Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stellar Sculptor

I took a break today to savor a glorious summer afternoon with my wonderfully talented and inspirational friend, Nancy Sch
ön. Nancy is the sculptor who created the beautiful bronze ducklings in the Boston Gardens. The installation is a tribute to Robert McCloskey's classic "Make Way for Ducklings." It has become a landmark in Boston.

Nancy and I are currently brainstorming a few collaborations!

I'll share more in the coming months. As I walked around Nancy's studio today, I marveled at all the "works in progress," all the sketches, all the inspirational photos of giraffes (she is working on a terrific giraffe leaning its long elegant neck down to sip water),
and of course, there they were - the original ducklings!

The giraffe project is a tribute to Nancy's husband, Donald Schön, whose seminal book "The Reflectective Practitioner" celebrates the idea that we are a work in progress - that we can continually improve our craft. He was a fan of jazz music - inspiring his belief that improvisation and "thinking on one's feet" was the key to growth. I'm a huge fan of this thinking. In my own work. In our studio. In the workplace, in general.
In schools.

Experiential learning should be at the core of every classroom if we are to transform them into wonderful classrooms. The most creative teachers I know are the ones willing to "wing it" (to use a duckling term!) and to dive into new projects, new ideas, new questions - without having the "road map."

Navigating WITH learners is an adventure!

What a day! Now... back to my studio. I have a book to sculpt!

Nancy in her studio!

Visit Nancy's site at


TJ Shay said...

The bronze "Make Way for Ducklings" are awesome as is the book. We took many pictures of them when we were in Boston a few years ago and purchased the book when we got back home.

I can't wait to see the future collaborations and to learn more about them.

It's so amazing that my journey has Peter and friends woven throughout.

Stacie said...

A jazzy journey seems to suit life best. I just opened a new novel and was immediately stunned with a quote that articulated this feeling of collecting and improvising, going with the flow. (Very similar to the compost analogy, too!) After reading The North Star, I turned the feeling of journeying with all my old teachers, relatives, books, friends, and past experiences into a mind cartoon... a mini-Miss Wild, my grandfathers, and Charlotte's Web all crowded in the boat with me and somehow spliced together to fill a "ME mosaic"...but this quote articulates that mind drawing and that grateful feeling I've been carrying around:
"Indian wisdom says our lives are rivers...Along our journey, people and events flow into us, and we are created of everywhere and everyone we have passed. Each event, each person changes us in some way." Lisa Wingate (excerpted from Tending Roses) I like this quote even better than my "mind cartoon" because it's closer to the actual feeling...because the river is moving and that's how all these events, moments, and people are inside me...constantly in motion as new ideas, creativity, blessings, and emotions. Now I paint myself as a very swirly river on the easel in my mind...and these bronze little ducks SWIM in that river.

Thanks for the memories and chance to reflect and connect the dots.