Dream weaver: local art teacher still offering summer classes for kids

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 27, 2023

SALISBURY— Connie Christman is retiring after over 25 years of teaching art. Though she might be “unemployed” for the first time since the 1990s, Christman isn’t done teaching quite yet.

Starting this summer, Christman will be teaching kids art classes at Carolina Folkworks, a local workshop that offers folk music lessons for a wide-range of instruments.

“I love kids. I just love the energy that they have and the fact that there’s no two days that are ever the same, no five-minute span that’s ever the same. You never know what they’re going to say. My mom was a teacher, my grandmother was a teacher, my great-grandmother was a teacher. I can’t imagine not teaching,” Christman said.

Christman grew up in Salisbury and most recently worked at China Grove Middle School. She previously did classes at Folkworks several years ago, but now that she’s retiring, she finally has the time for them again. In June, there will be sewing and basket weaving classes. In July, Christman will have drawing, painting and pottery courses. Kids can expect to start with the basics and then branch out from there.

“I think my favorite way to get to know people is to sit down at the potter’s wheel with them. They’re on one side and I’m on the other and we make a pot together. I call it tandem throwing,” Christman said.

In order for the kids to get the most out of the classes, Christman wants them to be “student directed.” She thinks when kids are given the freedom to be as creative as they can be, the best kind of art is made.

“When I did baskets at Waterworks, I remember there was a kid that had a security blanket and it was falling apart. She tore it into strips and wove it into a basket and gave it to her mom who then burst into tears. I think everybody needs to be able to express themselves that way,” Christman said.

In the future, Christman might offer art classes for adults, but she hasn’t committed to anything. For now, she’s looking forward to spending time with her family and focusing on only art and not all the academic aspects of it.

“I’m excited about never having to put a number grade on a piece of art. I’ve never liked that part at all. So I can help people make the art, which is what I love to do and I don’t have to put a judgment stamp on it.”