I was invited to participate in a week long retreat at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg Tennessee last year with twelve wildly talented educators from across the nation. I was intimidated to say the least. The resumes of these other creatives far exceeded my own. But, in typical Jennie Milner fashion, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn't question whether or not Ana Lopez had mistaken me for another Colorado artist and dialed my number accidentally. This "leap in" plan has always served me well. When the metals professor at The University of Northern Colorado (Cece Wire) called desperately seeking a replacement effective immediately I said "yes." The reason I say "yes" and then figure this stuff out is because making jewelry is NOT brain surgery (we do use some of the same tools, however). We are in a luxury market making things that aren't going to save anyone's life! We aren't even teaching anyone to save lives. The best we can do is teach the people who are saving lives how to step out of their own worlds and let us touch their hearts with the universal language of art.
Why would I doubt for a minute that I have something to add to the jewelry conversation? So I don't doubt. This doesn't mean that I don't scare myself, shrink into the wallpaper as soon as I'm in the presence of greatness and become a total nerd who sleep walks and sleep talks to my poor roommate during the entire experience. This gives new meaning to "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission" ("Is it okay with you if I wake you up at 3am and talk to you as if we've been in an hour long conversation already and then not remember it at all in the morning?").
Anyway, the work we made that week is extraordinary! The show opens today at ZOOM Symposium in Milwaukee Wisconsin and if I didn't have kids and graduations and birthday and the end of the school year and a credit card to pay off for the initial experience, I would be there to see it! I'm proud of us. It was all about making space to create. We left children andfamilies to attend & we needed the time to push our work into an unknown space. If you are in the area this week, go see the show at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
Thank you Stephanie Voegele (curator), Ana Lopez (organizer), Haley Bates, Jeff Bowie, Motoko Furuhashi, Jill Gower, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Anya Kivarkis, Natalie Macellaio, Becky McDonah, Mary Pearse, Phil Renato, Lauren Selden and Cappy Counard! I hope I get the pleasure to see you all again very soon!
Check it out here: ZOOM SYMPOSIUM