As a teenager I developed the gift of figuring out my Christmas presents. Usually just by observing I could figure out some pretty big hints. The more awesome ability though was being able to shake a wrapped gift and immediately announce exactly what was inside. Looking back now I'd say this had something to do with my object and spacial relationships but it was more impressive for people to think it was magic.
I did this gift surprise deciphering far too long though. Apparently it's pretty sad to continue shaking presents after you're a married adult. That's what the wife told me anyway, so years ago I had to put the magic away and just deal with the surprises. Christmas surprises are easy to deal with.
I've been welding since I was 7 years old. My earliest memories of drawing for fun go back to even younger ages. Yet somehow I managed to go through high school art classes and two years of undergraduate art classes before I realized that sculpture was something I'd even be remotely interested in. I remember my first week in that Sculpture I class. It was exactly like the cliche of the light bulb suddenly turning on. It would seem now that a great portion of my life hinged on that surprise.
I can sympathize with my students for this first semester. They were used to specific teachers and their methods. Nice people with very personable demeanors. Most of my students signed up for these classes because of major requirements and the rest signed up because they knew students in the past who got to use the wheel or make specific projects and they thought that would be fun.
I'm not sure I want to know if their surprise was good or bad but I do know they were surprised. This short bald guy showed up to teach their classes and at times he may have even seemed a tad sarcastic. He had some crazy ideas....some good and some pretty bad. But some of those students who may have thought they'd spend their semester in a good chair quickly found themselves controlling a table saw. Others blasted through molten metal with a cutting torch. Still others turned into pretty good welders and fashioned some very big steel sculptures.
I won't bore you with speeches about how rewarding it is to teach or how cool it is to actually be standing there when a student makes that connection and becomes instantly thrilled. I will tell you that there was one student who seemed to hate my class with a passion right up to the last couple of weeks when she finally got a handle on welding and her whole attitude changed. I'll also tell you about the young lady who literally screamed and ran away from the welder during the welding demonstration. This same lady became the first student brave enough to try welding and then went on to make an awesomely large sculpture. And then there's the almost hippie...everything she touched in the sculptural world turned to gold and I seriously think she may be addicted to 3D.
Ok, maybe I did just bore you with those. Sorry. The point was supposed to be that some of these students were pleasantly surprised by the semester.
So how about some photos to brag on my people?
Sarah's steel apartment
Cate's laminated wood hideaway
There are many more amazing students and many more great sculptures but it's Christmas and we all have more important things to be doing. And besides I'll need to post some Ceramics images later.