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this mfa vs. studio potter business.

updated sat 19 jan 02


Jeff Tsai on thu 17 jan 02


I haven't been on this list for five years like some of you, but from what I
understand, this is a list that's supposed to be open for everyone to express
their views concerning ceramic issues. That being said, I think Raphael has
made it fairly clear that he isn't changing his stance on this, and at this
point it might be better to, as Vince suggested, let this subject drop. A lot
of name calling and divisionary back and forth is all this seems to have

I'm still just a student. I have two professors: one who was formally trained
at Washington, and another who was a production potter for years before
deciding to teach. Both of them are great teachers. Maybe when the latter
first started teaching, he didn't know what to do, but years of experience
have made him a great teacher and a wealth of technical information, but to
be honest, maybe the formally trained teacher was equally inept at the outset
of her teaching career.

Last semester, as fate would have it, our facilty invited a studio potter to
join as a part time faculty member to teach a class. Watching him teach is
comical sometimes because he doesn't always have an idea what to do with the
kids yet. But by the end of the semester he was handling the kids great and
they all liked him and the information he provided. He also became a source
of information for graduate and advanced students working in various
clayforms and glazes. I expect this next semester will go very smoothly with
him, and who knows, if he decided to do this full time, he might get as good
as my other former studio-potter teacher. I guess it depends on the
individual personality and not what category (studio vs. MFA) we label a
person with that will determine the teaching potential.