Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Summer Camp is Official... And So is BECon


Coffee in the New Orleans skyline mug, "A Long December" by Counting Crows on iTunes. "There's reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last... now the days go by so fast." Time to shift gears. Maybe the Counting Crows believe that this year will be better than the last, but I am not so optimistic. Last year was a great year for business growth for me in terms of sales. Maybe the goal this year should be to focus on growth areas for a slow economy, e.g., more open studio sessions, summer camp, and other opportunities for growth at home rather than national growth on the road in sales. This is not to say that I will stop doing shows and advertising--I think it's a great time to drive forward and get in front of as many potential buyers as possible. But my expectation on returns is much lower and if I want to continue to grow--or even to hold to last year's revenue--I am going to have to be more creative.

This is also a good year to hone my skills, and to that end I have registered for BECon. I was stuck on which post-conference workshop I wanted to take more--Linda Ethier on Lost Wax or Richard Whitely on Kiln-Casting. Fortunately for my poor overworked brain, the Whitely workshop is wait-listed already so I am going for lost wax. Yea! Now I jut need to work out my airfare. Hope I can scramble together enough miles/reward points for it as Portland looks EXPENSIVE from Atlanta. Maybe I'll just wait till the last minute again like I did with Todd's Philadelphia ticket and hope for the best. (As my Travel Rewards redemption page appears to be BROKEN waiting might be my only option!).

Yesterday I began the process of setting up a summer camp program. Initially I am going to offer two week-long sessions in July. The curriculum for each week includes presentations on the use of ceremonial masks in various cultures in the morning, and instruction in glass as an artistic medium in the afternoon. Each camp participant will create and bring home one or more (time permitting) glass masks in the style of one of the cultures presented during the week. Resources I am using for teaching materials include: The Maya :Life, Myth and Art, Masks: Faces of Culture, Carnival Masks of Venice: A Photographic Essay, Masks of the World, Inventing Masks, and (I hope) Giinaquq--Like a Face. The last one won't be published until May. Camp will run 10-4 Mon-Fri and will be open to rising fifth graders and older. Cost is $350 including all tools and materials, and camp size is limited to 8 participants per week. Early drop-off and late pick-up will be available at no charge as studio time for the participants to work on their projects.

I expect to teach several basic casting and mold-making techniques that I am already familiar with, and I hope to add new ideas and techniques gleaned from my time at BECon. If there is enough demand, I hope to expand to more sessions and to add sessions during the school-year breaks. I love teaching and I finally feel like there is an area to which I can contribute meaningfully. I am just not cut out to teach vanilla basic kiln-forming. but kiln-forming with a direction, with an anthropoloical/sociological context... ah, now that's right up my alley.

4 comments:

Bill said...

That sounds almost college-level. What age groups are you looking for?

Brenda Griffith said...

rising 5th grade and up (so 5th grade by fall). I am hoping to get some 80 year-olds in the sessions...

forestcats said...

Artist escape time sounds great. I heard that the economy of both France & Germany are not suffering so much. Have you any routes there?

Brenda Griffith said...

Sadly, no. Time to take my stuff on the road and do some European shows!