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wayver138

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Everything posted by wayver138

  1. I have entered a strange situation in terms of education and would really appreciate any advice or experiences. I have been in a Studio Art program and have the expected graduation date with a bachelors in Summer 2014. Well, the ceramics department has been shut down indefinitely as there is no faculty nor facilities to further support it. This is a very recent and sudden change so I did not really have a back up plan or the like. However, knowing the program was sub par in the beginning, I set up a modest home studio and have been attending workshops and community classes to help support my education in ceramics. Here are my questions... Originally, my plan was to attend graduate school and hopefully become an instructor in the college setting. Since then, the current education system has been scaring me off. My issue being a case in point. I have been looking at job postings in different community studios as a teacher or studio tech for future reference (I know that I am obviously not ready for a job in the field yet). Many of them require a BFA or BA. However, can a good portfolio and knowledge of a studio cause the bachelors requirement to be overlooked? On one hand, if I stick with the program at school, I will come out with a bachelor's degree and have the piece of paper essentially but no ceramics experience behind it. On the other, I have looked into quitting school (saving a lot of money, time, and gas) and attending more workshops, developing my skill set and knowledge of a studio. Lately, I have been very discouraged by the program I am in as I feel it is taking up my time from ceramics with courses that will not particularly aid me in the future as well as hindering me from developing. I have been inquiring about studio assistantships as well as the ceramics program at Haywood Community College (they seem to have a lot of exciting things going on there) but this only leads to an Associate's degree. Basically, what I am wondering is if I can get a job at a community studio or something similar as a teacher or tech without a bachelors degree? Many of the studios list it as a requirement but can a good portfolio and good, reputable workshop history negate that? I have always felt that you get out what you put in, so to speak, so workshops, assistantships, and residencies are all avenues that I want to delve in to. My main career goal is to be involved with a community studio as well as being a studio potter myself. And yes, I also have other interests that will help supplement my income into a decent living I really appreciate any advice, I know it is a bit of a loaded question. -Amanda
  2. A weird spot

    I apologize for haven't given an update yet, I have been out of town. But I have gotten myself on the waiting list into Haywood's program so in that time I can finish up the degree. Yes, it won't be focused but at least I will have plenty of time in other classes. In fact, I just began a class in a community studio that I have not attended before. The instructor was wonderful and I think it will be challenging (in a good way). Best of both worlds, I suppose. I wanted to thank everyone again for all of the input and taking the time to share your opinions.
  3. A weird spot

    Many things can be "done" if the right person is attending to them. Every "rule" can be broken wit hthe right signature on it. You need to get someone at your college in a "high position" to be an advocate for you. THAT is you goal right now. Find that person. If you have to go to the college's President... then do so. You have NOTHING to lose. And again... they created this problem for you.... let them help to solve it. The short answer is that the better your credentials... the higher up the "potential hire" list you are. There are lots of people with "......a strong portfolio, workshop background, and assistantship experience" that ALSO have a BFA or MFA that will be looking at the same positions. The same thing I said directly above applies here. best, .........................john This makes a lot of sense, I suppose it works like most other jobs. Another thing, if I stuck with getting my BA but in a different dicipline, will that hinder me just as much or is that where that "piece of paper" comes in? Thanks. Jobs are jobs. Business or corporate or academic politics exist all over. It is a fact of life. You learn to deal with it. Part of the "college education" you get is just this... learning to deal with other people and operational structures. While there are no guarantees on anything in life, if you have a BA in Art, a strong ceramics portfolio, and some ceramics teaching experiences listed on the resume', I think it certainly can't HURT you when compared to not having any degree at all. BEST would, of course, be having the BFA in Ceramics after your name.... but if that is not possible.... the BA in Art might be the "best of the available options". Sometimes you have to make "lemonade" out of the lemons. But don't get out the lemon squeezer just yet! You said you "talked to the department". I am thinking that means that you have not yet gone to someone ABOVE the department level to get some options and answers????? Depending on the school..... there are usually a couple of layers of people ABOVE the people at the Department level that CAN help sometimes. Just make sure as much as possible to not "tick off" the art department people as you approach this problem. Don't "throw them under the bus" too directly unless you have reached the absolute "end of the line". Work your way slowly and politely up the line of "powers that be" until you reach the last of your options. That last option may actually be someone a bit "outside" the college in a sense.... a member of the Board of Directors of the college. Most schools have them in one form or another. Get one of thei Board's member's ear... and somtimes amazing things can happen. Suddenly, all the BS goes away. (Unfortunately.... this is the way the world works in SO MANY things.) But you absolutely must show that you have worked you way up the ladder if it gets that far. And be able to show that your actions were professional all the time as you dealt with it. Inside you may want to kill somone.... but don't let a speck of that show on the outside. Follow up every meeting / conversation with a polite written piece that expresses your thanks and states your undertstanding of what went on and what options were discussed. You might find that you have more options than you think you do to solve this. Persistence and determination go a long way to succeeding in life. Go get em'. BTW........ See your profile... I left a note there. best, .......................john Dear All, I am not a professional potter and have no academic credentials in art. I am, however, an academic. I teach at the university level. Do know that increasingly, everywhere in the job market, degrees are fundamental. Agencies (whether schools or community centers) put out a job description. They develop this description hand and hand with those in positions of power within the setting. This is done so they can make sure they all agree about the type of person they want to fulfill a variety of different aspects of the job (i.e., skills, future funding, accreditation, identifying the qualifications of their staff in their marketing brochures etc.). Thus, my advice, while not solicited, is to stay in your program. Grin and bear it. Finish it with style. One more year, when you think about it can easily be reduced to weeks if you think about it in those terms. I know when I have students who lament their time in the classroom I try to break it up into small chunks. I say, it is now the fall term. You have exactly 12 classes in this course and you will be that much further towards the end. The idea of say having to do one year can be overwhelming. Think of it in small steps leading to a big goal. The goal is the piece of paper. This piece of paper will open doors that may and likely will otherwise be closed to you if not completed. My father had a saying he told me repeatedly as I lamented going to school. He said 'education is hard got but easily carried around." I remembered this through my many, many years of study. It helped keep me focused. Today I have those pieces of paper and they are light in my pocket but they are heavy in terms of trying to get jobs that would not be open to me otherwise. Your goal should be something like, I want to work the least amount for the most money. This will free you up for what you really want to do in life. Think of it as finishing this degree, maybe giving yourself a break and then assessing your situation more carefully. You may find the MFA is where you really should be but without that other piece of paper, you will have to go back to this step and complete it. In short, finish the degree to "keep all your options open in life." Whether you are in pottery, psychology, political science or architecture, today's employers want that piece of paper. You may not make that cut in the job posting if you do not meet their really basic standards posted. And yes, you need a strong ally who will stand beside you to recommend you for any position (with or without the piece of paper). It is just too, too competitive out there in the world today. Jobs are at a premium today. My two cents worth. Nelly Thank you for the reply. I, too, like your dad's saying. I agree with what you said about making allies. I've noticed that letters of reference play a large role so any connections I can make within the academic setting will certainly be valuable.
  4. A weird spot

    I appreciate the kind words. I completely agree with what you have said. I really want to attend Haywood at some point as I feel it could provide the education I am after. The good thing is while finishing the BA, I can have a large amount of time in my studio. I think that will be a valuable time where I can build my skill and confidence and in turn get much more out of Haywood.
  5. I don't use too many off the wall things but I do use pick combs (like this http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/studio-35-beauty-lift-comb-assortment/ID=prod4118234-product) for slip combing. I break off the individual plastic parts to get a comb with the "teeth" and spacing I want. I also use things like slightly filed corner brackets or L brackets for trimming.
  6. A weird spot

    I wanted to again thank everyone for taking the time to post their opinions and experiences. It has certainly provoked a lot of thinking. The issue I can't get out of my mind and come to terms with, however, is at what point does a higher degree and that "piece of paper" take precedence over a quality education. I feel that Haywood, despite it being an Associate's degree, would actually help further my education rather than wallowing in the university I am at now (i.e. taking studio courses across the board with no general focus and no ceramics courses). I have been in college for a good amount of time now and have taken many upper level courses in many areas like chemistry, botany, psychology, and journalism. I began college at an earlier age and therefore changed majors a lot. In that respect, I do feel I have taken advantage of the education system by dipping my feet into everything. However, the other piece of advice that hit me hard and rings true was in Mr. Baymore's first post: "The absolutely MOST expensive college education you can get is one in which you do not complete your degree." Again, I can't thank everyone enough for your thoughts and advice! I have a lot of thinking to do and plan on setting up a meeting at my current school to go over any other options.
  7. A weird spot

    Many things can be "done" if the right person is attending to them. Every "rule" can be broken wit hthe right signature on it. You need to get someone at your college in a "high position" to be an advocate for you. THAT is you goal right now. Find that person. If you have to go to the college's President... then do so. You have NOTHING to lose. And again... they created this problem for you.... let them help to solve it. The short answer is that the better your credentials... the higher up the "potential hire" list you are. There are lots of people with "......a strong portfolio, workshop background, and assistantship experience" that ALSO have a BFA or MFA that will be looking at the same positions. The same thing I said directly above applies here. best, .........................john This makes a lot of sense, I suppose it works like most other jobs. Another thing, if I stuck with getting my BA but in a different dicipline, will that hinder me just as much or is that where that "piece of paper" comes in? Thanks. Jobs are jobs. Business or corporate or academic politics exist all over. It is a fact of life. You learn to deal with it. Part of the "college education" you get is just this... learning to deal with other people and operational structures. While there are no guarantees on anything in life, if you have a BA in Art, a strong ceramics portfolio, and some ceramics teaching experiences listed on the resume', I think it certainly can't HURT you when compared to not having any degree at all. BEST would, of course, be having the BFA in Ceramics after your name.... but if that is not possible.... the BA in Art might be the "best of the available options". Sometimes you have to make "lemonade" out of the lemons. But don't get out the lemon squeezer just yet! You said you "talked to the department". I am thinking that means that you have not yet gone to someone ABOVE the department level to get some options and answers????? Depending on the school..... there are usually a couple of layers of people ABOVE the people at the Department level that CAN help sometimes. Just make sure as much as possible to not "tick off" the art department people as you approach this problem. Don't "throw them under the bus" too directly unless you have reached the absolute "end of the line". Work your way slowly and politely up the line of "powers that be" until you reach the last of your options. That last option may actually be someone a bit "outside" the college in a sense.... a member of the Board of Directors of the college. Most schools have them in one form or another. Get one of thei Board's member's ear... and somtimes amazing things can happen. Suddenly, all the BS goes away. (Unfortunately.... this is the way the world works in SO MANY things.) But you absolutely must show that you have worked you way up the ladder if it gets that far. And be able to show that your actions were professional all the time as you dealt with it. Inside you may want to kill somone.... but don't let a speck of that show on the outside. Follow up every meeting / conversation with a polite written piece that expresses your thanks and states your undertstanding of what went on and what options were discussed. You might find that you have more options than you think you do to solve this. Persistence and determination go a long way to succeeding in life. Go get em'. BTW........ See your profile... I left a note there. best, .......................john I have kept my wits so far! I will find out who a better person to talk to next would be. It is very strange in the way all of this has been handled as it seems very unoffcial. Again, thank you so much for all of the insight. As to the post on my profile...duly noted and I will begin working on that.
  8. A weird spot

    I have been looking more and more into this route as it seems like a much more valuable way to spend my time. They also require business courses within the arts program as well as more specific ceramics courses. It seems that they have genuine interest in preparing students for what comes after graduation. Not to mention, they have very impressive facilities in comparison to what was at my college.
  9. A weird spot

    Yes, but these jobs do not provide an income that you can support yourself with. At best it is a side income stream. Not a complete plan, but can be part of a larger plan. At the community center where I teach, I do not have a degree in ceramics, though I do have a BA in something else. The studio tech does not have a degree in ceramics either, she was trained on the job by the previous tech, and she does a terrific job. Mea Thank you for the reply. I understand that it would not be a sole source of income and rather be part of a larger plan, as you said. I would really like to teach and be involved in an art center just to be a part of that community and because I do have the desire to teach even if not for a living. Congratulations on the new studio renovation, by the way! The post on that gave me a lot of practical ideas on my own studio that is in the works.
  10. A weird spot

    Many things can be "done" if the right person is attending to them. Every "rule" can be broken wit hthe right signature on it. You need to get someone at your college in a "high position" to be an advocate for you. THAT is you goal right now. Find that person. If you have to go to the college's President... then do so. You have NOTHING to lose. And again... they created this problem for you.... let them help to solve it. The short answer is that the better your credentials... the higher up the "potential hire" list you are. There are lots of people with "......a strong portfolio, workshop background, and assistantship experience" that ALSO have a BFA or MFA that will be looking at the same positions. The same thing I said directly above applies here. best, .........................john This makes a lot of sense, I suppose it works like most other jobs. Another thing, if I stuck with getting my BA but in a different dicipline, will that hinder me just as much or is that where that "piece of paper" comes in?
  11. A weird spot

    Thank you, Mr. Baymore. I really appreciate your post, it is extremely helpful. To clear up the mixed message...I really would like to be a studio potter but I would like to teach community classes and workshops on the side because I still have the desire and passion to teach in some form even if it is just for side money. I have tried talking to the department but they have been all over the place and have certainly thrown me through the loop with mixed answers to what should be obvious questions. It seems as if they are more concerned with recruiting new students (into underdeveloped programs, I might add) rather than taking care of the ones that are nearing graduation. It is frustrating because even with all of the money, time, and commitment I have put into my education, I feel it is not giving me the skills I need nor preparing me for the next step.
  12. A weird spot

    Benzine, thank you for the insight. Yes, I understand that college teaching requires a MFA, however, as I said, I am looking to going into a different direction as college/university teaching seems to not be very promising. I still have a strong desire for teaching but without the politics of the education system. I would also prefer to teach people with an actual interest in ceramics unlike many of the other students I have had classes with. The problem with switching to a different university is that most have passed deadlines for the upcoming semester as well as the commute. Also, I have taken upper level studio courses which many universities will not transfer as they prefer all or most upper level courses to be taught from one institution. All those scenarios push a graduation date back a lot. My main question is will I be just as hirable to a community studio as a community class teacher or tech as well as eventual workshop instructor without a bachelor's degree (but with a strong portfolio, workshop background, and assistantship experience) as someone who does have a bachelors? Also for future reference, I have been looking into different residencies and fellowship opportunities. I have noticed that none of them out right require a degree to apply but many of the past artists do have a degree. Is this an unspoken requirement or is this because many are in between stages of higher education?
  13. Wheel Head

    I picked up a kick wheel recently and have had a bit of trouble having bats stick as well as centering. Well, I broke out the level and found that it has a pretty bad warp in the head. The problem is that the wheel head is welded to the shaft, I don't have the type of tools to get the head off. The other problem is that the wheel head is not drilled to fit standard sized bats so I cannot use pins nor will they stick due to the warp. I have been trying to think of a cost effective solution. I was thinking that I could drill a 1 inch thick wood circle onto the wheel from the bottom and use this as my wheel head. I would use shellac to seal it so I could throw directly on it as well as drill in bat pins from the top to fit standard bats. I am thinking out loud here but was wondering if anyone has had a similar issue and how it was fixed or if anyone has an idea that may be more effective. -Amanda
  14. Wheel Head

    Yes, I first checked the level from the base but it is definitely a warp in the wheel head.
  15. Wheel Head

    I just got my hands on a drill with a bit that would go through steel and just finished drilling the head to fit standard bats. Hopefully that should take care of the problem, otherwise, I'm going to put a birch wood top on it. Thanks for all of the suggestions! -Amanda
  16. Wheel Head

    The wheel head is metal supported/welded to a metal shaft which is also welded to the flywheel. Also, the edges of the wheel head is only about a 1/3 inch thick. It is thicker at the base where it is welded and the thickness tapers out, if that make sense. I don't have a way to post photos but the kick wheel is designed very similar to a Thomas Stuart kick wheel except it is all welded and does not come apart like the Stuart.
  17. Last May I finished an Associates degree. At the time, the college I was attending did not offer a bachelors degree in what I was studying so I ended changing my major to one of three bachelors degrees that was offered and began that route last fall. Basically, I tried to force interest into a new major so I could stay at the same college and due to costs. Obviously, I eventually lost interest and dropped the courses besides one to rethink everything. With the extra time on my hands, I decided to try something new and took a class at a local ceramics studio this past November. Since then, I have been hooked more and more each day. Now, I have just finished my first college ceramics course and am pursuing that route full on. It has been great! It is really wonderful when you find something that interests you and you actually want to learn and keep learning rather than forcing yourself into some other academic agenda.
  18. New potter, health concerns

    I, too, am pretty new in ceramics. I take courses at my college as well as a local studio and both seem to have the same stance on safety in the studio--common sense. Recently, I have noticed a lot of people being overly cautious (as many have stated) as if they are just trying to find something unsafe in ceramics. If you look hard enough, you can find something wrong with anything. The way I see it, if I survived my chemistry lab class, ceramics should be fine. One thing I do, however, is mix my own glazes. I like to know exactly what I am dealing with and that is not always the case when buying commercial. However, glaze formulation is one of my favorite parts of the process. If you really enjoy ceramics, don't throw it aside because of this test. Considering the amount of people working in clay, says something on its own in terms of whether it is hazardous or not. I know you said ceramics is your only change in routine, but its really hard to know for sure if that is the source considering all of the other "hazards" we are exposed to daily. Besides, if you haven't had a thallium test in over a year, its even harder to pin point what you could be exposed to in that span of time besides ceramics. And I don't think anyone takes health concerns unseriously here it just comes to a point where it gets a bit rediculous. There are plenty of threads with safety advice, may want to skim through those. Also, don't write off anyone over a comment on the internet. Everyone is bound to get poked and prodded on a public forum
  19. Saggar Firing

    Hello all, I am wanting to experiment with saggar firing in an electric kiln (cone 6). I have been reading a lot of the threads about this and have several ideas to test but still have one question.. I know typically saggar firing is left for decorative pieces but I am wanting to take functional wares with a liner glaze and put them in the saggar to get more interesting surfaces. Since it would be fired to vitrification and has a liner glaze, it would be food safe but what about washing the pots? Would frequent use and washing eventually disrupt the surface? Would certain materials be better for functional saggar firing? I know there is probably many answers but just wanted to hear some opinions. Thank you for any advice or direction!
  20. Saggar Firing

    I really appreciate all of the information! Offcenter- thank you for the detailed response, you covered most of my questions that I have been going over in head-specifically about smoke. I'm really happy to hear that you've had success with it. I think I will start off with coffee grounds and test a few saggars with differing amounts of ventilation to see what kind of results I can get.
  21. Saggar Firing

    I will be on the look out for his post :)src="http://ceramicartsdaily.org/community/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif"> Coffee grounds was one thing I was interested in using..we go through a lot of it and the coffee shop at school will give it away. Also, I have seen pots with a real nice matte black that used grounds.
  22. Saggar Firing

    Is there another process that I could use unglazed exteriors of functional pots to achieve more interesting surfaces in an electric kiln? I am very interested in using a variety of organic materials to get more spontaneous marks and the like but I only have access to an electric kiln at the moment. My mind isn't really set on the idea of using a saggar, that was just the method that, at first, made most sense to me.
  23. Saggar Firing

    Okay, thank you for the clarification. My original understanding was that some organic materials could still leave an imprint, for lack of a better word, after vitrification. Well, at any rate, I will still experiment on some vases.
  24. Saggar Firing

    Could I not reach temperature inside the saggar? I'm sorry, I'm obviously ignorant on this subject. I've been reading articles on saggars in an electric kiln but have not really seen this subject addressed, more so they seem to be on types of organic materials, etc.
  25. Coloring Wax Resist

    Hey there, I am wanting to brush wax resist on bisqued pots (then brush on slip). Would coloring the wax with black iron oxide or RIO allow for crisp lines that will retain once the wax is burned off in the kiln (cone 6 electric)? Or is there another/better way that will allow that? Also, would this work applying to greenware? My thought was to add the above to a more oil based wax resist but figured I would ask if anyone had success with this before buying. I have been testing with stains and underglazes but still havent quite gotten the result I am looking for. Thank you for any advice.
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