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about taking good workshop..

updated thu 26 may 05


Lee Love on wed 18 may 05

The big advantage back home, that they really don't have here in Japan,
is the workshop system.

I have never attended a bad workshop, but maybe I was spoilt living
where I did and having part of my studio at Northern Clay Center:

Warren MacKenzie, John Reeve, Mark Pharis, Curt Hoard, Linda Sikora,
Linda Christensen, Jeff Oestrich, Jan MaKechie-Johnstton, Pete Pinnell,
Matt Metz, John Kantar, Randy Johnson, Shirely Johnson, Bob Brisco,
Richard Bresnahan , (sorry I can't remember them all!)

What might help is if you get word-of-mouth recommendations. Go for a
purpose and not just as a consumer. Go to learn something from the
specific potter. In many cases, the students and their questions make
the teacher.

If you get a chance to do a workshop with any of these people listed
above, I highly recommend them.

You can see some of their work here:

李 Lee Love 大
愛      鱗
in Mashiko, Japan Visual Bookmarks Zen and Craft

Annie Chrietzberg on wed 18 may 05

I think the diversity of what workshop takers want is no less diverse
than any group, as is continuously discussed in this forum. When
questions arise in a workshop they are always in wide variety - where
do your ideas come from, how do you manage the balance between your
family and being an artist, what type of clay & glazes etc. do you use,
I've been having this problem and how do you solve it, how do you get
your work out there, what shoes work best for you in the studio....and
on & on
I for one, really value the slide lectures and artspeak. And I
personally don't find ruminations about an artist's concepts or ideas
annoying. I do find questions about clay & glaze annoying, but at one
time I didn't, and understand that others do need to ask those
questions and need those answers.
I don't think a list of rules can be laid out for a workshop presenter,
because they never know who they will be presenting to. I do think
they have to be ready to field every type of question. I also think
that as ever-evolving students, the things that we will take away from
a workshop will change. And I don't think that the evolution will be
on a chartable path, either.
I've learned so many different things on so many different levels from
teachers at different times. One person I didn't really study with
graciously gave me a critique of my work & I learned more about the way
to think about form in five minutes from this man than I did in two
years of solid working. I think what we are open to learning has to do
with timing.
things I've taken away from workshops, in no particular order:
technique, attitude, science, faith, intention, form, spirit, recipes,
tools, how to make tools, visual stimulation, inspiration, books, work,
hurt feelings, life lessons, ideas, new friends, awakening, 'duh'
moments, insecurity, on & on.
I think the most important thing to do when attending a workshop is
shut up & listen. Including the inner dialog that might be telling you
how fucking boring this is or how 'over' a particular aspect of the
workshop you are. If you go in with a personal list of what's
acceptable to you and what is not, you're setting yourself up for
Ideally, you should go to a workshop because you admire someone's work
- and then be open to the particulars of how they work, and what is
important in their process. You will probably have patches of boredom
here and there in any given workshop - just coast through it and ready
yourself to absorb the next morsel that's important to you - at the
same time realize that someone in that room is really into what you
find yourself to be 'over.'


Annie Chrietzberg
Ceramic Design Group
Steamboat Springs, CO

Lee Love on fri 20 may 05

My response to Gayle's private post that included the potter's name,
slightly altered to protect the innocent. *hahahah!* Changes are
between *_______* asterisks (not including corrections for spelling and

claybair wrote:

>as workshop presenters because of one or 2 times they were off their game.

I agree.

You know, what I said about the workshop participants being
part of the mix of a workshop? I remember a *famous lady potter*
attended the workshop with *this famous potter*, that I was lucky to
attend. She really knew all the right questions to ask *famous
potter*. They really played off one & other well. She asked him to
tell stories that she heard him tell before.

I was also lucky to see a panel discussion at the Mingeikan that had
MacKenzie and Sori Yanagi having a discussion with Shimaoka acting as
the moderator. Shimaoka asked MacKenzie to tell several stories he
heard at dinner in Stillwater when he visited Minnesota. There was a
great story about Hamada and Voulkos.

I don't remember any techniques from *famous potter's* workshop,
but I don't go workshops to learn technique, unless it is something like
a glaze formulation workshop. I go because I want to hear the why
and wherefore. (someone on ClayArt said that they no longer want to know
the how, so much as they want to know the "why.")

What I do remember are the slides of *famous artist's
history and inspirations*, and my favorite were probably his stories
from the *famous place to study* crew.

Just thinking about this *famous ceramic artist's* work,
you know he probably doesn't work fast. Watching people work, to me,
is like watching paint dry.

Maybe situations like up at Kanayama (workshop near Aomori)
are best, where "non-begining" potters work on their own pots in a large
room together. Anybody can take a break to go watch someone else or
pick their brains. Simply watching folks do things, I think, is
primarily for beginners or people who don't really do the work, but are

李 Lee Love 大
愛      鱗
in Mashiko, Japan Visual Bookmarks Zen and Craft
 "With Humans it's what's here (he points to his heart) that makes the
difference. If you don't have it in the heart, nothing you make will
make a difference." ~~Bernard Leach~~ (As told to Dean Schwarz)

bonnie staffel on wed 25 may 05

Hi Clayarters,

Speaking of a great workshop presenter, check into the upcoming Brian
Gartside workshop at the Crooked Tree Art Center, Petoskey, MI, June 15 -
17. The time is getting close so be sure to register before the last space
is taken. It is a hands on workshop following his unusual techniques to get
outstanding results from volume mixing. He will also demonstrate working
with paper clay. This workshop sounds like a blast. Don't miss the fun.

Regards, Bonnie Staffel
Charter Member Potters Council

Brian Gartside
Glaze Texture and Surface Decoration
Demonstrating paperclay and developing visual skills
To enroll contact Gail Lambert
or phone Crooked Tree Arts Center 231 347 4337
Brian Gartside will teach participants how to easily achieve color and
texture on any ceramic surface. He will explain a simple and economical
method for developing interesting surface treatments for any firing method.
This method is relaxed, loosely approximate and celebrates the "glaze flaws"
that many potters fret over. Brian's enthusiasm for this textural glaze
revolution is infectious and will inspire anyone looking for new ways to
invigorate the surface of their work.

On the first day, participants will help mix hundreds of glaze and texture
samples that will be fired overnight for review the next day. Brian will
then proceed to talk about and demonstrate his approach to surface design,
images and decoration. He creates fascinatingly complex abstract designs
inspired by elements of landscape. He will present slides of his influences
and work, while demonstrating his approach to building up surface decoration
utilizing the same materials that participants have tested. Alongside this
he demonstrates the creation and development of visual design skills.
For more info click Clayglazexplore
For preparation read Making clay boxes

Brian Gartside is a full-time professional potter from New Zealand. This is
a rare opportunity to catch him in this year's USA workshop tour. Brian has
been a practicing and teaching artist in art and ceramics for 35 years. The
technical and aesthetic content of the workshop will be enhanced with facts,
wisdom, ideas, and stories garnered from a lifetime in art and clay. Brian
has taught in Hungary, England, New Zealand, the US, Finland, Canada,
Ireland, and Australia. His work is found in prominent private and museum
collections worldwide, and appeared recently in Clay Times. He also writes
numerous technical articles for clay publications and maintains a wonderful
website full of information and heaps more images of his work.