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Local Spotlight: Bloomington Print Collective

March 27, 2012

I’ve been afraid of art most of my life. I can be honest about that now. In junior high school we had an assignment to create a symmetrical design that when we folded our paper in half would recreate itself on the other side. I drew a tree (Surprise!) that had a background of colorful radiating circles behind it. My teacher hated it- claimed it did not meet the standards of the assignment (even thought it totally did and was completely symmetrical) and I did not take another art class again until Photography, late in high school, a subject I felt could not be misinterpreted as much. I fell in Love with photography, with the dark room, with the smell of the chemicals and the red lights. I was home there. And then I went to college.

All of this (back story) is to say – I’ve been afraid of art my entire life. And not just art, but artists. Maybe even more the artISTS than the art itself. I always felt like I didn’t belong, like I didn’t fit in, like I wasn’t special or talented enough. Well, not a whole lot has changed. Sure, I’m a part of a GREAT, amazing, special group of local and regional artists and crafters here in Bloomington, in Indiana, in the Midwest, but sometimes those lines become blurred (between artist and crafter) and I still find myself the scared girl hiding in the corner at a hipster bar waiting for the rum and coke to take affect.

And so, when I came up with this new idea to screen print designs on leather (I’ll get to the point eventually) I was scared. I was scared because I had not the first clue what screen printing consisted of. I was scared because I felt like everyone else knew the secrets and I didn’t. I was scared because I let myself be. But, I jumped in, and I took my first introductory class at Paper Crane Gallery (which is now Anatomy Vintage and Handmade) through the Bloomington Print Collective with Danielle Urschel, and I was hooked. Immediately.

Studio Tour - Bloomington Print Collective

There’s just something about a good teacher that will get you hooked on something faster than even you know it’s happening. It’s that way with Danielle. Why was I scared all of that time? It seems so silly now! To think, I was so held back by my own insecurities and nothing more. And so, now I find myself making plans and creating images to get myself back into the studio- to be side by side with Danielle as she waxes eloquent about things I know nothing about. But I don’t feel unintelligent around Danielle, I just feel like I’m being taught something that I knew nothing about before. And I Love it. I Love that feeling of learning – of being a lifetime learner.

I think sometimes people don’t realize I don’t have an art background WHATSOEVER. You wanna talk about Milton? Plath? or writing a five-paragraph essay? I’m there. You wanna talk intaglio, linos, or ink – I’m all ears but I’m not going to add much to the conversation.

But anyway, that’s what I find great about the Bloomington Print Collective. I was afraid of going in. Afraid I wouldn’t fit in. But it’s not been that way at all. For me, I found a great teacher who is open to new ideas and who pushes me to do more – and that’s just . . . amazing. I wanted to share that with you.

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