How does a Writer Prepare for Her MFA?

The time clock marking my first day at Lesley University is counting down, quickly, – but technically I’m already a Masters of Fine Art student with the work load that must be checked off before day one of the first residency. I’ve got books to read and nearly a hundred pages of supplementary material to cover as well. I need to prep my writing for the hands on workshops. Not to mention reading and providing feedback on my peer’s writing…

I can picture a select few of my friends recoiling at all this reading, but hey, that’s why I applied for my MFA; I’m a bookworm and a passionate writer. What some may think of as literary torture, I relish with girlish delight.

Okay, okay. It is not all fun and games. I’ve got to put in some serious leg work and sweat it to prepare everything on time. Still, there are some things in life that give you goose bumps and you just know, deep in the core of your chest, that these are the moments that matter and will be magic in the end. This is the time that matters, right now.

 

Besides the assigned readings and travel logistics, how am I preparing for my MFA? Good question!

 

1. I am writing about it (Thanks for reading).

 

2. Rubbing virtual shoulders with current students online; making friends I’m already excited to come face-to-face with during our step out of the virtual world and onto campus.

 

3. I’m trying to get other stuff done. Clean the office. Tie up the loose ends of projects. There’s a lot to accomplish before I can be worry free and enjoy my schooling (quiet down you who just called me a “keener.” It’s true but you don’t have to rub it in!).

 

4. Prep my family. My daughter knows I am going to be away. She’s intrigued by the idea of spending more time with her dad and grandparents and is over the moon about flying to Boston for a vacation when my classes are done. My baby, my sweet little unsuspecting guy – all I can do for him is pour endless hugs and kisses into every second of our time together. Hubby will be busy filling my beautifully expert mom shoes while I am gone so I’m not too worried about him. He won’t have time to miss me. I have informed my family that I will be an emotional mess of mommy love while away and that I’ll need constant encouragement to stay the course. All have been sufficiently warned.

MFA Lesley University Cambridge nail biting photograph copyright Alexis Marie Chute

And last and likely most importantly:

 

5. I’m trying to NOT think about it too much. As a writer with a constant flow of verbal commentary that quietly narrates my whole life, I’m avoiding psyching myself out. Especially as I have a graceful pull towards the dramatic, I can already imagine my inner monologue going something like this:

“Alexis Marie pushes her thick black glasses back into the groove of her nose, her eyes nearly as wide as her frames as she stares up at the tall buildings before her. She tugs at her shirt. ‘Damn it!’ she curses, hoping no one will notice her perspiration soaked underarms. ‘Day one as a grad student,’ she sighs as she searches her course schedule for the room number of her first class.

After a myriad of false starts and wrong doors, she finally sits amongst a group of people who lounge confidently, like seasoned academics, tweed coats and all. The first workshop member stands to read her work, a piece of writing about her childhood. ‘Oh crap,’ Alexis Marie’s shoulders slump. ‘This woman is describing herself as a rambunctious blond three year old… I miss my own rambunctious blond three year old back home. How am I going to get through this? I’ve been a grad student for 30 seconds!’ With subtlety so as not to draw attention, Alexis Marie slips her cell phone out of her bag and begins to search for the earliest flight back to Edmonton.”

 

And there you have it. That is why I do not want think too much about the wonderful/scary/exciting/nail-biting experience I am about to dive into. I know myself well. It really is better if I stay busy, remain focused on the immediate here and now – then one day, when I allow my consciousness to catch up with me, I’ll be like, “Wow, my residency has begun! I can totally do this!”

 

Until then, wish me luck!

MFA Lesley University Cambridge calendar pens photograph copyright Alexis Marie Chute

Art & Craft Lovers, the Harcourt House Art Market is Today!

 

Need a reason to get out of the house today? Come from your house to ours! I’ve got just the thing for you: The Art Market in ‘da House. Harcourt House Gallery and Artist Run Centre. One of my favorite artists will be there: yours truly of course!

 

The Harcourt House Art Market is unique as it takes place right in the gallery and each artist’s booth acts as a mini exhibition. This is an event you don’t want to miss if you are an art lover in Edmonton. Come support the gallery and purchase original art from local emerging and established artists. There will be something for everyone, traditional art to experimental works. Even craft and design!
I will also be selling my new favorite goodies: sweet smelling candles and creative cards.

 

Come out for a great Saturday event! Here are the details:

 

Event details Harcourt House Gallery and Artist Run Centre Art Market show and sale May 25 2013

 

Art Market

An art and design show and sale

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

1:00 – 7:00pm

Harcourt House Gallery

10215-112 Street

Entry by donation

 

 

It will be a great day as my work shares the gallery walls with these amazing artists:

 

  • Kristen Anderson
  • Drake Avila
  • Alexis Marie Chute
  • Matthew Clark
  • Nancy Corrigan
  • Larysa Eliuk
  • Kari Fell
  • Shiela Gosselin
  • Sabine Hahnel
  • Zach Hoskin
  • William Johnson
  • Kari Martin
  • Hilary Mussell
  • Laura O’Connor
  • Andrew Olivier
  • Judi Popham
  • Deltra Powney
  • Claire Reid
  • Caitlin Richardson
  • Emily Sedor & Lucy Hlachuk
  • Ruby Serben
  • Ellie Shuster
  • Sean Simpson
  • Kelsey Stevenson
  • Keith Turnbull

Art Market in ‘da House, Harcourt House

I cannot tell you how much I love my wonderful art patrons. You buy my work, attend my openings and generally cheer me on. Thank you!

This Saturday I will be exhibiting some never before seen artwork I created while I lived in New Zealand. I’ve got paintings made with the very sand and sea shells of the Eastern Beach where my hubby and I took up residence for two years. The work is colorful, textural and ready to be adopted into good homes.

I’m also offering some newer works and even showing a sneak peak piece from my upcoming solo exhibition entitled “The Quiet Rebuild” which will adorn the main gallery of Harcourt in a solo exhibition in October of this year.

For some art is a hobby. As a professional artist, the boundary between hobby and work often overlap and blur. But that’s fine with me. One of my newest hobbies, candle making, will debut at the Harcourt Art Market and I’m thrilled. If you are looking for a handmade gift with a creative twist, these candles are for you! Vintage meets chic style – but that’s all I will say for now. Come and see for yourself.

Art Market

An art and design show and sale

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

1:00 – 7:00pm

Harcourt House Gallery

10215-112 Street

Entry by donation

Save the Date for an Art Market Extravaganza

One week from now a select number of Edmonton’s fine artists will gather to exhibit their work at Harcourt House Gallery and Artist Run Centre. As the gallery’s Artist in Residence, I’m proud to be taking part in this creative endeavor, which serves as a fundraiser for this awesome local gallery and creative hub in our city.

 

Speaking of the important role Harcourt plays, and this impact extends well beyond only our art community, this Market and festivities mark the 25th anniversary of Harcourt in Edmonton.  Be there to be part of this special event. Save the date!

Invite to Harcourt House Gallery and Artist Run Centre Art Market show and sale May 25 2013

Art Market – An art and design show and sale

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

1:00 – 7:00pm

Harcourt House Gallery

10215-112 Street

Entry by donation

Evening event – $5 at the door

8:00 – 10:00pm

Annex Building

10211-112 Street

– A multimedia retrospective with Absolutely No Respect, Plan 9 From Outer Space

– Music by Wind Rose AKA Gary James Joynes, Bong Sample AKA Peter Thiessen, Reinhard Von Berg, Allison Balcetis & F13m

 

Edmonton’s Mayors Celebration of the Arts and Chumbawamba

The 26th annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts took place on April 29 at the Winspear and I’m sad to say I was a bridesmaid not a bride. I am so thrilled with my nomination for the Northlands Award for an Emerging Artist. Harcourt House and Derek Brooks – thank you so much for your support and belief in me. Maybe next year, right?

It’s a challenge not to get my hopes up when nominated for an award. It’s human nature to imagine having your name called for the big prize. Yet the next day as I was trying to snap myself out of the mini-funk from the awards night one of my all time favorite songs popped into my head: Chumbawamba‘s song Tubthumping: “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down!” I thought, heck ya! That’s right!

I listened to that song a lot since then. What great lyrics to get stuck your head! I welcome them.

Almost as if the universe heard my transition to positivity (some call it the law of attraction) I received some good news from Calgary’s EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts. They will be showing my photographic series, “Unfulfilled Precognition” from July through to September 2014. I’m thrilled!

This just shows you never know what is around the corner. As Derek Brooks encouraged me, “Chin up. You’re still a winner in my book.”

Fashion for Freedom a Huge Success for A21

Last Saturday saw conceptual clothing, or art-ware, walk the runway at Fashion for Freedom, an event that raised money and support for the A21 Campaign. The event was a smashing success bringing in around $7000. Poiema Productions did a fabulous job and are such a wonderful group of ladies! I look forward to future collaborations with them.

A21, which stands for abolishing injustice in the 21st Century, aims to shift the negative tides of human trafficking – a very real problem even in our day and age, even in Canada.  Jessica Corbeil shared her experience working with A21 and the importance of the issue . For more info about the campaign, visit: www.thea21campaign.org

With over 20 designers, an amazing dance performance Entrelacement Dance of the Edmonton School of Ballet and a musical number written specially for A21 performed by Jeremy Blackwood– the event was a creative smash up of amazing talent. (If you missed Fashion for Freedom this year, attend in 2014! Poiema Productions is gearing it up to be an annual fundraiser.)

Two of my dresses walked the runway. One is made out of party confetti – over 16,000 pieces of it! The other dress is constructed of shower curtain and shower curtain rings. I want to thank my amazing model, Whitney Allen! It was a pleasure!

To learn more about Fashion for Freedom and to get involved in the 2014 event, please visit: www.fashionforfreedom.ca

Here are some photos of the event.

Entrelacement Dance of the Edmonton School of Ballet

Entrelacement Dance of the Edmonton School of Ballet

Entrelacement Dance of the Edmonton School of Ballet

Entrelacement Dance of the Edmonton School of Ballet

Party confetti dress by Alexis Marie Chute

Party confetti dress by Alexis Marie Chute

Fashion for Freedom A21 photograph copyright Alexis Marie Chute -003a

Party confetti dress by Alexis Marie Chute

Mylar dress by Christa Joy Hoefling

Mylar dress by Christa Joy Hoefling

End of Avant guard runway show

End of Avant guard runway show

Shower curtain dress by Alexis Marie Chute

Shower curtain dress by Alexis Marie Chute

Shower curtain dress by Alexis Marie Chute

Shower curtain dress by Alexis Marie Chute

Shower curtain dress by Alexis Marie Chute

Shower curtain dress by Alexis Marie Chute

Plastic wrap dress by Andrew Doerksen

Plastic wrap dress by Andrew Doerksen

Grocery bag dress by Katie Foisy

Grocery bag dress by Katie Foisy

End of the Couture runway show

End of the Couture runway show

Musical performance by Jeremy Blackwood

Musical performance by Jeremy Blackwood

Musical performance by Jeremy Blackwood

Musical performance by Jeremy Blackwood