art for all seasons

my good friend susan schwake [artist, curator, gallery owner, author] is at it again. she recently published her FORTH book. and it's a good one. i'm one stop on her book blog tour and i asked her some questions....

one of my favorite projects - inspired by heather smith jones 
1.      You've taught both adults and kids for quite some time now. What is your FAVORITE thing about teaching kids? and how does it differ [or is the same] as when you teach adults?

Over the years I have found that there are so many similarities in teaching kids and adults. There are the shy ones, the bold ones, the tidy ones, the messy ones (that's me) and so on. The biggest difference is that most of the kids are almost always willing to jump in and try whatever I ask of them - and usually with little hesitation.  Adults want to try - but often some hold back due to self judgement. Often they giggle a little and say "Oh I wish I had the boldness of a kid' or similar statement before starting. Giving one's self permission to play is not always easy for adults. This is what I stress most in my classes - both online and in the studio - play like a kid and experiment as you go. It's my favorite thing about teaching children - that they will take the leap and try something new and exciting because you invited them to.

2.      OK, let us in on a secretŠ What is your favorite project in this book ?

Hmmm, that's a tough one! I love the embroidery portraits fashioned after your work - a lot because the students were so proud to be using thread and needles! {pictured above} They loved it and continue to make them on their own and bring them in to show me. My favorite project however is the Tin Can Prints. As a printmaker and lover of cheap materials - this project works on so many levels and can be expanded upon easily.  Craft foam is easy for all ages to manipulate with scissors and a pencil or pen  creating tracks as suggested and can be transformed into shapes, flowers, anything the student can imagine.  When putting this lesson together I thought it would be fun to mimic nature with the snowy footprints we see here in New England every winter. It would be easy to create murals with a group or one person could make wrapping paper on a long piece of paper.  i presented this lesson at a teacher's workshop for the state council on the arts and the teachers thought it would be great to try outside with a large barrel and make industrial sized prints! I am getting ready to try it on some fabric as it could be a lot of fun making yardage with this process.

{that project is actually one of my favorites and is pictured below.}

3.      I love the idea of art for every season. What is your favorite season and why?

I love summer here in coastal New England. It's short and intense but it's our reward for the long winters we endure. The ocean, swimming holes on the rivers and the lake regions are a true treasure here and to spend time at either is one of the most single refreshing experiences I can think of.  Being a life long swimmer, water is where it's at for me. The White Mountains are also most beautiful to me in the summer. I feel like a traitor not choosing Autumn....

4.      You have 2 kids of your own. Were they the ultimate testers for this and your other books? are they both creative or pursuing creative endeavors?

When my girls were school aged, art was an integral part of our life. We painted, drew, crafted and sculpted many times a week and of course they were part of the studio classes as well. Many of the lessons in Art Lab for Little kids were projects we did when they were little - the crowns comes to mind !  (chloe age 3 with a crown she made)  As they grew up my eldest daughter became more interested in creative writing and kept a journal from age 8 . She also had a knack for foreign language and loves books more than anything else. After college she became a children's librarian and runs the children's room and young adult room now in a local library. She creates programming for their activities and is very happy with her job. My youngest is a creative art dynamo - making beautiful art with whatever media she touches. She has settled with fashion design and is a junior at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She loves surface design and has created beautiful fabrics and garments already - as well as keeping her hand in working with clay.  Having both girls and the 1000s of students over the past 20 years has informed my work as a teacher and author for sure. Bonus! It has been an endless supply of inspiration and joy for my own work as well.

susan has graciously offered a GIVEAWAY of this book. i'll be hosting it on my instagram account. to win you'll have to follow her on instagram [and me]. leave a comment on the photo and share it with someone else you think would like it. for an additional chance to win - repost the photo with the hashtag #artforallseasons - the winner will be chosen by random next friday the 19th. good luck.


Anonymous said…
How rewarding for Susan to see how her doing art with her daughters helped lead them into satisfying adult careers! Thanks for an interesting interview.

Popular Posts