(Above: Students in the Berkeley County Talented and Gifted High School Summer Art Program ... working on their fiber art creations. Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)
Last week was a whirlwind of activity at the Berkeley County Talented and Gifted High School Summer Art Program. Students had to complete their individual project by Wednesday ... at the very, very latest.
(Above: Students mounting and matting their work for the exhibition.)
On Wednesday we mounted and matted everything ... and typed out brief biographical narratives and individual statements about all the work. We also tidied up the art room, hauled Pro Panel walls from storage in the school's library, and moved tables away from the room's center.
Most of our instruction came from program coordinator and Stratford High School art teacher Robin Boston ... who also graciously invited me to send Wednesday night in her comfortable home. We had an excellent dinner and brilliant art conversations with other art teachers and finalized our plans for Thursday's classwork exhibition.
(Above: Relic LXXXVI. Unframed: 6 1/2" x 5 1/2"; framed: 12 3/4" x 11 3/4". $125.)
For the exhibit, I could have shown the two, finished "demonstration" pieces I made during the week ... but I didn't. First, they weren't completely framed, tagged, and written into my inventory book. In generally insist on this sort of thing. More importantly, the exhibit really was about the students ... not the instructors! It is an awkward situation to talk about my work, especially pricing, when meeting parents and friends who didn't come to see my work in the first place.
(Above: Relic LXXXVII. Unframed: 6 1/2" x 5 1/2"; framed: 12 3/4" x 11 3/4". $125.)
Yet, I always finish my demonstration pieces. I think it is very important that I present myself as a professional artist who makes "real work" ... and that students ought to see "real work" being made, not just samples. All the materials and supplies I bring to each workshop are exactly the ones I use myself, nothing less. As a result, some fantastic pieces are always made by the students ... pieces that are like mine in the sense that they are quality materials, original designs, and personal expressions.
(Above: Student making yo-yos from polyester stretch velvet!)
Some of the students had previous experience with needle and thread ... like this teenager who knew exactly how to make yo-yos! I'd never thought to try this with polyester stretch velvet and some of my batik fabric which was brought for background material ...
... nor did I think about allowing these creations to extend over the mat! But, doesn't the result look fabulous! This is just one example why the program is called "Talented and Gifted".
Of course, some students had no prior experience stitching. A few weren't particularly happy with their pieces ... like this cute girl who had virtually given up on her design. But when push came to shove, she shouldered on by adding free-motion machine stitching (something she had never done and didn't think she'd like at all) and plenty of tiny, hand "seeding" stitches with two metallic threads.
Again, this is another example of "Talented and Gifted" because she turned her initial, mediocre attempt into a very unique, special, and truly beautiful work of art. I'm proud of her ... and of every other student in the program.
All the students worked very, very hard.
Some finished three different pieces.
Some experimented with wool rovings in ways I'd never considered ... and then turned around to make a second piece from entirely different materials!
Most tried their hands at self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery. They frequently didn't want to attempt it on their favorite piece but were willing to risk their "second" work. Of course, everyone of these pieces was surprisingly transformed ... and then shown in Thursday's exhibition!
All the students helped transform the classroom into a temporary art gallery. Signs were made. Floors were swept. Labels were printed. Wall were erected. Artwork was hung ... from 10 - 1:30 on Thursday.
By 2 PM on Thursday afternoon parents and friends started arriving for pizza, soda, and ART. The program's assistant, Vickie Hickman, a middle school art teacher in the district, snapped some photos before the official opening time.
Like Vicki, I took a bunch of pictures too ... but didn't manage to get every student. Trust me! Each one was special ... like their artwork. Certainly, talented and gifted. (Scroll down to see more images of the students with their artwork.)
There were approximately one hundred people in attendance over the coming hour. All the parents seemed thrilled.
It was great to see the reactions, shake hands, and compliment the program as well as the individual kids.
By 2 PM we were taking down all the artwork. For these students, summer began. For me, I had an hour-and-a-half drive back to Columbia. I've been playing "catch up" ever since. By tomorrow, I'll have another blog post on this weekend's Dining With Friends Dessert Finale in which I had a piece of art ... plus a new Lancet Window.
Scroll down for more photos of happy, young artists!