Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
JBaymore

Did you start with pottery by accident or by design? | April 22, 2012

Recommended Posts

Ceci97439    0

Oh my gosh teardrop....such sadness. {{hugs}} Great that you are using art as a way to express yourself. Very sorry for your loss, I can't even imagine.

 

I was in my 30's and had been through an abusive relationship with a police officer and felt my life was lost. I was not who I grew up to be. After about 14 years of that I finally said enough! I struggled with self worth and fear but got through the system and he was arrested/jailed/paid restitution. At the same time I lost my long time job because the Insurance company I worked for was downsizing offices and was moving East. Texas paid for therapy and I decided I'd go to school. I took the usual classes towards a nursing degree including some art classes which I loved. I then moved to the Oregon coast where it rained A LOT. I needed something to do that was not in the rain so I took a pottery class at the community college. The first class I managed to throw a bowl, I wanted more.....learned to fire the kiln.....more....learned to fire the raku kiln. I bought a used kiln then built a small shed studio to get the kiln out of my dining room....bought a wheel....and the story continues. I moved inland away from the rain and built a studio addition on my home and never looked back. The excitement of clay is alive and well forevermore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TriPal Arts    1

I was a sculpting and painting major at the University of Toledo / Toledo Museum School of Design during the 1960s. I took a pottery class during my freshman year and nearly failed it. For the next three years I avoided any ceramics until as a senior, I was told I HAD to take one more year of ceramics to graduate. I began with reluctance, but the new instructor (Norm Schulman out of Alfred), had a good way of teaching throwing and I was making pots by the half way point of the first semester. By the time I graduated I was hooked. When I went on to graduate school at Kent State, I was awarded my assistantship based on my sculpture, clay, stone and wood. During the first quarter at Kent, I grew dissatisfied with carving and switched to clay in the ceramics section under the instruction of Miska Petersham. That quarter was rough and I nearly lost my assistantship, but somehow finally got into synch with the material and began to produce. My wife to be was following me around the shop at the time and literally taught herself how to throw by observing me. The two of us have been working together ever since. George Palovich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My start with pottery was accidentally by design! How does that sound?

 

I was in 7th grade and the youngest of three " latch key kids"

Both parents worked and my siblings were out of the house.

My mom decided I needed a new hobby, so we drove to the local art center.

On the way there I still weighed my choices between ballet and pottery.

Pottery won by the time we parked and I have not stopped since.

 

I signed up every 10 weeks. I had good and bad teachers, and  one who mentored me and snuck me in on Saturdays during her preschool class for wheel practice.

She told me In no uncertain terms that I only had two options for my college education:

she told me I must either go to Tyler school of Art or to Alfred. Good thing I had no other career aspirations!

 

I didn't go right to college.  I took a year off and worked in fast food service.

Meanwhile I made pots in the basement with the Brent B wheel I am still using 34 years and one belt change later.

I took the pots to a local shop/ gallery to get fired.  

I then spent the next year at a local private women's college where i assembled my portfolio and took some liberal arts classes.

The 3 - D department there consisted of one professor.

At the end of my first semester, he announced his sabbatical, which meant no ceramics or sculpture courses,nor access to the studio until he returned.

That was just the incentive I needed to apply to Alfred, and I was accepted.

 

My journey in and after art school had bumps and detours,and still does. But I've persisted as well as I can.

In "clay college " , there were always the hackneyed arguments circulating under the headings  of "art versus craft" , " those who can't do teach" ,and assorted other" isms."

All which were easy prey for my wavering self-confidence and hyperactive mind. 

In hind sight,sometimes it seems unfair  that it took the wisdom I gained later on from age,and  maturity to teach me how pompous, and simply wrong most of those discussions still are.

( in my more self-confident opinion at least!)

As a teaching artist now, I know that teaching art is not a skill  every artist has. It is really an art form unto itself. I won't even touch the "fine art versus  pottery "topic...yawn and yuck...

 I am sure I am preaching to the choir here!

 

So here I am 28 years post -Alfred and you've probably never seen my work! After all, speaking of isms, who cares about an Alfred alum if they aren't packing an MFA,only a BFA

( kidding - a little bit)

 

Traditionally, i was the world's worst self- promoter.

Yet, just give me an expensive bottle of 20 year old Barolo riserva back when I waitressed and I could sell the heck out of that, or much later on,supplies to

a young, new art teacher with a big budget, new kiln and no ceramic knowledge...

 

I did so many art fairs for 10 years, plus several wholesale trade shows from which at one point I had dozens of wholesale accounts.

 

Then parenting 2 kids,contributions to the mortgage paying, family  health scares,

all led me to the necessity of finding a steady pay check.

That was the next 12 years,and sources included teaching artist gigs,followed by  2 jobs in corporate ceramic supply and clay sales.

 Now I have come full circle, unemployed ,more health issues which now include mine, and lots of new and rewarding teaching gigs. 

 

Besides getting well, my bucket list includes returning to my studio to produce and promote my own work again,and to have work to show you next time I contribute to a thread!

I am now a huge fan of self- employment. No better company loyalty than oneself!

 

 

 

Did you start with pottery (ceramics) by accident or by design?

 

How we each "found" clay can likely be an interesting series of stories I bet. I'm guessing there are many convoluted paths leading to each of our kilns.

 

For myself...... I started out life as a marine zoology major in college. But more on that later........ how about you? Was it is cosmic plan.... or serendipity?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JBaymore    1,432

After all, speaking of isms, who cares about an Alfred alum if they aren't packing an MFA,only a BFA

( kidding - a little bit)

 

It's all about the work, Judy... not the letters ;) .

 

best,

 

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree! Bucket list, here I go!

 

 

 

After all, speaking of isms, who cares about an Alfred alum if they aren't packing an MFA,only a BFA

( kidding - a little bit)

 

It's all about the work, Judy... not the letters ;) .

 

best,

 

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

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daniel T    1

My first experience with clay goes back to 5th grade. Our teacher brought in a potters wheel and let each of us have a turn. I had a fairly decent looking little ashtray in the making until I tried getting overly elaborate - something a beginner with zero knowledge should do... I ended up a hollowed out mess of very wet clay, but my mother loved it (as only a mother could). Now jump ahead almost 40 years... The local college offed a continuing education class in ceramics, so I took that (a couple of times) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Instructor was a little surprised to find that I already had kilns. The thought of ceramics has always been lingering in my mind and I have picked up a couple of used kilns as I ran across them (I think I have 8, in various sizes). Since then, I have retired from the military and was just a few hours shy of getting my BS in Electronics management and had to go back to college to get the last classes in. Since I still hadn't used my GI Bill, I thought I might as well go for a second degree. And lo and behold, I could get a Studio art degree in ceramics! So now I'm in school under the tutelage of Estaban Apodaca learning all I can about ceramics. Might as well toss in the couple of other classes I need to get the first degree, but I'm already in the process of buying a place for a studio/gallery, so I think the first degree will never see the light of day other than to hang on the wall... Still have three semesters before I graduate, but should have the studio all set up by then. Wish me luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darcy Kane    28

My first spin at the wheel came about in high school. I lived in the art room in high school, all four years. The joke at home was that my art teacher saw more of me than my family. My beloved art teacher was a self proclaimed craftsman and wood was his medium, so when I expressed a desire to work on the wheel he had an upper clansman work with me. It was a passion for me that lasted until graduation. My art teacher was a fabulous mentor and supporter. He taught me to not be obsessive about what I produce. I fired very very little because I was always cutting my work apart to see where I could improve. His motto was, "Keep it small, it is easier to bury." Once it is fired it is on the Earth forever. His gentle direction guided me through school.

 

So looking back, it is strange that it never occurred to me that I could leave northern NH and peruse an art degree. I came from a very practical "back to the earth" family. Great importance was placed on being able to support one's self and to have health insurance. Really! Health insurance was a really big thing with my mom. My dad was a self employed contractor so health insurance was always an issue. It was the first bill my mom paid every month and with a family of four kids that skied, rode horses, and played all school sports I guess that was practical enough. Anyway, I decided after a year off to go to college for teaching. That went well enough until some personal issues bumped me off my path. I moved on to hair school, got married, had a family, cut hair, and then when my children were older (one in high school, one in college) I returned to college to finish my degree. While I was finishing my teaching degree I also stopped talking about getting back into pottery and actually started taking lessons.

 

I was very fortunate to stumble upon a kind, patient, technical potter. I took private lessons from her twice a week for two years. She taught me so much! I finished up my degree and started teaching elementary school which left me with little time to think about pottery. When I finally got my feet under me in the classroom my mind returned to clay. I went back for more lessons. This time my patient and supportive husband asked why I didn't get my own wheel. Well I explained, wheels are very expensive (I am as cheap as an old Yankee can be). He laughed and asked if I wanted to add up all the lessons I had taken over the years just so I could keep my hands in the mud. I had a wheel of my own by week's end.

 

Since then, I have bought and sold a second hand kiln, and now finally have a great kiln. I'm having the time of my life. I had a wonderful lady let me join her for a soda firing and I know that wood and soda are my preferred methods but I am happy with my oxidation firing for now. I am still working in ^10 but strongly contemplating a switch over to ^6. Luckily people buy my stuff almost as soon as I pull it out of the kiln or I would be drowning in the stuff :) I am a very prolific potter, after throwing everything away that I threw for the first six months I had a wheel I am starting to keep more. This is the first summer I have taken off from teaching summer school or taking further classes (I went on to get my masters in Administration) and I'm just focusing on building up enough stock to do a few fairs and/or holiday shows. I've given a passing thought to applying to the NH League of Arts and Crafts (my mentor is a member as is her husband). I try not to be so ruthless in my culling these days. I also have a few of my past and present students that take lessons from me, which I enjoy. Now if I could just stick to what is safe and stop trying to melt wood stove ashes all over my kiln shelves...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well i was studying law...following my family profession. nobody around me ...as a matter of fact even me...did not think of being a sculptor in clay. there was no chance of looking beyond what my parents wanted me to do...be a lawyer! there was always a inner drive to find myself something...to express myself..coz i am also a very introvert person. i found myself a place where i could go and paint a couple of days during the week. hardly did i know that my teacher, who was an amazing teacher ....was also a potter!! one i happened to notice this section behind hhis studio where i painted.... i requested for a few lessons from him and the day i started....there was no looking back...i would easily loose track of time...I really have great respect for this teacher who understood my quest and my interest and took me seriously to teach me everything about clay...today i am soo thankful to him...!! so how do i put it ...by accident?...yes because did come across the medium by chance....but also by design..because a child i always very creative...i made the most innovative greeting cards for my loved ones to express my affection towards them...

 

madhavi kolte

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×