It's sinking in.
Tomorrow I have to de-install my BFA work, and move everything out of my studio (since I didn't finish today).
A lot has happened in a little time. The week before final critiques was madness. I was still working on creating tapestries for BFA, and running into problems along the way. The week of final critiques I pulled 3 all-nighters. And the week of BFA--this week--I've still been at the studio working every night. How is it that there is still so much to do? But now I have one thing left. And then a week of sitting on Debbie's porch.
On Monday, I found out I was one of the Top 20 Finalists for the President's Traveling Scholarships. What a wonderful feeling, to receive that recognition, especially considering some people told me it was a waste of time to apply. But I know I work hard. And I know I can make nice work.
I survived my BFA oral defense on Thursday morning. I felt confident, and only nervous for a brief amount of time due to circumstances unrelated to my work. So many friends, faculty, and staff showed up. People sat and stood in every space, and even poured into the hallway. It was incredibly encouraging. The head of the fine arts environment showed up, despite the fact that I have never had a critique with him, and I don't know that he's ever seen my work before. But he was there. And he made it tough. And I made it through. It was definitely an interesting conversation, though. I went into the T.I.M.E. Digital Arts major (Technology & Integrated Media Environment), with an emphasis in animation. But then I started minoring in Fiber & Material Studies, and utilizing fiber-based processes in most of my work. And in the end, my work was about photography, so I took a few classes with Film, Video & Photographic Arts. So the faculty at my defense had different points of view and different ways of thinking. But in the end, those that were (and are) supportive helped me learn a little more in that one hour. As stated, other politics were in play, but those whose opinions mattered to me were impressed, and I have received so much positive feedback.
Last night my family (minus Ciara, who had to work) drove from Detroit to see my exhibition and attend the reception. Mia loved it. She kept asking to see more arts. And she called me today to tell me how much she loved all the art she saw. At 8pm, they announced the winners of the Traveling Scholarships.
Mine was the first name called, before I even realized what was happening. I was pushed and pulled in different directions, receiving hugs and words of support, all with Mia clinging to my leg. I'm so happy for the other 5 recipients, including some very good friends of mine. People are going to Barcelona and Madrid and Ireland and all over. And I'll be heading out west for wilderness and wildflowers like I've never experienced. What a wonderful thing, to earn money to travel after school, to make art.
This week, I need to clean and pack and make friendship bracelets. Nicholas will be her Friday, and in a week, I'll graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. And right after that, I move to the South. It's nice to know that I'm running to someone and not away from something. Every song sounds sadder right now. It's a good thing I love that boy so much.
(Top image: photograph of part of my BFA installation.)