It felt like Fall this morning; it was glorious.
Date: August 14, 2013
Days Spent on Project: 178
Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC
Person I would have sent it to: Professor Reinert.
Professor Reinert was the tenured design professor at Kenyon. My first two years, I knew him as a set designer, the last two years he would design some of the costumes for the drama department’s productions.
My third year, after my semester in London, I took the one costume design class that was offered. During that semester, we were assigned four projects: A Midsummer Night’s Dreams, Tartuffe, Streetcar Named Desire, and The Importance of Being Earnest. We would have 3-4 weeks to work on a project; one week discussing the show with “the director” (one of the department’s other teachers), we’d have a week to assemble some research, a week to present rough sketches, and then our last week was about presenting our designed show.
Comparing that to my grad school experience- where you’d have a week to research and design and present your rough ideas for a play, then another week to finish the sketches and make a final presentation- it all seems so easy in hindsight.
So, prior to grad school, prior to my graduation from Kenyon, prior to my two years working with Actors Theatre of Louisville, my only time being instructed about design consisted of that one class. And I would say, honestly, I wasn’t the best student. I did the work, yes, and I had ideas and I tried hard. But, I’m not sure I got “it” at that point.
I didn’t get it at that point.
The idea of the “silhouette” was still lost on me. Costumes, in my experience at that point, were about movement and color more than anything. Being introduced through dance really had influenced me. (And it still does; a part of my process is always thinking about how clothing’s movement creates drama and story. I now understand I’m drawn to the extremes- structure and delicacy- more than anything. This might explain my fascination with McQueen and Eiko and Charles James and Fath. Just a little.)
So, while, I can’t say I did my best learning under Reinert, he did say something to me (or was it to the class… I hope it was to the class) that has stuck with me through these few years. He’s the first person who spoke of education and learning as physical effort, much like weight training.
I don’t want to give the impression that I could quote his statement, because his original phrasing is a little cloudy. But, he told us that learning *is* a difficult process; it’s about the mind acknowledging that it didn’t know something and then accepting that knowledge, replacing a previously held belief.
Kinda like when you start lifting weights or get back on the treadmill after a few weeks or months away. Your muscles ACHE the next day. Gradually, the pain goes away, and you’re left with stronger muscles and a stronger body. It’s the same way with the mind and education, isn’t it?
We all have those ingrained truths in our life that we cling to because they give us order and sense. But what happens when something comes along and makes us question that order.
The world is flat.
No, it’s actually round.
How we react TO that information really does tell us so much about ourselves. Do we go back to the gym the next day, maybe focusing on the upper-body instead of cardio? Do we go back to the books and keep reading?
Do we go outside our apartment and keep facing life?
For that, the first time someone had ever spoken about education (and life, too) in that way, Reinert gets a Crane.
Music I listened to while sewing: I’m back on my Chill Out/Calm Down Playlist. I’m not sure it’s what I needed or wanted this morning. It was an okay choice.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: From Facebook this morning…
‘”It’s impossible,” said Pride.
“It’s risky,” said Experience.
“It’s pointless,” said Reason.
“Give it a try,” whispered the Heart. ‘
I needed to read that. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there, dealing with those questions.
Like I said above and before, life is hard and difficult. Learning isn’t easy and without pain.
But we’ve just gotta keep trying, you know? Otherwise life would be so boring.
Okay, off to start the day.