Although Baltimore will always be in my heart, it is not currently where I rest my head. In 2017, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to pack up and move my life to western North Carolina to attend Haywood Community College’s Professional Crafts program. When I graduated with a degree in fiber in the spring of 2019, I immediately re-enrolled in the furniture program that started in the fall.
Inspired by my grandparents, I have been trying for years to find a way to integrate their labors of love—woodworking for my grandfather and textiles for my grandmother—and it finally felt like things were coming together. You know how it feels to step on a moving walkway? There is a little trepidation and maybe that first step is a misstep, but then you are off and gliding along. Immersing myself in this practice felt like that.
School hours were long and the work itself was physical, both in weaving (our mainstay in the Fiber department) and woodworking. To keep myself going, I took a job at school as a studio assistant in addition to the two freelance jobs I do from home in the evenings and weekends. I didn’t have a lot of free time, but every morning, without fail, as I drove to school I would think about how lucky I was. What an amazing gift I had given to myself: A woman in her 40s who said, “Fuck it, let’s go” and found a new home and space to create. Every day was a challenge with great lessons in failure and sprinkles of success. My classmates are inspiring people, my teachers are bottomless wells of knowledge. And then… the lyrics from Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out For Summer” began playing in a loop in my head and took on a new level of seriousness.