Can you imagine conducting a seminar in China? For weeks before flying to Shanghai, my friend and colleague Rebecca Welz was abuzz with excitement and joy in preparation for hers. She’d been invited by her student at Pratt Institute to conduct a workshop in China entitled Turning Animal Movement into Form. This was given at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art (SIVA).
Rebecca is a fine artist, sculptor, jewelry maker and professor. Her work is widely exhibited, and she teaches internationally on a regular basis. The first sign of her upcoming journey I got to see was the business card she had made in preparation, which got me excited on her behalf. Just figuring out the characters for your name in Chinese takes planning and effort.
She was abroad three weeks in all. The class was 10 days, and she was assigned a full-time translator. Imagine explaining to anyone, let alone teenagers from a different culture, the concept of turning animal movement into form. Rebecca used a quote, which I loved, to address the baffled-looking faces: “Good ideas come from the unknown.”
In true Chinese style there were multiple rituals and ceremonies performed in honor of Rebecca and the work she offered.
With an extra several days in her schedule, Rebecca explored the country. She shared some photos with me of her workshop as well as the sights she saw that made me long to return to that mystical place.