Potter Simon Levin will be teaching a weekend workshop for The Art League, “Methods of Expression in Clay,” in January. We asked Simon about his ideas for the class and what we could expect. His answers are below.
Class description: “Art is communication. Art explores an idea. This hands-on workshop employs a variety of exercises to clarify and express participants’ ideas in clay. Attention is paid to evoking new ideas and discussing the importance of work endowed with meaning. Methods of expression with clay are explored, pushed, and challenged, and critique is taught and employed. Intermediate knowledge of clay work and a sense of humor are required.“
|by Simon Levin|
What am I hoping for in this workshop? I often think we aren’t short on ideas, that inspiration to come up with ideas, though valuable, is not enough. Often in refining and plumbing the depths of our ideas is where the work lies, and we need inspiration to do that work. Many great ideas are discounted, or undeveloped. It is my hope that students will take from this work the skill set to clarify and layer their work with their ideas, as well as the energy and passion to do so.
Why am I a fan of wood-fired kilns in particular? I can certainly draw a similarity between a good workshop and the wood-firing process. I fell in love with the colors and surfaces that can be evoked from raw materials in a wood kiln. My work has become about layering the feeling of those surfaces into the form, clay treatment, volume, curve and texture of the work. Wood-firing in no way is the right choice for any work, nor can it make bad work good. But the ideas that excited me, that I felt inspired to plumb were about the way flame moves over the work, the narrative it leaves and the intimacy of connection to the work that results from the labor intensive process.
|by Simon Levin|
Why do students need to be prepared with a sense of humor? Well it’s a good survival technique for one. Secondly humor is a great tool to bring honest appraisal past insecurity. Humor opens doors that are closed when we take ourselves too seriously. The role of critique is to refine and develop a message, to let the maker know what other’s hear, to give the maker the gift of another person’s sight. Having a sense of humor helps on the journey. In addition I love to laugh.
Sound like fun? You can register at The Art League’s website.