The last two fridays I was fortunate enough to teach a relief printing and simple book binding class at Solstice Recovery Treatment Center in Layton, UT. It had been quite awhile since I found myself in front of a group of students, and although I make prints all the time I had never formally taught a class on it. The night before I was so stressed. Trying to pull a lesson plan together, triple counting the number of blocks and paper I prepared. All I could think about was, what if the class is a flop? What if someone accidentally stabs themselves with a carving tool? What if the students think it is boring? What is they think I'm boring!?
However, once I was there everything went as smoothly as I could have hoped for. My friend Stacey is a full time in employee of Solstice RTC so she was there for support the whole time and to offer her keen "eye for art" as the students carved and printed their blocks. There were so many amazing pieces created. It was awesome to see the excitement in the students. While some used carving the block as creative expression others found it a coping mechanism to help aid in working through the emotions they were working through.
In the end, it confirmed my belief in the need for art education. The idea that art has an important place in all children's education. It offers a safe space for expression, therapeutic opportunities, as well as just being fun and a distraction from the constant stresses of grades, meeting deadlines, and constant structure. It offers a space to get messy in, whether that means working through some tough emotions or physically being covered in ink.
I look forward to teaching more classes in the future and am hoping to incorporate education more into Holdfast.