Hello and welcome to my creative journey!
I am planning to post a new thought/fact/opinion/story weekly and aim to cover a wide range of topics from what’s happening in my studio and classes, anecdotes and facts about working in clay through to opening discussions on creativity. I will use my work as both artist and teacher to inspire me. I hope you enjoy the journey with me 🙂
This week I am inspired by my students and what they make. This is the beautiful owl made by one of my students. It was her final piece made at the end of her 10 week course then glazed during her next 10 week course and it is gorgeous. She hadn’t made anything in clay since school and was looking forward to making but didn’t think she would be good at thinking creatively. She wasn’t alone in thinking this as another of my students echoed this sentiment exactly.
This started me thinking about several things (including what we consider creativity is and why we think we’re good/not good at it; and the appeal of and barriers to trying new things but I’ll leave these for another blog for now) but mainly it brought home to me what it is about teaching that I love most… the way students almost always seem to surprise themselves with what they are capable of achieving.
For me clay is such a fabulous medium to work in to encourage this because it is both highly malleable, so you can make it into whatever your imagination can think of, while at the same time requiring some basic technical skill. This means that people are able to concentrate on learning those new skills at the beginning without the worry of having to think of something to make. They can get a feel for the clay, see what it can do and how they like to work with it before they have to consider what they would like to make. By then the clay has usually inspired them enough to have an idea of what they would like to make and some discussion can refine that if necessary. I try to pass on the skills while giving each student the space to express themselves creatively. I love to finish a workshop and see the variety in the pieces made. We bring so much of ourselves to everything we do, all I do is bring the opportunity to express it.
It is amazingly rewarding to watch the journey students take during workshops and classes and I am a firm believer in everyone’s ability to make something fabulous 🙂