Seemingly unrelated because maybe everything is related on some level. And my mind is struggling to make the connections. I'll be on a break for a bit. Dyeing, drawing, planning, wandering and allowing lines in relationships to blur so that they can join in other ways.
There have been several emails over the past few months asking for advice on teaching. Fresh from last Sunday's class at the Ink Pad, it seems a good time to begin to answer that question.
If you've taken a class with me, you may have noticed that I love to teach. I've "taught" 2 year olds all the way through to senior citizens and the common denominator is inspiration. To learn, students need to feel inspired, yes?
Thorough, and I mean OCD level thorough, preparation is really important. You can have the coolest ideas, techniques and all the inspiration in the world but if you haven't planned the pace and the explanations, your students will glaze over. You've lost them.
Listen to your Students
Your students are your divining rod. Let them lead you, not the other way around. That sounds convuluted after advising you to prepare thoroughly for your class but teaching art is an organic, creative process for me. I make sure that the points planned have been covered but there is always flexibility in my curriculum and that is where listening to your students comes into play.
If you are thoroughly prepared and knowledgeable about your subject, you can allow the creativity and skill level of your class to guide you. Sometimes reigning back on techniques and pushing forward in experimentaion. This varies from student to student so you'll need your track shoes.
Teaching art is exhilarating. The world really needs fabulous teachers so let's support that. I'm adding a new category on this topic so it will come up from time to time. Questions and tips are welcome and will add to the pool of resources here.
I'll go into more detail about each of these three topics over time. PS: I took these photos at the tacket stitch class on Sunday. They are all student work.
Tacket stitch is ancient, simple and wide open for interpretation. I think of it as the original staple. I'll be teaching this full day course at The Ink Pad in NYC on February 24, 10am to 5:30 pm.
Start the day off by making the decorative decorative paper for covers and interior using stencils, stamps, watercolor. Most of the papers in these samples are made with the techniques we learn in this class. The afternoon will be devoted to putting this little gem together. A great container for favorite quotes, pictures, writing or journaling.
Woot. Are you ready? I'm working on the final video edits, putting together all of the lesson pdf's, looking up links. I'm so thrilled to be able to share this straight-forward, versatile stitch with you.
Create two basic books in this class: one 8" x 5" Hidden Spine and one 6" x 5" exposed spine. Learn the basic stitch and you can take it anywhere you want! There will be instruction for variations using beads, ribbons and different cover options. (Pictures next week). I've used a good art paper (Stonehenge) in the smaller book and text weight and junk paper in the larger book. These books are sturdy and lie flat when opened - a big plus for visual journaling.
Here are the pictures again.
All of my classes are hosted on a private blog so that you can post any questions or comments. And I will respond to your questions! I've also set up a Flickr Group, here, so you can upload pictures of your beautiful books.
Videos (4-5), PDF's.
Permanent access means that you can join anytime and work at your own pace. The blog is up indefintely (forever)
Once you register, I'll send you an email with the username and password.
Thank you all for your emails, comments and well wishes, they really cheered me up. You guys are the best! My back is improving. It turned out to be a bulging disk - ewwww! All I've been doing is working on the Longstitch class, going to PT and resting. And the class will open on November 1! Yay. Yesterday's work ...
I bound this book using fabric/paper covers. The detail of the woven binding is cool, right? I'm thinking of offering the fabric/paper class as a stand alone since there is so much that can be done with fabric paper.
Then I'll continue to expand on using fabric paper in art work. What do YOU think? What kind of classes would you like to see me offer online?
If you don't read the text in this post, it may appear to be a "perfect life" post. The photos are from around my studio.
Looks can be deceiving.
These lovely pictures are the surface. And I have a perfect life. You probably do as well.
Most days you start out with a plan, right? You get up all rarin' to go. Drop a glass in the bathroom and step on a shard. Spend the rest of the day limping around and cussin'. Get the jobs done. Keep going. Get a great email or see someone you love. Spill your coffee on your favorite shirt.
Forget to bring the packages you need to put in the post. And then there you are driving home in the middle of a most amazing sunset and somehow you realize that you do have a perfect life. And this is it.
Perfect has to be flawed. Or it wouldn't be perfect. Flaws are part of the wonder of life. So is hard work and problems. If there were not problems to solve, where would the challenge lie? If you hadn't been limping around (and cussin') all day because of that shard of glass in your foot, it wouldn't really be such a treat to stick your feet into a bucket of warm, sudsy water.
This is real life. Don't believe everything you read on blogs and in magazines and what you see on TV.
Books in no particular order because it is fun not knowing what is going to come at you next:
Photos in this post: Art Journals, More Art Journals, Mini art journals, part of my flip book collection, art supplies.
Tacket binding is an historic book form used in Europe in the Middle Ages (and most likely earlier). This is one of those bindings that is simple enough for beginners and just waiting for you to experiment with it. These are the Dos-i-Dos that we made in Italy. Most of us used our own handmade paper to fill this small, ripe book.
The Longstitch is another one of those bindings that everyone does differently. The creativity in bookbinding is endless: a "problem" presents itself and the binder solves it. Or an opportunity to embellish a spine is taken advantage of. Here is Susan Cohen's woven longstitch.
Buying or making all of our papers in Fabriano was very neat: so many to choose from and very different from what is available to us here in the States or Canada. We had a lot of fun mixing patterns and textures.
These stitches are so endless. I plan on building a couple of online classes for the fall. They are too good to keep to myself!