Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kristen Teaches Art

The American School of French Marquetry has one of the best student/teacher ratio in the country. Since we limit the class size to a maximum of 6 students and have 3 full time teachers, it is at least 2:1. Last week we had 4 students taking Stage I and this week we have 3 students taking Stage II. Thus, we have one teacher for each student.

Patrice is our French teacher and can correct me any time I say something either not correct or not proper French. He is also able to teach about more contemporary marquetry designs and experimental techniques. He has created a type of marquetry we call "fusion marquetry" and another technique called "sprinkle marquetry." I will write more about these methods in a future post.

I am more interested in passing on the traditional methods which I learned at the feet of Pierre Ramond. I still live in the late 17th century, but am willing to discuss all the methods and styles popular until the end of the 19th century. Not everyone is still stuck in the past, so being able to have Patrice in the school gives the students a full opportunity to explore their own interests.

Kristen is special. She is a true artist, having spent her entire life studying calligraphy, water colors, stained glass, color theory, jewelry making, and art history. She spent many years teaching art at the High School level, as well as adult classes. All her close friends are artists, and they range from graphic design to textile art to bead making to painting and other fields too diverse to mention.

Today the students are getting a short lesson in light and shadow. It is important to understand how light works and how shadow creates depth. When you make marquetry pictures, you use hot sand to burn each element in exactly the right place so that the final picture looks real. To be good at this, you need to fully understand how the eye is fooled by light and shadow, and how different techniques of creating shadow effects work together to make it realistic.

As you can see, the school has a rather extensive library of research material. All the students are welcome to use this library. I
think it adds a wonderful dimension to the experience for the student to search through all the materials available, and then use a book search engine to add the same book to their collection. I used to spend a lot of my time in used book stores. Now I spend a lot of time on the internet using book search engines.

Tag team teaching makes the time go quickly and keeps the students occupied. Always something new to learn.

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