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apprentice question/opinion poll

updated mon 30 sep 96


JILL on fri 13 sep 96

Helloooo Clayart

I9ve been thinking of responding to Kevin Hluch9s 2Apprentice
Question2 for several days now. I was going to tell him about
Millcreek Stoneware9s production pottery position,which was
temporarily filled yesterday. We ran an ad in Ceramics Monthly for a
couple of months in the spring and I posted a note about it on this
list. We had very few responses from clay students looking for an
intensive pottery experience. Mostly we talked to middle aged potters
looking for a change of pace. Recently, I talked to my friend , Tom
Gilfillan, who just ran an ad in CM for an apprentice opportunity at
his studio in Whitefish Montana. He told me that he got eight
responses in the first couple of days. I9m wondering if the clay
community has a negative image of production pottery or are people
that much more interested in moving to Montana instead of Ohio? What
are ceramics BFA and other ceramic students doing when they get out of
school? What9s your opinion?

Paul puzzled in Ohio

Dustin K. Martin on sat 14 sep 96

dear clayarters,

the apprenticeship question is a lengthy one indeed but speaking from
experience i can say that it was the best thing i could have done. i
graduated with a BFA from kansas city art institute in '93 where ferguson
pushed the notion that graduate school is the next step. in fact, 18 out
the 20 graduating clay students were actively persuing a graduate school
from the beginning of our senior year. also ken displayed little resistence
in mentioning the fact that alfred was in his opinion the best over and
over again. the result was everyone applied to alfred along with 3 or 4
other schools. and so in time, everyone was placed in a grad school and
spread throughout the country for the following year. the point is that at
no moment was the idea of apprenticeship ever brought up. i myself chose
not to go to grad school right away fustrated that only one of my four
choices had accepted me. instead i moved back to michigan and through mere
fate ran into an opportunity with john glick out of farmington hills.
things fell into place and before i knew it i realized i had learned more in
a few monthes with john then i did at kansas city. well that might be a
slight exageration but the difference with john was the realness of it all.

in school everything was so idealistic. thoughts of marketing and shipping
along with discussions about gallery relationships and concerns of the
consumer were never mentioned. with john everything was an open topic. i
watched and took notes on john's own neverending struggle to find his way
through the art world while i sorted my own thoughts on various subjects. i
went through every aspect of a functioning studio- making clay and glazes,
firing kilns, selling, shipping, presentation. and there were of course
aesthetic discussions on my work as well as his. i should note that i had a
good foundation of much of this stuff at kcai but to learn from a different
point of view was eye-opening, especially john's economy of movement
throughout the studio- never was there a wasted task.

so here i am three years later at notre dame starting my mfa. i have now
the advantage of three years time in between undergrad and grad, a
successful assistantship and teaching experience(that is another story). i
have more direction and go to the studio each morning with a goal in mind.
i have a better sense of time and still i know the importance of continually
evaluating the work. much of this i attribute to glick.

i can recommend a situation like glick's assistantships but truthfully i
don't think there are that many out there. on top of that, i can't imagine
too many with his experience in the realm of clay. all in all though, real
life situations will always have their advantages over idealistic
universities. this is true in any field. and so i think apprenticing will
always be more valuable in many ways than school. for what ever it is worth
to you, this is my opinion.

yours truly,

dustin martin

Dannon Rhudy on sun 15 sep 96

>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>dear clayarters,
>the apprenticeship question is a lengthy one indeed but speaking from
>experience i can say that it was the best thing i could have done.


Thanks for a clear and concise view of your experience as an apprentice.
And, as a corollary, your experience looking for graduate schools. A good
statement that it does not have to be an either/or situation, and that there is
much to be gained in each position.

I think that schools do thier students a great (perhaps grave) disservice
in avoiding discussion of how to make a living doing what one does, letting
students assume that the world waits breathless for their work. One only
has to look at the ratio of how many graduate BFA/how many graduate MFA/
how many actually find a teaching position to recognize how narrow that
bottleneck becomes. But it is seldom mentioned, in my experience. Of course,
sometimes students don't want to know...

A clear view is essential, and not nearly as painful as falling flat on your
because you refused to look where you were going.

Dannon Rhudy