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When Generosity Becomes Generativity

Creative generosity and generativity, that is.

Having just returned from a six day figurative sculpting workshop taught by Brian Booth Craig, I think I can speak for the entire group of sculpting students when I say that we're all so appreciative of Brian's generativity. Speaking as a therapist, I should say that generativity is a psychological theory of a well known developmental psychologist, Eric Erickson, who believed that psychologically healthy people in middle age develop a sense of wanting to help people other than themselves and their family and develop a need to nurture and guide younger people and the next generation (as Merriam Webster sums it up). Brian certainly fits into that category. Aside from being a genuinely kind and seemingly gentle guy, Brian is also a very seasoned and accomplished sculptor and former sculpting professor at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, currently working from his studio in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and exhibiting his art in New York...when he's not off teaching in Italy, Brazil, South Africa, or Australia (the man knows how to live, what can I say). I hope to catch another of his gigs if he ever does one in Hawaii.

Although I was clearly above my head being in the company of much more seasoned artists from many types of mediums, I feel so fortunate to have been able to partake in Brian's workshop and feel like I learned more in the first hour than I have since I started sculpting four years ago. That's probably in part from Brian's comfort with teaching at the college level, but it's also from the generosity of his spirit. To quote one of Brian's resident interns, Lesa Cook, "Brian is very generous with his knowledge." You'll notice in the above photo, he's standing by some older convection ovens, letting us know that an older convection oven or a bread warmer are good and simple ways to soften Plastalina modeling clay. Who knew?

But Brian did more than just teach and sculpt with us during the day. He brought us back for more in the evening, showing us slides of his own work and process, and doing demonstrations at night. All in all, I'd say we spent close to 60 hours during the 6 days of his workshop immersed in art and picking up sculpting tips and knowledge. He showed us the areas that are separate from his studio where he does his own mold making and bronze casting. When he's not making art, he's petting his dog and interviewing other artists, live on Instagram. I hope you can watch him there sometime. He's a good interviewer because he's a good listener and has a way of making people feel comfortable with his gentle laugh.

So now you know what happened when a teacher, two engineers, an animator, a carpenter, a physical therapist, two psychotherapists, two painters, a potter, a model, and a sculptor walked into a room. I must add that Brian wasn't the only one who was quite generous with knowledge and tips during the workshop. Literally every sculptor there was helpful to me at one point or another, especially Laurie Barton, of Laurie Barton Sculptures, who by the way, happens to also be a therapist, like myself. Some of her tips will probably help me modify my website in the future, so expect to see some changes in format soon. So, with that, I'll leave you with a photo of the group having fun, in part due to the comfortable atmosphere that Brian creates, and in part due to everyone participating in deep conversations, hearty laughs, great food cooked by Lesa Cook and Dylan and even some dancing at the end.

Unfortunately I can't add a video of the dancing to the blog and a picture just doesn't quite cut it, but as you can see, great and healthy lunches were provided.

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