I speak clay. What I mean is, I’m familiar with the lingo associated with creating ceramic art. Fire, cone, underglaze, bisque, grog, raku and slip are all words that have special meaning to a person in the pottery world. The trick is learning to explain familiar terminology and techniques to someone unacquainted with the language. Sharing this knowledge not only helps educate a student wanting to learn about the craft, but also informs customers and other art appreciators.
For me, as I’ve probably mentioned repeatedly, teaching regularly opens my own eyes to new ideas and constructive approaches. It happened this week when I lead a group of students through the steps of making a wrap bracelet. I prepared the step-by-step creation and assembly instructions in my head so I could clearly explain them to the craft party participants. I demonstrated some of the construction techniques and answered questions as they arose. And my students did not disappoint! THEY, in turn, taught me a variety of imaginative ways to achieve the same end result. I learned too!
Teaching and Learning are two sides of the same coin. They go hand in hand. I continually discover additional approaches to my creative process by sharing what I know with others. And it’s not limited to clay. I try to adopt this approach with any conversation. What can I teach and what can I learn from this encounter? A fresh perspective is always welcome. Can you identify any recent teachable moments from your life?