December 1 - 29, 2017
Substitute Tales is about people; learning to grow, looking for a way to connect, taking risks, being afraid to change, and wanting to be heard. Does this sound like you?
I have worked as a substitute teacher for six years and although you hear otherwise, I wonder how much children have really changed. Have we forgotten what it’s like to be a child and are we unable or unwilling to stop and listen to them?
Make no mistake, this is a hard job. Like most things, there are aspects of it that are almost impossible to understand until you do it.
A teacher has weeks to build a relationship; the substitute, a moment. Crucial information needs to be instantly acquired such as: where do you find the dry erase markers, which child tells no lies , and of course, where to grab a bite to eat.
Sometimes during the day, the most you’ve accomplished is just to be kind.
But there are the stories. Some are hilarious, some are made up, some make you cry, but all are worth telling. I began to sketch my first impression of the workday when I came home and soon it became a daily practice. Later I began adding words or phrases; the combination of the two brings back memories of the entire day. These sketches were drawn again as preparation for the weaving,resulting in the tapestries you see before you.
My hope is, when viewing this artwork, you might make connections and start to see stories of your own.
Ruth Manning lives, works, and teaches in the Westmorland Neighborhood of Madison. She begins each day by weaving in her studio and shares her passion for tapestry with artists, students, and friends.