Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Core Seminar/The Process Project

paper folding exercise from last winter

During the Spring and Fall Concentrations I taught Core seminar for Penland's Core Fellows; in the spring I led a discussion on process and this past fall we continued that conversation while also diving into some basic professional practices. The spring seminar topic stemmed from my interest in artist process, something I started to investigate during the winter through sample making, writing, and reading. When I began preparing for seminar I thought it would be helpful for Core Fellows to learn how other artists work as well as being equally helpful to me. So I turned to my artist friends working in different media for help and asked them to answer five questions:

What is your process?
How do you generate ideas?
How do you work through a block?
How do you begin a new piece or a new body of work?
Describe an average day in your studio.

I passed along their responses every Monday to my students, usually six or seven at a time. The following week they could comment or ask questions. We also spent each session talking about a different question accompanied by some written exercises.

For me both the seminar and the project were fascinating. I loved reading each response and could hear the artists' voices in my head as I read. I was most interested in the similarities and differences between us as makers and found myself often nodding my head or commenting out loud. They made me feel connected to other artists around the country no matter the age, medium, or level of success. In my correspondence with the participating artists, many said it was challenging for them to put their process into words, but they enjoyed it very much. They said it was great to think deeply about the questions and then get it all written down. The Core students also seemed to get a lot from reading and i think it helped them to describe what they do as well.

In the fall we revisited the questions. I wanted to know how things had changed after a summer of classes. The intense art making environment of the Penland summer helped them to clarify and solidify their own processes.

If you are interested in answering these questions for yourself, please do, and if you like, email me your responses. ( I would love to read more answers!

To see more examples of my process, please visit my process set on flickr.

Thanks for reading.

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