Tuesday, November 04, 2008


On Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, I taught a class called, ‘Create a Sculptural Vessel’ through Portland Community College. I arrived with all the supplies, set up the room to allow for a flow of function and creativity and hoped that the students would be ready for a hands-on, free-flowing, art-making experience.

These great women eagerly dove into the experience. They cut the copper or aluminum screening into pieces. Then they started to play with metal. Bending. Pushing. Folding and rolling. And soon, chatting away as they worked, sculpted vessels began to appear. Moving on to the paint, metal leaf and beads each student/artist added to their vessel making it their own unique piece of sculpture.

Of course, during the creation process there are those times of indecision. Resistance. And fear. What should I do next? Will I make a mistake? How will it turn out?

I was there to help the process in any way I could. Explain or demonstrate a technique. Show an example for the three vessels I brought. Ask a question. Offer a suggestion. Or encourage exploration for inspiration.

We were lucky to have inspiration just steps away inside the Museum of Contemporary Craft. There are two ongoing exhibits, ‘Manufactured, The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects’ and ‘Ceramics of Gertrud and Otto Natzler’. As well as a Community Showcase featuring a beautiful display of unique contemporary and traditional baskets from the Columbia Basketry Guild. Plus there were two artists from the Columbia Basketry Guild doing a demonstration right next to our classroom.

All of these explorations helped to inspire us all as we took in the textures, colors and forms on display around us to push, pull and create more from the sculptural vessels.

I saw a wonderful transformation take place as the women took screening and created truly beautiful, unique sculptures. Some of them seemed a little mystified about how and where the forms came from, but isn’t that the wonder, mystery and fun of creation?

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