“I love seeing the joy my students experience as they realize their own creativity and capabilities,” says Karen Futral, one of ACA’s amazing art teachers, looking forward to the fall semester ahead. “And I am happy to contribute to this process and witness their artistic abilities and conﬁdence grow.”
This fall, Futral will have plenty of opportunities to do just that – she’s teaching two ceramics courses at ACA (“Explorations in Clay” and “Forms in Clay”), each intended to ignite and inspire her students’ creative spirits. This semester will mark three creative years that Futral has been with the Arlington Center for the Arts – and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love the diversity of creative venues at ACA and seeing work in progress, whether it’s an exhibition being set up, individual artists in their studios, or theatre props in the making,” she exclaims.
Futral will be bringing her own bit of artistic magic to ACA this fall, with ceramics courses that will encourage students to approach clay work with a fresh eye and an expanded set of creative capabilities. “I love the feel of clay and how malleable it is,” Futral says. “You can make just about anything you can conceptualize, with enough skill and patience of course. Clay also seems to have a mind of its own sometimes, and often surprises you with what turns up as you work with it, and when it emerges from the kiln. Sometimes it can be pure serendipity!”
In “Explorations in Clay,” Saturdays from 12-3 pm, students will create work that expresses personal images, using line, color and form, working on soft clay, paper and bisque-fired pieces. “I am really looking forward to being back in the clay room with my students and seeing what inspires them,” Futral says. “I’ll be bringing some concepts to use as a base for exploration…each term there is something new. In the past we’ve used ‘Edges’, ‘Embedded’, ‘Aerial Landscapes’, and ‘Plankton’, to name just a few, as jumping off points. We’ve really had a lot of fun!”
In “Forms in Clay,” Saturdays from 3:30-5:30 pm, students will use centuries old techniques of clay slabs and coils to form vessels, platters, vases and tiles. A 3-week workshop, Futral says the course is “perfect for beginners as well as students with some experience.”
Futral, an experienced ceramics teacher and artist, notes that she’s been teaching pottery for over twenty years, no small feat. “I ran the pottery studio at Cambridge Center for Adult Education and taught classes there for seventeen years until it was shut down for a building project,” she says. “I also had my own gallery and studio in Cambridge, Fresh Pond Clay Works, for several years and sold my work there and at other locations.”
Today, Futral is a psychotherapist and art therapist with a private practice in Arlington. “Teaching is a nice complement to my therapeutic work in which I am also a witness to my clients’ growth on a deeper emotional level. It is all very satisfying work.”
“I’ve always been creative and visual and was introduced to art and design at an early age,” Futral notes. “My mother was a painter and very creative overall, and my father was an architect. I had a wonderful education which included 2-D and 3-D arts in high school, college, graduate school, and on my own throughout the years, and I worked in the design ﬁeld early on in my career. I’ve enjoyed being a painter, printmaker and photographer as well as a ceramics artist.”
Her wish for this fall semester? “I would hope to impart to my students the lessons of openness and ﬂexibility with their creative visions and expectations, so that they can enjoy the journey of working with clay and not fret if the ﬁnal product doesn’t match their vision. Clay is a great metaphor for ‘going with the ﬂow’ in life.”
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves. Make sure to check out one of Futral’s creative arts courses this fall – for more info or to register, visit www.acarts.org.