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mel and dannnon's workshop at acc

updated thu 22 jun 00


J Paul Watkins on wed 21 jun 00

I am a little slow getting around to complimenting Mel and Dannon for the
quality of their clay workshop "Throwing: The Complete Story", June 5-9. I
am sure all of you know how much backs up on you when you are out of
pocket for 5 days... just got caught up!.. Ha! Does that ever happen?
Anyway, Mel and Dannon organized and facilitated a workshop for
intermediate and advanced throwers that covered a tremendous amount of
information, both cognitive and visual, to the 20 fortunate students who
made the cut-off number. I was impressed by the warm and supportive
rapport that Mel and Dannon communicated to the students that made the
learning situation such a positive experience. Many of the students
were overheard talking about the feeling of comaraderie and closeness
that prevailed and built during the week together. Mel and Dannon gave
excellent demonstrations and one-on-one as well as group critiques that
were instrumental in the very obvious individual growth of the students.
I thought is very refreshing and enjoyable to observe the warm and
genuinely strong and professional rapport between Mel and Dannon as they
cajoled each other with the contrasting approaches that each took to the
handling of the clay. This wonderful interaction between the instructors
provided the students with some thought-provoking and self-searching
analysis of their own personal approaches to working with clay and
stimulated more creative and challenging solutions to their individual
problems. As an art teacher with 40 years experience, the subleties of
their effective teaching styles was enjoyable to watch.
The personal growth of the class was evident in the students attitude toward
squashing their freshly thrown piece and starting over searching for a
better thrown and better designed form. Mel and Dannon each stressed the
concept of releasing oneself from seeing each piece as a product of divine
intervention. A great philosophical learning experience for all students.
Well, they threw pots, talked wonderful philosophy and concepts, fired,
glazed and refired pots and made it a very profitable learning experience
for the 20 students involved. And we all had wonderful times talking and
sharing experiences.
The 20 students were from CA, NC, MS, TN, IL AND FL.... great
representation from all over... meeting at a wonderful facility in TN with
trees, mountains and lake... isolated in just the right mixture of quiet
tranquility, great well-equipped studios, stimulating instruction and good
food at MAMA LEA'S CAFE at the Applachian Center for the Crafts in
Smithville, TN....
by the way, Vince was around but REALLY BUSY getting ready to go off on
his annual trek all over the country, giving workshops and visiting family
in CA... I did get one photo of his backside as he worked on a Shimpo but
he threatened me regarding to seeing it on ClayArt listserve... so sorry
people... I am afraid of showing it.... he is one big guy!!!....
Thanks Mel and Dannon for a great week... to the people that didn't make
the workshop.. take advantage of the next one they offer.... you will
benefit greatly!!!
Hello to all the workshop students... really enjoyed getting to know each
of you and keep in touch.... appreciatively, Paul Watkins