Lately there has been another tsunami of posts on the interpixies by various people operating in the creative arts whirled, complaining about copyists.
The funny thing is that many of them derive a living from having either copied someone else's work from a book, poached a successful business model (in one case, together with the email list!) from an associate or are directly teaching exactly what they have learned in a class.
I stopped giving printed handouts in the year 2000, when someone at the textile forum who had not actually been in my class, helped themselves to a copy and then advertised and presented the class (verbatim) a few months later.
Sometimes people still ask for them...and I can't help but raise an eyebrow when they add "because I've been asked to teach the class to my quilt group/local school/in a workshop next whenever.
I have been teaching creative classes of one sort or another since 1986 and have participated in many (over thirty) classes as a student, most recently one with the lovely Lorna Crane. Next year I'll be back at Shakerag...as a student. Will I be sharing directly what I have learned? No.
I choose to attend classes that will add to my practice, in a kind of personalised ongoing post-graduate professional development program. Sometimes I learn more about the practice of teaching than about a specific technique. Either way, the experience is invaluable and improves the way I present classes, but indirectly so.
That's because the experience is filtered through my life, not simply reproduced.
So when people ask me outright to explain exactly how I make my personal work (which is what happened at the opening of my current exhibition 'refuge') I politely decline. There's enough information freely available about 'ecoprinting' online and I don't care if you are "just a painter and unlikely to use it" because I'm sorry but my bullshit detector redlined when I saw your partner's ears pricked and alert. I wouldn't have explained it anyway. To say that it's a contact print is enough.
Also, I am now wise to the practice of inviting people to lunch to talk about the possibility of working with their firm...and then having your brains thoroughly picked. Lunch is not a sufficient payment for my time (and airfares). I prefer my own cooking most times anyway. In future, persons wanting to "consult" will need to substantiate that interest with appropriate reimbursement for my time and travel. Your lawyer isn't going to drop in for lunch to tell you exactly how to manage a situation either. The other thing I will not allow is prospective hosts to "sit in on a class" to see how it will "fit with their program". I'm not so much green as I'm cabbage-looking.
On the sunny side, I do love teaching, and that is why sharing the class 'being (t)here' makes me so happy. It changes with each location, and grows as I dream up new techniques and practices to add. Each one is different from the next. The poetry writing, though it fills some with trepidation, has become a rich and fulfilling part of the event. Participants still learn how to print on cloth and paper, but also develop more confidence in drawing and writing. Many tell me that they come away from our time together with a deeper knowledge of themselves and with a clearer vision of where they want to take their own work.
Things like that fill me with a deep satisfaction, gratitude and the feeling that my time on this wondrous planet is not being entirely wasted.
Next year will take me to France, Canada, New Zealand, and Scotland
(look for an announcement soon about
"wayfinding between time in the outlands…" in Orkney)
as well as (a little closer to home) Queensland and Western Australia.
Maybe I'll see you somewhere out there?
|'Albertine' doing her thing|