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Paper and Wire

Today was the first day of the 2-day workshop in "3D Sculpture" at the DeCordova. It's based on a full-semester Bauhaus course in the foundations of seeing and of materials, and the class is being taught by Beate ("Ati") Gropius Johansen, so no question of her Bauhaus credentials. It's not about ending up with a finished piece. Today was white paper in the morning, black wire in the afternoon, and each time it started with the flat sheet, the straight wire, and just looking at it to define its initial presence. Then an attempt to make one, just one, change to it, and see how much of a change you can make. A single fold. A simple sort of bend. Then on to two actions, etc., always trying to listen to the material instead of saying "I want to make...". We came up with marvelous soaring structures in paper forms and wildly floating and cantilevered wire shapes.

Tomorrow, more paper and then wire screen.

The seven students in the workshop are all female, most seeming about my age, though one is a high-school student here with her mother in the class too. The teacher looked us over at the beginning and lamented the lack of men "because they have such a strong way of seeing things." This was reiterated as we struggled to come up with terms to describe the dimensional qualities of the initial flat paper in the terms she seemed to want ("a man would have said that sooner") though someone (okay, me) noted back that, as women, we did quite fine when it came to the emotional associations. Then as we're trying more advanced paper folding, she came by my table talking of how some man had made a piece that rested on only three points of the paper. I said, "that's exactly the effect I'm trying to get, if I can get the folds to work" and I did, and she loved it, and after that I don't remember that she brought up how much cleverer men were. At the lunch break when she wasn't there, some of the other students talked kindly about how it was a generational thing, or that, at least, her saying such things out loud was a generational thing. I was quietly amused that a bunch of graying middle-aged women were being forgiving of a lapse by an even older woman as a "generation gap", especially in front of the high schooler.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 14th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
I've noticed that not just across generations, but across cultures, too, the things that it's acceptable to attribute to gender difference (or for that matter to national difference or ethnic difference) really varies. I can easily hear my mother-in-law saying things like that...
Mar. 15th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
You're right, I know it can be cultural, too. I think there's also simply some women who like to admire men in that way, and are less considerate of their own gender, regardless of their own culture or age. Often very intelligent and strong-minded women, and often if they've gone into a male-dominated field. As if, the fact -they- can do it is just proof that they're special, but most women are still incapable of it.

It's always fascinating to study how other people see the world. :-)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )