My students and I explored the work of Andy Goldsworthy today by soaking in the footage from “Rivers and Tides”. His interactions with natural materials captured our attention, and his commentary invited us to deepen our understanding of the creative process. It was so refreshing to listen to an artist explain his intentions, his struggles, and his reflections. We even got to see some of his mistakes.
This is the first time that I’ve seen an artist present his work in a way that can benefit students, because it’s so honest and real. Yes, we still got to see the finished product, but we also saw the process. Too often, students are presented with a polished work — the kind you see in galleries & textbooks.
If we present nothing but perfection to our students, we are starving their creative spirit.
Students need to know that it’s okay to explore, to experiment, and to fail. They need to know that their learning environment welcomes mistakes while they play with ideas and materials. They need to see that you’re willing to mess up, that you’re not perfect, and neither are great artists.
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” ~ Michelangelo
If we can push students past their fear and encourage them to play, they will begin to understand the joy of art. If we can push past our fear of losing control and allow students to play, the classroom can become a place where creativity thrives.