I’m Still Here & Some New Work!

I know I haven’t posted since my dog Ruby died, which has been almost 2 years ago. Her sudden death really turned my world upside down and I still miss her so much. But, I also haven’t posted because I’ve wondered if people still read blogs? Would it be worth the effort? I guess I’ll find out. At any rate, like most of you, I’m sheltering-in-place 24/7 due to COVID-19. It has definitely been a challenge on many levels. Especially since I’m sheltering at home alone. Just me & my 3 cats. It’s really making me miss Ruby a lot.

Normally the Lawrence Arts Center, where I teach art workshops, has a benefit auction that happens mid-April. But like just about everything else, it had to be postponed until sometime later when it would be safe for everyone to gather. I’m really happy with how the piece I made for the auction turned out.

 

TraciBunkers.com - El Corazon mixed-media piece in progress, for Lawrence Arts Center benefit auction 2020

Here the piece is in progress. First I collaged and painted a 9″x12″ canvas. Then on top of that I glued down tea bags that I had stitched together. I love texture on my pieces, so I decided to leave the thread tails hanging off. Here’s a detail.

TraciBunkers.com - detail of El Corazon mixed-media piece in progress, for Lawrence Arts Center benefit auction 2020

Then I glued down the center image. It’s a paper litho print that I made and then painted to add color.

TraciBunkers.com - El Corazon mixed-media piece in progress, for Lawrence Arts Center benefit auction 2020

Before I framed it, I added a wash of color and then varnished it. Since the auction has been postponed, I unfortunately can’t give a link to bid on it (yet).

TraciBunkers.com - El Corazon mixed-media piece for Lawrence Arts Center benefit auction 2020

Using tea bags in my work wasn’t new to me, but I hadn’t used them in this way before. I really liked the effect and want to do some more experimenting with them.

Since the Lawrence Arts Center had to shut down mid-March due to the pandemic, that meant the entire spring session of classes were cancelled. I’ve been teaching a wide variety of kids classes there for quite a few years for kids ranging from kindergarten up through high school. It is SO different from teaching adults! It’s very challenging and often stressful, but we also have a good time. Here are some photos I’ve taken in some of the kids classes I’ve taught over the past year.

TraciBunkers.com - kids art classes at the Lawrence Arts Center -01

This was from last spring when we made ceramic bunny bowls in my Clay Play class for K-2nd graders.

 

TraciBunkers.com - kids art classes at the Lawrence Arts Center -03

Look at all of the prints my middle school students made last summer in my Alternative Printmaking class.

 

TraciBunkers.com - kids art classes at the Lawrence Arts Center -02

This was a collaborative exercise I had my high school students do in the stARTup class, which is a portfolio building & career development class.

 

TraciBunkers.com - kids art classes at the Lawrence Arts Center -05

We made ceramic chicken platters in my Clay in Many Ways class for 3rd-5th graders.

 

TraciBunkers.com - kids art classes at the Lawrence Arts Center -04

This adorable student is showing the ceramic snowman she made in my Clay Play class for K-2nd graders.

The cancellation of the spring session unfortunately cut out a big chunk of my income. And how the summer classes will happen is a little up in the air right now, which adds more stress.

 

tracibunkers.com - masked self-portrait

I’ve been sheltering-in-place since March 14th. It’s been scary, but at first I thought with all of this time on my hands I’d get so much art made! That would be the bright spot to all of this scariness. Boy was I wrong. Instead I’ve been spending a lot of energy on trying to deal with what to do about the bills I can’t pay, trying to file for unemployment as a self-employed person, and applying for grants to try to get some financial assistance. I know a lot of people are in the same situation. It’s been exhausting. At first I was hard on myself, feeling like I should be able to get more done. Days would sometimes go by without really accomplishing anything or knowing what I did the whole day. But now I’m trying to be more forgiving to myself and trying not to feel like I’m wasting all of this time at home.

I thought about getting a temporary job as an essential worker to make up for my lost income. But that terrified me because of my health issues–not only because my history with chronic bronchitis & sinus infections, but because of my brain cysts.

Things will be opening up around here soon. And honestly, that kind of scares me. But I’ll continue to shelter-in-place for a few more weeks.

I hope you all are hanging in there, are safe & as ok as you can be. I’d love for you to leave a comment to let me know how you are & what you’ve been doing.

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17 Comments

  1. Glad to hear you are still “out there”. Don’t be too hard on yourself, just do what you are able. Thank you for sharing the pictures, it was nice to see the kids having such a great time. And I love your work too!

  2. So happy to see your blog again! Beautiful art piece…hope you get unemployment because they are giving an additional $600 per week and it is all retroactive…have you thought about offering online classes to bring in $$$?perhaps on zoom? My great nephews ages 5 and 7 take zoom piano lessons and love it – sending. bIg hugs during these difficult times…sequestered for my 12th week alone – no pets allowed – from my 450 sq ft studio apartment with one window looking down on my empty street with tightly shuttered stores here in NYC…💕

  3. You made my day with your blog post. I love seeing the classroom pictures. Teaching art to kids has it’s challenges but energy they give back is worth it.
    I’m so happy you have yarn and fibers available. My fingers are itchy for something new plus, I get to still be working (I don’t know how essential I am if I have time to shop for art supplies) and decided I’m supporting fellow artists as long as I can.
    Hang in there!
    Peace, Tori

  4. So glad that you posted something on your blog. I hope you are able to get some grants and unemployment for gig workers. Not being able to pay your bills is a big hardship. Best to you.

  5. Nice to see you back up again. It’s a hard time for everyone, harder for some than others. I know what you mean about not feeling as productive as one “should.”

    I sure hope people still read blogs because I’m still putting my art blog out there, 12 years and 3-4 a month. A pretty small readership, but I do it because it’s a way to share my love for the arts…sort of my “morning pages” version.

  6. I know your pain! It’s been three years since our beloved Rocky died and it still gets me upset. Pets are family and so is very traumatic to lose such loyal and precious companions. Grief can be overwhelming. Thanks for posting! Peace to you and stay well.

  7. Wonderful to see your work. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Our beloved furry family members are irreplaceable. Grieving them is never easy. Wishing you all the very best.

  8. I am so glad you posted birthday buddy. I still read Blogs. I really love the piece you did. I now really understand the versatility of tea bags. I hope you post more.

  9. Love the tea bags & textures in your beautiful piece, Traci! Yes, I still read art blogs (though don’t post on mine frequently). Our city is starting to open up but my university library is still working remotely–my studio is my work place five days a week and then it reverts. Take care, be safe.

  10. Thank you for continuing to inspire, even during confinement. I stumbled upon your blog today and I am very glad I did. Thanks for providing something positive to counter all the sad and bad going on around us.

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