Teaching is one of the ways I learn. I was reminded of that again this past week in a craft party class I taught for The Muse. It was lots of fun resulting in an array of colorful, musical wind chimes that will grace the gardens of each student!
Every class or workshop introduces me to a new group of people. It’s been the start of many friendships and lasting bonds. I enjoy the solitary practice of creation in my studio, but breaking out, sharing class-time with students and getting that interaction is special.
Teaching gives me new perspective on ‘the way’ I approach and make art. I have built my creative skills through practice and learning from classes and workshops. But when the tables turn and you teach a skill that might be easy for you to do, it’s important to step back and look at it differently. How do you approach this skill if you’ve never done it before? How do you explain it in words? How do you demonstrate the skill? How do you break it down into understandable, achievable tasks?
I always come away from teaching a class with ideas that have been sparked by a student. Their technique or approach is often one I’ve never thought of before. Sometimes we repeat what we know, just because it’s what we know. Getting a new perspective from someone approaching it with a fresh perspective is fantastic.
I like to plan. I make lists, I outline tasks, I set goals. Somehow the classroom setting always veers off the planned course and inevitably leads to new discovery. Perhaps that technique I thought would be so simple to explain, show and teach does not register with the student. It opens up new ways to teach and new ideas of how to create. I'm so grateful to share some of my skills with others -- because in the end I am the one who learns just as much!