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workshop w/ david furman

updated mon 2 nov 09


Nils Lou on sun 1 nov 09

This last week Linfield College hosted a week-long workshop presented by =
David Furman, Emeritus Professor of art from Claremont College. David is =
one of the most accomplished trompe l=3D92oile artists, and you can see =3D
his work by googling him.=3D20
The workshop was focused on casting organic forms in plaster for =3D
eventual slip casting. Students in ceramics and sculpture participated.=3D2=
As several have mentioned, workshops need to be well planned. Furman =3D
sent a list of materials needed to have on hand to start. In addition, =3D
he shipped ahead a box of tools, and a green casting of gourd parts he =3D
would assemble here. Also, he sent in advance, a 100 some page of =3D
technical/historical information that we copied for each student =3D
participant to use and keep as a reference. On Monday night, day of =3D
arrival, he presented a power point lecture of his work and how he =3D
developed as an artist. I found this to be especially useful to our =3D
students as it demonstrated at least one pathway to finding one=3D92s way =
artistically. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday afternoons 1 to 5 were spent =3D
in hands-on moldmaking by the students with David guiding and =3D
instructing the intricate processes. Wednesday evening another lecture =3D
was presented to a wider audience invited by the art department to meet =3D
and hear David=3D92s talk on historical work from other cultures, =3D
especially work made with molds of different kinds. Furman has spent a =3D
lot of time in Central and South America, especially in Peru. In the =3D
workshop he showed the students a small, clay mold from Peru used to =3D
press mold a small fertility figure. It dated from more than 1100 years =3D
ago. Each student had an opportunity to use the mold to make their own =3D
press-molded piece!=3D20
Friday morning, on the day of his trip home, several students were =3D
finishing up their work and David took the time to talk about what it is =
to be an artist. How it takes real perseverance and dedication to =3D
details. Not to settle for less than the best work one can do.=3D20
The workshop certainly had all the elements of a one-person play, but it =
was orchestrated=3D20
more dimensionally with the active inclusion of the students. The =3D
planning set up the performance so the rhythm and movement through the =3D
week=3D92s presentation went smoothly and professionally.=3D20
In between times the art faculty had time to chat about mutual friends =3D
and former students. Ron Mills, my colleague, taught with David at =3D
Claremont many years ago, so they had lots to catch up on.=3D20
The students had an opportunity to interact one-on-one with a renowned =3D
clay artist. His workshop illustrated for me exactly what a workshop =3D
should be.

nils lou, professor of art
"Play is the essence of creativity", and
"What is not brought forward into consciousness....
we later call Fate", Carl Jung