Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Transformative Magic of Art

By Michele Ogilvie
Starting at a young age, learning to appreciate and create art sets the frame of inspiration that can lead to discovering the magic of right brain creative potential. Everything that we see and touch was designed and created by someone; or as in nature — a force greater than our selves. Through the complex process of problem solving and making art, students ultimately gain a better understanding of themselves, and the world around them. Simply said, creating art is an essential and beautiful way to launch into self-discovery. 

One of the most important things that I enjoy about creating art and teaching Ceramics is the realization that Art can be so much more than just making stuff. At its' best it has the power to transform because it requires slowing down, and entering into a Zen-like frame of mind. Because clay is such a tactile material it can also physically and metaphorically connect us to the Earth while also offering a reprieve from academics and digital technologies. Making Art can be a gateway to learning and teaching about intangible things such as patience, intuition, insight and sensitivity. It can be a window into the deeper aspects of ourselves and connects us to the world in meaningful ways. I am always so grateful when students tell me that Ceramics class has given them a moment of peace in their hectic day. On the last day of the semester, I asked students to reflect on some of the most important things that they learned in the class. 
Following are a few of their comments:

In Ceramics I, I learned a lot, about clay and about life. When working with clay, I had to learn to be patient and not rush things. This also applies to life and school. In all cases, it is very important to be aware of what you are doing at all times so as to avoid mistakes. When you are in control of what you're doing, you can make good decisions and will get better results, both in ceramics and life. — EM 9th

This semester, I have not only grown as an artist, but as a person as well. Working with clay has taught me life lessons and lot about myself. I have learned the importance of patience. I leaned to not doubt myself, take risks and have trust that I can do anything I set my mind to. — JB, 9th

In Ceramics I, I learned many memorable skills about how to work with clay. These skills are meaningful because I now have the ability to sculpt my imagination into real life objects. The freedom in being able to transform a ball of clay into a functional piece is very valuable and does not compare to anything else. — WH, 9th

I thoroughly enjoyed ceramics this semester and I am so glad that I pushed myself to take the course at the level II. I saw myself develop skills on the wheel that I could never have fathomed. I enjoy the relaxation of allowing the clay to glide through my hands and the feeling that I can essentially do anything within grasp. It is so rewarding to struggle with something and overcome the struggle with frequent success. — AS, 12th

This semester of Ceramics I learned so much more than I thought I would. With patience I learned how to create things I never thought I could with just my hands. I really liked the turnout of all of my pieces, especially my Greek-style vase. — EJ, 10th

For me, ceramics was a very valuable course to take. It taught me not only about a new art form, but also about life. I have definitely loved my decision to take this course as I have had immeasurable fun over the past few months. I learned many practical techniques while engaged in this course. One huge one would have to be patience. — TL, 9th

My major takeaway from this class is realizing how much confidence I gained in my creative abilities by working through some challenging projects. Looking back at what I created I will always be reminded that with a little practice and a ton of patience anything is possible. — JG, 9th

I loved getting to know my classmates. I liked coming to class everyday because I found it relaxing. One of the most valuable things I leaned would be connecting your mind with the clay, if that makes sense. Ceramics really helped me to become focused on what I was doing. — TM, 10th

To know that you created something usable with your own hands gives you a sense of accomplishment. — AP, 9th

I enjoyed this class very much and I would highly recommend it to fellow classmates. I learned useful techniques and extensive knowledge about Ceramics. I was never stressed in this class. I had good experiences and hope to take it again. — EJ, 9th

To view creative work by some of these students, please be sure to check out the hand-built Greek inspired vases with personalized sgraffito carvings in the South Quad display case. Up through February 2018.

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