Monday, November 29, 2010

Working with Others

Several weeks ago I was thinking back to high school days and remember assignments that required the class to separate into various groups to complete a specific project, or "group projects" as most of us remember them. I always despised these assignments because I was the student who would end up doing all of the work, yet somehow would get a lesser grade because my cohorts would decide that it wasn't that important, and thus my grade would suffer. The point was always to learn how to work with others, use strengths and weaknesses to the best advantage, and to learn to compromise. While I've never had a problem with any of the three areas, the projects were simply painful because there will inevitably be a couple of students who decide that they don't care if they pass or fail.

A couple of weeks after I was having thoughts of those not-so-fabulous days back in school, I was informed that my Watermedia class would be doing a group project. Oh dear God. It was happening all over again. Hadn't we passed up the time of being forced into groups to work together on something? Immediately, I crinkled my nose and had flashbacks of times I would honestly rather forget. We were able at least to work in groups of two, so I thought there was a solid chance this could work in my favor. After all, when there are only two individuals in a group, it becomes obvious when one person isn't pulling his or her weight, right? Mostly by default, I ended up pairing off with someone I know from other classes, and whom I know somewhat well. Finally, the group project was going to work out, I thought.

The project required us to come to a consensus on an idea, then work together either on a single piece of water color paper, or divide the piece up and create smaller pieces. The work should look cohesive and as though there was a single thought in mind. My partner had an idea to produce smaller individual pieces that illustrated various places in Denver. It sounded good to me because we could make simple to more complex pieces and then mix them together. She was going to take places such as restaurants and hotels, while I would stick more to other known locations, road signs and the like.
This project is due in approximately 10 hours, and I have had zero communication or feedback in regard to how we intend to display this project (mounting the pieces, order of the pieces, and the like), nor as to whether or not my partner will have the project done by class time. I sent emails early last week, but have yet to receive a reply. While my pieces are still in need of work, I know that I will get them done before class starts this evening. We also are supposed to work on an artist statement together. Since we knew this wasn't going to happen, I wrote something up, sent it over for her review, and have yet to hear back about it.
So, what's a girl to do? Do I make an executive decision, go out and purchase something to mount the 16 pieces to, or do we just hang them individually and hope that it doesn't look tacky or unfinished?
I feel as though we've already pushed this until the last minute, and now I'm not entirely sure what to do. Do I simply work on my pieces until I feel they are complete and not worry about mounting them, since it was her idea, or do I go ahead and use my idea (which was to get Rand McNally maps as backdrops and photo edges to frame the pieces)?
What happens when she decides she doesn't want to use these for framing? Do I care? Of course I care, or this wouldn't be on my mind, but I suppose I have been reminded once again that is always easier to do these projects alone. When you can't make decisions, or are unable to finish a project on time, at least you have only yourself to blame; but when there are others involved, it somehow takes on a whole new set of potential issues. I'm honestly not upset with my partner, but rather perplexed as to why it isn't of more importance.  I suppose it will all come together and I shouldn't be worrying about it so early in the morning,  but I also know that last minute ideas often look as though they are such, so I'm hoping we are able to pull this one out as a team, rather than ending up arguing over little details in the last moments.

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