I finished my mixed media class at MCBA last night with Julie Baugnet. It was four Tuesday nights and as minimal as that was, I think we were all sad to see it end. Julie is a thoughtful and inspiring teacher and as we experimented with different media, she was adept at letting us find our own way and giving us good feedback at the same time.
I think that there were about nine of us in class: 3 people that I would describe as very experienced in book arts, and 6 that were either brand new to the book arts or nearly so. We spent a few minutes at the end of the evening last night going around the room, talking about our work and any other thoughts that we had. What I found notable was that, without exception, everyone had caught the book arts bug. And the three of us that were advanced also took big steps forward in new and exciting directions. In a good class with a generous teacher (and this was absolutely one of those), students often share techniques, supplies and information as much as the instructor. Community happens very quickly. I don't know if it's that way in other fields, but it's one of the reasons that I love taking classes.
The other reason I love taking a class is that...very surprisingly, as I'm a raging introvert...I find security in the class setting to take risks in my work. This happened consistently at Penland and it happened here as well. There is something about being in a room with people working intently, talking sometimes and being able to turn to friends or the instructor for feedback that frees me up. I work hard and fast and often start finding something very good in what I'm doing. Perhaps the community of class drowns out my own inner critic (who is way harsh)...I'm not sure why it works so well for me, but I do love it when it happens.