Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Teaching Matters (To Me)

Last week I started offering classes and workshops on needle-felting techniques.  Just a week in and I am thoroughly enjoying sharing my skills with others.  It got me thinking, why is teaching art and crafts so important to me?

Teaching these classes and workshops support my overall goal of embracing the principles of Slow Living. I believe, with the speed of society and the over emphasis on technology and gadgets urging us to move faster and faster, the need to slow down and appreciate hand crafts and fine arts is greater than ever.

I believe, by offering arts and crafts courses, I can offer people a place to go, to step away from the hustle and bustle of today's stressful living. I teach out of my home in small groups, creating an environment that is comfortable, quiet and relaxing.  I even set up a mini cafe with coffee, tea and home baked goods (gluten free!) to further encourage the casual atmosphere as well as offer sustenance during long periods of creative work.  Students who take my classes and workshops get to experience a period of time that is focused on creating with a craft that requires patience and attention to detail, while also having the opportunity to explore and express their creative sides.  It is my hope that they can take these new skills home with them and make more room for quiet and creativity in their lives. However, If the only time they take advantage of this is during the classes, I believe it is still enriching.  

As a professional artist, teaching these classes also helps other people, who are not artists by vocation, to appreciate and better understand the process and work that goes into the artwork I create.  This is especially important in today's society where so little education in the arts is offered anymore. What better way to really understand art and craft than to have hands on experience? Some people will develop a greater appreciation, while others may find a new hobby or rekindle a long lost relationship to creativity. As an artist making a living through creativity, any of those outcomes pleases me.

In addition to the joy of teaching, I also feel strongly about creating community. I believe our society is seriously lacking in community. Our speed of living has lead us to believe that we have no time for connecting with others in a deeper and more meaningful way.  As we move from one task to another, many of us have our faces pointed to our smart phones, ipads, readers, or we are tuned out with headphones, or distracted in thoughts about all the tasks we must accomplish in the day.  At the same time, we follow the myth that we must do everything on our own and that relying on another is a weakness rather than a virtue.  

Holding the classes and workshops, to me, is also a form of community building. Self-esteem is boosted by the support of other students encouraging each other as they develop new creative skills. Friendships are made or strengthened when people come together to learn in an open and friendly atmosphere.  Connections and future networks are formed as well.   I have already started a connection with an artist nearby because of the classes we are both offering, which has lead to our collaborating on a workshop together later this spring.  Community is so important to a healthy future in any society.  When we have the opportunity to come together for a shared purpose, the world becomes less filled with strangers.  A world with less strangers becomes less threatening and less overwhelming and more filled with friends.

We can all benefit for periods of living Slow, tapping into our creative selves and finding different modes of expression.  We certainly don't all need to become career artists, but I believe we all have room and a need for creative expression.  Getting lost in a creative activity for a period of time can be soul opening and regenerating. In our fractured society of insta-information and social isolation, coming together in a community of learning and creative expression can be just what the soul needs. 

I hope I get to see you soon, I have some tea, fresh baked scones and a creative project waiting for you!


PS: information on classes and workshops I am teaching can be found HERE.

Weaving update: I now have my own handmade Navajo-style looms!  With much help from a woodcrafter friend, I have a large and a smaller loom to suit various weaving projects in the future.  To learn more about how the looms came to be, you can offer a monthly donation in an amount of your choosing and gain access to my behind the scenes studio blog DoAnArt Studio. There you will see tapestry and other works in progress and gain insights into my process and my inspirations. Your donation will help in the creation of art! 

Just click on the link below:

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DoAn Art is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of DoAn Art must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.  
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All artwork, photos and text © Copyright 2005-2013 DoAn Art (Antony Galbraith) unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Antony Galbraith.

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