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Assemblage Part 2

Surely there are animals who do reverse hibernation? I want to be one of them. I want to find a deep, dark cave and sleep till fall. I hate this weather.

The Assemblage Sculpture workshop has problems.

1) Scale
The instructor came to the first class with large-scale pieces: wood, pipes, log sections, planters, lattice sections, etc., and demonstrated construction with nails, screws, braces, angle brackets, and took the class on a walk around the DeCordova grounds to look at the installed sculptures. We were told to bring in similar supplies of our own, using hers to supplement. This is a larger scale than I'm used to working in, and I think others had the same feeling. (Last night the other student said she'd looked up "assemblage" artists and was surprised that many seem to be working in shadow-box sizes.) I've been bringing in objects and wood for a large piece, but each car load means longer time to put things away at the end, longer time to pull them out from the studio's lockers and shelves at the start of the next session. I think this commitment is part of what's hurt attendance.

2) Attendance
Out of 5 students, the first class had 4, the second class had 3 (which included the one previously missing), and the two classes this week have only had 2, the same two, myself and the one other who's been to each session. So it looks like it's just us. This isn't as much fun as it might seem. More people means more energy, more interesting things that other people are doing that might inspire you. And the teacher seems uncertain how to handle this, at loose ends because there's only two people to hover over and we're not asking for help or advice (or not as much as we probably should be).

3) Timing
Ugh, the weather. Last evening's session was the first where I felt I could move without sweating, breathe without drowning from the humidity or coughing from dust. And the sessions are 6:30 till 9:30, so after a full day of work and with no time to relax in between. Get out of work, drive to the museum, carry a load of supplies and tools to the studio, pull out all the previous supplies and tools... and I want to collapse and sleep instead of working on my pieces. I miss the gut workshop, where the instructor always started each session with 15-20 minutes of slides and then a look around. That transition was nicer than I knew.

4) Focus
She had a schedule. We haven't followed it. She's very nice, and yes, that's a problem now that it's down to only two students. She keeps asking us if we'd like to try this, look at that, talk about this other, or just work more on our pieces? and we look at each other for direction, for how to answer that will best accommodate everyone, and usually end up just working more on our pieces. Last Wednesday, she gave out a recipe for a cement coating mix and asked if we'd like to see it made up and we just murmured vaguely. This Monday, she showed us some foam coated with the mix, which gives an great effect of solid cement. And asked again if we'd like to see some mixed up? to use? But we looked at each other and no one had anything they wanted to coat, nothing to use it on, it would just go to waste, and so, no. But that took up time and, worse, it drains energy, scatters energy, makes you feel "why -don't- I have something to use it for? maybe I should come up with something, and forget about the current piece?"

We have four sessions left. I've got one small piece 95% done, and one large piece barely started and I know I'm too ambitious for it and should just futz around and try out things instead, but... eh. We'll see.

What I really feel like doing is pulling the instructor aside and giving some direct feedback on running this again. I have Ideas. For instance, starting off the first session of the course with a shoebox of random objects for each student and a handout with a list of themes and two hours to put something together, then using the third hour to talk about what was done. That would work better as an intro to assemblage, and then expand from there. Much less intimidating (for most) than a table full of random bits of lumber and an electric drill and a "just get started on whatever you want."



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 15th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
LOL! Now I just need to become a.. um... land snail! or ladybug. We won't mention the mammal. *snicker*
Jul. 15th, 2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
Direct feedback sounds like a good idea.

I know what you mean about the energy of a slightly larger group. All the more reason to give her some direct feedback, I think.
Jul. 16th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
I will, but I'll save it till the end. I like her and it's tricky, I sometimes come across much blunter than I mean to be so I have to play it through several times in my head to try to make it come out right. Or at least, closer to the desired effect.

Actually, I'm rather shocked that the two others from the first class have dropped out. Both seemed interested and involved enough that evening, though it's true that neither ended up with anything they seemed to want to keep.

Edited at 2010-07-16 01:39 am (UTC)
Jul. 16th, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)
So there's nothing you could fruitfully say while the class is still ongoing that might improve it?
Jul. 16th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
What I think I can do, and will try to do, is to be more focused myself. So that instead of going "ummmmmm... ?" when she asks us about something, I can give a coherent and direct reply. *pokes self to remember this*

(edited for misspelling :-P )

Edited at 2010-07-16 02:52 am (UTC)
Jul. 16th, 2010 06:49 am (UTC)
>> Surely there are animals who do reverse hibernation? <<

It is called estivation.
Jul. 16th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Yes...
Thank you! That link had some interesting information. Nice site to know about.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )