Sculptor Stefan Duerst likes teaching. That’s probably why he accepted a position as artist-blacksmith teacher at Sir Sanford Fleming College.
But he also enjoys teaching kids and as such, his studio at the Godfrey Sculpture Park has become a classroom of late.
He’s been holding classes through the fall and last Saturday, held a class that wasn’t tied to his home-schooling endeavours.
“This was a ‘mini-intro’ where I talk about steel and why it can bend and twist when hot,” he said. “And the students get to make a useful item like a fire poker or hook.
“I love to teach and I love to teach kids.”
He started his teaching odyssey two years ago with the home-school group his kids are in.
“With all the technology these days dumbing everything down, it’s important for kids to learn to work with their hands,” he said. “Hopefully, it ignites something in them.
“After all, somebody’s got to build the houses.”
It’s not that he’s against computers, he uses them on a daily basis. But there is such a thing as balance.
“How long does it take for a five-year-old to learn how to swipe a finger?” he said. “And, I’m very much against using computers as baby-sitters.”
And for him, there are instant rewards.
“They (his students) totally get into it,” he said. “For me, that’s awesome even if they never do it again.
“And it is very good for hand-eye coordination.”
That’s a big part of it for one of his students on this Saturday, Kaitlyn Perry.
“I just like metal-working,” she said. “I’m taking metal-working at Lasalle.
“I like working with the hammer — the lighter one.”
And that’s just fine with Duerst, in fact, he approves of the lighter hammer.
“Size doesn’t matter,” Duerst said. “It’s velocity.
“Some of the bigger ones hammer three times and they’re out of gas.”
Kaitlyn’s younger brother, Mason, was a bit more pragmatic about it.
“This (the lessons) was a Christmas present from our parents,” he said. “I like to see the design when it’s done.”