What’s the Best Educational Experience You’ve Had?

What’s the Best Educational Experience You’ve Had?

What’s the Best Educational Experience You’ve Had?

December/January 2014 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff
Cory Daniel Robinson, New Antique Vol. 2

Cory Daniel Robinson, New Antique Vol. 2, 2011, reclaimed wood, acrylic, 1.4 x 4 x 1.2 ft. Photo: Caleb Charland

One of my memorable educational experiences was turning 21 at Penland School of Crafts. Beyond the obvious reasons why this was a blast, it was the first time I connected to a craft community that was bigger than school, or the really talented people in my BFA classes. When I teach workshops, I try to make the experience informative, fun, and something that is like coming of age at Penland. ~Cory Daniel Robinson, chair of the fine arts department, Herron School of Art & Design, Indiana University, Indianapolis

The best educational experience I’ve had has been . . . experience. The first conference I managed for a fiber organization many years ago was on-the-job training and a crash  course in the business of art. The many-faceted experiences since then have added up to a rich and diverse education. My formal education laid strong foundations, but experiential education taught me how to keep all the balls in the air. ~Dot Moye, art consultant and independent curator, Decatur, GA

Leading a design-build team in the 2005 Solar Decathlon completely changed my outlook on design and practice. The scale of the project made collaboration an absolute necessity and instilled in me the realization that architecture is always a group project. I highly recommend aggressively seeking ambitious projects that are way beyond your own abilities. Find talented partners with complementary skill sets and lead with a sense of creative generosity and humility when you are all out of brilliance. ~Ben Uyeda, designer, Boston

At Ohio State University earning my MFA, I worked with Richard Harned, Ann Hamilton, and Michael Mercil. Through the visiting artists program and sharing their own artistic  practices, they emphasized that, as artists, it is critical that we give ourselves permission to make the work that needs to be made. The work should be tied to the concept rather than the material and should be honored in terms of time and other restraints that may arise in the process of making. ~Aimee Sones, artist, Los Angeles

Surprisingly, I think it was playing in a rock band in my early 20s. Everything I needed to know about the messy details of making art – collaborating, delegating responsibility, knowing when to stick up for an idea and when to let it go, making schedules and sticking to them, dreaming up ways to get paid – I learned by being in a band. I don’t make music anymore, but those lessons stick with me to this day. ~Andy Sturdevant, artist and writer, Minneapolis