Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thoughts on teaching

While I haven't had an abundance of time in the studio lately (this is why), one constant in my life as a potter has been teaching. I really love to teach and have done so in many capacities from after-school kids art classes, to adult clay classes, to elementary school art teacher, to teaching residencies, to teaching people how to build a house (scary, but true). Teaching always provides me with many beneficial challenges as well as introduces me to people I wouldn't have met or known under any other circumstances.

Some of my best ideas for my own work have come about as a result of teaching. Case in point: I teach a handbuilding class at Clayworks in Charlotte and have several students who have taken the class with me many many times. In order to keep up the interest for them (and me), I spend a lot of time thinking, experimenting and planning new forms and methods. Here's one such example: we made these lobed boxes in this past session. Soon I'm going to work on reforming this process a bit and start to make something of the sort for my own body of work. I liked this little owl knob too.
I have some exciting teaching opportunities coming up in the next few months. The Arts and Science Council here in Charlotte is hosting an "Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute" that will be held over 3 Saturdays and is geared toward artists thinking of themselves as small business owners. Many different "modules" (classes) are held covering topics such as how to market your work, incorporation, creating a brand, etc. I'm honored to have a chance to teach the module on selecting your distribution outlets- ie: where can you sell your work? It's been really beneficial for me to sit down and think of all the different places where people can purchase my work and which of these have the greatest rate of return. I think it's pretty easy to just think, "oh, it's just galleries and craft fairs," but, in reality, there are so many additional opportunities. Just thinking about some other options that are less traditional that others have tried have piqued my own interest. When I'm on the ball enough I'll try to do a longer posting of my research and presentation. What are some places you market and sell your work that are a little more creative?

Coming up in February (20-22), I'll be a presenter at the Potter's Council Focus on Function workshop held at Funke Fired Arts in Cincinnati, OH. I'm so honored to present here and am looking forward to meeting all the other presenting artists and participants. I'll be doing two 3 hour demos of my own work and there will be a hands on portion for the participants to make some texturing tools and stamps. This event will also be fun for my because I grew up in Cinci and my family all still live there, so it'll serve as a visit too (although, they all just want to see my little Guthrie!).

In March (27/28) I'll be doing a demo workshop at Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem. I'm really looking forward to this because I'll have lots of time to demo many of my pieces and will have the opportunity to do a slide show of my work and influences. There have been so many artists that have generously shared knowledge and techniques and I'm so excited to be part of that cycle of sharing to possibly help enhance an old idea or spark a new direction of work for someone else.

It has been a long-time goal of mine to do more workshop style teaching at art centers. I feel that I have some original methods to share and have plenty of embarrassingly funny, self-deprecating stories to tell.


Ron said...

I'm really excited for you Amy. These are all great opportunities. You have so much to share.

Jason and Jeannie said...

Amy, I've been so happy to have classes with you (and all the other teachers I've had a Clayworks). You're a lot of fun because you're always willing to try something new, always have such fun ideas. I consider myself lucky to have such a nice teacher and friend.

catherine said...

what a great perspective! I'm teaching all day tomorrow, and the night before is always the worst. But during and after the class, I'm so jazzed by what I've learned from the students... Imagine that. Thanks for the encouragement! You're a superstar. Loves.

jbf said...

It's obvious how much you love teaching by how pumped you are when you're teaching your class --even more than usual! All these opportunities sound really exciting. Go shine! But come back to us. :^)

Jen Mecca said...

Wow...that is all so cool that your getting to do all that. I know being able to do workshops will keep your mind fresh when you get more time to work again.

amy said...

Thanks y'all. No worries, John, I'm not going anywhere of course! I've realized how important adult contact is to keeping my brain somewhat in line!

Gaylynn said...

Pam Moon gave me your blogspot(s) through Deb. I have not only enjoyed your "sweet Guthrie" but I have enjoyed your blog. I am so thrilled for you to be able to get all these opportunities to teach. And, I know the family will be glad to see you in February.
I will bookmark your spot and look forward to checking on you often.
Gaylynn Robinson

Joaki said... sé hablar inglés.....Very good...Very good, Joaki.

Janie S said...

I wish you would come out to Kenya, where we just had a wonderful lesson in the shacks with minimal tools; the potters were amazed that people in other countries potted!
They would love to see your techniques.
All the best for your teaching.
Janie S

Becky said...

I'm not surprised that so many wonderful new opportunities are coming your way. Having taken one of your classes, I KNOW you are a remarkable teacher. But further testament to that comes when I see others, who aren't currently taking your class, attempting to make what students in your class are making. I think that's call the "ripple effect"?
I think anyone who takes one of your classes enjoys the benefits of it for a long, long time.

Nona said...

Congratulations Amy! We met at the Kari Radasch workshop last Spring at Mudfire. I sat across from you as we worked. Just getting to know you and your work that weekend was very inspirational . . . I went home and made some of my own "finger wheel" stamps. I would love to attend one of your workshops one day.