Archives For Taxidermy

Foreword

I have a confession to make: I get extremely excited every time I come across a creative person, or a person that holds within them such exuberance that it often manifests itself in a delicious cacophony of quirky character traits, unique stylistic choices, tangential thought patterns and behaviors, and an uncanny knack for seeing the world in a way that most do not, that when all combined, I find equally intoxicating and endearing.

For me, it’s the creatives that push the boundaries of what we collectively believe is possible. They dare to imagine, dare to dream, dare to believe, and in their own process of creation, create the world as they see it.

In this editorial series, I reach out to a curated list of creators who not only live and breathe the art of creation but undertake to pass on their learnings to the next generation of creatives. I find this combination of creativity and education noble, and use this editorial series as a way to delve deeper into these minds in the hopes that we too, can get a voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of such noble creatives. Who knows, perhaps we will learn something along the way too.

When you think about what you teach, what is the most memorable moment that comes to mind?

I will never forget looking out across the crowded room and the sea of happy faces, and how incredible it was to have grown from one small class to the enormous community of students and teachers we have today.

Adriane Strampp, Founder at Fitzroy Painting. Melbourne, Australia.

It was Sunday 15th December 2019. We were holding our annual student end-of-year exhibition in the studio and were also celebrating our tenth year in business. As I stood to give a speech celebrating the occasion I will never forget looking out across the crowded room and the sea of happy faces, and how incredible it was to have grown from one small class to the enormous community of students and teachers we have today.

Sue and her sisters were the catalyst for me moving The Humble Dumpling into the world of Zoom and understanding the amazing potential for technology to really make a difference in people’s lives.

Angie Chong, Founder at The Humble Dumpling. Melbourne, Australia.

I don’t really think of what I do as teaching.. at least not in the traditional sense. It’s more about the experience of simply sharing some knowledge I have about food and food culture with people who are open to listening and learning.

However, there is one very memorable moment I have from COVID 2020:

It was very early on in 2020 and I was still very skeptical about my ability to connect with people over the computer via Zoom. For me, the business has always been about making real connections with real people through food and I just didn’t think Zoom was an option for me until I met Sue and her sisters.

Sue and her sisters lived on a remote cattle station in rural central NSW. They appeared on my Zoom screen beaming and brimming with excitement about their first-ever cooking class. They lived thousands of miles from the nearest shop and further still from the nearest cooking class. I was fascinated and just as excited to be meeting and talking with them. I wanted to know about their life, their land, their thousands of heads of cows! It was like something out of “McLeod’s Daughters”. Truly, I was so excited to be “in their kitchen” hearing their stories that I almost forgot about the dumplings.

Within minutes, another sister in Brisbane and another in Hobart joined us, and together we laughed and cooked and ate. These beautiful sisters were the catalyst for me moving The Humble Dumpling into the world of Zoom and understanding the amazing potential for technology to really make a difference in people’s lives.

Sue and her sisters have certainly left a beautiful memory and image of teaching and learning.

We seated two ladies who shared an unusual name together. It was apparent their lives were woven together by more than just this workshop.

Belinda Galloway and Bree Hankinson, Founders at The Windsor Workshop. Melbourne, Australia.

One of our most memorable moments was having two gorgeous ladies do a weaving workshop with us. They both shared an unusual name, so obviously we thought it necessary to seat them together (as you do). As the morning progressed, it was apparent, their lives were woven together by more than just this workshop. Bree and I were thrilled to learn that they in fact stayed in touch after the workshop via a love for slow art and craft. We were even more delighted to see them turn up time and time again, together, for more of our creative workshops at The Windsor Workshop. THIS is why we do what we do.

Our memorable moments are when deaf children actually begin to sign to their parents so that the parents finally can understand what their children want to communicate. I feel blessed that I am able to make a difference.

Darren Roberts, Founder and Director at The Auslan Company. Melbourne, Australia.

When l teach l am thinking about the end result; what is the aim of the course and what do l want each student to achieve in this course. Then, how will l ensure that aim is met? This leads to the creation of the curriculum, the resources, and the methodology of teaching. The experience namely to be firm, to guide, and to ensure that the experience of learning is fun.

Auslan is fun. It is visual, it is a performance, and it is a movement that cuts across every spoken language on earth through the use of iconic signs.

Our memorable moments are when deaf children actually begin to sign to their parents so that the parents finally can understand what their children want to communicate. That’s the beginning of unique communication between hearing parents and their deaf children. I feel blessed that I am able to make a difference.

When past students approach me from behind a coffee bar and say, “Hey, David! Do you remember me? You taught me how to make coffee!”. There’s nothing cooler than seeing students of mine succeed in gaining meaningful employment in arguably the toughest city in the world to work as a barista.

David Seng, Director at The Espresso School, Board of Directors and Head at Barista Guild for Australian Specialty Coffee Association, World Certified Judge WCE WBC. Melbourne, Australia.

There are a few things I like to keep in mind when teaching:

  • Are my students engaged?
  • Are they understanding the content I am presenting?
  • Are they enjoying their time with me?
  • Are they able to successfully carry out the tasks assigned?

As a teacher, it is obviously difficult balancing all the different learning styles in one room, but if the answer is “no” to any of those questions, I will immediately change my teaching style to accommodate.

I have had many memorable moments in the classroom. However, many of them happen in interactions outside of the classroom in cafes where a past student will approach me from behind a coffee bar and say, “Hey, David! Do you remember me? You taught me how to make coffee!”.

There’s nothing cooler than seeing students of mine succeed in gaining meaningful employment in arguably the toughest city in the world to work as a barista.

Showing my mistakes and disasters modelled an experimental and risk-taking way of working which gave the students permission to do the same. The result was an outpouring of exciting and amazing work.

Graham Hay, Expert Ceramics Educator. Perth, Australia.

One that fundamentally changed my teaching was during my time at the National School of Art in Lahore. The National School of Art in Lahore is the second oldest university art school in Asia, and despite the students being exceptionally bright, they just didn’t seem to “get it”.

One day I had a crazy idea, and I created a slideshow of all my failures. Suddenly, the students started making amazing work. The learning here is that presenting only my best work, set impossible standards, so the students “gave up”.

Showing my mistakes and disasters modelled an experimental and risk-taking way of working which gave the students permission to do the same. The result was an outpouring of exciting and amazing work.

Now my demonstrations are sloppy and take unnecessary risks, and sometimes this approach backfires. But what students now expect is not to get it right every time, and to push through setbacks. Surprisingly demonstration accidents are also now a source of new ideas in my own work!

Throughout the introduction and demonstration, they were stony-faced and silent, which made me think that my class was going down like a lead balloon. So I was slightly dying on the inside. It wasn’t until they started playing with the techniques I was showing them that I realized they were just concentrating intently and that they actually were really into it.

Nadine Sharpe, General Manager at MakerSpace and Co. Sydney, Australia.

I was teaching a particular type of jewelry making to a class of 14–15-year-old young women. Throughout the introduction and demonstration, they were stony-faced and silent, which made me think that my class was going down like a lead balloon. So I was slightly dying on the inside. It wasn’t until they started playing with the techniques I was showing them that I realized they were just concentrating intently and that they actually were really into it.

They opened up, started chatting and asking questions, and at the end of the day, all told me how much they enjoyed the class. I walked away on a massive high, thankful I’d kept going, despite my internal panic. The moral of the story, while you need to read the room to understand if your class is meeting expectations and keeping everyone engaged, sometimes it’s best not to overthink it!

Teaching often reminds me of how joyful my trade is. My students bring the wonder, curiosity, and enthusiasm back into the workspace and this never fails to renew my passion.

Natalie Delaney-John, Founder at Rest in Pieces. Melbourne, Australia.

Sometimes I experience burnout in my profession. I forget what makes me love it because when one is a small business owner, one often gets stuck behind a computer doing admin or having to shoulder a lot of responsibility.

Teaching often reminds me of how joyful my trade is. My students bring the wonder, curiosity, and enthusiasm back into the workspace and this never fails to renew my passion.

My most memorable moments occur when people visit the store to pick up their online orders and take the time to thank me (and the team) for “saving them during pandemic“ and expressing how much they appreciated having our classes to break the hardship and monotony of lockdown.

Phil Hude, Founder at Armadale Cellars. Perth, Australia.

With the advent of COVID-19, we moved to create Zoom tastings with local and overseas winemakers and they took off like a skyrocket. My most memorable moments occur when people visit the store to pick up their online orders and take the time to thank me (and the team) for “saving them during pandemic“ and expressing how much they appreciated having our classes to break the hardship and monotony of lockdown. I feel very proud of my team and their ability to bring joy to so many during difficult times.

I never thought in my wildest dreams that someone would offer to pay me for something that I love to do each day.

Sarah Schembri, Director of Sarah Schembri Ceramics. Melbourne, Australia.

I’ve been fortunate to have been teaching for about the last ten years, and I say fortunate because I never thought in my wildest dreams that someone would offer to pay me for something that I love to do each day.

Teaching is such a rewarding and very satisfying experience for me on many levels. I love being able to share my knowledge and experiences with others who are willing and eager to learn.

I’ve taught many students over the years and have experienced many memorable moments, each one very special to me. What is most satisfying is being part of a student’s development, from their very first time on the wheel, being a part of their creative journey, and seeing their progress each week as they participate in classes working on refining their skills, ultimately with a goal of selling or exhibiting their own creations.

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

Don’t miss out on any new articles. Subscribe via email using the form at the bottom of this post and I’ll have the articles delivered straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can also follow me on my various social media accounts: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Foreword

I have a confession to make: I get extremely excited every time I come across a creative person, or a person that holds within them such exuberance that it often manifests itself in a delicious cacophony of quirky character traits, unique stylistic choices, tangential thought patterns and behaviors, and an uncanny knack for seeing the world in a way that most do not, that when all combined, I find equally intoxicating and endearing.

For me, it’s the creatives that push the boundaries of what we collectively believe is possible. They dare to imagine, dare to dream, dare to believe, and in their own process of creation, create the world as they see it.

In this editorial series, I reach out to a curated list of creators who not only live and breathe the art of creation but undertake to pass on their learnings to the next generation of creatives. I find this combination of creativity and education noble, and use this editorial series as a way to delve deeper into these minds in the hopes that we too, can get a voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of such noble creatives. Who knows, perhaps we will learn something along the way too.

How did your classes and workshops come to be? Why do you teach?

I started teaching these techniques initially to my own trainees, then in TAFE and University courses then in my small Fitzroy studio as a way to pass on the important things I had learnt. Now, three decades later, and having established Slow Clay Centre nine years ago, I am still teaching these techniques!

Jane Sawyer, Founder at Slow Clay Centre. Melbourne, Australia.

Slow Clay Centre is known for teaching the Japanese techniques of wheel throwing and that’s because I trained, in part, in Japan and really want others to learn the benefits of these wonderful techniques!

I trained to become a potter straight after finishing an art teaching degree where I majored in ceramics. I was introduced to Japanese techniques during a traditional 3‑year studio training with the wonderful potter, Andrew Halford, in Sydney and he then formally introduced me to fabulous pottery in Japan called Shussai Gama where I spent a further two years in hand-made production of studio pottery.

I also learned wood firing in a massive kiln, natural rock, and ash glazes, and mixing bespoke clays from local materials.

When I came back to Australia in 1990 I was surprised that no one was teaching the Japanese methods of wheel throwing because they are so wonderful! The methods enable a lovely workflow and have the added benefit of ergonomic positions.

So I started teaching these techniques initially to my own trainees, then in TAFE and University courses then in my small Fitzroy studio as a way to pass on the important things I had learnt. Now, three decades later, and having established Slow Clay Centre nine years ago, I am still teaching these techniques!

Over the years by using my educational background, I have been able to package what I have learnt into a logical and refined method. I have trained many, many potters over the decades in these techniques and since Slow Clay Centre started I have also trained others to teach these techniques under the Slow Clay name.

The lovely thing about it is you can see the difference in the pottery! The pots are immediately fresher and more expressive whilst also allowing for refinement as the student develops their skills.

Wine is as much an intellectual pleasure as it is a sensory one. Wine works on many levels, wine aids digestion, and wine stimulates civilized conversation.

Matthew Hansen, Founder at Fine Wine Appreciation. Melbourne, Australia.

I teach wine appreciation because of the pleasure that wine gives to people. The pleasure that I speak of I see that all the time around the table be it in a wine class or a wine dinner.

Wine is as much an intellectual pleasure as it is a sensory one. Wine works on many levels, wine aids digestion, and wine stimulates civilized conversation.

I’m particularly a fan of Louis Pasteur’s saying: “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine. With food wine is not just an accompaniment but a part of the meal.

Trying to explain something so mysterious as wine is doomed to failure, it must be experienced. Hence that is why I decided 30 years ago to become a wine educator.

I was screaming out for a creative outlet and became really interested in the art of taxidermy when I found out that you had not been able to learn it in Australia since the 1970s

Natalie Delaney-John, Founder at Rest in Pieces. Melbourne, Australia.

When I first decided that I wanted to learn taxidermy it came from the simplest of curiosities. I was screaming out for a creative outlet and became really interested in the art of taxidermy when I found out that you had not been able to learn it in Australia since the 1970s.

In order to get involved in the industry I harassed a mentor for 3 months until he took me on. I then spent every weekend there for 3 years to pick up some basic skills and also travelled to Spain where I was fortunate enough to help build some works for a museum on the history of hunting.

Upon my return to Australia, I wondered if there was anyone else like me that might want to learn. That is how Rest in Pieces (RIP) was born.

We believe that wine-course education and events is a great way to increase our database and connect with people who really want to delve into fine wine (our main offering) as well as have participants understand our passion and commitment towards our vocation

Phil Hude, Founder at Armadale Cellars. Perth, Australia.

I met Demi and Kym soon after the formation of WeTeachMe after seeing the concept raised in the press and straightway thought, “This is the new version of the “Centre for Adult Education”!” The Centre for Adult Education is an old-time paper version of education that was released bi-annually and hosted many courses in Melbourne city center for decades, and where wine courses, amongst many others, were sold to the general public. I thought the WeTeachMe concept was a great way to offer wine classes and workshops to the world.

We are first and foremost wine merchants/retailers. As part of the “marketing mix and offering” we believe that wine-course education and events is a great way to increase our database and connect with people who really want to delve into fine wine (our main offering) as well as have participants understand our passion and commitment towards our vocation. During COVID-19, wine Zoom tastings (6 x 187 ml wine bottles) became a reality and were incredibly popular adding another style of forum that we believe is now here to stay!

We found our classes grew from not only for teaching the basics, but for creating classes for advanced decorators wanting to upskill and learn how to use new cake tools in the market

Rachel Gilbert, National Retail Manager at Bake Boss. Sydney, Australia.

With the first Bake Boss retail store opening over 9 years ago, there was a very high demand for cake decorating classes to teach beginners the tips, tricks, and techniques required to master the basics for decorating cakes, cupcakes, and even cookies.

We found our classes grew from not only for teaching the basics but for creating classes for advanced decorators wanting to upskill and learn how to use new cake tools in the market.

We also introduced kids classes for the young creative generation, with the skills taught setting them up to become advanced cake masters later in life!

As it turns out, cake decorating is not only skillful but super fun for all ages!

I never wanted to be a teacher but on the set of an ABC TV production in 1993, an actor said to me, “You direct in a different way to other directors. I want to learn how you do that.”

Richard Sarell, Director and Creator of The Rehearsal Room (Acting Process). Melbourne, Australia.

I never wanted to be a teacher but on the set of an ABC TV production in 1993, an actor said to me, “You direct in a different way to other directors. I want to learn how you do that.”

I cautiously took up the offer to run an acting class.

Seven years later that hesitant step had turned into a full-time job and I had discovered that I was a good teacher. Now I am about to publish my first book on a new and uniquely practical acting technique.

An offer rejected is an opportunity missed. Say “yes”!

We use our gelato classes as an educational tool so that people understand our product, can meet the people being the scenes who make the gelato, and so people get a special insight into how we do things at Gelato Messina

Sian Bishop, Brand and Marketing Manager at Gelato Messina. Melbourne Australia.

Messina has been running gelato classes for over 10 years now! We started them as we put so much effort into making our product the best we can, and we wanted to show people what goes on behind the scenes.

We use our gelato classes as an educational tool so that people understand our product, can meet the people being the scenes who make the gelato, and so people get a special insight into how we do things at Gelato Messina.

We also can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning than indulging in a gelato class!

Working with clay is like mediation in a way, it’s a beautiful way to center the mind from this fast pace life a lot of us live. My studio is a sanctuary for students to enjoy, to be inspired, and to create.

Sarah Schembri, Director of Sarah Schembri Ceramics. Melbourne, Australia.

I’ve been teaching for approximately 10 years at other studios. It wasn’t until I moved into my new larger studio in Fitzroy, Melbourne 4 years ago that I fully appreciated just what I could offer and certainly, never envisioned my classes would be in such demand as they are.

I really love teaching and sharing my knowledge and experiences. Seeing student development each week and learning new skills–and knowing I had a part in this–is very rewarding to me.

Working with clay is like mediation in a way, it’s a beautiful way to centre the mind from this fast pace life a lot of us live. My studio is a sanctuary for students to enjoy, to be inspired, and create.

I love that I’m not “just” a music teacher. My tiny students learn real-life skills such as sharing, turn-taking, motor control, and their parents concurrently gain an insight into how their children learn.

Sophie Maxwell, Founder, and Teacher at Leaning Note. Melbourne, Australia.

I had been a violin and viola teacher for 7 years when I had the experience of teaching a 2‑year-old viola. Whilst the experience was one that I consider successful, and whilst the 2‑year-old still learns from me 8 years later, I thought that there had to be an easier way to teach younger students.

I was lost at a Suzuki music conference one rainy day and stumbled across a baby and toddler class, and was immediately hooked! I couldn’t believe how involved those tiny children were, and what they were achieving.

I love that I’m not “just” a music teacher. My tiny students learn real-life skills such as sharing, turn-taking, motor control, and their parents concurrently gain an insight into how their children learn.

It’s an amazing process to be a part of, and after 8 years, I’m still enthralled by it!

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

Don’t miss out on any new articles. Subscribe via email using the form at the bottom of this post and I’ll have the articles delivered straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can also follow me on my various social media accounts: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.