10 Inspiring rules set by Sister Corita Kent

RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

I believe that this rule by Sister Corita Kent applies to writing just as it applies to any other creative process. When I try to write creatively, I find that it is good to just let the words flow. Then leave them to rest for a while, before going back with a fresh view to edit them.

I am revisiting the work of Sister Corita Kent, following a recent email from a friend with the subject header ‘inspiration’. It stated that they were starting a “collective, constructive, and hopefully uplifting exchange” and it was a chain-letter-type-thing that asked simply if I could send an encouraging quote or verse to the person detailed in the email. The deal being that in turn someone (probably a friend of a friend), should send some texts to me sometime soon. I quickly settled on sharing the Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules, which I first spotted in a compelling exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts in 2013. It was at this exhibition that I was first introduced to the work of Sister Corita Kent (1918 – 1986), an activist nun who ran the art department at the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles for over 20 years.

Sister Corita Exhibition 3

In total, the Immaculate Heart Art College Department Rules state:

RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.

RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.

RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)

HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.

In the exhibition, the words of these rules were printed on a number of boxes that were combined to build a room and inside they screened a film. Now almost two years on, this ‘inspiration’ email prompted me to search the for this film ‘We Have No Art’ and I found it lurking in the land of film known as Youtube. I’ve now watched it again a number of times. I’ll probably watch it a few more times by the time this blog post is finished. So I feel pleased that in the quest of inspiring a friend of a friend via email, I’ve also found a little time to explore the work of Sister Corita Kent once more.

I like the sentiments shared in this film, both by Corita and her students. It gave me a chance to get a sense of their methods of thinking and teaching. The film starts with a brilliant and humorous introduction, as Corita discusses why you should never blink when watching a film.

I think maybe one of the most important rules about looking at films that I can think of is that you should never blink. You should really keep your eye straight on the film and never miss anything. Because if you blink or close your eyes or turn around, I always think it is comparable to skipping several pages of a book.

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Dundee Print Collective: Silk Road

In September 2015 I had a print on display at the Silk Road exhibition, part of Impact 9 International Printmaking Conference, Hangzhou-China. September 2015. This was an exhibition by Dundee Print Collective and was displayed again in Dundee on it’s return at WASPS Meadow Mills.

The title and text relating to this print are below:

Freedom is found in the places in between

In specific places rules exist. Expectations of actions and thoughts exist. When a journey starts from somewhere known, to somewhere unknown, perhaps during that journey true freedom is found. The road, the route, the space of flux. The space where people move, ideas are traded, cultures are crossed and a new form of freedom is found.

One of the editions from this print now sits proudly on my living room wall, it’s my favourite of all that I have created so far.

 

 

Dundee Print Collective: Edition 2

I had a third print exhibited as part of Dundee Print Collective, this exhibition was on display at the Hannah Mclure Centre in Dundee as part of Print Festival Scotland in 2015. My print is the one on the far left of this first wall as you enter the exhibition. It was titled: Marvel at the Moon.

You can’t see it from a distance, but surrounding the large moon which is created from leaving a space in the darkness. There are lines of small text that create the outer rings. It’s perhaps easiest to see them on this exposed screen.

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Dundee Print Collective – Edition 1

Sometimes it is nice to slow down. I think this is what I have enjoyed most about my recent foray into printmaking. I like the process. It slows me down. It slows the printing process down. This gives me time to think and a chance to figure out how I would like the ink to dry on the paper. Going through this printing process makes me appreciate and value my prints more.

I spent a few weekends last year in the print studio at Dundee Contemporary Arts, as I was experimenting with developing some print designs for the new Dundee Print Collective. The print collective set no theme, but there was a set format. So the print had to be specific dimensions, with one black layer and one optional further colour. It was busy in the studio, with a number of people in the newly formed collective working away – at various stages of the printing process. I developed two prints over a two different weekends and I have discussed them a little more below.

lovesunnydaysprocess
Love Sunny Days
With my Love Sunny Days print I started a quick brainstorm around this idea on the Friday and on Sunday I started printing… In some ways it is quite simple in concept and is a development of the first screen print I ever made in a basics class, where I chose to cut out the words ‘Love Sunny Days’. It was done very quickly and quite childlike in its aesthetic. However, at the time I was super happy with it! A year on, I still love sunny days and so decided these words needed a refresh and that was the base for developing this print. Simple really. However, there is definitely more to read into it if you want to.

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Fun a Day 2015

I started the year of with the usual sunshine energy that organising & taking part in fun a day tends to have. Fun a Day is a community based art project which I think really strengthens your creative muscles and sets you up well for the year. When I first took part in the project, the encouragement if the first organiser Morgan Cahn gave me a real confidence boost. It made me feel it was ok to make something and call it art. I hadn’t really felt confident in doing that in a long time and it was a brilliant boost. Art is made with an intention. If you are creating something with the intention for it to be art, then it is art. It sounds simple, but I think it takes a lot of confidence in yourself to call something art.

Making Marks in the Sand

Love sunny days 🙂 last of my sand writing for today #words #sand #beach #writing

A photo posted by Hazel (@hazler_06) on

Sometimes the most simple actions are the most rewarding.

Sometimes the most natural views are the most satisfying.

Reflections of the clouds in the water #sea #beach #water #reflections #photo

A photo posted by Hazel (@hazler_06) on

Sometimes it is nice to know that the mark you make is not permanent.

I recently spent a good few hours wandering around St Andrews beach and I was looking for excuses not to leave. So I made a small H in the sand. Marking my spot gave me an excuse to stay a little longer. There is something wonderful about making marks in sand. It is a flexible and responsive surface that allows you to play, build and write without any pressure. With the knowledge that your marks in the sand will be somewhat fleeting.

Sometimes it is nice to do the obvious.

The first mark made me want to write more… So I decided to write a few basic beach instructions, with the vague hope that someone might find them and follow them. They are not groundbreaking requests. They are probably the most obvious thing you can do on a beach. However, sometimes it is easy to forget to do the obvious and it can be nice to get a reminder.

The complete set of instructions 🙂 I enjoyed following them #beach #words #writing #scotland

A photo posted by Hazel (@hazler_06) on

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Fun a Day 2014: One Word

I was one of the organisers of the art project Fun-a-Day Dundee in 2014. The Fun a Day project encouraged people in Dundee to add an element of creative fun to the 31 days in January and then packed an exhibition full of all that fun. The diverse collection of art work in the exhibition displayed the need for everyone to make more time for fun and the collective power that a series of small actions can have. Knowing that I would have a busy month, but still keen to create a personal project during the month as part of Fun a Day – I decided to experiment with video. Last year I chose a word a day and cut it into paper. This year I asked other people for a word a day and I recorded it in film. This short film is the result.

Completing the ‘One Word’ project made me question whether one word can effectively describe an element of your day and how difficult it is to pick just one word.

This was a project that sometimes surprised me with its ease and other days frustrated with its struggle. From the offset it was interesting to see how the project puzzled some of my closest friends and yet some of the strangers I asked were very open to it. Mostly they were amused (or bemused by it), they questioned the point of it and how I planned to put the short shots together, but almost everyone agreed to indulge me and offer me a word. Continue reading “Fun a Day 2014: One Word”

Fun A Day Dundee 2014

I have to confess – I have been thinking about FUN quite a lot recently.

The FUN thoughts first appeared when we decided upon our motto for the Dundee Sustainability Jam. They continued to lurk as Seaton Baxter took up the challenge to discuss this motto and whilst he spoke about a number of projects, he highlighted how much FUN actually exists in a number of words if you look for it: FUNgibility, FUNdamental and even FUNeral.

So it seems that if you look hard enough, you can find FUN lurking in some unexpected places.

Subsequently, thoughts of FUN have been drfting around my mind ever since. They are hard to shake, and as I have since volunteered to help organise this years Fun A Day in Dundee, they may be set to stay for the time being.

For the uninitiated, I have to warn that the Fun A Day project will be encouraging the people of Dundee to have FUN in January 2014… on a daily basis! We don’t mean to shock, so we think it is good to be honest about our intentions from the start. We want the people of Dundee to have more FUN!

Fun A Day dundee, 2014

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Circle Time – Work in Progress

Last week I wrote about finding the loveliest invite to join Circle Time. Yesterday I took part in Circle Time. It was a brilliantly creative day that got me quickly working on creative projects, discussing ideas and really thinking about how you can manipulate the creative process through exciting collaborations.

I wrote the words below about Circle Time during the Final Round of the day – during which we had 5 minutes to create a final piece. I think it sums the day up perfectly.

Circle Time Make1

Circle Time was the concept of Rosie Barthram and Becca Clark – aka Rbbc Projects. It took place in the Art Hub by the Sea in Kirkcaldy, which is essentially an empty shop that has been taken over for creative community use. The day started somewhat haphazardly. I found my car battery dead, so I had to rouse my sister and her boyfriend to help push the car out the drive and jump-start it in the rain. After a quick blast of energy it came to life and I dashed through the rain to Kirkcaldy to join the circle… Continue reading “Circle Time – Work in Progress”

There Will Be New Rules Next Week

Upon entering There Will Be New Rules Next Week I was greeted with a powerful ten-point compendium of advice titled The Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules.

sister corita, dca, rules, creativity, art, immaculate heart art college rules, 2013, dundee

This set the tone for this print exhibition which brought colour and text to walls of Dundee Contemporary Arts during the inaugural Print Festival Scotland. The rules were developed by the lead artist of the exhibition, Sister Corita Kent (1918 – 1986), an activist nun who ran the art department at the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles for over 20 years.

Sister Corita Kent, DCA, Dundee Contemporary Arts, There will be new rules next week, 2013, ruth ewan, print festival scotland, dundee, art

I found these rules woven into the exhibition in a myriad of forms. Strands were found printed blatantly on cardboard boxes that built a wall of words, I watched a classroom discussion that featured the rules in the short film ‘We Have No Art’ and I discovered elements of the rules present in the work of the five contemporary artists chosen to display alongside Sister Corita Kent in this exhibition.

Sister Corita Kent, DCA, Dundee Contemporary Arts, There will be new rules next week, 2013, ruth ewan, print festival scotland, dundee, art

Ruth Ewan’s direct print Nae Rules at first seems to be in direct juxtaposition to Kent’s teaching, but on reflection it also manages to resonate with Kent’s message that the rules are in constant flux and there will be new rules next week.

Sister Corita Kent, DCA, Dundee Contemporary Arts, There will be new rules next week, 2013, ruth ewan, print festival scotland, dundee, art

The fluidity of these rules is also evident in Ciara Phillips screenprint  A Lot of Things Put Together that manages to convey both a rigid, repetitive style, alongside a sense of flowing movement. Her layered cotton screen creates an strong impact in the space, yet captures a freshness in spirit akin to what remains in Kent’s work decades after creation. Continue reading “There Will Be New Rules Next Week”