search  current discussion  categories  kilns & firing - misc 

op kilns etc./ "students" in jurried national shows , rant.....

updated sat 1 jan 00


Terry Sullivan/Nottingham Center for the Arts on fri 31 dec 99

Evan ( and fellow clayarters)

Your point is well made. Mel is a great guy and his opinions are usually
well thought out but often from some might consider a narrow point of view
regarding pottery/ceramics.
He is, like all of us, strongly influenced by his background and training.
Mel lives in Minnesota, apprenticed in Japan and taught high school ceramics
for decades. Undoubtedly infuenced many a teen in quite positive ways (lucky
Good, moral person, accomplished potter and excellent teacher.
Minnesota Mingei for sure !!

However; There's one heck of a lot more to the Ceramics field than being
able to throw lots of good simple pots and fire them in your wood/gas kiln (
and, yes, I do know that Mel is well aware of this and does so himself).

There are hundreds of colleges with thousands of students all across the land.
These college ceramics/art departments are often staffed by extreamly
talented instructors. Dozens are quite famous for their work and rightfully
Having been in many of these college studio/ceramic/sculpture labs; I know
there are hundreds of very accomplished artist/"students" working in them.
Many of these are "older" students who have returned to the collegiate
setting to persue a new or renewed interest and passion. Quite a few of
these, whether young or old, are as good or better than the instructors and
doing excellent professional level work.
They are students in an "academic" sense as they are "enrolled" at a college,
but are certainly not amatures in their art/pots. Many have degrees which
equal the professors and like the professors; use the wonderful facillities
provided by their state education system to produce excellent works.
( best return on your taxes and lottery $ is to use these well equipped

And they, like the professors, enter that work in national shows.

Motzart at 12 was composing better stuff than 60 year old professionals with
all their degrees and whatever.

The work should stand and be judged alone. Makes no difference age, status,
sex, or whatever. That's why jurring is , hopefully, based on the work and
not the personality of the artist/potter.

Terry Sullivan
Nottingham Center for the Arts
San Marcos, CA

At least as strongly opinionated as my friend Mel and ready to go toe to toe
with anyone. :-)