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All Good Things...End When i Want Them To

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            It’s a bittersweet end to the whole experience. I will miss the bizarre stories and interesting people I got to meet on a daily basis. Originally nervous, I wasn’t sure what to expect when coming in, but I think I ended up right where I was supposed to be. With a less than ideal social experience at Catlin, I loved being in an environment where I felt comfortable. I found people like me, not racially, but personality wise. I finally exhaled; Of all places, I didn’t expect to find peace in a tattoo shop, but being around creative, art-loving, unique people gave me a sense of home.
            My mentor traveled to San Francisco this week for work and family, but the other guys in the shop found plenty for me to do. We had a guest artist from San Francisco come in Monday. He was Black, so it was nice to be able to talk to someone of color in a racial (and gender) dominated profession. I think he specialized in neck tattoos because that is all he had booked for that day. He had worked with Dan in California and came to pay Portland a visit to temporarily escape the fast-paced California life. I heard some interesting stories from him as well. It was also fun to hear the differences between Portland and San Francisco through a tattoo artist lens. For example, many women in Portland have neck and face tattoos than he expected. He also saw the word “VEGAN” tattooed a lot on people (face, head, arms, etc.). Having a fresh face in the tattoo shop is always entertaining.
            Hugging Dan Monday afternoon as our semi-final goodbye really hit both of us that the project was ending. Neither of us expected it to go as well as it had and I think we both liked having me in the shop, each for our different reasons of course. Not wanting the experience to end, I secured myself a part-time internship for the summer so that I can finish up Jerry’s box of designs. I’m excited to be able to continue working there and learning more about tattoos, hearing stories, and figuring out how I can wiggle my way into the business. Talking to Dan, who has many connections, there is a possibility of working in a tattoo shop in San Jose when I leave for college. I’ve got to somehow find a way to learn how to use a tattoo gun so I can put the smiley face on the back of that guy’s head!
            I answered the phone for the first time this week! Movin’ on up! It was nerve racking. I’ll just let Mali or Nick who work the front counter handle that. I am also working on a consultation design. Hopefully I’ll finish it before the presentation Thursday. Dan gave me a concept and references for a lady’s tattoo he will be inking this month. When I’m finished we’ll go over it together and see how well I did. It’s all good practice for me later. It will help me when designing some of my family/friends tattoos.
            Not looking forward to being back on campus, but I can proudly say I have completed senior year and successfully finished senior projects. Go me!


Peace in the Tattoo Shop

Hi Kassi -- Thank you for the wrap-up entry. You received glowing reviews from the guys at the shop, so I know they felt the same way you did about the "fit" of this project. It's wonderful that you have found a passion that you would like to continue to pursue in some form later on. I'm also glad to hear that you got a few different perspectives on the industry and got a lens on how the industry intersects with regional culture, with race, with gender, and with diet (!). I'll be interested to hear about your continued explorations of this art form. Thank you for making this such a successful project. Congratulations -- Brett

Shabbat and Self Portraits

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As I mentioned quickly in my last post, every Friday has a Shabbat service. We gather all the kids from the three different classes into the Chapel room in the building for songs and celebration. Our Shabbat service happens right at the end of the day (11:30) and at this point parents are welcome to join. We sing a couple songs, the Rabbi shares a story and then we move to tables for some nice challah and grape juice. The Shabbat service is a really unique time at the preschool because all the different ages are in one room, having fun together (occasionally the parents become a bit of a distraction and the kids stray from playing with each other to sit on their parents’ laps). After Shabbat the kids who stay for Lunch Bunch get ready for that and the day continues as normally for any kids who are staying afterwards. For those that head out, and for those that don’t, the Shabbat service is a really fun way to end the week and celebrate the beginning of Shabbat and the weekend. The picture on this post is of the Chapel where the Shabbat service is held.
This week after we prayed over the challah and grape juice, my mentor Deborah presented me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a card that all of the kids had put their hand prints on.
It was really hard to say goodbye to all of the kids (one girl spent all of morning break sitting in my lap telling me she loves me) and it was difficult to explain why I wouldn’t be coming back anymore. The kids have aptly labeled me as “not an adult, but not a kid” so they didn’t really understand when I said I had to go back to school for the end of the year. In all of their minds, I was already enough of a grown up to be done with school (and some of them asked me if I lived with my parents, still – I do, but not for long!).
This week we made self portraits, something the kids had also done at the beginning of the year. Their teachers all raved about how different their drawings look compared to the fall, but since they take their artwork home every week I didn’t get to see any of the originals. Watching the kids look at themselves in a mirror and then try to draw themselves was pretty funny. One girl understood that she had eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears, yet she drew each of them on a separate part of the paper, outside of the outline she made of her head. On the same topic of growth, we measured the kids’ heights the other day and marked on the wall how much each of them had grown in the last few months. It was amazing to see that in just four months all of these kids had grown more than an inch, something I haven’t even done in the last five years.
I will surely miss all of these adorable kids, but I’ve been invited back anytime and even offered a ob in the summer camp next year so I look forward to watching these kids grow and blossom even more (cliché but so true, these kids have changed so much in just the last month!).


Congrats on the job offer!

It'd be neat if as a summer camp counselor, you got to work with some of the same kids you've gotten to know this month!
The self portrait anecdote is a fascinating example of the difference between true artistic freedom vs. being hemmed in by expectations of what art is supposed to look like. Thanks for sharing this!

Show Me, Tell Me (Week 3)

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On Fridays at Beth Israel Preschool the schedule moves a little differently.  The kids arrive at their normal time and morning circle starts at 9:30 as usual, but instead of just singing a song and reading a book and moving into our project for the day, morning circle on Friday’s includes Show Me, Tell Me. Show Me, Tell Me is very much like a traditional Show & Tell; the students bring something from home that has particular meaning to them (or is pretty or fun or new or pink) and they sit in a circle and one-by-one get to share about their object. When it isn’t their turn the object has to stay behind their back and we all keep quiet as each student relays one special thing about their object. If the students (or their parents) forget to bring something in the kids can choose to share a funny face or tell a quick story.  In the 4 Day 4 classroom Show Me, Tell Me usually takes about 20 minutes for the 8 kids and in the 3 Day 3s it can range from 15 minutes to half an hour for all 12 of them to “show us, tell us.”
Last Friday, Miss Stasi was on a field trip with her daughter so the 4 Day 4 class was led by only Mr. Ben, making me a necessity in that class over the 3 Day 3s.  In an effort to keep everything under control we decided to join up with the three Pre-K students and Miss Isca, their teacher.  From the 11 kids we had 4 funny faces, 2 quick stories, a Cinderella Barbie, a book about trucks, a toy bear named Corduroy who wore corduroy pants, a CD of Swiss-German lullabies, and an Ariel themed sticker book.  The kids eagerly shared with each other and after each person shared there were 3 questions/comments allowed, which quickly turned into 3 personal and unrelated comments each time.
I only worked Monday, Thursday, and Friday last week so Friday showed up pretty quickly, opening its doors to Show Me, Tell Me and a fun Shabbat service (which I will talk about in my next blog post).
The first picture is of the Miller Room where we take the kids after Lunch Bunch and recess to calm them down a little before they get picked up. We usually read a story or do some fun stretching in here and it’s also where the Wednesday Yoga class is held every week.
This second picture is of a drawing that one of the Pre-K kids helped me with.  He requested a barn with a hill and a sun and he helped me color it all in. It’s really interesting to watch the kids draw and do creative projects because their coordination isn’t very developed yet so even if they really, really want to draw a short straight line, it might be seven inches long and have a sharp corner half way through.


showing vs. showing off

Does Show Me Tell Me ever get sticky, with kids veering into bragging about material possessions/coveting each others' toys? It's great that funny faces and stories are also welcome.