Teaching

Throughout his career, J. Fred Woell taught at numerous universities, craft schools and workshops around the country in Art Metals and Assemblage.  He had a huge impact on students establishing their careers.  The Program in Artisanry, Boston University, and SUNY New Paltz were two of the last universities  where he taught.  

"He was a teacher of rare generosity; never holding back and always ready to help but, perhaps more importantly, he carefully and patiently tried to get his students to understand what he was doing rather than mimic what he made.... it’s one of the aspects of Fred’s teaching abilities that set him apart … Fred’s demos were legendary – always meticulously prepared and usually prefaced by “this probably isn’t going to work….” but they always did work - beautifully.  Some of his best teaching was simply by his own example.  Things like tackling the unglamorous jobs around the studio, jobs that needed to be done and that he never felt above doing, or doggedly making art when it seemed no one was noticing – and to keep on working because the art, not the recognition, was most important. In the end, I know that my life was changed for the better for having known Fred." - Claire Sanford, former student, Haystack Lifetime Trustee.

 

 
One of the reasons Fred Woell is Fred Woell, I mean look at this clasp.  It just goes over like that.  Isn’t that a great one.  It’s just like there’s nothing there.  And you know these are 22 shells.  Pretty amazing.
— Jim Cotter, metal artist
To discourage someone too early means they’re not going to get there eventually. You can say ‘Boy that’s great’ whether you’re talking about the fact that they even showed up (laugh) which is sometimes an issue. But to get that momentum going is what is important.
— J. Fred Woell
The most amazing thing when I think of Fred as a teacher is the way he teaches young people and high school students. No matter what they do he can fix anything.
— Larry Moffet, adult student
You’re there to help ‘em, ... but you’re not saying you have to do it my way. And ... evaluation has a tendency to force a certain issue that inhibits people from taking chances. Once I started doing things that way I got in plenty a trouble... cause when I turned in all my grades, everyone got A’s. The Dean called me in and I told him what I had done and he said ‘You do that again and you’re outta here.’ But it worked so well I said, ‘Why Not?
— J. Fred Woell
Fred talked about making work and expressing yourself and finding your own voice. There was always something so comfortable about the conversations with Fred because they really were just about me and my work and not about how to become famous and how to get into a big gallery and things that other people were talking about.
— Claire Sanford, former student, Haystack Life Trustee