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Pres

QothW: If you could go back and start your ceramics journey from the beginning, would you do anything different this time?

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So GEP this last week, asked in the question pool: If you could go back and start your ceramics journey from the beginning, would you do anything different this time?

I am certain that many of you have answers that may have regrets, missed chances, or no regrets at all. However, I am one who seemed to stumble my way through life without a plan.  So may be I should have set out more of a plan when I entered college, or graduated or such not. However, sometimes it is about the journey even when stumbling in the dark, that makes us who we are. My biggest regret I do believe is not buying my house with more of an eye towards a larger studio. My studio, is a one car brick garage. It really has a little more against it than that, as it does sit over an underground river, which keeps it even colder yet in the Winter. Now a one car garage, that has a number of power tools for construction, and home maintenance, is pretty crowded, even without the car. However, when you add in the materials for a ceramics studio including two kiln, a CXC wheel, wedging table, shelf storage cart, scales, sieves, hand tools, bulk glaze materials, and other assorted items you have a troublesome area that is difficult to keep clean and dust free. So what I would have done early was look for that 3 car garage when buying a house, and have a little ground around it for yard, kids play and maybe a small wood kiln. Some things you should plan for, others like life itself. . .  . they just happen.

 

 

best,

Pres

 
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I have one big regret. I started out in a community center studio, and spent eight years there before putting together a studio in my house. My regret is not doing that sooner. Much sooner. This is from age 24 to 32. Those are good years and shouldn't be wasted! Many of those eight years were stagnant, and once I had my own space and more time and access to it, my work took off in a steep trajectory. The biggest difference was that I started making my own glazes. I had visualized what I wanted for years, but couldn't achieve with the studio's glazes. Finally my work looked like my own. My perspective of the ceramics world also took off. From the inside of a community studio sometimes you don't get a wide or deep perspective. 

It seemed like too big of a hurdle, but really I was just lacking confidence. Afterwards I was like "what were you afraid of?"

Later I experienced a different community center from a teacher's perspective. I tried to provide the instruction and perspective that I wish I had gotten when I was younger. I always encouraged students to "make the leap" if they had those urges. When I bought my second kiln I invited my advanced students to help and watch the setup, so it wouldn't be intimidating for them. But I came to appreciate the value that these studios can offer, by providing all of the equipment, and a terrific social scene. Someday when I no longer wish to make pots full-time, I will go back to this type of situation. A full circle. 

Pres, Marcia Selsor and D.M.Ernst like this

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I am pretty satisfied with my education and career in ceramics. It has taken me all over the world. I'm lucky. I have a long history of students and its nice to see them on Facebook.  Started Art School in 1966 as an Industrial Design major and got hooked in a ceramics elective.

Some things can't be changed but I wish I was a bigger and stronger person. I am pretty strong for my size and age, but my help in putting the new lid and counter weight on my oval kiln  included a strapping young man who could lift really heavy things.  Strength envy!

Marcia

 

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The thing I would change is doing shows out of my county sooner. This was a game changer for me in terms of profits. It opened up the income gates. New vehicle ,savings, investments .

I spent the first 12 years staying near home with ceramic sales. Once I got out the world opened up in terms of sales. To this day I still have my local outlets that I nurtured at the beginning and as I cut back on shows they are heating up which is good but getting out to distant shows really changes my income stream.I should have done it sooner.

I'll post a few more later lunch is over-back to work.

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Interesting question: not sure if I have an answer. Do not regret the journey, even though I made enough mistakes to fill a small novel. The regret, if I were to classify it as such was: not seeking out advice from those with experience. I bought a large kiln, slab roller, extruder, made drying racks, and a ton of porcelain without any prior knowledge. I spent the first seven years working alone and figuring it out myself. Now I need to figure out if I want to spend the next seven working alone: I seem to learn more in the presence of silence. Regardless, I am coming to find that clay chemistry is pretty much a solo act anyway. Interesting the emails from current students seeking out literature on clay chemistry: and finding none. Still boggles my mind that 100 years after Taxtile Doat, and yet no one has written clay formulation or formulation limits for clay.

Nerd

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I'm regretting my financial decisions from a few years back when I was fresh out of high school. Now I'm dealing with my mistakes and it has pushed back my dream of buying a house and having a studio to create my art. I guess production pottery will have to hold me over till then.

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I  regret not going back to college to take the glaze chemistry class I needed over.   My professor decided to teach it as a art history class so I  didn't get the knowledge I needed.  I tried to take it again but it always had a waiting list, since I had taken it once I was put at the back of the list.   I think I could create my own glazes instead of mixing up other peoples formulas.     Denice

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I'm not sure I'd change anything.  If I had postponed my education until a time when I would have been more mature, and receptive to internalizing the messages in that moment, I wouldn't have had access to the financial resources to do it at all.

The resources and tools that I've been using in the last couple of years to my success weren't available when I finished my education. Internet citations on my papers were strictly verboten, as they weren't considered accurate enough. And forums as rich in information and varied life experiences as this one weren't formed yet. Many tools only really came along when I was finally ready to process a lot of the information, in terms of both academic and life experiences, that I'd spent a decade or more gathering. 

It hasn't always been the easiest journey, and it hasn't always been what I wanted. But it most certainly has been what I needed.  In hindsight, I had so much to learn (and still do), I'm not sure it could have happened a lot differently and still have happened. I have no regrets. 

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In order to do anything differently I would have to go back many years before putting my hands on clay. All the decisions and circumstances add up, and while there are always elements of control and choices, there may also be a degree of lack of control and choices. Not trying to be esoteric,  just reflecting on how the clay journey, even with an extended interruption,  has been woven into the fabric of my adult life.  So, no, I would not change anything, since "in spite of" I have been blessed with ending up in a place I am happy to be. 

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I would have majored in ceramics instead of graphics and interior design. I was being practical. I thought, but after having left clay behind for about 25 years I regret not having it in my life at that time. I work full time and spend just about every minute of my free time in my basement studio. I always wonder where I could have gone with the knowledge and experience I would have gained not to mention the passion I have for it. I think love clay more than people as I am more willing and motivated to spend time alone with my wheel. (Fortunately my friends understand.) Clay is my zen thing. 

Who know where our journeys may have taken us, though. I could have ended up a starving artist relying on the kindness of others to help me get by or I could have been the next [insert your favorite famous potter here].

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Unfortunately my basic decisions were made by a sixteen year old!

anyhow ... in thinking about this over time ... my first thoughts were to regret no formal training etc, ... but yesterday it hit me that every contemporary of mine who did get the art classes and/or went to Art College is no longer or never persued an art career. So maybe that sixteen year old who wasn’t so clueless after all ... well, yeah she was, but I will give her a pass anyhow.

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54 minutes ago, Marcia Selsor said:

uh, Chris, I am still working in Art after Art School training. but then we didn't know each other back then.

Marcia

So true ... I should I have said, my friends at that time ... not my current contemporaries ... chin deep in Art careers.

One person who sticks out from that time was one whose parents actually supported the decision to go to the big Art college and flunked out first year. I was flabbergasted that they could throw that chance away.

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1 hour ago, Chris Campbell said:

One person who sticks out from that time was one whose parents actually supported the decision to go to the big Art college and flunked out first year. I was flabbergasted that they could throw that chance away

This is actually very common. I studied design and also taught in a college design program. The ones with boatloads of parental support are the least motivated. Or sometimes, the student was unintentionally overpraised and really can't handle a college program, and don't understand why it's not as easy as they expected. Then there are people like me, whose parents were crushed when I wanted to study art. That wasn't fun, but it sure did drive me to be successful. 

Parenting a creative or talented child must be very tricky. 

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I went away to my collage (1000 ) miles and had next to zero parental oversight. Took what I wanted and worked at my own pace.I found my own way in life. Turns out I still do. Its with clay and has worked well so far.I saw many a kid who had to much parent support fall apart.Collage took me 5 years and I was a B student.I was loving learning all things clay/kilns/galzes.

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4 hours ago, GEP said:

 

Parenting a creative or talented child must be very tricky. 

Keep them in supplies, and try not to notice too much what they're doing.  They need to form their own opinions on what they're doing. They shouldn't be trying to work for my praise, or in fear of my disapproval. 

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My parents were supportive but would have preferred my college of choice to have been a school in Ottawa, Kansas where many of the graduates went on to Halmark Cards. I always was a drawer from an early age. That helped get a scholarship and I stayed local in Philadelphia to study. I discovered clay early on in art school and have been with it 50+ years now.  

 

 

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