Phoebe Wahl is an artist whose beautiful work focuses on the themes of comfort, nostalgia, and intimacy. She left school entirely after first grade and dove into unschooling. Eventually she chose to go to college, graduating from Rhode Island School of Design in 2013 with a BFA in Illustration. We have a lot of fun talking about her passion for drawing, the idea of “knowledge gaps,” what she found valuable in her college experience, how unschooling has influenced her art, and lots more.
Quote of the Week
“To talk about gaps is to box yourself into a certain way of thinking about learning because I definitely have gaps in my knowledge but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.” ~ Phoebe Wahl
Questions for Phoebe
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family?
What did your family’s move to unschooling look like?
How did your passion for drawing develop? Can you share a bit about how that journey unfolded for you?
One of the pretty common worries when people first contemplate unschooling is that their children will have gaps in their knowledge. The question itself speaks to how they’re still using traditional curricula as a standard of what a person “should” know because we all have gaps, don’t we? Can you share your perspective on how unschooling as a lifestyle addresses that concern?
You chose to take some classes in high school and then went to college, attending the Rhode Island School of Design. What did you find most valuable about your college experience?
How do you see your unschooling childhood influencing your art?
Your work has been described as “body positive” and in an online interview you were asked how you defined “body positivity.” You answered: “I think it is holding onto the core value that my worth does not lie in my physical features. It is being gentle and patient with myself, because truly loving, sustainable relationships are a “two steps forward, one step back” process. It is HARD work maintaining an appreciative and honest relationship with yourself. Above all it’s about trusting myself. Sometimes I breach my own trust and have to rebuild. But then again, sometimes my own strength and beauty will impress me beyond what I thought possible.” I love your answer and I think the process applies well to just about every societal expectation we may find ourselves grappling with. I was hoping you could expand a bit about how the process plays out for you.
As a grown unschooler, what piece of advice would you like to share with unschooling parents who are just starting out on this journey?
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
Phoebe has been a regular contributor to Taproot Magazine
Phoebe’s first children’s book, Sonya’s Chickens, and you can pre-order her next book, Backyard Fairies
Phoebe’s website, phoebewahl.com, her Facebook page, and her Instagram
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