Day 1: Today was the first meeting of the Craft in America Kutztown University Summer Studio Workshops and what an inspiring start we had!
Jeff Oestreich and Chloe Darke, artists in clay and metal respectively, are leading this week’s workshops, which got off to a very lively start.
Jeff Oestreich began the session this morning by distributing his new work: dishtowels! Jeff used the towels, which are infused with meaning by the incorporation of meaningful swatches of fabric which he incorporated into the construction of the towels, to describe his first mantra: SCP: Stories, Connecting and Passing on the joy. These are the same precepts he uses in his ceramic work.
Jeff’s second mantra is “Don’t fall in love with your ideas.” Then Jeff led us through several processes involved in his work. He threw and altered many pots, which inspired the participants in the workshop to then make pots and alter them. Jeff gave a presentation about his work that inspired all of us.
The day ended with a raffle. Jason, an art teacher from Pennsylvania, won the Jeff Oestreich signature pitcher. Needless to say, Jason was very happy!
Day 2: By the second day in the pottery studio, everyone was deeply involved in projects and re-learning techniques that they had not used in quite a while. We all stopped to watch Jeff Oestreich assemble one of his signature beaked pitchers, first cutting and altering a cylinder he had made the first day of class, then making and supplying the long, notched spout and pulling a very sculptural handle.
The most interesting part of the day was the “Show and Tell” session at the end of class. The teachers/participants each presented one piece they made and discussed their ideas and the methods they used to carry out their ideas. Then Jeff gave his critique, which helped the teachers to plan a way forward with their work.
Considering that many of the teachers had not worked in clay for several years, their work demonstrated their talents. We will now have two days with Chloe Darke in the metals studio. This will be a new experience!
Day 3: Chloe says that sometimes the spoon looks like an ugly baby when it’s being worked.