Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sometimes When We Teach

Okay, so I stretched a little on the old 70's song by Dan Hill, but I just had to use that little intro to what's going on in this crazy place. Everything. Demonstrations. Class preparations. Show preparations. House cleaning. Interviews.... ah, but I did digress in the house cleaning department.

Today I will be teaching a class I've hastily titled "Polymer Clay for Family and Friends" which could be an umbrella title for many of the classes I teach these days. It is perhaps not surprising, that over my long teaching career, in polymer and in the public school system, to get re-acquainted with people whom I think I have met before, usually to find out later that they were former students, who now are classified as friends. Even though the age differences may span generations, I still enjoy revisiting with those who have been in class with me. Today my encounter in class will be at a private home, hosted by a relative of a teaching acquaintance and there the family group will be learning about polymer clay. Again, the group will be very mixed in ages, but I am sure there will be something for everyone. Isn't polymer clay wonderful for bridging that age gap?

In the picture today I am showing how I attach the beads to a box lid. Everyone does it differently, but this way works for me. After the box is made/covered (sometimes I do entire vessels with lids of clay, and sometimes I cover papier maché boxes), I drill a hole in approximately the middle of the lid. Then I thread a wire through, attach a bead or two under the lid of the box, and then take the wire out the top where I add many more beads. Sometimes I add fibres to the beading array, and sometimes not.

That's the fun and beauty of working with this medium and creating your own're allowed to stray away from set parameters and even (I am saying this rather boldly) to step outside of the limits frequently imposed by teachers and those who stick strictly to the straight and narrow.

I was reading yesterday, some of Victoria Hughes pronouncements on creativity. If you ever have an opportunity to be in a session with her, it is an experience you will long remember. Did she teach me any new techniques? Well, to be honest, not really, but what she did was to help me open myself up and let my work take a new direction and help me find my 'way' with clay. I read her blog/guidance column (LOL) whenever I feel a little expressionless. Even though I don't always "get it"all, I think/hope I get the general gist of what she is saying. To entirely rephrase it for me is impossible. To my mind, the creativity process is an internalization of what you want to depict, a feeling deep inside that you often can't state in words. But then your brain/hands/materials/impetus/intention becomes the vehicle of your expression, and guided by intuitive efforts (I am a great fan of intuition), your map is set and you go forth from there. Sometimes you are on a guided tour, and other times, at least for me, that tour becomes a path of just meandering through the woods, breathing in the fresh air and listening to the brook...that tiny little rivulet that later on becomes the rushing river of expression. That is the process for moi.

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

Hi Pat

Thanks for showing those pictues I understand now what you were tryint to describe to me. I visited with Gen the other day and did get some elasti claly! I also understand what you were saying about a guided tour in relation to a project or a meandering path to who knows where. Thanks so much.