but then you have to come back.” He did so and seemed less hurt when he returned to the station. It was then snack time and I left to go catch the train.  


alesnick's picture

You know, people often celebrate how vital it is to bring a beginner's mind to experience, but this post reminds me how very challenging that can be!  I appreciate your honesty and wonder how this post will look to you a couple of visits on.