Unleashing creativity through sculpture

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

Larcia Premo, instructor, Introduction to Sculpture, Homewood

"I have taught Intro to Sculpture once a year for 12 years. The course is open to seniors and is only two credits, so in a way it's a bit of well-earned playtime for them. I say play in the most serious and earnest way. Play is a path to discovery. The course requires curiosity and creativity, and there is a fearlessness to it that is liberating. There is nothing like a hands-on experience.

"It would be great to think that these students will continue making sculpture, but realistically I just hope they will enjoy modern sculpture and gain practical skills that they can carry with them. Like athletic or math ability, creativity is more innate in some, but ultimately I think it is a skill that you can hone. I think it is essential as an educator to promote creativity and curiosity. Plus, they learn how to use a variety of power tools, which does really come in handy.

"The class is more focused on the process than the results. It's enlightening to me to watch the different approaches students have. Some keep me guessing.

"We start with portraiture in modeling clay but then cover it in papier-mâché. This paper bust can be traditional, or they can transform it. I want them to learn modeling, but since we don't have a kiln, this is a way for them to create a permanent piece. Then we work with various woods to assemble a form. I let it be pretty free-form and intuitive. I give a quick mold-making assignment, and one on folding metal; their last project is up to them.

"I've had students do all sorts of things, from building tire furniture to claymation. It's really fun to see students come out of their shell. One student did a cast of a small goblet. It ended up referencing reproduction and perhaps even the market for fertility. I don't think she intended it that way, but I also don't think it was accidental. Our subconscious does come out in amazing ways."

Posted in Arts+Culture, Student Life

Tagged sculpture