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finding a mentor

updated thu 19 aug 04


Toni Smith on wed 18 aug 04

For the person who wants a mentor, you may only have to look in your own backyard. You say you don't have a degree and 'only' took classes and workshops. That is how I have learned about clay and it is working for me. After all, we have so much information at our fingertips now. The bottom line is the question, "How hard are you willing to work?" Even though someone has a fine arts degree, they may have only done the work necessary to achieve that degree. It doesn't make them a 'better' potter than someone who dedicates themselves to practice and research and learning to be the best they can be. For a while I bemoaned the fact that I didn't have formal art curriculum to follow. Look around you. Ask on Clayart. Read books and magazines. And as far as that mentor? If you take a class and respect the instructor, ask them for a critique and offer to pay for their time. If you admire someone's work at an art show, ask if they give lessons and would help you with questions. They will eith
er accept or decline. Nothing lost, nothing gained. I took a workshop with a man that is greatly admired in our area. He took me aside and told me if I ever have any questions, to feel free to contact
him. He would like to help me. He said, he 'admired my throwing rhythm' on the wheel and my 'questions were very specific.' He knows I am serious about the craftsmanship and I feel comfortable going to him for help. Maybe the same will work for you. Then someday, you will be able to give back in the same way for someone else coming up the line. Isn't it a wonderful process? Toni Smith in Ohio, thinking how many Clayart friends have helped me along the way, and feeling very grateful.

Susan Gerr on wed 18 aug 04

HI toni... i totally agree.... i did get a degree in ceramics.. but was such
a kid back then.. i'm sure i didnt really "get" what was being taught... i
really had no mentors but kept pursuing on my own.. workshops, classes... finally
my own shop selling and teaching... i also enjoy helping people really
interested and have had several go on to open their own studios etc.... nice to hear
form you
Susan Gerr
Birch Mountain Pottery
P.O. 422
223 Merrow Road
Tolland, CT 06084
(860) 875-0149