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reply to carrie's questions about the mfa

updated wed 13 dec 00


Jim Sydnor on tue 12 dec 00

Hey I just wanted to spit out a quick response to the MFA thing. My briefest
answer is very little.

I am just finishing my MFA, after more than 10 years making and selling
pots. I went back to get the MFA because I felt my pots were not getting
where I wanted them to be and there was really no opportunities for me to do
an apprenticeship. I would not have gone back to college to do the MFA if I
could not have done it the way I did. One I had to make sure that I would
not need to borrow any money for the degree, that my pot production itself
would fill the bill. Two I need to feel like I was learning more to hone my
skill, craft, critical eye, than learning about the nuances of art, as it
pertains to the social structure (blah, blah, blah). For me it worked out.

Now for the question. The only help or aid that I can point to that the MFA
has given me (or telling people I am finishing it). Is that in this area of
Texas (Dallas) many of the people are very snooty and neuvo aristrocratic,
so they seem to derive some bragging rights from buying pots from a
university confirmed artist (or what ever the heck they are thinking). Also
when seeking out a few of the architectural jobs I have finished (tiles and
the like), designers and architects like the bragging rights. For me though
for the most part it was simply the best way for me to become a much better
potter. I don't believe that would have been able to happen at to many other

Jim Sydnor
Traditions Clayworks