Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Education of the Artist Part 2

Happy Halloween:) Above are my daughters' pumpkins from this year representing their college teams: ECU Pirates and NC State Wolfpack. They did a great job! I am so very proud of them working hard at school to learn all they can for when they go out into the world....but what are they learning and does it matter to them?

In part 1, we discussed 'everything matters' 'What Matters' to you??
"We hardly need to 'decide' to scan for knowledge- it's already hard-wired into us. Our species seems to harbor a singular need to understand why things are the way they are- a need to grasp their underlying nature." There are many areas from which to choose to enrich your understanding of the world around you. Each of us has already headed down a path and we can make decisions every day to lead us to the goals we set for ourselves; but we don't really know where we are heading.
"Where did you learn the things that really matter to you?"
"Where was that critical fork in the road that directed you to this point?"
"Who have been your real teachers?"
These are great and fascinating questions and the answers will number the stars for every one of us. I think a good portion of us can say our parents taught us the most basic values that we then tweaked to our individuality once grown. As to "...that critical fork...", I can't count just one. There have been multiple pivotal moments and hindsight is 20/20:) As to my entry into the quilt world, a fellow Coast Guard spouse named, Michelle, taught me while I was stationed in Puerto Rico 10+ years ago. She was passionate about quilting and wanted to make some new a small group of us would gather at her house once a week and she taught us the basics while enjoying chocolate cake and rum punch:) It is amazing my seams are still together on that first quilt!

"For better or worse we've created an educational system that only works on any large scale when the knowledge being offered is first pre-packaged into teachable gradable transferable and preferably marketable semester-length courses- and in recent years, structured as well to satisfy the current political demand for quantifiable proof that learning has occurred." I cherish those memories and learning moments that would not have been attainable through a formal art education process. The education system is set up to teach lessons with definative right and wrong answers. In an art mind there are no right and wrong answers. Don't misunderstand me: We do need the education system to give the basics of design element, history, etc. because without any exposure, how do you move forward? If you don't have a basic understanding and a platform from which to start, how can you possibly go in a different direction or reject the status quo?

When learning something new, there is a lot to be said of learning on your own. Yes you may be doing the process the hard way (at first) but it is Your way and the way your brain works things out can't be taught in a classroom. Once you have sorted out a process and then you learn other methods of doing the same thing, you have a basis from which to accept or reject those other methods. Sometimes in a classroom setting you are only taught one way as the 'right' way.

"Wisdom does not reside in facts alone-experiential, intuitive and moral judgements on how knowledge should be used lie near the core of our definition of humanity. As history suggests, getting a rocket off the ground is only half the equation."
How many of you had a formal art education?
How many of you have learned as you go?
It is our responsibility to educate ourselves in whatever path we are taking whether it be through reading, workshops, experimentation, or a formal degree. I personally feel that all methods available to us should be seized upon in order to allow us the freedom to buck the status quo:)

There is more discussion on Katharine's blog.

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