Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Instructor Introduction: Sharon and David Hartshorne
Please tell us a little about yourself; your name, background, education, and a fun fact or two.
Sharon and David Hartshorne, husband and wife team who teach wheel throwing on Wednesday evenings:
How long have you been working with clay and how did you get started?
We grew up a few miles apart on the Des Plaines River in northern Illinois and fell in love with clay in high school in the 1970’s. Later returning to our hometown, we were married and our combined talents and interests led us back to ceramics.
What are your influences, both inside and outside of the clay world?
As homegrown Midwesterners, we had learned early on to adapt to the changing seasons, preparing us for the challenges presented by our chosen material. Like the seasons, clay provides us with a wide range of opportunities, from expansive freedom of expression to the limits inherent in the material and techniques.
Drawing on diverse fonts of artistic expression, from the naturalism of Bernard Palissy to the contemplative Agnes Martin, from the innovation of Oribe-ware to the ephemeral Andy Goldsworthy, our goal by collaborating is to combine our individual perspectives of inspiration with our delight in working with this earthy material.
What advice can you give to students of the ceramic arts?
Lillstreet Art Center has provided us with the opportunity to share our abilities and combine the talents unique to each of us to enhance the experience of each student. Realizing the frustration in initial attempts at creative expression, we are always reminded that we will never play a piano concerto well if we cannot play basic scales. On the other hand, new students often bring a fresh perspective to a piece that many veterans strive to achieve.
Our teaching technique remains to encourage beginning students to persevere in order to more clearly see the finished piece, enabling them to find the voice in their work, a voice that is truly their own.
Finding the soul in a shape that has been around for thousands of years remains elusive, yet in the Arts and Crafts tradition, every handmade piece is a work of individual human expression.
Any parting words?
By creating handmade pieces of art from raw clay, we hope to exude the enthusiasm that so many artists have come to recognize as a process as simple and as complex as our own human experience.
Lillstreet’s promotion of diverse opportunities in the arts continues to provide individuals with the means to express themselves, and provides us with the rare ability to bring a tandem approach to the joy of working with clay, enabling us to tailor our approach to each student’s unique needs and abilities.
Cheers! Sharon and David