Teachable Moments

One of my heroes is Grayson Perry. I was thrilled to bits when he won The Turner Prize in 2003. I was solely acquainted with his work over some years through Ceramic Review. Headlines in the UK media bandied about phrases like this one from BBCNews “pottery artist, who creates vases depicting subjects like death and child abuse, has won….”.  The Telegraph “Grayson Perry, a transvestite potter with a strong line in pornograhic and paedophile imagery, won the….” Perry is quoted as saying “Such media storms can be traumatising for someone who has laboured away for years in a studio, making art not news.”

Previous winners include: Gilbert and George, Rachel Whiteread, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst. It’s an UK thing. Some will need to stretch out of comfort zones and do some research. The internet is a superb vehicle for promoting those teacheable moments. No pop quiz. Self-guided long distance learning.

By 2013 the headlines were more cuddly and inclusive; in fact, Perry delivered The Reith Lectures which can be accessed via YouTube. Very prestigious indeed. To give you a sideways  hint novelist Hillary Mantel (Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies) delivered the Reiths this year.

My favorite quote of Perry’s goes something  like this: I can teach you how to make my last pot, but what I cannot do is teach you how to make my next one. 

I use that quote with each and every class I teach.

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