search  current discussion  categories  events - workshops 

marketable skills, workshops,and like that

updated fri 24 feb 06


Lili Krakowski on thu 23 feb 06

Wall Street Journal of February 17, 2006 has article by Mark Oppenheimer =
about the cost of college education in the US today. One of Mr =
Oppenheimer's points is that "There are thousands of under-employed =
Ph.Ds in America who could be paid to offer college-level courses in =
your living room." Mr. O says that students "who couldn't care less =
about football, don't need a Women's Center and have no urge to join =
Delta Delta Delta--...could hire two high-end intellectuals, pay them =
$50,000 each and get personal instruction."

I cannot comment on his idea but we can translate it into "our" =
workshops. I have not attended any beyond several offered at the Gibbes =
Museum Studio while we were wintering in Charleston. I not only =
observed, but volunteered to act as roustabout. And let me tell you: I =
can volunteer, but they could not pay me enough! One of the big =
differences between crafts --and this is not psychobabble--is the level =
of neatness and tidiness, and the labor involved in rstoring the place =
to normalcy. =20

Weaving studios are immaculate. Potteries are not.
So a probable difference in the cost of a photo workshop and a clay one =
is that photographers are finnicky, clean, and careful with their =
costly costly tools and materials, while potters tend to be laid back =
and messy. Just one example. I cannot imagine that the ladies loo has =
to be wasshed down top to bottom after a photo workshop. At the clay =
workshops there was mud on the floor, in the most improbable parts of =
the toilet tank, all over the sink, on the wall adjacent to the paper =
roll....Believe me. Enough said.

However. There are potters who are hero-worshipped. And people will =
pay good money to be in The Presence of the Great. It is amusing how =
soon, after a 3 day workshop, The Great One gets promoted into a good =
aquaintance, then a friend, then a close friend. A sneeze is met with =
an reflexive "God bless you" and soon, all too soon "As the Great One =
said to me once: 'God bless you.'" The audience being left to infer it =
was a comment on the work. (I am taking snuff with me if I ever go to =

Having said that, I think that for some people whose locale is not =
forthcoming with good clay classes, and those who want a =
three-dimensional experience with something [that to them] is =
complicated are well-advised to find a learning situation. Yes, one can =
suggest to a potter known for skill in that aspect of the craft that one =
would like to hire that person, come to her studio for a day or two, =
staying at a nearby motel, etc.---but would that work? And universities =
where c lay is taught could have an Open House Week after classes cease =
in Spring and Winter and allow people to come talk to the Masters for a =
fee, of course, but a tiny one. Comments from the list might open up =
new vistas. =20

And yes, there are workshops that are opened on a scholarships basis =
once the basic cost to the giver has been met.

I wrote the Basic Internet Glaze Course exactly because Glaze =
Calculation is the topic of one of my workshops. Which I no longer =
give. Much of what is taught in workshops IS available in books. And =
that info should be free....

But--and this is what I am driving at--if mainly, only, rich people with =
BMW SUVS and TravelSmith jeans appear at the workshops whose fault is =
that? Are we, as potters, not responsible at all? I always have had a =
problem with time being paid for, since time is all we all have...but =
never mind....When I was young all MDs and dentists gave one day or =
afternoon a week to free clinics. Diverse forms of welfare have done =
away with that. But, as it is unlikely Medicaid will offer clay =
classes, perhaps clay schools could offer clinics.

Lili Krakowski

Be of good courage