This spring, I was invited to visit St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Florida for a couple days of demonstrating and sharing techniques and stories. Kim Kirchman, Jonathan Barnes and MacKenzie Smith were such warm, welcoming hosts and I immediately felt right at home! They run a fantastic ceramics program, and their camaradery and high standards in teaching and mentoring were evident. The students were enthusiastic and had done their homework, so they were prepared with thoughtful and challenging (in a great way!) questions. We were also joined by a number of folks from Morean Arts Center, so it was quite a crowd!
I worked loosely, and often asked the group to help me choose what step I should take next in a piece. In this way, we all knew I had not "pre-made" the work in my head before arriving, and I was responding to the current circumstances. One choice influences the next, and so on. And, we laughed an awful lot.
Then, this month, I was visiting artist for a day at Gainesville High School, where my friend Sara Truman teaches ceramics and art. I had not been around a big group of high school students in a long time. Their energy and curiosity were impressive! Sara is doing very good things within her program, and I think her students are lucky to have her, and they know it!