BRATTLEBORO -- Clay art teacher Alan Steinberg had a life-changing experience a few years ago, while waiting to see his dentist.
Randomly turning pages in a magazine, he opened to an article titled "The Miracle of Mediocrity, Nothing lifts the spirits like making bad art." This article described a weekly gathering of local artists inspired by a quote from famous filmmaker and performance artist Jack Smith, who said: "If you make perfect art you will be admired: but if you make imperfect art you will be loved!" The hostess for the gathering was asked why they used the "b-word." Doesn’t it imply low standards, low expectations, low self-esteem? No, she replied, it implies no standards, no expectations and very high self-esteem. Bad Art, she claimed, is all about conscious, dedicated badness -- in community -- as a tool of liberation.
Local aspiring clay artists will get a chance to try out this unconventional art approach to clay making on Wednesday, Sept. 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. This will be a free, introduction to sculpting in clay.
Those who find the approach liberating may choose to sign up for Finding & Exploring Form, a 10-week clay sculpting and hand-building class, also on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m., starting Sept. 26.
Unlike standard beginner clay classes, this course will focus on nurturing creativity and uncovering unique natural voices. The work will emerge in response to: meditation, stories, poetry,
There will be demonstrations of specific techniques for those wishing to take their work further, yet the attitude of playfulness from the free evening will provide the basic milieu, where "only boldness counts -- and if you can’t be bold, at least be bad."
Both the free evening and the 10-week class will be held at Brattleboro Clayworks, 532 Putney Rd. For more information and to register, contact Steinberg at 802-387-4820, Alans@sover.net or www.brattleboroclayworks.com.