This semester-long residency integrated the art of woodworking with reading and writing as English professor Rosalee Stilwell and professional artist Mike Stadler worked with students on expanding their abilities to think and work on higher levels of abstraction.
As they read the book Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Arhetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World by Carol Pearson, approximately 20–25 students began writing a variety of essays on the topics “Jungian Archetypes: Who Am I?,” “Life and Death,” “Wild and Tamed,” “Visible and Invisible,” and “Ancient Rites/Modern Faith.” While working on their essays, they also began creating art projects in wood that worked to avoid illustrating the topic, but instead to represent it abstractly.
Each day of the residency, the students worked one-on-one or in small groups with Stadler as their projects progressed from an idea to reality. At specific points during the residency, Stilwell and Stadler also combined forces to lead mini-classroom workshops on “The Ladder of Abstraction,” “Point of View and Interpretation,” and “Metaphor as Heuristic.”
To complete the residency, students had the opportunity to display their work as part of the campuswide Celebration of Learning where all students could present their work for the semester. ArtsPath Associate Director Jeff Wacker joined forces with a staff member from Representative Sam Smith’s office, Debi Meneeley (see photo), as part of a judging panel that awarded the top three students gift certificates for their work.
Artist Mike Stadler completed his graduate studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and with IUP’s Center for Turning and Furniture Design, receiving an MFA in 2009.
He has served as a cabinetmaker and studio furniture maker for the past four years. Mike has taught continuing education courses in wood turning at IUP and the center, as well as teaching as an adjunct instructor with IUP and the Department of Art.
He has studied with many internationally acclaimed artists and was the recipient of a studio assistantship at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In addition to presenting on his residency work at the 2009 National Arts Education Association Conference in Chicago, he was awarded the Maloof Scholarship from Anderson Ranch Art Center in Aspen, Colorado. His most recent commissions include a 90-foot-long wooden sculpture in a newly constructed atrium by the Butler Health System in Butler, Pennsylvania, and a similar work for the lobby of the IUP Performing Arts Center.
The residency was brought to IUP Punxsutawney by ArtsPath, the arts-in-education program of the Lively Arts in the College of Fine Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Further significant contributions to the project were made by the Punxsutawney Educational Trust.