Last autumn, I stumbled upon a fantastic opportunity to teach handbuilding ceramics at Catskill Art Space (CAS) in Livingston Manor, NY. This charming little hamlet is just a couple of hours north of NYC along Route 17, and it's been my home for the past decade. I decided to take on the challenge, despite it being quite a while since I last stood in front of a class.
Adult education is a unique experience. The folks who sign up are there to unwind, learn something new, and indulge in a bit of self-discovery. My teaching philosophy is all about supporting each student's skill level and encouraging their curiosity. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I'm dedicated to working through any challenges that arise.
I've already wrapped up two 6-week sessions, and my approach is to start with a demonstration of a particular technique. Then, I step back and let the students explore. I don't prescribe what they should create. If someone wants to make a mug, great – I'll guide them through it. But the creative freedom is theirs.
Typically, I'm used to the solitude of my studio, surrounded by nothing but my thoughts and music. Being in a group environment is a shift for me, but it's one I'm enjoying. I've found a new sense of freedom to experiment, resulting in pieces that differ significantly from my usual work. An unexpected perk of teaching is that I'm continuously learning myself.
Reflecting on my first pottery class almost 20 years ago, I remember craving a break from the computer and wanting to do something for myself. It seems those reasons still resonate with people today. Working with clay changed my life, and if I can introduce someone to the joys of pottery, inspiring them or providing a temporary escape from their routine, then I'm grateful to play that role.
The next session at CAS starts March 28th at 6pm Registration open

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