I took Art in Daily Living (CTRA 13) in 1998, under Dean Lydia B. Arribas, former Dean of the UP College of Home Economics. It’s a foundational class required in the BS Home Economics Ed curriculum.
CTRA Classes then were held in a decrepit one-story building. The building was so infirm that its foundations would come down should a significant quake come upon us. And I’m not making that up. Dean Arribas told us so on Day 1. But then again, it’s as if we had a choice. The building’s foundation may be weak but Dean Arribas was anything but.
It was in her class that I finally understood the color wheel. I’m not joking. And by understanding I meant not just knowing primary and secondary colours and how they complement but more importantly making sense of it in real life. From it I became conscious of composition, that you don’t just juxtapose two things randomly, and when you have too many of one thing beauty can still be achieved through hues.
Her constant reminder for us to be aware of our surroundings and to create and seek beauty in the lines and patterns around us were also indelible. Honestly, after I heard her talk about the building’s condition it wasn’t really hard for me to be conscious of the things found in the room, especially those that could increase my chances of survival should the building crumble: exits, strong beams, etc.
That class also started my penchant for collecting anything for the sake of arts and crafts: stones, twigs, bookmarks, coasters, plastic bottles, and even things not fit to be mentioned here. I was this close to having a career as a junk-ie but then again when my board mates started asking me why I kept a pile of trash in our room, I found it hard to explain my method to non-believers. Sorry, Dean.
Nothing better proved my enjoyment in her class than having my art projects stowed in a box in my room as long as I could (until termites saw practical use for them in 2008–subject of a previous blog entry). My obras are really comparable to a grade schooler’s work but they bore her signature, some comments, and grades that only went to as low as 2.5, never a 3.0 (pasang awa). These led me to believe that she was one of the few that really understood my method (to madness).
I had so much fun in the class and I survived the building’s imminent threat of reducing us to rubble. But most of all, the blessing was Dean Arribas handling the class. I will always remember her as that small, gentle lady with a big smile and burning passion for her profession as she nurtured generations of graduates of the UP College of Home Economics.
Together with Fr. Nudas, please greet me at the pearly gates when my time to go there has come. I am not sure if I can bring any of my existing collections but I have stories of how you helped enrich my life while living… and I am sure that the place where we’ll sit there is waaay better than the ones we had back then in UP.