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what an mfa is realy

updated sun 1 sep 02


Donn Buchfinck on sat 31 aug 02

An MFA is a teaching certificate,
but that doesn't gaurante the ability to teach

But a great grad school. A Great program will help the potter articulate a
personal vision.
it is about developing a personal language to speak your ideas in.
In a masters program you learn to take a language, and speak poetry with it.

Personaly, I could be a great teacher. No wait, let me explain, I can connect
with the student, I can help them develop that language, but there is so much
more to that enviroment than than, you would think that should be it, but it
isn't. Interpersonal relationships is what college teaching is about, or
teaching in general, and it has a way of driving the truly talented ones out,
or people cannot give as much to the students because they need to save some
energy for themselves.
it is a hard place to be, and a lot of times it is a vipers nest. I have a
hard time dealing with that, and that is my achilies heel.

Now when I got my BFA I had talent, I could do stuff. I had some skills.
But it is a whole different ball game when someone says to you, ok, you can
say "See spot run", in your medium. But what are you going to say, what are
you going to say that has some essence of who you are, can you defend this.
Is what you are saying verbaly backed up by the things you make.

MFA programs should be the crucible. It was for me, and anyone who thinks
different hasn't gone thru that process.
I see very few artists who are making succesful personal expressions in the
clay medium without an MFA, oh there are a few, And lets be clear, those
leach trained people, they went through thier own version of the crucible.

Donn Buchfinck
San Francisco