Lee Love on mon 7 mar 05
Carl D Cravens wrote:
> And would you, a beginner in clay, sit through six months, ten months, or
> even fifteen months of being told, "That's not good enough. Do it
> Who pays good money to have their ego stomped on?
If you want to develop skill, you cannot view each pot as
I remember when I took my first wheel class at the UofMn.
One assignment Mark Pharis gave us was to throw 6 cylinders. Almost
all the students seemed to do the assignment by keeping the first six
cylinders that stayed standing up. Some were shorter than 3 or 4
inches, wider than they were tall. My first 6 cylinders looked
exactly like everybody elses except, I threw 100 cylinders and
recycled all but 6, keeping the best 6 forms.
If you want to learn to throw, make good use of the
facilities, equipment and clay. They recycle for you. Don't think
about making birthday/Xmas presents. Don't be too attached the the
product in the beginning. Think of it as an opportunity to learn.
The studio arts system in America is an excellent
situation in which to learn expression. But you have to place some
personal standards upon yourself if you are going to develop skill.
If you have skill, then you have the tools to manifest what you want to
Lee in Mashiko, Japan http://mashiko.org
http://potters.blogspot.com/ WEB LOG
Carl D Cravens on tue 8 mar 05
On Mon, 7 Mar 2005, Lee Love wrote:
> If you want to develop skill, you cannot view each pot as
> being "precious."
I didn't say the student views each pot as being precious. I said the
student may view 18 months of work without being allowed to keep anything
as frustrating. Attributing extremes to others isn't helpful here.
Some of this depends on the context. Are we talking about someone aiming
for a MFA and a career in pots or ceramic art, or are we talking high
school students, or mothers taking ten-week classes while their kids are
And I think that's the issue here... you're thinking "university,
long-term education" and I'm thinking "Parks & Recreation Department,
10-week class when I can catch one, doing this for a hobby" or "ninth
graders who may never take a pottery class again."
And maybe that's where I made a mistake... I thought Tony was including
high school teaching in his statements, because I seem to recall teaching
high schoolers was part of the previous conversation. If we're only
talking about training for a career in ceramic arts, I'd accept such an
approach more readily than I would taking a 10-week class with the Parks &
> Don't think about making birthday/Xmas presents.
I think if you re-read my message, you'll see that I wasn't.
> Don't be too attached the the product in the beginning. Think of it as
> an opportunity to learn.
Is there no opportunity for learning in having tangible evidence of past
The third pot I threw and kept has been my constant reminder of how
quickly I reached that level, and how much more I could achieve when I
finally got the time and money to approach clay more seriously. I use it
daily, and it has been an encouragement during the dry spell.
If I'd taken one ten-week class and walked away with nothing to show for
it, being unable to afford to do another class for several years (prices
went up as my income went down and we had a kid), I probably would have
lost interest. But my situation is very different from the college
student pursuing a career in the arts, or an experienced potter in an
apprenticeship to a master, or even a ninth-grader in art class.
The story of that third pot is on my blog, if anyone's interested...
> The studio arts system in America is an excellent
> situation in which to learn expression. But you have to place some
> personal standards upon yourself if you are going to develop skill.
Does personal standards mean throwing away every pot for the first
year-and-a-half? Or even the first six months, to take Tony's lower end
and avoid extremes myself.
Isn't there some balance between throwing away every pot for six months or
more and wanting to keep nearly every one?
I can't help but think about my wife's sketch books, full of art you'd
never hang on a wall. But they are valuable, none the less. They
represent a journey. It seems to me that erasing all evidence of the
journey and keeping only the destination is missing out on something.
Maybe it's no big deal to some people, but I could get burnt out focusing
on perfecting one aspect of the craft/art without anything to show for it
for six to eighteen months.
Carl D Cravens (firstname.lastname@example.org) Wichita, KS
Read my Pottery Journal: http://raven.phoenyx.net/pots/
Ho! Haha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!