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Best Ceramic College?


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#1 austindanson

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 11:20 PM

So, what are your guys's thoughts on the best place an aspiring potter can go to study? I'm a junior in highschool and need to start figuring out where im going. I'm fine with either a liberal arts or an all arts school sooooo ya, I'd love to hear what you all think!

#2 JBaymore

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 09:57 AM

Austin,

Every one of us who teaches ceramics at a college will, of course, recommend our OWN school as the best one for you Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image . (http://www.nhia.edu)

Seriously......... please give a bit more information about your goals for "being a potter". That allows people to maybe match up your interests with our knowledge of possibly "matching" academic programs.

Different schools have different strengths and weaknesses. Some offer "skills based" approaches, some offer "conceptual" based approaches, some offer a blend, some are functionally oriented, some are sculpturally oriented, ....the possible list goes on an on. And all schools do HAVE strengths and weaknesses.

Basically, forget the facilities as the first consideration.... the important part is the people who teach there, and the working environment that has developed. The "corporate culture" if you will. Make sure to visit any schools that you are seriously considering and spend some time meeting with the faculty and students. The facilities should be the "icing on the cake"......not the main course.

A good education has to be a two way street. A real match up between the student and the faculty. A school may have "god's gift to ceramic art" teaching there........ but if you and that person do not "mesh"......... or worse are "at odds"......... you are not really going to get much out of her or him.

That does not mean that the faculty member is not challenging to you. THAT aspect is really important. Not letting you "fall asleep at the wheel". Pushing your limits all the time as your limits increase.

But if you can't relate........ then it is a waste of both of your time.

Another thought here....... look in the mirror and identify your weaknesses. Yeah..... the stuff you DON'T want to admit Posted Image . (No need to list that stuff here.) Then give good consideration to programs that could maybe help you develop in those areas. Building on strengths is important, but addressing weaknesses makes for a well rounded education, and a stronger person and artist in the end.


So, give us all some more ifo on your aspriations..... and I am sure you'll get a lot of recommendations out of the folks frequenting this forum.

best,

....................john

adjunct Professor of Ceramics
New Hampshire Institute of Art


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#3 Stephen Robison

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:44 AM

That is a great question and I would not at this time think about if you will get along with the professor, maybe thats something you think about when entering graduate school. I would look at their work and their resume and most important of all is their student's work. What their students are doing and the success of their students is sometimes a great tell tale sign of how successful they are as a professor. They may make excellent work but can't convey ideas or be that ultimate conduit of information that a strong professor should be. If you are serious about ceramics right off the bat, (pun intended), choose three of your top choice universities and apply. If it is utilitarian ceramics in particular I think there are quite a few amazing programs with good success rates out there, (Central Washington University, where I am the professor, being one of them). But, seriously the best programs for utilitarian work in my mind are Utah State in Logan with John Neeley and Dan Murphy, University of Nebraska in Lincoln with Pete Pinnel and Gail Kendal, Both Montana schools Bozeman with Josh Dewesse and Dean Adams and Missoula with Trey Hill, Beth Lo and Julia Galloway, University of Florida with Linda Arbuckle, Alfred University has a great potter in Linda Sikora, Pen State has Chris Staley. Now all the programs I am mentioning including my program at Central Washington University have graduate programs. A school that has a grad program at time may seem to have negatives and positives. The argument on the negatives relates to the fact that you will be taught by the graduate students and not the main professors. This entirely a false statement! The fact is you may be taught in your first class by one of the graduate students and after that you are under the guidance of the main professors. Now with that in mind graduate students do in a way give you more feedback from your professors. If it is a two person or three person program you have those two main professors to give you feedback and help with your work and along with them as your mentors you also have the graduate students who also wish for your success and they are learning to be mentors also. So, with that said I do believe a big program may be a great place if you are already serious about the media! In my short list of suggestions for schools to look at I am sure I am missing a few of the best out there. I also think there are tons of great undergrad only programs that you can look at. I went to the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater and they still have two professors in ceramics there. My two professors in in ceramics where KArl Borgeson and Charlie Olson and They are still two of my best friends. So the size of the undergrad is also maybe something that could give you more bang for your buck, with two mentors in stead of one. Kansas City Art Institute is a fine example and again the list for undergraduate only programs is extensive. If you are on a budget and want to get some credits at a community college there are some fine teachers out there in that capacity too. So when it comes to money and budget, looking within the state you already have residences in is of course more economical, which doesn't mean that it would be the best choice. But almost every state I can think of has at least one decent program for undergrads. If you tell me what state you are in I can give you a more directed answer to that. So what do you go to college for outside of the most important issue here and that is learning? Is it Skiing? Is it The outdoors? Is it The City Life? Is it The Ocean? Is it Fishing? And of course is it the Parties! Well, I am not being silly here, there is so much more about the life you lead in school and of course how much your studies and research in your chosen discipline suffer because of that life. These are things to think about. If you love skiing or fishing to the point that you have a problem and need to enter a self help group to deal with that problem then I really would not apply to Central Washington University, Bozeman, Missoula, or Logan. If you party to hard maybe you should not apply to a school thats in a big city! This may seem like silly advise but your success as a scholar is the utmost importance. But again the learning through living that will inform your work in clay and build you as an individual is a major part of the college experience. Man, there is quite a bit to think about. I am excited for you that you are only a Junior in High School and you are thinking about this! You are the kind of student that makes me love my job! Best to you and please write more if there are any other poignant questions that come to your head!
STEPHEN ROBISON
Head of Ceramics, Central Washington University
Ellensburg WA

http://stiffyguss.blogspot.com/
http://liquidceramics.blogspot.com/
http://teapotspitchers.blogspot.com/
http://woodkilns.blogspot.com/
http://jomonhaniwa.blogspot.com/
http://stephensrobison.blogspot.com/
http://www.flickr.co...ffpottery/sets/

CWU offers; BA, BFA, and MFA Degrees, (Post Baccalaureate also available). Images of CWU Ceramics studio can be seen at

http://www.flickr.co...57623735313670/

#4 austindanson

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 08:18 PM

wow, thanks for such amazing feedback! Those are some great points.
So, to narrow down my interests. Pottery wise, I'm more into the functional, but I do love to combine a bit of scultural with my pieces. I'm interested in learning about different kinds of kilns and firings too. We fire to cone 10 in a gas kiln at my school, but learning about soda, saggar, wood, salt, raku, pit firings, all that stuff would be aaaaaaamazing(i'm loading my trashcan-pit firing tonight!).

location wise.... I live in central california so itd be prety cool if i could find a good school instate. Preferably, the school'd be near the coast because i looove the ocean-surfing and such. but the mountains are good too, i love hiking and snowboarding as well.
I'm not much of a partier, so no need to consider that kind of a scene.
the best school in my searching that i've found with all of those criterion is Westmont. Its in Santa Barbara and the teacher loves to do functional-slightly scultural work, high fire saggars, and raku... sounds pretty good to me.
but ya, any more suggestions?
I'll go look up the ones you guys wrote.

thanks!

#5 Kristen

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 02:06 PM

The Kootenay School of Arts! That's where it's at.

#6 MadMudder

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 05:42 PM

Stephen,
Your links alone would make me want to go to school at CWU.
As a studio potter however, I've helped a couple younger people learn to make pottery.
They have lived at my house and helped out in the studio for use of the studio.
Sometimes an old fashion sort of apprenticeship works pretty darned well. Just be really careful
OR think of this, learn by doing. Buy yourself a wheel, take some glaze classes and work your way up. I live in Portland and one of the teachers at the local Rec Center is the most amazing teacher. I've learned so much from him, even though I am an old dog.
There are lots of ways to learn to be a potter and college isn't the only way. That being said, I have two kids in college right now. Send money? Neither one of them is into ceramics.
The cost of a college education will take a long time to pay back.
Just a thought.
MM
MadMudder

Remind me why I'm doing this????
-Beth Ward, Crone Potter

#7 Stephen Robison

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 10:09 AM

good point MadMudder. There are many directions to learn the craft. However if one wanted to get into being a professional I am a pretty firm believer of the university system for that. But it certainly is not the only way.

austindanson .. The best in Cali for woodfire and all the atmospheric techniques is in Sacramento. But wow the college of the Red Woods is also a great starting point. Money wise maybe go up to the college of the redwoods and get some credits and knowledge and then transfer. San Jose is great for sculpture!! There are so many good schools in your state. Check out Sacramento and the College of the Redwoods! If it were me as a young aspiring potter I would attend the College of the Redwoods and then transfer to Utah Sate in Logan!
STEPHEN ROBISON
Head of Ceramics, Central Washington University
Ellensburg WA

http://stiffyguss.blogspot.com/
http://liquidceramics.blogspot.com/
http://teapotspitchers.blogspot.com/
http://woodkilns.blogspot.com/
http://jomonhaniwa.blogspot.com/
http://stephensrobison.blogspot.com/
http://www.flickr.co...ffpottery/sets/

CWU offers; BA, BFA, and MFA Degrees, (Post Baccalaureate also available). Images of CWU Ceramics studio can be seen at

http://www.flickr.co...57623735313670/

#8 Stephen Robison

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 10:13 AM

Austin check this out



The College of the Redwoods has two very good professors!!!!

http://www.al.csus.e...as_ceramics.php

Scott and Robert are fantastic!!!!
STEPHEN ROBISON
Head of Ceramics, Central Washington University
Ellensburg WA

http://stiffyguss.blogspot.com/
http://liquidceramics.blogspot.com/
http://teapotspitchers.blogspot.com/
http://woodkilns.blogspot.com/
http://jomonhaniwa.blogspot.com/
http://stephensrobison.blogspot.com/
http://www.flickr.co...ffpottery/sets/

CWU offers; BA, BFA, and MFA Degrees, (Post Baccalaureate also available). Images of CWU Ceramics studio can be seen at

http://www.flickr.co...57623735313670/

#9 MadMudder

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:33 PM

If you major in your passion in College, it often happens that by the time you graduate you will have lost that passion.
I was a performance major on Flute in college. OMG what a total nightmare.
To be a music major it was necessary to be a megalomaniac. The teacher were very fond of assuring their students that everything they did was wrong. I had to change my embrochure after playing the flute for 8 years. This one particular teacher didn't like it. It took playing nothing but long tones for 18 months.
Most of the music majors I knew did not graduate in music.
Majoring in ceramics is often the same way. You have to change your eye to please your professors. Of course there is always change when developing an art form but still.
I was a performance major and ended up a potter, wonder what would have happened if I had majored in ceramics? Would I be in a symphony?
Take what you can get out of classes but do keep in mind that if you disagree with a prof, it is not necessarily your problem.
I am not anti college but sometimes there is a better way.
Major in business and minor in pottery, then you can set up a great communal pottery place like Cedar Creek in North Carolina. Darn it would be wonderful to have a studio there.
I find it difficult to be alone so much as a potter.
Maddmudder
MadMudder

Remind me why I'm doing this????
-Beth Ward, Crone Potter

#10 austindanson

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 09:02 PM

Thanks so much for the suggestions!
my first choice actually would be to go try to get an aprenticeship in one of the pottery villages in Japan. Unfortunaly, the parents strongly disagre... and they're the ones with the money...

but ya, the college in Sac. looks great! I'll definatly look more into it

#11 MadMudder

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 08:22 PM

Thanks so much for the suggestions!
my first choice actually would be to go try to get an aprenticeship in one of the pottery villages in Japan. Unfortunaly, the parents strongly disagre... and they're the ones with the money...

but ya, the college in Sac. looks great! I'll definatly look more into it


Hey Austin,
I found this ad while looking for other stuff in the Ceramic's Monthly Magazine. Who knew? I want to go there.


We make potters. Study pottery with Stephen Lloyd & Terry Gess. Haywood Community College in the mountains of Western North Carolina offers groundbreaking, innovative studio degree professional crafts programs in clay, fiber, jewelry and wood. Explore the creative spirit, develop sound technical expertise, and sharpen marketing and business skills. www.haywood.edu or (828) 565-4159.

MM
MadMudder

Remind me why I'm doing this????
-Beth Ward, Crone Potter




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