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Any pointers for doing a live demonstration?


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#1 Pugaboo

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:02 PM

Kind of feel like shouting HELP! Quick background - passed my last required class to join the local Arts Group Ceramics Studio. Yesterday was over there and was asked to do a 2-3 hour demonstration on THIS Saturday for the semi Annual Arts Walk. My teacher said that one of the directors saw my little boxes I am using to test out different techniques and really liked what she saw and she asked him to ask me if I would do it. I've been told nobody else is doing the surface design work like I am and has even asked if I would teach a class when I felt I am ready ( sooooo not ready! Lol). The arts walk is kind of a way I think for him to get me to get my toes wet showing my techniques to other people. Several of the artists are doing demonstrations but they have way more experience with ceramics and even demonstrations for the arts walk.

So just how does this kind of thing work? I asked and was told just bring some stuff you are working on and do it at the studio and people will watch and maybe even ask questions. It was kind of stressed they want me to focus on some of the design work I do on the clay rather than making a bowl or vase. You can see some of the tests I have done under my gallery, there's more just haven't taken pics of them yet. The boxes are vary simple with just one technique on each and I use them to hold my tools on my worktable. Plan to do a larger box with a top for the demonstration. Just don't think it's going to take 2-3 hours to do the design work on it so should I have a second box ready to go as well? It's been suggested I focus on hand cut paper stencils, mason transfers, UG transfers, free hand painting, and stamping or water etching. That's a wide range of techniques! Not sure which ones can be done in the time frame allotted and still give a good show. I mean its not cool like throwing on the wheel or making clay roses or huge platters so am kind of worried it will be too simplistic.

Has anyone done anything like this? Any pointers you can give a first timer working in public?

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#2 TJR

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:14 PM

Terry;
Have your pre-cut slab pieces ready to go to assemble a box.
2.Put the box together, to show how leather hard clay works.
3.Have some flat tiles where you can demonstrate one or two techniques, and
4.Have a few finished pieces.
5.Be prepared to answer questions. You are there to demonstrate, and not create finished art work.
Be pleasant friendly. Look people in the eye.
6.Clean up after yourself.
TJR.

#3 Pres

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:12 PM

Kind of feel like shouting HELP! Quick background - passed my last required class to join the local Arts Group Ceramics Studio. Yesterday was over there and was asked to do a 2-3 hour demonstration on THIS Saturday for the semi Annual Arts Walk. My teacher said that one of the directors saw my little boxes I am using to test out different techniques and really liked what she saw and she asked him to ask me if I would do it. I've been told nobody else is doing the surface design work like I am and has even asked if I would teach a class when I felt I am ready ( sooooo not ready! Lol). The arts walk is kind of a way I think for him to get me to get my toes wet showing my techniques to other people. Several of the artists are doing demonstrations but they have way more experience with ceramics and even demonstrations for the arts walk.

So just how does this kind of thing work? I asked and was told just bring some stuff you are working on and do it at the studio and people will watch and maybe even ask questions. It was kind of stressed they want me to focus on some of the design work I do on the clay rather than making a bowl or vase. You can see some of the tests I have done under my gallery, there's more just haven't taken pics of them yet. The boxes are vary simple with just one technique on each and I use them to hold my tools on my worktable. Plan to do a larger box with a top for the demonstration. Just don't think it's going to take 2-3 hours to do the design work on it so should I have a second box ready to go as well? It's been suggested I focus on hand cut paper stencils, mason transfers, UG transfers, free hand painting, and stamping or water etching. That's a wide range of techniques! Not sure which ones can be done in the time frame allotted and still give a good show. I mean its not cool like throwing on the wheel or making clay roses or huge platters so am kind of worried it will be too simplistic.

Has anyone done anything like this? Any pointers you can give a first timer working in public?

Terry


After years of having to do demos for classes, I got away from the heavy scripting of the early years and in the end used some simple techniques. 1) List of talking points, this usually a list of items I want to cover-but only a key word or two to remember the point. 2) Grouping of tools needed for the project. 3)Creation of slabs including different techniques: cutting, rolling etc. 4)Surface embellishment techniques-may even include decorating an entire large slab, and cutting the smaller slabs out of it. I often would have a project I would begin, and one that I would end as the middle is repetitious dependent on time needed. 5) Joining techniques, and reinforcement of seams. 6)Finishing and signing. Others will have their own points of interest, but the idea of having the simple list of key words to spark your memory, not forget something, and stay in an organized order helps-especially on a first demo. Good Luck!

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#4 Chris Campbell

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:25 AM

If its an Art Walk, not many will stand around for the whole time so essentially you will have a changing, moving audience ... so keep it simple and leave lots of time for questions and comments. You might repeat the same demo a few times. Definitely have finished work there so they know what the end product is. Bring water to drink and a trail mix type snack.

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TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#5 OffCenter

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 12:37 PM

Most importantly, remember to show up. I was supposed to demo on a wheel for a new gallery opening up in Denver many years ago and forgot about it. Several people were not pleased.

Jim
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"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#6 Benzine

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 12:38 PM

I second everything Pres said.

I've never done a demo for such an event, but I've done plenty for my classes. I always have an example, for each step in the process ready to go. My students have often joked, that my demos are like cooking shows, because I pull progressively more finished products out, as I go.
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#7 Pugaboo

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 05:22 PM

All excellent pointers thank you. I love the idea of samples of each step in the process but there simply isn't time to do that I only found out about it Tuesday afternoon and have to be ready to do it Saturday afternoon. It doesn't help it's been raining since Tuesday and nothing wants to dry...grrr. Little loafers tends to like to crack if you push the drying process so don't want to push it too much and end up with nothing but cracks.

So this is what I have sort of decided to do please feel free to make suggestions or changes to improve my chances of not looking like a complete idiot. This is truly a possibility trust me on this!

I made up 3 lidded boxes all the same size assembled 2 of them but made them each a bit different by changing the feet and the knobs on the lid. I changed these to compliment what I am planning on doing to each box so they are cohesive in their design. These two are assembled and wrapped in plastic awaiting the demonstration. The third box I have cut out and dried to leather hard and wrapped in plastic in preparation to assemble it during the demonstration if needed/wanted/ expected. The good thing about having two boxes going is as one is drying I can work on the other and switch back and forth so I am not staining there doing nothing for any period of time.

For the first box I am going to reinterpret my butterfly lantern design onto the box. I've already worked out the design steps so won't have to guess what to do in what order. I won't be doing the miniature butterfly cut outs but added a butterfly shaped knob on the top of the lid instead. This box will actually look really good without even being fired since everything gets done to it before going into the bisque fire and only gets a clear glaze after that. Just not sure if I should plan to decorate the inside as well? The design has lots of steps so someone could hang around to watch me attach the paper stencils but move on or someone could come in halfway through which would be about the step where I would be removing the stencils and getting ready to handpaint the butterflies. I plan to take the finished lantern so people can get an idea where I am headed with the box.

Box two will again have several steps so people can come and go and still get an idea how things work. This one my teacher will be super happy with since I will be doing a Mason Transfer of a Pug and he's been asking me to show him that process. It also has paper stencils, rubber stamping and a touch of hand painting. I put a flower knob on this one and little stylized Pug paws for the feet since the Pug will be holding a flower. It also only gets a clear glaze so will look pretty much finished before it goes into the bisque firing.

Box three I have to assemble of course and if I do that I think that would more than take up the rest of the time but if not I have some UG transfers ready to go as well as some paper to cut some stencils on the fly and will take a few extra stamps to decorate with as well.

Not sure if I am over planning or not but figure if I don't need something it can stay in my kit but would feel really bad to finish up a half hour in and then not have anything to show people. IF I can get it to dry to bone dry before Saturday I have a small 3x4 plain box done that I could do a design on and then do water etching but if it doesn't dry enough I can't do that process.

Sooo does that sound okay? I am also making little talking points as suggested just so I can be sure to touch on the different steps and processes and hopefully be able to communicate these in a manner that sounds interesting yet informative. I joked with my teacher that I might need a translator to translate from Terry-speak into normal human language so people will know what the heck I am talking about! He just laughed and said I'll do fine.

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#8 Isculpt

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:22 PM

Pres & TJR - GREAT suggestions that I wish I'd read three days ago BEFORE a film crew came to my studio to do a 5-minute documentary on me & my sculpting. Arrrgh! I'm afraid that I was boring, boring, boring. I also got this great advice from a friend, albeit a day too late : "THINK, THEN SPEAK!" Damn! Now, why didn't I think of that???

#9 Pres

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:41 PM

Pres & TJR - GREAT suggestions that I wish I'd read three days ago BEFORE a film crew came to my studio to do a 5-minute documentary on me & my sculpting. Arrrgh! I'm afraid that I was boring, boring, boring. I also got this great advice from a friend, albeit a day too late : "THINK, THEN SPEAK!" Damn! Now, why didn't I think of that???


When one teaches 6 classes a day, 5 days a week, or 180 days of the year and realize what missteps can mean to losing the class, you learn to plan. Not just demonstrations, but opening, closing, organization, interaction, all of it. Don't worry about one misstep, practice does help though. In the long run you will have a little better idea of what to do the next time.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#10 Pugaboo

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 09:47 PM

Pres thank you for your pointers and yes I learned a lot and will remember the things I need to change, improve or plan to explain more. I was supposed to demonstrate from 2-4 but ended up staying until 6pm. I did need the I unassembled box as it was requested I show how I built the others so am so very glad I thought to take it. I thought I'd show you guys 2 of the boxes I did up for the demonstration, the forms are rather simple but having a lid is a new thing for me as I had never done a lidded form before. The third box I gave to one of the other potters that helped me build it so I don't have a picture of it.

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The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#11 Pres

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 08:07 AM

Pres thank you for your pointers and yes I learned a lot and will remember the things I need to change, improve or plan to explain more. I was supposed to demonstrate from 2-4 but ended up staying until 6pm. I did need the I unassembled box as it was requested I show how I built the others so am so very glad I thought to take it. I thought I'd show you guys 2 of the boxes I did up for the demonstration, the forms are rather simple but having a lid is a new thing for me as I had never done a lidded form before. The third box I gave to one of the other potters that helped me build it so I don't have a picture of it.


In the early years of teaching, I was in a habit of critiquing my lesson and writing down notes in a journal. This helped me to remember,as memory is short, for the future.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#12 Benzine

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 04:34 PM

Like with anything, it takes practice, teaching in a classroom, gives you plenty of that.

Pugaboo, those are nice boxes, very precise.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#13 AtomicAxe

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 05:45 PM

The last few demo's I've done have turned from structured how-to instructions into really just discussing art while constructing work and answering a couple questions people might have.  Keep your process simple and informative, don't feel like you HAVE to stay structured, and have fun with it.  People at a live demo can tell if you're not having fun.   But as long as you are practiced, you will be fine.



#14 Pres

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 10:35 PM

Somethng that has not been mentioned here is "know your audience". You can do a demo for a group of Elementary kids, and blow it even though it works for HS or adults. the same happens if you try to teach too much to passersby at an arts festival. Gearing up your demonstration to match your audience's attention span, their amount of investment, and their age levels means a lot in the end.

Sadly, their is one other factor here, what your purpose for the demo? Are you providing a genuine service by doing this demo, or are you merely window dressing to fill an event schedule?


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/





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