Tag Archives: pottery

AN EDUCATOR INTERVIEW: MERCEDES MALTESE

As a fellow employee of the Washington Pavilion, I have had the chance to meet Mercedes before interviewing her for JAM’s Educator Interview. We meet regularly at the Pavilion to go over future lesson plans, and she is there to help other teachers understand the more artistic processes with children. Mercedes leaves quite the great impression! She’s wonderful at creating a fantastic learning experience, even with adults. She especially cares enough to make sure every child understands, and is having fun with the projects. It was amazing to have that student to teacher base impression of her before sitting down and chatting.

-Hannah

Clay Castles camp. In the first one Mercedes about to load a student’s castle into the kiln.

Where/what do you teach and what ages? 

I teach at the Washington Pavilion, ages pre-k through seniors. I teach drawing, painting sculpture and ceramics. I teach outreach to youth at risk at Juvenile detention center, Multicultural Center, Bowden Youth Center, and other afterschool programs funded by grants in the Action Arts and Science Program (AASP).
I teach private lessons, home school lessons, art smarts (primarily school field trips to the Pavilion) OLLI classes, and pottery classes like ‘Wine on the Wheel’.

Clay castle

What inspired you to begin your teaching career? Was the goal always teaching?

I knew I wanted to be an art teacher in 3rd grade. I had great art teachers in middle and high school that encouraged me to stay in the arts. Lori Boldt, Maureen Kaul and Sara Winterscheidt to name a few.

Is there a specific rule of thumb, style, or method that you like to follow when you teach?

Practice every day! Work those art muscles! Step out of one’s comfort zone. If one always draws the same thing, they’ll get really great at drawing that thing. One should try to draw other things, too! For example, I try to push people away from the classic “corner sunshine” composition and ask them if there is another way to put the sun in their picture. In my opinion, art is 90% problem solving and 10% skill.

8-9 year old students working in the Rogers Clay studio at the Pavilion.

What are your favorite aspects about teaching?

Watching the self-discovery, and winning the students over. Sometimes they come into the room and see the project we will be working on, and the first thing out of their mouth is, “We’re making that? I can’t do that.” Then when class is over they are usually pretty impressed with themselves. 

Paper strip sculpture from a sculpture class with Mercedes.

Is there anything that you would want to change about teaching?

Not now. I taught in the public school system for a few years in Georgia, and grading art for 600 students was a challenge. I also felt I didn’t get to know my students very well. Now I teach in an informal setting at the Pavilion where there are no grades; only learning and exploration and discovery without pressure to make the grade. My students are in my classes because they choose to be, and that feels awesome!

Would you give us a glimpse into your hobbies and interests? What are some of your favorite pass times?

My 15 year old daughter and I like to sing and play a few instruments. I like to play in my garden and I love to feed people delicious food. I do Henna tattoos as a side business, When I get a chance to do art for myself, I like to make drums out of clay and cover them with goat skin. Then I do custom Henna designs on the skins of the drums.

Dr. Seuss style landscapes created by JDC students, through the AASP program for earth day.

Thinking about the future, what is a larger-than-life goal that you might have?

I would love to travel the world. I was able to visit Europe for the first time last year. Ireland was such a grand experience that it wet my appetite for more traveling.

Are you part of, or are you planning any big events with the public?

Well, we do a lot of outreach through the Pavilion at special events like the Pride Festival, Down Town Riverfest and Jazz Fest. It’s usually easy to find our table. Just look for all the kids having fun!

Mercedes teaching the wheel.

Can anyone sign up for classes with you?

Yes. Anyone. You’ll find most of the classes I teach at Washingtonpavilion.org. I’ve done private and semi-private lessons with students from 4 to 94.

Using three words how would you describe yourself and style of teaching?
Passionate, creative and FUN!

Mercedes teaching the wheel, time to paint.

 

Mercedes creating a henna design.

ANNOUNCEMENT: JAM Art and Supplies will be having Mercedes Maltese create henna body art both July and August First Fridays 7-8:30 pm. We’ll be open late till 9 pm.

Henna done by Mercedes.
Henna done by Mercedes.

First Friday Review: September 4th, 2015

This past First Friday held an abundant offering of exhibits, and judging by the packed streets of downtown, you could tell that everyone was trying to enjoy the last fleeting days of summer. Art receptions for the evening included:

Frislie’s First Friday Art in the Alleyway, “Art of Colloquialism” at Eastbank Gallery, “No Deck Pics” at Vishnu Bunny Tattoo’s Third Eye Gallery, “The Annual Recovery Art Show” led by Tallgrass Recovery at Exposure Gallery and Studios, “The Annual Portfolio Show” at Rehfeld’s, as well as DTSF’s Chalk the Walk and the Downtown Block Party on the Eastbank. Whew. Continue reading First Friday Review: September 4th, 2015

Around and About – Up In Smoke Pottery

For Chad Dykstra, pottery began as just a hobby. He was introduced to the art by his father-in-law and started throwing back in 1992. It wasn’t until gentle prodding from his wife to start selling his creations in 2008 that he decided to turn his hobby into a way of life and the business now known as Up In Smoke Pottery.

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Chad and his wife Kiesha work together on the pieces. He usually throws all of the pieces and his wife does the finishing and glazing. They do a few different types of pottery; Pit fire, foil saggar, paper saggar, obvara, and blackware are each beautiful in their own ways. Plus, these pieces really travel well. Up In Smoke Pottery has sold pieces all over the United States and Canada. They’ve also won Continue reading Around and About – Up In Smoke Pottery

Why You Should Try Something New and Blog for JAM

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I started using the Washington Pavilion pottery studio. Every Sunday from 1-4 there is an open studio for people who have taken a class in their pottery studio before, or if you at least have some knowledge about clay. Supposedly, I fall into the latter category. It’s foolish.

I don’t know anything about clay. In college I focused mainly on printmaking, drawing, and painting. When I took my ceramics class with Jerry Punt I became easily discouraged. I started hand building a sculpture that looked like it was a sand castle made out of hollow marshmallows. I don’t remember how long I worked on it, but at some point it disappeared. Someone threw it out.

Five years later I’m finally ready to move on and try my hand in the ceramics studio. They make it  easy to buy clay from there, which I really liked. And, it doesn’t cost anything to fire your pieces. Continue reading Why You Should Try Something New and Blog for JAM