Posts Tagged ‘ceramics’

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Teaching Artist Leader

October 2, 2017

Tim Christensen

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teaching Artist Leader Tim Christensen took an amazing journey this summer. The Center for Maine Craft presents 30 Days at Sea, an exhibition of prints, books and clay work by Tim Christensen, October 5-November 19, 2017. The exhibition will feature new works created during, and in response to, the artist’s 2017 journey to Sydney, Australia via container ship.

In Tim’s own words

“In my work, I document the natural systems, as I understand them, that I see in my surroundings here in coastal Maine. This trip is an extension of that, is part of my life as an artist, was possible because of my life as an artist. And as so often happens, there were many rewards from this which I would never have had available: Off the Galápagos Islands, I watched hundreds of dolphins leaping out of the water, joyfully racing toward my ship to play in the bow wake…1000 miles from Pitcairn Island, I saw the ocean and sky, devoid of all life, saw the earth naked, and watched the conversation between sky and water play out over and around me…A day out of Panama, I saw long and thick wind rows of our discarded plastic, sheltering and entangling leatherback sea turtles, Mahi Mahi, sharks, and manta rays…Above a nameless series of seamounts, I saw clouds of flying fish erupting from the water for days on end, hundreds per minute. In the middle of nowhere, I saw a place on earth where I was 1500 miles from the nearest other human. To witness these things was a privilege, to represent them in art an even greater one.”

The exhibit will be at the Center for Maine Craft, off the turnpike toll plaza at West Gardiner. The opening is October 13 to kick off Maine Craft Weekend!

To learn more visit the Maine Crafts Association website.

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Lincoln Academy

April 1, 2016

Ceramics and much more

Jonathan and Kirsten

Jonathan and Kirsten

I had a delightful visit to Lincoln Academy in Newcastle recently to meet Jonathan Mess and learn about the schools ceramics program. As I passed through the doorway I knew I had entered a very unique environment. First of all, you need to know that my undergrad concentration was clay. I was so excited to see a well equipped classroom for high school students! And, the feeling of action was alive and everywhere! Containers of clay in every stage, large wedging tables, electric wheels, work spaces, tall and deep shelving for storage, glazes in large buckets, a separate nice size kiln room, pieces in progress and finished work on display, and inspirational sayings on the wall.

Most importantly students were engaged, at ease and very creative! And, there was tons of student clay work and a wide variety. Probably my favorite part of visiting visual and performing arts classrooms is chatting with the students. These students were proud of what they were creating, articulate, and more than happy to answer my questions and tell me stories about their work. And there was a wonderful sense of community. Students learn not only how to create but how to manage and maintain materials and supplies. One student came at the end of the day to load the kiln.

IMG_1902You might be wondering how I learned about the ceramics program at Lincoln Academy. Not long ago I met with Fran Rudoff, Executive Director of Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Newcastle. Fran and I were having a conversation about the work they are doing at the center incorporating STEAM and learning opportunities for educators (more on that in a later post). Fran suggested that I visit Jonathan and learn about his ceramics program.

I emailed Jonathan and he called me. As you know most people don’t pick up the phone and call today. It is so much easier (in my mind) to email. With IMG_1903teachers busy schedules, I always use email as my first mode of contact. So, I was surprised by the phone call and one thing that Jonathan said on the phone: “I am an artist who happens to teach on the side.” You can view his very interesting work at THIS LINK. And, you can see his students work in this post.

When Jonathan arrived six years ago at Lincoln Academy there were 14 students in the ceramics class. Today he has about 80 each trimester. The program has grown and is thriving! Students are going on after high school and majoring in it. During the week I had visited he had a student accepted at Alfred University (a first)! Very exciting for the student and of course, for Jonathan as well! She was working on a mask that had small vessels built into the back to hold plantings (see photo). She was thinking about what had influenced her to want to take this pathway. We talked about her elementary art teacher who happens to be a dear friend of mine.

IMG_1907At the end of the day we walked to the recently opened ATEC building which stands for Applied Technology and Engineering Center. It is kind of a cross between a STEAM center and a modern day industrial arts shop with a very creative twist. At the center of the center I met Kirsten Campbell who is the metals teacher and an artist. You can see her work at THIS LINK.

Between Kirsten and Jonathan Lincoln Academy students have really unique learning opportunities being provided by them in the arts. If you are a ceramics teacher considering visiting a school with a ceramics program, I suggest that you contact Jonathan at mess@lincolnacademy.org or perhaps just give him a call!

Thanks for your time Jonathan and Kirsten!

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