October 21, 2019

Back to Basics

By: Garen Robie

Back to Basics

You’re never too old or advanced in your skills to retrace your steps and reacquaint yourself with fundamentals. I learned that the hard way when I experienced a huge setback in my education. In 2003 I began studies at Wabash College and dove head on into my studies and extra curriculars. Not only did I attempt to begin a triple minor—math, philosophy and Spanish—in addition to my Fine Arts Sculpture degree, but I participated in the debate team and worked as a carpenter/painter for the theater department. Later on I took it on myself to study off campus twice. In my previous blog I discussed my time in Ecuador, but I also participated in an immersive internship as an artist assistant in New York City under the New York Arts Program.

By the time my senior year rolled around, I had a lot on my plate left to complete, but unfortunately came down with mononucleosis. Exhausted and feeling a little burnt out, I left my studies in good standing in order to recuperate and save some money. Years began to roll by until I finally decided to return to school. Since I was living in Indianapolis and have family here,  I decided that the commute up to Crawfordsville would be a bit too much and attempted to enroll at Herron School of Art and Design. All of my distribution and general education courses transferred, but in spite of my three and half years studying art at Wabash—9 months of which I spent in New York City assisting professional artists such as Kiki Smith—I was told I’d have to begin again at freshman level foundations courses in art.

Undeterred, my wife and I did our research and found I could obtain state grants to renew my studies at Ivy Tech. I would have to restart my foundations, but retaking foundation classes after years of working as a professional artist has allowed me to further hone my skills as well as to learn from the perspective of other students just beginning their journey in the arts. This experience helped me immensely here at Ignite Studio, where I teach certification classes in 3D printing, laser engraving, and vinyl cutting, along with quick start beginners classes in wheel throwing. Relearning and teaching fundamental skills has greatly improved my work, and I invite you to come to Ignite to sharpen your own skills with one of our kits—all of which contain a book or instructions on the craft—or take one of our classes. Whether you’re an advanced professional or a novice beginner, it’s never a bad idea to get back to basics.