The craft of feedback

The craft of feedback

My phone rings at quarter to midnight. I don’t have the sort of life in which anyone ever calls me so late, especially on a school night.  I am jolted out of sleep, expecting a nightmare of something-gone-wrong. But when I see who is calling, I smile my way to awakeness. “Ok, so I know … Continue reading

With eyes shut

With eyes shut

One of my students is teaching himself to throw pots while blindfolded. Actually, all of the teaching has already happened. The porcelain bowls he has been throwing are as lovely as anything made with full vision – soft, fluid, and graceful. He ripped a soft old t-shirt to serve as a blindfold, and he ties … Continue reading

College as a Verb

College as a Verb

A wise-beyond-her-years high school junior wrote recently to ask for my perspective on whether liberal arts schools or art colleges were “better” for someone who wants to major in art.  She’s a serious student and a talented, hardworking artist. It has been a joy to work with her in a studio, and I truly want … Continue reading

Water

Water

There is a spot in northern Michigan where a creek that has been meandering through the forest rushes into a great lake. I won’t tell you where it is, because I would be giving away a secret gifted to me by locals – friends who, on my first visit to the place, ran with me … Continue reading

Beyond What is Necessary

Beyond What is Necessary

Holidays challenge me. In my role as a teacher, one of the hardest parts of a holiday is accepting gifts from my students. Post-Santa, I was raised to understand that celebratory gifts are, conceptually, an exchange – you give a gift, you get a gift, with some attempted equivalency of value. That attempt is the … Continue reading

A Love Letter to ‘No’

A Love Letter to ‘No’

During my second year of teaching at a small-town high school in New Jersey, I met Shannon.  She came to my classroom by way of a few other art courses, and at first we were a little cautious of each other.  She was clearly talented in ceramics and meticulous about her craftsmanship – but we … Continue reading

Habits and Journeys

Habits and Journeys

This summer took me me from seven challenging weeks in Michigan through a few troubling days in Pennsylvania to an August perch on an island in Maine. Here I’m a student, trying to figure out whether I am still supposed to make things.  I have been living out a backpack for nearly three months. It … Continue reading

No Selfie with the President

No Selfie with the President

This past weekend, a school colleague challenged me to ‘get a selfie with the president.’ As I watched President Obama leave the State Room where he had just spent the last hour talking with about a hundred of us about education, I heard one young woman in the front row ask him for a selfie. … Continue reading