Teaching and Being Taught – Art

As a young child I always created art -preferring to paint and draw rather than  join my friends at the mall. I loved copying Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Matisse.

As a college student I studied art, design and painting.  As an adult I found, not only did I have a desire to make art professionally but also to teach people,  young and old,  how to express and explore their own creativity through art making.  I strive to insure the students understand there are no mistakes in art. And to recognize that what they perceived to be a ‘mistake’ could actually be far better than what they intended.

I taught my first art classes to some of my neighbors’ children many years ago in my garage and have always wanted to do more of it. A couple years ago I made a proposal to a local preschool to teach a pilot art class once a week, and found that I still enjoyed teaching art, very much.

Preschool Artwork Exploring Textures

It was another 3 years before I got up the courage to teach adults.

I had studied felt making for a number of years by now and believed I had something worthwhile to share with others who wanted to learn the craft. I have taken many classes around the country with many teachers. Some much better than others. In my teaching,  I wanted to incorporate what worked for me and eliminate that which was not helpful.

What made a successful class for me was based on several different factors. Did I learn what I signed up to learn? Was the instructor organized and their instructions clear? Was the class well paced?  Did the teacher understand my questions and answer clearly? Were they patient and take the time to explain something in a different way if I wasn’t able to understand their explanation? Were there hand outs or reference materials I could take home? Were all the supplies there that were supposed to be ? Was the equipment in working order and were there enough supplies for everyone? Was the space pleasant to work in and did it function well?  Did the teacher have enough samples to show the class? These criteria are what I hold myself accountable to.

Surprisingly enough,  if I didn’t have ‘fun’ at the time,  I didn’t count that against the teacher.  I found that taking a week long workshop to learn a new skill can be quite stressful. Fun was a plus but not a requirement.

And this seems incongruent but, in the 5 hour class I teach at  Nice Threads Fiber Gallery and Studio in Black Mountain, North Carolina , called ‘Designing a Nuno Scarf”  I do  want people to have fun as well as learn new skills.

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So far,  the feedback I  have received has made me very happy. The comment made that I exceeded the students’ expectations really made my day.

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3 Responses to Teaching and Being Taught – Art

  1. forrestwife says:

    Thanks for sharing. One of the things I love most about teaching is always learn.
    Everyone learns and everyone teaches!

  2. Lindy says:

    Very good points. Teaching is truly an art and I’ll bet you are very good at it!!!

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