One of the biggest things I’ve learned about teaching is that it is usually as much of a learning experience for ME as it is for my students. I suppose that’s not a new idea – but it’s something I never really thought about until I started to teach. As a student, I always assume the teacher knows everything about the subject they’re teaching. The truth I’m discovering is that the best teachers are those who are open to new ideas, those who are forever students.
This class was no exception – I learned proper names for some of the techniques I was teaching (like “butt joints” and “smushing glue” :D), I learned (once again) that there are as many ways to a beautiful mono-print as there are amazing students in the world, I learned to leap a little higher and wider and trust that there will be a place and wonderful people to catch me, and I learned that there are never enough thank yous (thanks one more time, Stillwater peeps!).
This class was made up of artists and teachers and book binders and more – all ages, all walks of life, some strangers, some friends or family – and I’m continually amazed by the way the printing process brings people together. Every time I teach it, I see people sharing supplies without the slightest hesitation, helping each other with tricky techniques, offering encouragement, praising each other’s work. It’s like a community forms right before my eyes. Every. Single. Time. Maybe Gelli Arts should consider changing the subtitle on their packaging to “Gel Printing Plate and Community Builder.”
The most beautiful thing I see when I teach is that one someone who discovers passion for the creative process. Most who come to my classes already have it, but occasionally there’s someone who is there accidentally, who doesn’t feel they “deserve” the time it takes to be creative on a regular basis. I adore when the light bulb comes on for those folks, when they realize they DO deserve it and that they are better for giving themselves the gift of creative time.
The Stillwater Multi Arts Center blew my mind! It is just a fantastic facility – concrete floors with great splotches of paint everywhere…
big beautiful windows spilling over with gorgeous fall light…
lots of space for us to spread our lovely prints, a utility sink right in the room with us!! I think I need to explore a little and see if there is such a place in Oklahoma City!
Above is a little mosaic each student’s finished project – we printed, we constructed boxes, we bound little journals and I’m pretty sure we had a fantastic time! MUCH beautiful work to admire here and will you just look at those happy smiles!!!
Oh and one other lesson I learned… bring more ORANGE when I teach in Stillwater! Congrats to OSU on it’s victory over Kansas!! 🙂