Woodshop teacher Michael de Forest talks about apprenticeship in Ghana
Catlin Gabel teacher Michael de Forest will discuss his recent apprenticeship as a fantasy coffin-maker in Ghana. In addition to talking about his experience, illustrated by many images, he will speak about how practical knowledge and creative thinking work together in the making of art. The event, this year’s Esther Dayman Strong Lecture, is free and open to the public.
Michael has brought his experience to bear on how he thinks about his making and teaching, which he will share in his slide-lecture. “Art is the center of an experiential school,” says Michael. “No art can happen without doing. And no doing can be done without practical knowledge of the world and in collaboration with the people around you. Art allows us to take risks, to use our ideas to create, and to succeed and fail.
“Creativity involves knowing that you have a point of view. Finding a voice comes through the doing, and honoring your insights. You have to understand the cultural rules of your own community about communication, symbols, and meaning in objects and images, so that you can use them in new and surprising ways. It’s not about breaking the rules, but about bending them, seeing them from a new perspective, and making them your own.”
THE ESTHER DAYMAN STRONG LECTURESHIP
The Esther Dayman Strong Lectureship in the Humanities was created in 1987 by the Catlin Gabel School board of trustees. The board wished to establish a living memorial to the human and academic values Esther Dayman Strong nurtured throughout her life, and especially as principal of the Catlin-Hillside School from 1944 to 1958. The lecture honors her legacy of lifelong learning by paying tribute to the intellectual excellence demonstrated daily by Catlin Gabel’s own faculty and staff members.