Wednesday, October 01, 2014

My SHero

I have to write a bit about Daniella as a teacher. As her steady assistant, I've probably been to 30 of her classes over the years. Her teaching has been responsible for us traveling all over the world together, most recently here to Australia where she has a five-day class. She has taught in all circumstances and situations, from the most deluxe studios, to the most bizarre and decrepit. We've been in horse stables, a warehouse at a dump, in rooms where there was never enough electricity, or where it surged hot and cold throughout the day. We have had heat waves and sub-Arctic chilliness, battering wind storms (yesterday when it sounded as if wooden crates were hurtling through the air and crashing into the building) and have had floods, fires, and meltdowns. We've been crowded into tiny, airless rooms with everyone sharing tables, and then in palaces like this one, where the facilities are vast and commodious.

Her students have also been all over the map. She says there is always "the One" in every group who makes her want to scream. But she manages with all of them, somehow bringing even The One around to be manageable and often even pleasant.

The students bring, literally, suitcases of items they want to use for encaustic art making. They unfold heaps of fabric, papers, family heirlooms, photos, stones, bones, woodland detritus, salvaged trash, seaweed, cat fur, birds eggs, beads and bobs and bits of everything. This they often unfurl all over the work areas, and want to know "can I put wax on this?" Daniella, patiently examines whatever it is and then explains the pros and cons of proceeding. She is the ultimate Material Girl, and she is never stumped for an answer. Her knowledge of mediums and techniques and tools is boundless and deep, and each time she amazes me with her ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Her talks and demonstrations are masterful. She enthralls the audience with a deft combination of wowza techniques, flashy results, flawless knowledge, and brilliant/gorgeous humor. She does the equivalent of stand-up comedy several times a day, and keeps everyone relaxed and laughing. At the same time, she is immensely personal, sharing favorite stories, family history, anecdotes about the grandchildren, telling about struggles she has had in life and how she worked through them, describing both artistic and personal challenges. She always treats me as indispensable, and never hides her love for me.

By about the third day of these long classes, we have incidents like this morning. We were on an early morning walk along the Bay, watching the black swans masquerade as rocks with their heads and necks submerged. Then we ran into one of the students in this class. She burst into tears and, in so many words, told Daniella "you have cracked open my heart. You have touched me so deeply. My life will never be the same since meeting you and taking your class. I think that my art practice will be utterly changed by what you have taught me about myself." It was so beautiful, and so well deserved by my girl. She gives her everything as a teacher, pours her whole heart into it, until by the end of the day she is often completely drained. But she sleeps, then gets up and does it all over again, with the lightest touch, the sweetest compassion for all these women, the amazing presence and showing up in every moment for whatever happens.

And really, this describes our relationship with each other quite perfectly. It goes a long way towards explaining why I love her so much (something that needs no explanation to anyone who has ever met her). She gives it her all. She pours her whole self into loving me. She cracked my heart open from the get-go, and has taught me so much about myself. She has the lightest touch and the sweetest compassion for anything that I do/say/need. She is present. She shows up for everything. She is always up for any adventure. She is a magnet for love, and people flock to be near her. Her creativity is a bottomless pit into which she can delve to her heart's content. She is the most interesting, surprising, fun, wise, and delicious person I've ever known. She is my SHero, and I am so proud to be her life partner! Truly we are the Lucky Girls.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Tower Road,Corio,Australia


Gayle Ortiz said...

What a brilliant piece,
Kim! You capture it all. I loved this story. 10310

Kathie Vezzani said...

What a wonderful tribute, Kim and I agree whole heartedly about how much Daniella gives when she teaches. Her humor and ability to reach everyone in class, even that ONE, is extraordinary.