Today I experienced a really wonderful side effect of this positive studio atmosphere. A sick kid at home and arrangements for her care left me with less than 15 minutes to set up my late morning class. I ran through the studio on my way to my office and noticed students working and someone's lunch on the main table. As I ran through, I shouted "Running late, sick kid, I'm gonna need the table cleared off, class is coming in for a demo in 15 minutes!"
|raku firing (the clay students at their most cooperative--just add fire)|
I suppose this method of expressing myself isn't flattering or considerate, but I was in a rush and stuff needed to get done. I grabbed some papers from my office and ran back in. Though the students were rather stunned, the lunch had been moved and a student was cleaning the main table. I proceeded to hurry through getting out the materials I needed for my demonstration. Luckily I've done this demo many times before, so I knew most of what I needed. However, I had some papers for the students and I had hoped to have more time at school to get them ready.
As I started looking for a wheel where the students could see my demonstration without being in the way of the half-dozen students working, one student, Grace, offered to give up her wheel and move to a new location. Another student, Janice, asked what she could do to help me get ready. Both helped me set up my demonstration without batting an eye at my abrupt and bossy entrance and inconvenient timing.
|Janice's award winning bowl from DoVA 2014|
The main reason for trying to build a positive, supportive studio atmosphere is to make students feel comfortable coming into the studio at any time to throw and build and glaze and spend time on their pottery. Generally I have found that an energetic, lively and cooperative studio atmosphere means that students inspire each other, learn from each other, and push themselves harder to be as good as the next person. When a bunch of hard working students are all sharing the studio space and time, skill improve more quickly and the output of the whole group is better than when people work in isolation.
|Grace's pottery from Tour of Artists' Homes 2013|