“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. ” – Thomas Merton
Today we have the privilege of introducing you to high school art (emphasis in ceramics) teacher Cati Blitz. Her answers to the questions speak for themselves, so without further ado, here she is!
Q: As a ceramics teacher at Ensworth high School, you have the opportunity to tap into the more creative side of the students. What are some of the lessons that you love to instill in the students through art?
A: Self-reliance is key. Student’s actually don’t “know ” I’m teaching this, but my intent is to empower my students to think creatively on their own. Not necessarily to be artists, per se, but to be creative thinkers. I teach them a multitude of skills from very basic “common sense” abilities to construction techniques specific to ceramics. Then at the same time they have to express themselves aesthetically by designing vessels and thinking in terms of form and surface. This is actually easy once students feel “safe” to take risks, then they automatically express themselves uniquely. A terrific example of this is the black and orange slab vessel. It’s their 2nd project and the first learning the slab method. They design their vessels and construct them in poster board (thanks Adrienne for all the recycled tailings from the paper company!) They learn a variety of skills using this process. Then they deconstruct their model and use all the templates for their clay slabs, learn more skills and fabricate their pots. The masked surface design is where the real magic happens, because all the vessels are differentiated even more. It’s a good project for taping into the various levels of creativity that my students come to find out, is already there. It never really changes, it’s still all about self discovery : ) . (Student art work (L): Wilson Pruitt, (R) Margaret Andrews)
Q: If you had to be something other than an art teacher, what would you be and why?
A: If I weren’t an art teacher then I’d be a studio artist. What could be more fulfilling aside from teaching art, than making my own art!
Q: Tell us something that the Ensworth Community wouldn’t know about you.
A: I’m a first generation American and was an avid sleepwalker as a child.
A: I have loved working with the figure over the years. I’m always pulled back to it, whether it’s through drawing or ceramic sculpture. I’m also intrigued with large ceramic mural installations. The content of these pieces tend to be more conceptual rather than figurative. Currently I’m working on two projects. I am building a 1/4 scale prototype for a 20 foot mural and I’m working on a brand new series of large porcelain vessels. These vessels are figurative, but more expressive and abstract rather than representational (as my previous work). I’m really excited about working on these two concepts simultaneously; Parachute like mind, working when open. (Charlie Chan)
Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching at Ensworth?
A: It’s always about the students for me : ) I’m happiest being in a community where I’m supported to do my best work for the young people! Also the array of treats provided by the parents is astonishing. We have the most amazing parent association, they support us on so many levels!
Q: Who is the next person from the Red Gables campus that you would like to see featured on the blog?
A: Tua Chaudhuri