This photos was from a session on Thursday called “Pinching on Both Sides of the Brain,” led by art teacher Andrew Tomasik. He presented rationale for using more pinch in secondary ceramics – not just as an introduction to more important project, but both as a substantial exercise and a product end.
He compared the dueling qualities of standardized and divergent (differentiated) instruction in school to the stylistic tension artists face between technique and expression. Tomasik presented that geometric pots – think wheel thrown, slab built, work with heavy symmetry and tight form – should be balanced in the project sequence with organic projects – more flowing, freeform work, designed – from his perspective – to “loosen the tight mind.”
He framed this dichotomy in terms of a simple project that, ironically, would make a great introductory project to clay. He had us work first in the traditional, symmetrical round pinch technique. Then he asked us to quickly poke a few holes in the clay, and expand the form from there. Most of the people in our audience preferred working in this way, from a show of hands. Tomasik said this was because we were a more “artsy” crowd.
Although I loved the process of this hands-on session, Tomasik’s message could have been much stronger with the integration of research that supported his perspective. That research is out there – some people ARE more divergent with their thinking than others, but creativity can be taught. And there’s a lot of research out there that supports the need for it, too.
Tomasik presented that we should, “Think of clay like a spring – structured but flexible.” The presentation was delightfully springy – but I would have preferred a little more structure.
Standardized vs Divergent
As a teacher, we deal with the same tension between technique and expression…
Geometric vs Organic
Many times a pinch project is seems as just a quick activity before more important ones like coil, slab, or throwing on the wheel.
Geometric activity – tightens the loose mind