I wrote this for my mom as a self-portrait…

You might find me at work wearing lime green tennis shoes –flat and comfortable is the key–and likely blue jeans, but most definitely, a denim artist’s apron tied around the back with a single pocket in front.  Dark blue once, the apron’s color is fading now, and it’s only decoration could be best described as abstract.  Paint spatters are liberally sprinkled and smeared all across the bib, with the heaviest concentration around the waist, reaching the curved hem.   Particular colors stand out:  the bright spots of white, yellow, and lavender, a thin drip of a metallic gold color that drops diagonally down the front-possibly acrylic from a papier-mache castle project last summer- and a sparkling blotch of glittery glue that shows up only at certain angles. I like to think of the paint as evidence of where I’ve been, in classrooms and studios, each mark a remnant of my own projects, or those of my students.

The apron is a necessity for my job, for helping to cover and preserve my casual clothes that need to stay somewhat presentable, but also as an identifier-I am the artist, the art teacher.  Wearing my apron, I feel ready for any creative mess that might be thrown my way, even one of my own making. I always have a place to wipe my hands, and on more than one occasion have allowed my youngest students to do the same, especially if they were fretting about sticky paint or glue on their fingers.  A handful of times while teaching I forgot to bring my apron with me, and it was like being suddenly exposed without an essential tool–my indestructible cover-up–a part of my work-a-day self, missing.  It was clear to me then why some people wear suits and ties, or badges and batons, or coveralls to work.  Once, I bumped into one of my students outside of school, and surprised to see me she remarked “I guess I didn’t recognize you without your apron.”  Afterward a funny thought occurred to me, I’m kind of like a super(art)hero- I don’t add a cape, I just add an apron.

close-up, white apron #2

close-up, white apron #2

close-up, blue denim pocket

close-up, blue denim pocket

vertical blue denim

vertical blue denim

California gracery store beauty, $2.49!

California gracery store beauty, $2.49!

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