working with Morgan Cassiano
I met Morgan in Certaldo, Italy a few months ago when I was teaching there and was so happy to have her in my class at Pullen!
I taught "Innovating the Chain" at Pullen Arts Center in Raleigh this past Saturday and Sunday. This was my first time teaching a two-day workshop and it went very, very well. I trimmed my week-long class syllabus to the most important aspects and still gave my students lots of time to work. I had a full class of ten and they were a really good group. Everyone was skilled already, they were hard workers, and they were a lot of fun. Most everyone knew each other already, too, so they got along great and knew how to move around the small, but well-equipped studio.
I started the first day with a short PowerPoint on chains, showing unusual examples as I talked about different ways of constructing and using chain. I spoke about thinking differently and considering details that could make their pieces unique and stronger. Then we got to work with a few demos and some work time in the afternoon. I asked everyone to start designing a chain and stressed the importance of making samples before diving in. I met with students to talk about their individual designs and then just let them go.
chain-in-progress by Ndidi Kowalczyk
The next day I did a few quick demos in the morning and let students work all day. I really wanted them to finish their chain or get close. I met with students as needed and observed how they worked so I could suggest more efficient methods. By Sunday several students had a finished chain and the rest were well on their way.
On Saturday after class I gave a lecture on my work to a nice crowd of students, local jewelers, and community memners. The talk felt conversational and I answered some good questions at the end.
Then after class on Sunday I gave a lecture about Iceland and the work I made there to my class after several students asked to see pictures. It felt wonderful to tell my Iceland story and to share that experience with them.
Finally, Pullen is a community arts center with metals, ceramics, printing making, drawing and painting, and glass fusing. As I stated above the studio is small, but well-eqipped. It seemed to have practically everything and the tools are well-cared for. The space also has great natural light. Betty McKim who runs he metals program was ever-present and if I needed something she got it for me. I was so impressed! She also spent time in the class and made chains alongside the students and I really enjoyed having her there.
Thanks for reading.