Monday, January 08, 2007

The Year Begins

The kits for four classes are dyed, washed and ironed and ready to pack for Road To California.

Special Edition cottons and silks are coming along too.
And of course patterns and pattern kits will be included. Now I am ready to make a fresh class sample or two for the new year. The FUN PART.

I teach two kinds of classes. One is the Entertainment type class. These are a one day affair, with several different end products depending on the class description. They are all about fusing, but each class focuses on specific design approaches. The idea is that we have one day to play, make something neat, and have a good time. If the student learns something, that's fabulous!

The other kind of class is a four or five day workshop, such as I teach at Hudson Valley, Art Quilt Claremont or QSDS. This is entirely different from my point of view, but I still expect to have a good time...playing. Here's the thing. In a one-day, there is so much to do and one never really has the time to see the students' needs or strengths like one does in a week-long class. Usually a person is taking the week with me as their vacation, so I feel a certain responsibility to make their time enjoyable, memorable, as well as educational. Then there is the issue of turning each student into a confident creative artist. In less than one week! Why do I think I can do this? I must be nuts!
Every year I try to figure out a sure fire way to do this task. Here I am again in that same mindset and wondering what will be different that will make this work the best?
I want to present the options, the techniques and the materials to the student. I want to give examples of how to think about what will be created, which is really all there is to the class. I give suggestions or assignments and let the student go from there. I try to help when a student is stuck and give encouragement to them if they are fearful. But in reality the student has to do the work.
It is all about doing the work.
The work, the work, the work. It all comes down to the work.
I have been making quilts for 25 years. I have been focusing on art for the wall since 1985. I feel like I just got it myself...last year! I wonder, as I face today in the studio, if I still have it?
If that sounds like self-doubt, ding, you win the prize.

So if nothing else, I guess letting the student in on the fact that we all struggle, we all have fear, we all have to do the work to find our strengths, our voice, our art, that's what I have to teach. Posted by Picasa

5 comments:

  1. Ooh la la, what luscious fabric! I'm green with envy of those who are going to make something wonderful with it.

    You are so right about being nuts. It's not compulsory but it helps! We all struggle with self-doubt when we feel the muse is deserting us. Getting through it does happen as you will already know. Fun and chuckles helps get us there quicker I think.

    Can you come tell my maths students at high school that it is all about the work? They think it's about anything but!

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  2. Another point that you have made quite clear in this past year of postings....you are never "there." The minute you think you are, you think of something else (hopefully). If you are sure you are "there" the trip is over and so is growth....you have shown that change and growth and self-exploration, while not painless, are necessary and the results are SO worth it!!

    Thanks for being such a wonderful teacher of art and life....

    teri

    ReplyDelete
  3. susan_from_nerk6:50 PM

    Great thoughts Melody, Teri, and Helen. I like to use the words work and play interchangeably. I always go into my studio to PLAY.

    And I am drooling all over my keyboard in anticipation of using some of those wonderful fabrics at QSDS in Columbus in June. We are going to have sooooooooooo much fun! I can't wait. Five days with Melody!?!?!? Eeeeek! We'll all be crazy!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mel, as I've mentioned before, I have the same struggles with my university students ... my desire is to make them "confident creative learners". The one thing I know about adult learners is that they get what they need out of the learning experience. While that may not match my ideal of what they should/could get, it is what they perceive they need. The most important thing I can do is create the environment for learning to take place. From there, it is up to the individual. I wish I could join you at Road to California but the timing was wrong for my schedule.

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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com