Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

management of your teaching studio


  • Please log in to reply
55 replies to this topic

#41 GEP

GEP

    Moderator / full time potter ^6 stoneware

  • Moderators
  • 744 posts
  • LocationSilver Spring, MD

Posted 03 January 2012 - 12:46 PM

"If a person buys their own clay and throws pots on their own wheel...then pays what the studio itself sets as firing rates for their firings...."



No, teardrop, this is not what we're talking about. This entire thread is about policies for having students use another potter's HOME STUDIO for classes. There are clay facilities where such policies are allowed, but we are talking about home studios.


Mea
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#42 trina

trina

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 437 posts

Posted 03 January 2012 - 02:43 PM

If a person buys their own clay and throws pots on their own wheel...then pays what the studio itself sets as firing rates for their firings....

the consensus here is that the person has no right to sell their own work?

are you afraid of the competition, folks?

much respect, sojourner.



I agree, I don't think this is what we are talking about, you can sell your work all you want and in reality no one can stop you. However I personally am not interested in subsidizing professionals. Why should I? There is absolutely nothing in it for me. I love teaching but if you have nothing left to learn you are a potter in my book so more on. If you have your own wheel and clay the next logical step is buy a kiln, take all the responsibly for your work (I had a kiln failure this morning which I get to explain to my group tomorrow, that would be a real drag for you if you had 200 coffee cups in there that just got over reduced) I wish I knew a studio that would let me work en mass for the prices which I currently charge. I know where I would be tomorrow ;) Trina

#43 teardrop

teardrop

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 211 posts
  • LocationColorado

Posted 03 January 2012 - 02:52 PM

Apologies all around. I was merely commenting on the statements sojourner made in this thread.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss US author & illustrator (1904 - 1991)

#44 Madmingei

Madmingei

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:17 PM

Thanks for the great responses to my post everyone. I am new to this forum but amazed at how involved people are! Teardrop, I just want to clarify that in my studio classes students do not buy their clay separately or own any of the equipment. The clay/glazing charges are averaged and built in to their fees but it is at an at-cost amount. This is because I believe that people starting out should be able to produce a lot of work in order to improve their skills. I then encourage them to critique and only choose the best to glaze. This creates a big re-cycling stage for me but I feel its important to me philosophically not to make a profit from materials. It is my teaching which I put value on. This makes it ripe for people who are more advanced or into production to see the loophole and take advantage of it. I have had that situation and it was definitely time for the student to move on. In that case the person even had their own set-up at their home already! It was clear they were taking advantage of my generosity which I provide because of my educational philosophy which is focussed on learning. You've helped clarify for me the big difference between a learning facility and a production facility and I do not want to go down the path of the latter. As Trina says - its a whole different thing. However, I totally recognise it is a tricky dilemma - that blurry line between being a student and being in production. Not easy to navigate for us teaching in studios. I looked at the Mudflat web site - it is awesome!

#45 Madmingei

Madmingei

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:26 PM


.... Separation of work: that's another reason I am expanding! There is no more space at home and I am very much looking forward to having my home studio back to myself! I have a large damp cupboard and a large storage rack for students that is separate from my own. Both can fit about 20 student's work (on 1.2m long boards) but above that it gets pretty tight. I also have to continually wrap student's work when leather-hard to stall it from drying. This is a real hassel (suggestions welcome please!!)

...snip....



During the winter I work in an outdoor studio in the desert and we use old, non-functional refrigerators to store work in progress and slow down drying on completed work. In especially difficult weather when work is drying too quickly even while wrapped in plastic in the refrigerators, we put a wet towel into the refrigerator to increase humidity.


Thanks GG! Sounds a great idea and I have considered it but I think fridges might take up too much space inside....it would be great to have the same insulation quality without the bulk!

#46 teardrop

teardrop

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 211 posts
  • LocationColorado

Posted 03 January 2012 - 10:33 PM

Teardrop, I just want to clarify



The clarification of "I furnish everything and production is not allowed in my studio" is appreciated and I respect and understand your stance/viewpoint on the topic.

This is basically what the college I attend (non-credit class/no "grading", BTW) is also saying.

I can and will respect their policy. Classwork in class. Production/sales work from home.

What's funny is that I don't even know if anyone will buy my work. I could easily end up with a garage full of colorful water pitchers, teapots, and funky ashtrays

not that it matters 'cus I'll make the stuff anyway...just for the experience/fun of it.

good luck, all

teardrop
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss US author & illustrator (1904 - 1991)

#47 Sojourner

Sojourner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 69 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:55 AM

"I get the part about insurance concerns, but as a student, I'll decide for myself when and if I want to sell a piece. I don't need anyone else's permission to do so."

Sojourner, Yes you have to right to decide if your work is ready for sale, but if you are using someone else's studio and equipment to produce it, that person does indeed have the right to restrict you from doing so. madmingei's policy sounds just right to me. If I had students in my home studio, I wouldn't mind if they wanted to sell an occasional pot to an aquaintance. But if a student wanted to start applying to art fairs and supplying to galleries, I would tell them it was time for them to undertake the responsibilties of their own studio.

Mea


Clearly there is a difference between production pottery and selling the odd piece here and there, but that is not the impression I got from the OPs post. She made it pretty clear that not a single piece would be allowed to be sold without her express permission, and it sounded pretty much like she had no intention of giving said permission unless and until the potter in question meets some undefined standard of her own devising. Frankly I strongly doubt that this rule is much adhered to, or that she would know the difference if one or two pieces are sold under the table. BTW, she has the same insurance risk if someone GIVES a piece away; are the student's also prohibited from gifting their pieces?

Again, it is, of course, her right to have any rule she wants, and clearly she is having success. But for me, having to apply to her and ask for her permission before I am allowed to sell even a single piece of my own work is just over the top, and I have NEVER heard of anyone having a rule this restrictive.

For me, it's too intrusive. I would seek classes/studio time elsewhere. That's all I'm saying.

"I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me."
-- Stephen Fry

#48 Sojourner

Sojourner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 69 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:58 AM

Hi again, I guess that is the good part of owning my studio. I am gonna sound like my father here but it guess it plays true : as long as I pay the rent I get to make the rules ;9 Happy Potting Trina


And as long as I am paying, I get to decide who I'm going to do business with. I would not do business under these circumstances. YMMV.

Soj

"I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me."
-- Stephen Fry

#49 Sojourner

Sojourner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 69 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:11 AM

I have to agree ... Once you start into serious sales you need to get out of the nest ... Even if you need to be pushed! This is good for you and the teaching studio. You need to get full control of your work ... The whole process. Nothing worse for both sides than you needing work for a show and no room in the community kiln.


I agree with this as well. What I do NOT agree with is requiring an agreement that one may not sell ANY work at all.

Absolutely, full production is much harder on the equipment, takes up more space in the studio, in the kilns, uses up more resources, and can quite easily and quickly become an impediment to the other students. No problem with that at all.

However - and perhaps I misunderstood the OPs posting, I'd be happy to have her set me straight on this - to be told you may not sell ANY work at all is overly restrictive, and by and large unnecessary since the vast majority of students never get past the lumpy pot stage.

100%, you should not be doing production pottery in a class room setting, but having the odd sale here and there shouldn't be tying anybody's knickers in a knot.

I may NEVER get to the place where I produce salable items; but when and if I do, that's my prerogative - within reason. I already work from home the vast majority of the time, and I have access to kiln space for production should I ever require it; but if I were to turn out a salable piece in a class then I fail to see why it's any skin of anyone's nose if I sell it.

THIRTY salable pieces - or even a dozen - would be quite a different matter. If I were turning work out on that scale, I'd rather fire a kiln load of my own stuff anyway - every time you turn around, somebody's putting something in those student kilns that ruins the kiln load, or the person loading it is careless because it's "only student work" and things get squashed up against each other. I've had stuff come out of the student kilns that had grid marks cooked into it because it was shoved up against SOMETHING that left those marks - I burnish my surfaces, even when firing to cone 6, just for practice, and there were no marks like that when the leatherware went onto the shelf for bisque firing. It's not only unreasonable to try to do production quantities in a class room setting, it's flat out bad business, for the potter as WELL as the studio owner. One exploded pot, one glaze somebody snuck into the studio that releases weird fumes into the kiln (we had an entire load come out coated blue, including the kiln shelves, from a glaze that was snuck in by an INSTRUCTOR, not just a student) and your salable items are no more.

So yeah, doing production in a class is not reasonable. Selling a piece here and there once in awhile is a totally different matter.

"I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me."
-- Stephen Fry

#50 Sojourner

Sojourner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 69 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:21 AM

"If a person buys their own clay and throws pots on their own wheel...then pays what the studio itself sets as firing rates for their firings...."


No, teardrop, this is not what we're talking about. This entire thread is about policies for having students use another potter's HOME STUDIO for classes. There are clay facilities where such policies are allowed, but we are talking about home studios.

Mea


Nope, I was commenting on the rules a woman who is opening a studio up in COMMERCIAL SPACE has set up. Not her home studio. Also, I'm not talking about full blown production, but the occasional piece here and there.

It's just plain dumb to try to do full production out of a classroom, whether it's in a commercial space or someone's home studio. I've got absolutely no problem with rules prohibiting that. But it's swinging to the opposite extreme of being unreasonable to refuse to allow a student to sell anything at all. And frankly for the vast majority of students it's going to be a non-issue anyway. Clearly this person is having a lot of success, and it sounds like she's probably a good teacher (or she wouldn't be having such success), so kudos to her for all that. But MY personal preference is NOT to be burdened by such a Draconian rule. That's my prerogative, as it is hers to have such a rule in the first place.

"I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me."
-- Stephen Fry

#51 Sojourner

Sojourner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 69 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:58 AM

..... This is because I believe that people starting out should be able to produce a lot of work in order to improve their skills. I then encourage them to critique and only choose the best to glaze. This creates a big re-cycling stage for me but I feel its important to me philosophically not to make a profit from materials. .....


And that is an attitude I wish more instructors had. I've had a couple who tried to get me to fire every single hideous lopsided lumpy blob that came off my wheel, here since I started wheel throwing again, and then try to lecture me on my "poor self-image".

I don't have a "poor self-image". I have a GOOD self-image - I KNOW I am capable of doing better, and don't see any reason to waste perfectly good, reclaimable clay on sub-par work. I'm not an 8-year-old making Daddy an ashtray for Xmas, LOL! It took me FOUR MONTHS to throw a bowl as good as the first bowl I ever threw almost 20 years ago, and in that 4 months I squashed and reclaimed more pots than you could shake a stick at.

It's like they don't see the value of practice and experimentation. I was into my third class before I willingly fired a bowl. I fired one at the end of my first class because I got tired of fighting with the instructor over it, but I never bothered to pick it up - he had insisted I dry it with an industrial heat gun so it would make it into the last kiln load for the class, and - understandably, since it was totally wet, straight off the wheel - it started to crack. He went ahead and fired it anyway, but it was not worth firing even BEFORE the heat-gun-induced cracking.

And absolutely you should not allow a student to take advantage of you (and inconvenience the other students) and run production out of a class room. But, again, I'm not concerned with full production; or well, I WOULD be, but that's not the issue as I understood it. That clearly is unreasonable in a class room setting. But the odd piece here and there should not be causing a short-circuit.

I think it would be better if there were more instructors out there with the produce-lots-keep-next-to-nothing attitude. There's no other way to learn something like this, and with clay, unlike many other mediums, you don't lose anything by wadding it up and putting it back in the reclaim.

"I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me."
-- Stephen Fry

#52 teardrop

teardrop

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 211 posts
  • LocationColorado

Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:57 AM

Sad and amazing, sojourner. I'm not even sure how I'd react to such BS from someone I WAS PAYING to "teach" me....especially if this was going on in front of the entire class.

Depending on the set up...I'd be finding their boss and letting them know what happened. If that wasn't possible, we'd probably have to have a "serious"....um....."talk" to get the message across that such a (insult) criticism just >isn't< gonna be tolerated at any point in time.

I'm passing the asbestos undies yer way....here come the flames!

teardrop
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss US author & illustrator (1904 - 1991)

#53 trina

trina

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 437 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:51 AM

Wow that sounds like you have had some bad experiences soujouner. I am going to start a new thread, What do students really want, and what keeps you motivated. Trina

#54 Pres

Pres

    Retired Art Teacher

  • Moderators
  • 1,743 posts
  • LocationCentral, PA

Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:54 AM

Sad and amazing, sojourner. I'm not even sure how I'd react to such BS from someone I WAS PAYING to "teach" me....especially if this was going on in front of the entire class.

Depending on the set up...I'd be finding their boss and letting them know what happened. If that wasn't possible, we'd probably have to have a "serious"....um....."talk" to get the message across that such a (insult) criticism just >isn't< gonna be tolerated at any point in time.

I'm passing the asbestos undies yer way....here come the flames!

teardrop


Another side on this side issue here. Over the years at the HS we would hold various sales, auctions, and fund raisers using student work. These were not required of students, sometimes the sale was to the student benefit etc. Whenever we had a showcase we would let folks know that items were for sale after asking the students if they wanted to sell anything. At times we would have ceramics students sell pieces to teachers or others that wanted them. I remember one fountain-with pump and all assembled that went for $125, the student was overjoyed that someone wanted it at that price. Many times though the ceramics students would not want to sell their pottery because of the time, effort, and themselves that was invested in them. A characteristic that some of us should learn from when we sell that item so cheap that we really aren't making a profit from it.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#55 Madmingei

Madmingei

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:27 PM


..... This is because I believe that people starting out should be able to produce a lot of work in order to improve their skills. I then encourage them to critique and only choose the best to glaze. This creates a big re-cycling stage for me but I feel its important to me philosophically not to make a profit from materials. .....


And that is an attitude I wish more instructors had. I've had a couple who tried to get me to fire every single hideous lopsided lumpy blob that came off my wheel, here since I started wheel throwing again, and then try to lecture me on my "poor self-image".

I don't have a "poor self-image". I have a GOOD self-image - I KNOW I am capable of doing better, and don't see any reason to waste perfectly good, reclaimable clay on sub-par work. I'm not an 8-year-old making Daddy an ashtray for Xmas, LOL! It took me FOUR MONTHS to throw a bowl as good as the first bowl I ever threw almost 20 years ago, and in that 4 months I squashed and reclaimed more pots than you could shake a stick at.

It's like they don't see the value of practice and experimentation. I was into my third class before I willingly fired a bowl. I fired one at the end of my first class because I got tired of fighting with the instructor over it, but I never bothered to pick it up - he had insisted I dry it with an industrial heat gun so it would make it into the last kiln load for the class, and - understandably, since it was totally wet, straight off the wheel - it started to crack. He went ahead and fired it anyway, but it was not worth firing even BEFORE the heat-gun-induced cracking.

And absolutely you should not allow a student to take advantage of you (and inconvenience the other students) and run production out of a class room. But, again, I'm not concerned with full production; or well, I WOULD be, but that's not the issue as I understood it. That clearly is unreasonable in a class room setting. But the odd piece here and there should not be causing a short-circuit.

I think it would be better if there were more instructors out there with the produce-lots-keep-next-to-nothing attitude. There's no other way to learn something like this, and with clay, unlike many other mediums, you don't lose anything by wadding it up and putting it back in the reclaim.

"I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me."
-- Stephen Fry


Sojourner, thanks for the comments and sorry to hear all that but it sounds like you have good goals, a great level of self-awareness and know where you are heading - good on you! I do find that role quite difficult as a teacher - ie how to encourage high standards without putting people off! Each student should be sussed out individually to discover what they want. I find people are often scared of self-critiquing until they develop the skills - its not that easy if you don't have an art background - so you might be rare student. I find most students want to keep everything at first!
Just to clarify something, yet again (because I seem to have hit on a soft spot!) even though I make it clear about my policy of no selling stuff made in class, I DO encourage people, absolutely positively, to aim to sell their work if they want to and there are exceptions of students who do so within my studio. Usually they are making things that are quite individual and they have developed their own language and they do not abuse my generosity. Its not a matter of me tapping them on the shoulder in an all-powerful way but rather, it is a natural discussion that arises. There are times, like Claylover, when I have bought my student's work too. And I agree with Claylover that studio sales and exhibitions are a great introduction. So, no, it is not a blanket rule, even though they initially sign up thinking it is, but I feel that to articulate the terms up front has been helpful to avoid problems I've mentioned. That is the context I mentioned it in the thread. There may be a better way to spell it out, given I'm expanding into a more commercial space and you have helped me think through this, thanks.
Another problem I dont think anyone's mentioned yet is that of students mimicking their teacher's work - mostly inadvertently - but often just because they are using the same clay, glazes, firing and techniques/methods the teacher has developed! Its just natural and often sub-conscious, and we all have influences of our teachers and others we admire - I can trace my own! But sometimes it can be too close for comfort and takes time to work through!
Trina, the new thread sounds like a good idea!!Posted Image



#56 clay lover

clay lover

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 675 posts
  • LocationSoutheast

Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:08 PM

I have no fear of compition from my students, if they're that good, it's because I taught them well.

How ever, I don't need to go the extra mile ( which I do for my students many times over) for someone who wants to compete with me for sales, while using me for inspiration and tech support. What my students pay for lessons doesn't begin to cover what it has cost me to set up and maintain the studio. I am a sweet deal for them. I will not support potters who want to do local shows and sales from my studio.

MY HOUSE, MY RULES.
If you want to lay out more that $28,000 on your own studio, figure out all that goes into running it sucessfully, then YOU can do whatever YOU want in YOUR studio.
If not , then you're not ready to be my compition.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users