One of the classes I teach, Studio, Art and Society, was designed specifically for non-art majors. The first three weeks of the course are spent making a hand-bound sketchbook, largely inspired by books I’ve made in the past thanks to Paulus Berensohn. Throughout the semester, we fill the books with writings and drawings made at various museums and cultural institutions throughout the Berkshires.
Each individual class follows a distinct structure. We begin by making an attendance card drawing, then I read the poem of the day to which to students respond in their sketchbooks with text and images. After they share their reflections of the poem with a fellow classmate, we head out on our field trip armed with sketchbook/journal prompts to guide the days’ visit.
On the very first day, the poem of the day is by Wendell Berry, How to be a Poet (to remind myself). I use this poem to introduce students to some of the ways of creating a sacred space for ones creative practice, be it writing, drawing, collage, or otherwise. I love that Wendell Berry, Wendell Berry, author of over 40 books of poetry, fiction, and essays, wrote this poem, in his late 70s.
How to Be a Poet
Create a random background. Use a little bit of gesso to neutralize it, then use three elements to create a composition that moves the eye across the page.
Everyday through December 25th, I’ll be making a 5×5 inch collage, writing a short entry on this blog and sharing a prompt for those who might want to participate along with me. You can follow my progress by subscribing to this blog through the sidebar on the blog homepage, or by following me on Instagram.