Since I am a practising woodfiring ceramic artist, I will finish with the following experiences:
Wood-firing as a teaching method
Social and professional interaction between people as an element in the learning process.
Integration between theory and practice.
By way of working with the dynamic of groups, one discovers that learning happens easiest in an environment where there is a dialectic tension and conflict between immediate concrete experience and analysis. By bringing together immediate concrete experience with terminological models in a social and open atmosphere, where contributions from both perspectives can challenge and stimulate one another, a vital and dynamic learning environment is created.
Body, space and material
Bodily movements are not only anatomical, physiological functions, they are also a precondition for visual perception and visual operativ thought. The external framework factors are decisive for the degree of interaction between body and its surroundings (i.e. space) and the body and the materials. The most important factors for creation of forms are space and material. The body and space are basal, existential entities. The body`s encounter with space and material, presence, characterizes this process and is crucial for the learning that takes place. The aesthetic realization is developed by the sensitive perception of the concrete activity.
Responsibility and collaboration, sensing and experience
The wood-firing process is usually of such a nature that several people work together towards a common goal. Everyone wants it to work. Co-operation requires responsibility, vigilance and input from the idividual. The understanding and significance of responsibility and co-operation grow through the process.
Knowledge of firing is acquired through active participation in the firing process, through academic exchanges and discussions. Personal relations are established that play an important role in the terms of the individual`s development as a ceramic artist and as a person. It breeds a close relationship to the actual process. In addition to having to work hard physically simply to keep the firing process going, auditory and visual sensing are essential for ensuring the success of the firing.
This represents a learning process where the students participate in the physical treatment of the materials through sensitive presence and action in response to the processes occurring inside the kiln. It creates a sense of closeness to all the elements involved and faith in one`s sensory perceptions. This physical presence makes the aspect of experience decisive for the learning that occurs.
It creates a tight-knit, intense and living learning situation.