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apprentice question (long)

updated mon 30 sep 96


Doug Gray on sat 14 sep 96


I think there are several reasons why BFA students are less likely to go
into apprenticeship situations. First, several art schools in the U.S.
do not consider pottery to be a fine art. Some schools (to remain
nameless) have even taken wheels out of their studios under the
assumption that art can't be produced on the wheel. A very narrow
minded approach, in my opinion, but true never the less.

Second, students who are interested in finding apprenticeship positions
often do not know where to look. When I attended a David Leach workshop
in Miniola, TX, I asked David why he no longer accepted American
appretices in pottery in England. There were numerous reasons, to say
the least, but there was another pottery there who jokingly said that if
I was so interested in an apprenticeship program, I could go home with
him and wedge clay for him for the next year. His sarcasm, and complete
ignorance of the appreticeship experience left me thoroughly

Finally, I have noticed that in my generation (30's) and among my
students (teen's and 20's), there is little interest in doing someone
elses pottery. The emphasis in many art schools today is individualism
and "unique" creativity. I don't think that this approach is necessarily
good or bad, however, it does not prepare students mentally for the
appreticeship experience.

Of course I have made many generalizations, all of which could be argued
with. But I think that for many BFA graduates, the MFA program makes a
more logical next step than apprenticeships.

I am curious to hear the responses of others. I myself am very
interested in the role of apprenticeships in our ever modernizing

Doug Gray
Alpine, TX