A little less than a month ago, I said good-bye to my long-term position as a substitute teacher for, ironically enough, one of my former high school classmates who was out on maternity leave. However, the real interesting bit in this story is the subject matter I was teaching: fashion.
Now let me be clear, though I think I have a decent sense of style when dressing myself and coming up with character designs, I haven’t the faintest I idea of how to hem anything (or what a hem even is, for that matter), let alone the names of various fabrics and sewing techniques. But I suppose, in a pinch, the good people of the district I was working in felt an Art background was close enough. But I digress.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I’m not. I was all too happy to have been asked to fill the position and agree to it. It was a wonderful experience, both as a teacher and an artist. It was quite inspiring and challenging to try my hand at something new. And while I enjoyed it and I already miss my former (albeit, temporary) students, you won’t see me blogging about fashion or becoming a fashionista (for that sort of fare, you can head over to the teacher-who-I-was-covering-for’s wonderful blog, SimplyJustLovely at www.simplyjustlovelyblog.com). Still, I wanted to share with you some work I did for the class.
Between giving lessons from the teacher’s lesson plans, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to create one or two projects of my own. One I came up with was for the students to create clothing designs based on Halloween (and I later modified this assignment for one cycle class to fit a Winter-Holiday theme). These weren’t meant to be costumes, but rather regular clothing with a Halloween twist. And in giving the assignment, I needed to come up with a few examples (you can see all three images in the Miscellaneous Illustration section).
Now, while I won’t say these are groundbreaking fashion designs (though I do rather like the snowflake jacket and icicle-patterned jeans), it was refreshing to create something I hadn’t done before, and I was quite surprised by the results. Indeed, I think it’s the best way to grow as an artist (writer, musician, etc…fashion designer!): to challenge yourself in new ways and try your hand at something different. Often times, even if it’s not your best work, you learn a little something from the experience. I certainly did–quite a few things, in fact. And, if nothing else, I’m certainly taking more notice of fashion, in general. Just this weekend, walking through Manhattan, I found my eyes were drawn more to the fabric and clothing stores in the Fashion District than they were to the shelves in Jim Hanley’s Universe where I eventually wound up.
I wish my former students the best, and I’ll be sure to pop my head in, from time to time. Now I can get back to my typical sort of writing and art, and my students can learn what a hem is. After all, I wasn’t able to teach it to them.