Sunday, April 17, 2016

Monkey see, monkey do!


I’m doing a hands on workshop at the Visual Arts Center of Clarington in Bowmanville, Ontario.
I have had debates with other teachers about my style of teaching. I teach monkey see, monkey do. I show you and you do it. It is learning the technique of putting pieces together and how I do it. People are often surprised that you can put wet on leather hard.  The plan is to get over being intimidated with scale. We left the studio last night and the tables were full of  good sized bowls, jugs and casseroles. This morning will be trimming and handling and then large two piece platters. They are worried the technician is going to freak out because of the size of their pots.
My very first teaching job when I was in my early 20’s I had a wonderful Principal named Paul Cole. Paul was all about the students and having the school always busy with student activities. Paul said never let the caretakers run the school because if they had their way nothing would happen. They would prefer that the students leave at 4, not use the gym or the classrooms so that they could quietly and peacefully go about keeping the school neat and orderly. Apologies to the technician but ya gotta break an egg to make an omelette.
So they will have used a lot of clay by the end of the weekend and they will clean up. Yes, the shelves and tables will be full of pots to be moved, carefully fired and the kiln will be filled to capacity several times over.

At the end of the day I tell the students that have tried to imitate my pots to come back to the studio and innovate. Take the technique and come up with your own forms. With all the workshops I have done I don’t think I have ever seen a student’s pot that could be confused with mine.  I can see influences in some of the best students pots and that makes me proud.

My motto imitate, then innovate. In this picture the student looks like she would rather jump off a bridge.

3 comments:

Brian Grow said...

Damn the torpedoes!

Dennis Allen said...

Sounds like a great way to spend a weekend.You never know what's going to work (or not) until you try and in clay, What's the harm ? Have at it and see what ya get.

smartcat said...

It's clay, and always recyclable. You never learn how far to go until you go too far!