Saturday, February 13, 2010

make the most of your workshop experience

Over the years I've taken -- and then taught -- art and jewelry-making classes, I've learned to recognize an unconscious notion that many students carry with them into the classroom: They hope maybe they’ll be “discovered” in this class. I think sometimes students hope their teacher or their fellow students will not only recognize their talent, but be absolutely blown away by their phenomenal artistry. Glory will soon follow. Admit it, we’ve all been guilty of thinking that. Myself included. The problem is, if you’re busy worrying about how your work is going to look to your teacher and fellow students, you’re going to be very, very careful. You’re going to try to minimize mistakes. And there is no creativity and no learning without mistakes.

Every time I talk about this to my students, they laugh when I talk about everyone’s secret hope they’ll be discovered, and I gently remind them that it doesn’t happen in jewelry classes. And they laugh even more when I suggest that some may not only be hoping they’ll be discovered, but their secret hope is the upshot of being discovered is they’ll finally get to quit their day job. And then something magic happens. They totally get it. Everyone sort of breathes a sigh of relief, and then gets down to the business of working, playing, and discovering.

With CraftEdu classes, I don't go into that because I know you're not thinking about impressing me or any fellow students. You're not worried about what you're wearing. (Okay, just among us friends, let me describe what I'm wearing as I type this: soft waffle-weave nightgown, old lavender-colored terrycloth bathrobe and soft, cozy booty slippers. Point made?)

As an artist, I love creating. Often people are surprised to learn that I get the most joy from teaching. But what is creativity if not creating something of use, of beauty, of joy? And every time I teach, my hope is that I will ignite a spark in my students which will help them deepen their artistic voice and go on to create -- and share -- beautiful art. As a student, I'm excited to jump into all the classes this rich tapestry of techniques and projects has to offer. As a teacher, let me welcome you to CraftEdu. Thank you for bringing my classes -- and those of my fellow teachers -- into your home. I look forward to many years of joyful collaboration.

-Ronna Sarvas Weltman

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