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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Flying Through Clouds

There are a few moments when flying that are truly magical. They are found after the inevitable strip of boots & belts at security, after the tiring queue to board and the bumbling walk down the aeroplane aisle. These moments are imminent as you clasp your seatbelt closed, the plane starts to move and the repetitive safety drill finishes…

The moments that I find truly magical start when the plane lifts off the ground into the sky. It is at this point I can gaze down in awe as the familiar world below becomes smaller and smaller. As I move farther away, I gain a new perspective at which to see the details that shape the landscape below – until the plane breaks through a sea of clouds and the familiar world disappears. In its place is a magical landscape of fluffy white clouds. My mind at this point feels like a child and I gaze on in innocent wonder at these amazing fluffy floating things, that just become even more enchanting the more that you look.

I understand the theory and physics of both the clouds and the plane flying within them, but the reality of flying through the clouds still manages to blow my mind just a little. I’m glad that it does. Such experiences shouldn’t get tiring. Although it is hard to remain in awe for the full span of a 20 hour flight, it is worth remembering to open your eyes and look out the window at the cloudy world outside at least at the point of taking off. As there is a somewhat magical world of clouds lurking just outside.


 

Just a few random words I wrote this summer whilst on holiday and am only just finding the time to post now. Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson

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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One Day I Jumped…

quick writing + quick drawing = fun

Last week I spotted that Rosie aka Illustration, etc was looking for a little drawing inspiration and I thought it would be fun to have some words suggested by me brought to life in pictures. Rosie was preparing to act as a live illustrator at a poetry and storytelling event – a challenge that required speed sketching, rapid thinking and sharp pencils skills; so Rosie challenged people to suggest something she could draw in 30 minutes to help her practice.

Illustration etc, rosemary cunningham, hazleR_06, illustration, speed drawing

I decided to set myself the same challenge – so set a limit of 30 minutes to write something. I thought it would be fun to feature something slightly whimsical. Rosie had just done a quick sketch about her time spent in Cologne (where I happened to be at the same time as her), so this got me thinking back to past days and the results ended up as a short collection of words called One Day I Jumped…
Jump, illustration etc, illustration, rosemary cunningham, glasgow

I really love the way Rosie brought my words to life. It definitely made me smile at the end of last week.

+ Rosemary Cunningham

Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson