Julie Püttgen: Teaching
I am passionate about working with students of all ages, to spark creative expression through drawing, painting, printmaking, digital arts, installation, and public art projects. My teaching career has spanned many different populations and contexts: from at-risk kids to senior citizens, from scrappy non-profits to swanky liberal arts colleges. I am attentive to the particularities of each student's potential, and the chemistry of each group as a whole. My approach has become increasingly improvisational, valuing the risk of student discovery and participation above all.
Here is a portfolio of my students' drawing, painting, design, color theory, and book arts work.
Beginning with a commission for the Child Care Center at Georgia State University, I have taught and facilitated several successful mural projects with students. These projects offer students the invaluable experience of communicating with clients all through the design and implementation processes, as well as the challenge of working at a very large scale.
Meditation & Mindfulness
My own meditation training began with a 10-day Vipassana retreat in 1995, at Wat Khao Tam in Southern Thailand. There were tarantulas in the huts, and my knees hurt a lot, but I was hooked! The following summer and fall, I lived at Plum Village, French monastery of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn. I learned a lot there, not least how to cook dinner for 400 people when the gas runs out. Eventually, I found my way to Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, a Theravada Forest community in England where I ordained as an eight-precept novice nun, and lived until October of 1999. I left monastic life with the clear sense that I wanted to make art, understand suffering, and love deeply. Those have been good marching orders for me.
Since then, I have studied in the Zen and Tibetan traditions, while also maintaining ties to my Theravada roots. My main emphasis in practice is open, embodied, compassionate awareness.
I have been teaching meditation groups, classes, workshops, and retreats regularly since 2012.
Visiting Artist Residencies
I am a juried member of the NH Arts in Education Registry, and I love designing projects to fit the needs and desires of each new place. I'm not only a very experienced teacher (with more than 20 years of experience), but also specially trained (as a hospital chaplain) to listen carefully and discern the needs of each community I encounter. Invite me to come teach in your school, home-school group, community center, library, hospital, or college!
Possible projects include:
Contemplative Play & Creativity
My backgrounds as an artist, art educator, long-term meditator, meditation teacher, trained hospital chaplain, writer, and mover inform an approach to teaching that I call contemplative creativity, or simply contemplative play. Participants are offered the opportunity to engage in expression and mindfulness at the same time, deepening their access to both.
Within the context of the Inner Beauty Project, I refer to contemplative writing, movement, visualization, dialogue, and art practices as Inner Beauty Treatments. I have found that this language - while being somewhat tongue in cheek - can bring forward a skillful sense of self-compassion and self-care. Mindfulness ceases being that thing that I should do, and becomes pleasurable. Creative expression ceases being that silly stuff no one has time for, and becomes a powerful tool for inquiry and understanding.
The Inner Beauty Pilgrimage to the Sacred-Ordinary Everywhere is my ongoing, expansive offering of contemplative play as a traveling / visiting facilitator. I've written extensively about these experiences in my Stories from the Road blog - for example, about my experiences staging the pilgrimage as a Visiting Artist in the Art Truck at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.