Thank You, Mrs. Zawisza

It was the usual battle of bulk versus weight, but seminar supplies for Kansas City are packed and weighed. As usual, I figure people don’t so much care what I’m wearing as what they’re learning, so I pack light on wardrobe, heavy on class supplies. Everything fits, everything rolls, and I have five irons in my checked luggage.

A couple of years ago as I was on my way to teach in Nebraska, my flight from Green Bay boarded and all seemed fine. Then the flight attendant announced that the plane was overweight and asked for a volunteer to wait for a later flight. When no volunteer came forth, they made a man (tall but trim) in the back of the plane (probably flying standby), get up, gather his personal belongings, and exit the aircraft. I had five irons in my checked luggage that time, too. Sorry!

I’m off to the Missouri Art Education Association’s spring conference, where I present “Complete Fabrication” as the keynote address. I’m also doing an extreme sampling workshop (2 hours, 20 things you can do with inkjet heat transfer paper), an Art Tees demo, a Creativity Cram Session, and a new seminar called Snoping Color: We’ll be using transfer crayons, disperse dye transfers and Inkodye to explore how what you see isn’t necessarily what you get in a way that fosters the development of critical thinking skills.

The habits of art – observation, developing ideas, selecting from among choices, reevaluating decisions — are essential in critical thinking. Art classes give students opportunities to develop the habits of asking what if, who says so, why and why not — in and out of the art room. And techniques where things are not necessarily as they first appear – that’s just too good of a teaching opportunity to miss.

So as I sign off, I want to thank my high school speech teacher. Mrs. Zawisza, you made a difference in my life, and I appreciate it! How about you? Is there a teacher you’d like to thank?

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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin

2 thoughts on “Thank You, Mrs. Zawisza”

  1. I don’t want my irons to know I’m saying this, but they’re not really what you’d call special. I do want irons for my workshops to be dry — no water hiding in the reservoir and no steam to mess up transfer techniques. So when I can, I like to provide my own. And at some of the conferences where I teach, the organizers have to come up with irons for lots of workshops besides just mine. My lovely contact in K.C. brought additional irons, and we got about 40 people through the whole sample series without me getting goo on an iron snuck down from my hotel room. Happy students, happy organizers, happy instructor!

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