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Is This The Norm In Arts Education?

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Guest JBaymore

Please don't paint all of academia with a broad brush.  Curriculum content depends on the specific college's program.  It can vary a lot.  And as they say about poor doctors..... someone has to graduate at the bottom of the class.

 

In our program, BFA undergrads have to learn at least the basics of throwing, handbuilding, some ceramic history, some materials science, and some kiln building and firing science.  Strong skills base education.  Final year a strong 'body of work' approach toward a final exhibition, with a long 'capstone paper' framing it.   All can and must dig deeper into particular areas.  MFA is focused more heavily on ideas and content.

 

best,

 

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

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Speaking of Aesthetics... just for fun they had one of those Photos with a place to insert one's face. The original is an Iconic photo for the Archie Bray Foundation when Yanagi, author of the "Unknown Craftsman", Bernard Leach, Hamada, and the young Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos who were the first resident artists at the Bray in 1951 or soon after. The Archie Bray Foundation has 62 years of history.

These people had a major impact on the World of Ceramics in the mid-20th century.

 

Marcia

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Speaking of Aesthetics... just for fun they had one of those Photos with a place to insert one's face. The original is an Iconic photo for the Archie Bray Foundation when Yanagi, author of the "Unknown Craftsman", Bernard Leach, Hamada, and the young Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos who were the first resident artists at the Bray in 1951 or soon after. The Archie Bray Foundation has 62 years of history.

These people had a major impact on the World of Ceramics in the mid-20th century.

 

Marcia

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I can speak only for Switzerland. We have 3 major schools which are doing basic education in ceramics.

 

I am project leader of the Cheongju Biennale in Korea this year and I organize the participants for Switzerland. I wanted to give students the opportunity to exhibit abroad, so I accepted 20 student's applications (they just graduated after 3 years of school). Then it started: they had no idea how to calculate an insurance value, no idea of transport modes, packing, customs papers, photographing their object for the catalogue, no idea how to write a biography. I had to teach them via "learning by doing"....and most of their objects were like pieces from kindergarten. I asked their teachers if they teach students also the exhibition side of an artist life and they said no, no time (during 3 years? Hello??). Speaking of "prepare pupils for life"....

 

PS: I think I once saw wheels in the schools though...

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You know what. . . Why don't we start a list. . . Marcia listed:  Yanagi, author of the "Unknown Craftsman", Bernard Leach, Hamada, and the young Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos  Others were Beatrice Wood and Otto Heino. Name names. let me know if we should do a separate strand and I will set it up. Who do you know of that you feel is important?

 

 

best,

Pres

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Guest

 Who do you know of that you feel is important?

 

There a small few on this forum that should be listed, I won't mention Marcia by name (if you don't beleive me take a closer look at post #28). Another artist is Jennifer McCurdy, their works blow me away every time I look their pieces.  I figure I have another 20-25 years before I'm to old to get to reach the point that they have achieved.

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for evelyne, glad to see you!  your comment on students unprepared for the real world reminded me of the college graduates, MBAs who asked for the address of the massive AT&T building in tiny Oakton, va..  once the address was supplied, they could not imagine how to get there from wherever they were coming from though it is in the exit loop of an interstate highway.  this was long before the internet and GPS made it so easy.

 

in frustration, i finally told these newly hired people that finding the place would be their first assignment since they would be visiting substanital international business customers from then on and would be expected to read a map.

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Guest JBaymore

Another detail about our NHIA program from the ceramics website page........ "What else you need to know

  • We are the ONLY college in America offering BFA degrees that require all students to complete three semesters of professional practices, business marketing, and entrepreneurship studies for the arts.
  • Our partnership with UNH Manchester expands course offerings by double, without adding expense or time to complete your degree
  • We require nine credits of a professional practicum (paid or unpaid internships) in all disciplines
  • Every freshman gets a fully loaded Macbook laptop for no additional expense"

 

Also see here:  http://www.nhia.edu/~/media/files/undergrad/curricula/nhia_ceramics-curriculum.pdf?la=en&hash=9954BE7AB949CA05A81899B0070FC950B9FDD7C0

 

 

best,

 

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

 

<Red highlighting is mine>

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John,

Would that there were a program like yours back in the day, I might be full timing it at this point, but then again to I would have missed out on the wonderful years of teaching. Trade offs are difficult when you don't have a real crystal ball.

 

 

best,

Pres

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We offered a year long seminar for seniors which covered marketing, writing statements, exhibitions, packing and crating, pricing. Also had guest speakers talk from different art professions. I am happy to say many of our students are professional artists in Montana.

Marcia

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You know what. . . Why don't we start a list. . . Marcia listed:  Yanagi, author of the "Unknown Craftsman", Bernard Leach, Hamada, and the young Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos  Others were Beatrice Wood and Otto Heino. Name names. let me know if we should do a separate strand and I will set it up. Who do you know of that you feel is important?

 

 

best,

Pres

Yes, that is a wonderful idea! Like Karenkstudio said, if someone has the knowledge of something and can share it, it helps everyone.

I can also think of Lucy Rie.

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You know what. . . Why don't we start a list. . . Marcia listed:  Yanagi, author of the "Unknown Craftsman", Bernard Leach, Hamada, and the young Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos  Others were Beatrice Wood and Otto Heino. Name names. let me know if we should do a separate strand and I will set it up. Who do you know of that you feel is important?

 

 

best,

Pres

Charles Fergus Binns

Edward Orton Jr

George E. Ohr  

Don Reitz

Johann Friedrich Böttger

 

lt

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Oldlady: thank you for the welcome! Glad to be back in the forum and with my friends.

 

Maybe Internet and GPS and whatnot aren't so very good inventions. We all lose the ability, for instance, to find our way through a city by reading schedules of trams, busses, trains; orient ourselves through our brain-compass and through landmarks, maybe even determin your position to the position of the sun... I know it sounds medieval, but this knowledge is important! I know of a chauffeur to a big shot here in Switzerland who not even knows in which country he is, driving only ever with one eye on the GPS. (rolleyes)

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what i find really inspiring is that the ceramics programs in Korea is growing. it was good to hear rather than keep hearing from this side of the pond of all the places that are closing.

 

i'm always curious what the norm is out there and what is making their ceramics program grow. 

 

i don't know how the universities in japan and china are doing with regards to clay and pottery.

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Guest JBaymore

 

 

i don't know how the universities in japan and china are doing with regards to clay and pottery.

 

I was presenting and showing in Yixing, PoR China a few years ago.  While there I attended a seminar session where they were talking about (I had a simultaneous translation headset on) the decline in the overall # of ceramic students and ceramic programs there also.  I have photos I took of the graphs they were showing somewhere.  Now, you have to understand the magnitude of difference however.  For example the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute currently has about 7,000 ceramics majors at it and will expand to 10,000 soon.  That is one school.

 

In the past 20+ years of me working and spending time in Japan, I've steadily seen the great decrease in the more production oriented ceramics facilities.  Some just closed and rotting  in disrepair (have a whole slide show of that).  The "mid level" sized places are being killed off by inexpensive imports from China and to a degree southeast asia.  Again... there are plenty of potters in Japan when compared to the USA. 

 

Studio ceramics (individual artists and small studios) are still in pretty large supply.... but they are also struggling mainly due to the decline of the Japanese economy.   Japan is VERY competitive for a new potter starting out.  Possibly in many ways worse than what it is in the USA.  The broad market knows good pots.  Plus you are "no-one" until you are many decades into your career.  Typical studio apprenticeship is 7 years.  ('Fast ones' are 3 years.)  But when you "make it".... the rewards are there.  The magic number to be taken at a really top-end serious level:  60 years old.

 

Collegiate education is slipping slightly in numbers there in Japan also.  Like in the US, graphics and media are the hot art forms... and people don't want to go into the "old" clay stuff as much.  A lot of this depends on the particular school.  Some schools are still in high demand, such as Tokyo Geidai (Tokyo University of the Arts).  Geidai is the most difficult university to get into (of any kind) in Japan.  If you graduate from there ....... it pretty much makes your career. 

 

I've had the pleasure (and honor) of being invited as a Guest Lecturer there twice.  My first time and day there....... I was walking around mistaking some undergrad work I saw for (likely) faculty work.  The clay students can draw better than painting majors in the US.  The work ethic and hours put in is unbelievable.

 

It is pretty much a myth that Japan is like some form of "instant success" for a place to be as a potter.  Like anywhere .... it takes a LOT of "dues" and hard work to reach a comfortable place.  And making some really good work.   The difference is that there are more "comfortable places" to be had.  And for the best......... it can be quite profitable.  I have a couple friends there that are millionaire potters.

 

The educational system in both PoR China and Japan are VERY different as to content, pedagogical approach, and how students behave.  Not a lot of resemblance of the US's approach.  Most westerners would not do well in that environment.  When I've taught there in the university setting.... it has sometimes been kinda' difficult.  (And sometimes a real PLEASURE too.)

 

best,

 

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

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I have a degree in Art from UC Davis.  UC Davis is largely recognized as the ceramic art epicenter for the West Coast, Funk ceramics and some other movements.   The really solid ceramic sculptors of a generation came from TB-9 for the most part.  Throwing was not taught, and there was definitely a contempt for throwing because craft vs. art.  Ceramics history was not taught unless you took Asian Art History or Sub-Saharan African Art History.  In the African art class, I learned about Abuja pottery, but there was no connection to Studio Pottery via Michael Cardew.   Many TB9ers took that African Art History class and I can see it in their work.

My local community college has a great studio, where I made my start, and the current faculty fought hard to create a GE ceramics class called Visual Theory and Practice.  A couple of the instructors teach this and when I see their talks, I take something away every single time.   The one that really pulled that off was Mark Messenger, who started with a History degree, and the class does a lot of history alongside hands-on.   

So it does not surprise me at all that someone might come through ceramics and not know how to throw or recent pottery history beyond Asian and Ancient pottery.   Honestly, I am well-versed but still find artists I don't know.  

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I'll just be the turd in the punchbowl and say this convo smacks slightly of wheel-pottery elitism. Yes the dummy should know how to throw -adequately- on a wheel if she has her master's, but maybe she's exceptional at all other forms of working with clay. Seriously, wheel throwing is just one more technique of forming a vessel and no more important than any other. The last pottery class I took I call My $150 Mug Class; the teacher was so annoyed with my inability and disinterest in sitting hunched over his wheel of torture he "demonstrated" throwing my entire mug himself including pulling and attaching the handle. There is more to ceramics than mug/plate/bowl/repeat.  Grrr!

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Yappy,

Opinions are here to be cherished, and everyone has a point of view. From the standpoint of a teacher having taught in HS for 36 years, much of my time was spent polishing demonstrations in all of the arts classes that I taught, whether it be computer animation, drawing, watercolor, jewelry and metalcraft, ceramics, or general art I & 2.  The Ceramics classes had two semesters,  Ceramics I was handbuilding using a variety of techniques: pinch pots, slab construction, coil construction, extrusion, and combined techniques. Most of the pottery made in the class was either functional, decorative or sculptural.  I had been taught all of these techniques in college, along with firing a kiln, pugging clay, storage of clay and pots, and general glazing. We mostly fired ^10 redux. My Ceramics 2 classes were on the potters wheel after a semester in Ceramics 1.  Here we made a variety of thrown forms of functional nature with decorative embellishment. So in the long run you would know me as a generalist. It allowed me to walk into any situation with a full tool kit of media experience and techniques that I could teach without being hampered with teaching only what I was comfortable with since I  could demonstrate successfully in nearly all allowing to teach the media. I was also certified to teach K-12 and could have been transferred from HS to JrH or Elementary at any time. . . . .thankfully not. . . . ! 

Point being, As a teacher, there is a need to be able to demonstrate comfortably a number of techniques within a discipline whether for a generalist like an art teacher who may have many different media to work with, or a specialist who works with only one or two media. Depth of understanding is important, prejudice in the technique is counter productive in a teacher. Many of us have had bad experiences in college, or HS, but I can think of many times in group discussions where those things happen in nearly every profession out there. You are not a real lawyer unless you are a Criminal lawyer, as compared to a corporate lawyer. . . . and the list goes on and on.

 

best,

Pres

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