Robin McBride Scott | Connecting Culture and Nature

Why did you become a Teaching Artist?

Robin 1I’ve always enjoyed teaching and sharing my many art forms with others. I love sharing the nuances of the techniques specific to each art form and seeing the students make the techniques their own. Many of the art forms I work in have cultural importance as visual languages whose patterns, colors and materials have significance that stretch back generations. This visual language is used to convey stories, and the reverence and relationship to the natural world.  Sharing the cultural information and techniques with the students can give them a sense of connection to the art forms that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to help others learn these techniques while simultaneously exploring their own creativity.

What do you enjoy most about your art?

I enjoy the process of creating art. Before I start a new piece of art I will spend time looking at artwork I find inspirational. The art I view isn’t always from the same medium as what I am planning to work in. If I am working on pottery I might view architecture, paintings, photographs, and environmental art work. I may also go outside and spend time in nature collecting materials that inspire me. Whatever gets me excited about being creative is my muse. This is where my creative process begins.   

As I begin to pull elements together in my mind from the materials I want to use for the specific art piece there is a “place” where it all starts to come together, where I am totally absorbed in the moment of creation. It is this part of making art, the process, working with the materials, the “flow” that gives me the greatest satisfaction, peace, and reward as an artist.  For me the product is not the reason for creating art, the process is the product.

I have an insatiable desire to learn and understand more about the world around me.  I have ADHD and, admittedly, have a low tolerance for boredom. My mind is constantly scanning my environment, noticing the little details of shape, color, texture and so forth. It never seems to stop. The act of creating art helps me to refine my focus and attention, keeping my mind stimulated in a specific direction.  Because of this I am constantly seeking out new knowledge, techniques and materials that will help me experience that kind of focus of attention.

What is your favorite thing about being a Teaching Artist?

My favorite part of being a Teaching Artist is being a facilitator, providing a space, materials, and instruction and then stepping back to let students’ creative process flow.  In a world of product driven learning students rarely get the opportunity to enter a creative space where they can follow their own creative directions.

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Children are wired to learn, explore, and be creative. They do not need to be taught to be that way, they only need access to materials, guidance and the freedom to explore. During their exploration of the materials and the art making process I have had the great pleasure to witness “ah-ha” moments where I can see my guidance become their knowledge. These moments can happen when a student is working with a new material or technique that they are clearly trying to figure out, but they are experiencing frustration.  As they work through this emotion I observe a difference, I see a look on their faces, one of surprise and joy at the same time. It’s that “ah-ha” moment when they know what to do, when  they enter the wonderful moment of “flow” that can happen during the creation process. At this point students then become very purposeful in their process of creating, confident and inspired.


Robin McBride Scott’s passion is inspiring others to explore art as a vehicle for creativity and self-expression through interaction with the natural world. Throughout her twenty-seven-year career as a Teaching Artist she has worked in a wide variety of mediums, from metal smithing, drawing, pottery, basketry, quillwork, beadwork, sculpture, printmaking and more. Robin has been a Teaching Artist for Young Audiences/Arts for Learning of Indiana since 2006 and the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 2013 and has received two Indiana Individual Folk Arts Grants and a Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Visiting Artist Fellowship. Learn more about Robin and her work.

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