What We Are Reading: February 2020

What I’m Reading: Ariana Kolins, Ceramics Teacher
I listen to lots of long podcasts about people, ideas, and art. Some are lifelong companions, others are more like short stories. “On Being,” “Make/Time,” and “Dolly Parton’s America” have been quietly playing in my ears over the past few months.

When I do read, it supports my art practice — where I think about community, empathy, materials, and the poetic nature of words. Since these are ALL things I try to infuse into my classroom, my teaching and art practice are inherently linked.

Two books are currently capturing my attention: “Fewer, Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects” by Glenn Adamson and Ross Gay’s “The Book of Delights.”

Adamson is an advocate for material intelligence. His interests lie in knowing how objects were made, and he is a proponent for the practice of learning crafts, thinking about design, working with our hands and understanding the materials which build our world. How we view, value, and treat objects is how we view, value, and treat the world. Through the teaching of clay at Miss Porter’s, I hope to instill a love of material, curiosity about how things are made and the complexities the objects our world holds starting with the plate, cup, and bowl we eat off of at the dining hall.

Ross Gay chose to write something that delighted him every day for a year — from birthday to birthday. I am traveling with him throughout the year, reading these short delightful essays on the day they were written. He states that once he started this project, he quickly developed a delight radar, finding delights everywhere, and throughout the experience he cultivated a delight muscle. I LOVE these concepts and am trying to weave them into my daily life and in turn, the lives of our students.