My role as a working-artist allows me to act as an advocate and guide for the developing student-artist. I seek to deepen the student’s commitment to their own sensibilities, and to provoke curiosity in a safe environment, while creating multiple points of entry for the student to connect with. Being vulnerable, perceptive, and conscious as an educator myself, gives others permission to do the same. Through unspoken actions and spontaneous discussion, the studio manifests itself into part pressure cooker and part incubator. My pedagogy relies heavily on this careful exchange of provocation and support, and has been successful in creating a trusting environment which protects the equity of ideas, demographics and convictions. Collaboration among students adds to comradery within the studio, but more importantly lays the foundation to challenge each other with honest intention.
I believe strongly in maintaining a cultivated path for the advancement of ceramics. Being an advocate for the medium within an interdisciplinary conversation is imperative to the trajectory of the field and to the artists who claim clay as their primary medium. I also maintain a firm conviction that artists who utilize clay within their work must consider both the historical context and inherent complexities the material institutes. This means fostering both curious and critical students within a clay program, but also across disciplines. Adopting clay into one’s lexicon must be justified, researched, and supported.
Achieving technical and conceptual growth in the classroom is realized through demonstrations, lectures, critical input and accountability. The tools required to translate idea into form are addressed thoroughly according to performance level, and are distinguished as a language that defines and gives order to visual communication. Good leadership allows the class to take responsibility for their actions. An individualized, flexible approach to the progression of each class is taken into consideration throughout the semester.
Finally, the first and foremost advice I give my students is to work with consistency. That may mean to physically dig native clay, print out images, research a topic on a database, sit in their studio, read a poem, sketch, listen to music, read - anything that generates ideas, fleshes out form, or makes tangible connections to their practice. Through the act of performing the skill and implementing the concept, whether it be calculated or intuitive, I am certain, that the act of doing is the most dependable way a student can learn. I teach this by example and know that diligence can make the difference between a good idea and a great accomplishment.