Jump to content


Photo

Designation--"Master Potter"


  • Please log in to reply
30 replies to this topic

#21 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,935 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:57 PM

It seems like a good idea in theory, but like I've said to some of my colleagues, "How can I expect my students to master a concept/ skill, that I haven't even mastered?"


We (at least here in America) have a great trend running of de-valuing terms and standards. Everyone has to have a grandiose title. Everyone is a winner at everything. The concept of "mastery" used to imply a great depth of experience and knowledge in a given subject well beyond the pale. Now it simply tends to mean that someone can add 2+2 and come up with 4 (most of the time).

We now tend to teach to tests and score them with tightly defined "rubrics" breaking thngs into tinly little measureable discrete chunks. Unfortunately, we don't seem to teach people to THINK much anymore.

As this thread implies... the term "Master" has no real significance anymore.

best,

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

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#22 Stephen Robison

Stephen Robison

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 154 posts

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:06 PM

Thanks John, That means allot coming from you. One thing Clary Illian said that sticks in my mind and may be relevant is that "Once the commitment is made and the hard work embraced, the life of a potter is entirely sustaining" The age of the artist is not as important as it is in other cultures and the time involved in the media is not a given that one will gain the level they want to achieve but the fact that it is in the journey that we hopefully grow. I love the quote, "Clay is Long and Life is Short". It is in the journey that we hopefully grow, of course that is not always true and a period of stasis is reached several times along that journey, some never get out of that period. Knowing when we are at a certain plateau, and needing to jump off and try and fly higher is sometimes hard to discern. Also sometimes when we see where we are, we are just scared of the jump. The fact is there is possibility you will fall flat and have to climb back up. But isn't that where the challenges become a part of the child like or virginal excitement that get our juices flowing or our visions revitalized. There of course is also growth in our work that is not made by leaps, bounds or large growth gaps and there are those times of small forward movements that fine tune our work. For me these nuanced growth rings in my tree come when i am exposed to more work from history and contemporary practitioners who are my peers and whom I am lucky enough to drink out of, eat from and or live with and reflect upon. Living a little with our own work, (not in a narcissistic way), also helps us to evaluate it and see its small or large negatives that we can hopefully change slightly, and we can if we can see them. I think of Yanagi Sōetsu and his writings on seeing and knowing. A handle that is off a little or a physical or visual balance point that needs tweaking can be examined with scrutiny.

Again the fact that "Clay is Long" and has been here a long time, sometimes the reinvention of the wheel is not needed. Many often neglect the work that stood the test of time and was vetted through that process of use and domestic needs. Many have embraced our beautiful and long history of making objects of use and objects of representation and expression, and those people in our filed are the people I owe so much to. Has our field added quite a bit to those traditions, certainly we have and we will continue to add to this rich and diverse history. We also have an obligation to educate the public on why we are important and how clay has been and will be used to express everything from our deep concerns about how we eat and drink, to our views of the social issues of the day and of the future. It seems grandiose to some that art in general has a place in the world outside of decoration, but that is a short sided attitude. Keep up the good fight!


Stephen,

That is an absolutely (if I might say it ;)src="http://ceramicartsda...ault/wink.gif"> ) "masterful" posting on the subject above. Articulate and clear.

I deliberately waited until I was 60 years old before scheduling a solo exhibition in Japan. That age is basically the point in Japan when a craftsperson is felt to possibly have acquired enough skills and experience to "know what he/she is doing". It is the beginning of your second time around the Zodiac cycle also...so is a "big deal"; you are conceptually re-born. I was very glad that I did so.

It is only in the past few years that I feel that I am finally getting a grip on this crazy craft...... and I have been working basically full time with clay since the mid-60's. And I too would not call myself a "Master" yet. The more I work and explore in this field...... the more I realize that there is to "master", and know, and to try. Sometimes it seems that the "goal posts" keep moving further and further away. But that is what keeps us involved, creative, and alive, isn't it?

The infinte truth of that old saying becomes clearer and clearer: "Clay is long. Life is short."

best,


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


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/

#23 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,581 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:24 PM

It seems like a good idea in theory, but like I've said to some of my colleagues, "How can I expect my students to master a concept/ skill, that I haven't even mastered?"


We (at least here in America) have a great trend running of de-valuing terms and standards. Everyone has to have a grandiose title. Everyone is a winner at everything. The concept of "mastery" used to imply a great depth of experience and knowledge in a given subject well beyond the pale. Now it simply tends to mean that someone can add 2+2 and come up with 4 (most of the time).

We now tend to teach to tests and score them with tightly defined "rubrics" breaking thngs into tinly little measureable discrete chunks. Unfortunately, we don't seem to teach people to THINK much anymore.

As this thread implies... the term "Master" has no real significance anymore.

best,

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


I very much agree John. Though I will say, administrators and educational "experts" do put emphasis on the higher orders of thinking, like analysis and synthesis. That's why art classes generally receive high marks in those areas. All we do is analyze and synthesize. Sadly, many of my students keep coming to me, to ask what they need to change, or whether or not they are finished. I try to put it back on them, by asking, if they have met the standard, of what I asked them to do? Many of them can't tell. They don't want to be wrong, and they are so used, to having a defined answer to every problem. I could go on and on on the subject, but I'm getting off topic enough.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#24 Pres

Pres

    Retired Art Teacher

  • Moderators
  • 2,013 posts
  • LocationCentral, PA

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:02 PM


It seems like a good idea in theory, but like I've said to some of my colleagues, "How can I expect my students to master a concept/ skill, that I haven't even mastered?"


We (at least here in America) have a great trend running of de-valuing terms and standards. Everyone has to have a grandiose title. Everyone is a winner at everything. The concept of "mastery" used to imply a great depth of experience and knowledge in a given subject well beyond the pale. Now it simply tends to mean that someone can add 2+2 and come up with 4 (most of the time).

We now tend to teach to tests and score them with tightly defined "rubrics" breaking thngs into tinly little measureable discrete chunks. Unfortunately, we don't seem to teach people to THINK much anymore.

As this thread implies... the term "Master" has no real significance anymore.

best,

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


I very much agree John. Though I will say, administrators and educational "experts" do put emphasis on the higher orders of thinking, like analysis and synthesis. That's why art classes generally receive high marks in those areas. All we do is analyze and synthesize. Sadly, many of my students keep coming to me, to ask what they need to change, or whether or not they are finished. I try to put it back on them, by asking, if they have met the standard, of what I asked them to do? Many of them can't tell. They don't want to be wrong, and they are so used, to having a defined answer to every problem. I could go on and on on the subject, but I'm getting off topic enough.


They don't want to be wrong, and they are so used, to having a defined answer to every problem. I think you may have hit it on the head. Students any more don't understand that being wrong is not wrong. They are too afraid to fail, failure to them is a dead end. For us, failure is just another step in the process to approach what we are trying to do, and sometimes our failures are our greatest accomplishments.

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


#25 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,581 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:02 PM



It seems like a good idea in theory, but like I've said to some of my colleagues, "How can I expect my students to master a concept/ skill, that I haven't even mastered?"


We (at least here in America) have a great trend running of de-valuing terms and standards. Everyone has to have a grandiose title. Everyone is a winner at everything. The concept of "mastery" used to imply a great depth of experience and knowledge in a given subject well beyond the pale. Now it simply tends to mean that someone can add 2+2 and come up with 4 (most of the time).

We now tend to teach to tests and score them with tightly defined "rubrics" breaking thngs into tinly little measureable discrete chunks. Unfortunately, we don't seem to teach people to THINK much anymore.

As this thread implies... the term "Master" has no real significance anymore.

best,

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


I very much agree John. Though I will say, administrators and educational "experts" do put emphasis on the higher orders of thinking, like analysis and synthesis. That's why art classes generally receive high marks in those areas. All we do is analyze and synthesize. Sadly, many of my students keep coming to me, to ask what they need to change, or whether or not they are finished. I try to put it back on them, by asking, if they have met the standard, of what I asked them to do? Many of them can't tell. They don't want to be wrong, and they are so used, to having a defined answer to every problem. I could go on and on on the subject, but I'm getting off topic enough.


They don't want to be wrong, and they are so used, to having a defined answer to every problem. I think you may have hit it on the head. Students any more don't understand that being wrong is not wrong. They are too afraid to fail, failure to them is a dead end. For us, failure is just another step in the process to approach what we are trying to do, and sometimes our failures are our greatest accomplishments.


And, in my opinion, much of that has to do, with the idea, that anything less than an "A", or perfect is a slap in the face. If you tell them, that something needs changes, or alterations, they get upset. They want want the quality grade, without the quality product, and no desire, to put the necessary work in, to achieve said quality product.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#26 Nelly

Nelly

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 380 posts

Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:23 PM




It seems like a good idea in theory, but like I've said to some of my colleagues, "How can I expect my students to master a concept/ skill, that I haven't even mastered?"


We (at least here in America) have a great trend running of de-valuing terms and standards. Everyone has to have a grandiose title. Everyone is a winner at everything. The concept of "mastery" used to imply a great depth of experience and knowledge in a given subject well beyond the pale. Now it simply tends to mean that someone can add 2+2 and come up with 4 (most of the time).

We now tend to teach to tests and score them with tightly defined "rubrics" breaking thngs into tinly little measureable discrete chunks. Unfortunately, we don't seem to teach people to THINK much anymore.

As this thread implies... the term "Master" has no real significance anymore.

best,

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


I very much agree John. Though I will say, administrators and educational "experts" do put emphasis on the higher orders of thinking, like analysis and synthesis. That's why art classes generally receive high marks in those areas. All we do is analyze and synthesize. Sadly, many of my students keep coming to me, to ask what they need to change, or whether or not they are finished. I try to put it back on them, by asking, if they have met the standard, of what I asked them to do? Many of them can't tell. They don't want to be wrong, and they are so used, to having a defined answer to every problem. I could go on and on on the subject, but I'm getting off topic enough.


They don't want to be wrong, and they are so used, to having a defined answer to every problem. I think you may have hit it on the head. Students any more don't understand that being wrong is not wrong. They are too afraid to fail, failure to them is a dead end. For us, failure is just another step in the process to approach what we are trying to do, and sometimes our failures are our greatest accomplishments.


And, in my opinion, much of that has to do, with the idea, that anything less than an "A", or perfect is a slap in the face. If you tell them, that something needs changes, or alterations, they get upset. They want want the quality grade, without the quality product, and no desire, to put the necessary work in, to achieve said quality product.


Dear All,

I must add to this education focused discussion. The "A" that you write about in the previous post is now in my opinion a type of commodity.

To acquire an "A" is not about learning something or having excelled in an area. It is about getting into the next level of education, to be able to apply for a job or I am guessing in the case of the arts such things as grants and internships. Thus, it becomes like a ticket.

Today's student wants that ticket bad. They envision a life where they are able to schedule their time on their own. A time schedule that will provide them with maximum money with minimum input. While admirable, it may not be a reality in the future. I am not certain this will be a reality in our current economic climate.

I do feel for teachers in the arts who must judge students against criteria set-out by their discipline or more likely the educational facility. I am sure there is an element of fear in offering an open, honest and growth enhancing critique of a students work. I mean, that is your job isn't it?? To get them to reach their potential through honest reflection on their work vis-a-vis the standards and potential for creativity.

So what am I saying?? I am saying think of an "A" as a commodity. This commodity is valued. Students see it as opening doors for them. Doors that often lead to higher education and yes, money.

At least this is the way those in education, in admittedly a different discipline than the arts, where I am conceptualize the "A."


Nelly.

#27 Lucille Oka

Lucille Oka

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 756 posts
  • LocationCalifornia

Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:33 PM

Nelly, not just an 'A' an 'easy A'
John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

#28 Pres

Pres

    Retired Art Teacher

  • Moderators
  • 2,013 posts
  • LocationCentral, PA

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:24 PM

Stephen,

That is an absolutely (if I might say it ;)src="http://ceramicartsda...ault/wink.gif"> ) "masterful" posting on the subject above. Articulate and clear.

I deliberately waited until I was 60 years old before scheduling a solo exhibition in Japan. That age is basically the point in Japan when a craftsperson is felt to possibly have acquired enough skills and experience to "know what he/she is doing". It is the beginning of your second time around the Zodiac cycle also...so is a "big deal"; you are conceptually re-born. I was very glad that I did so.

It is only in the past few years that I feel that I am finally getting a grip on this crazy craft...... and I have been working basically full time with clay since the mid-60's. And I too would not call myself a "Master" yet. The more I work and explore in this field...... the more I realize that there is to "master", and know, and to try. Sometimes it seems that the "goal posts" keep moving further and further away. But that is what keeps us involved, creative, and alive, isn't it?

The infinte truth of that old saying becomes clearer and clearer: "Clay is long. Life is short."

best,


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


Clay is humbling, for the beginner, and for he who pursues it for a lifetime. I think that today, there are very few masters if any. I base this on the times. In the past a master would work in one medium, in much of one direction, pursuing a narrow spectrum of that medium. Today, potters will often start out with earthenware and brushed on decoration in an oxidation environment, and move to porcelain with screen printed decoration in a reduction environment, and move on to something else. The technical options have increased, the understanding has increased, and the amount of information to be sifted through and mastered has really become mountainous. We discuss technology here would have been considered witchcraft in the 1500's. We use stains and encapsulated colors that never existed. Electric kilns-dark magic. Much of the basic science of clay and glaze, firing and kilns has remained the same, but would a Master of old recognize much of what we do today? I believe many of them would scoff at our lack of basic understanding clay as many of us would scoff at their lack of understanding our concerns for health.

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


#29 Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

    clay stained since 1988

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,170 posts
  • LocationRaleigh, NC

Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:23 PM

"The technical options have increased, the understanding has increased, and the amount of information to be sifted through and mastered has really become mountainous."

This is so true. I skipped around for several years until I settled into colored clay ... I somewhat expected the focus to narrow but the exact opposite happened. There were so many more things I needed to know, to find out somehow ( since the data was scarce ), to test and test and test forever. I don't think I will ever "Master" it. My backyard is getting to be a great shard pile. : - )

Sadly, I see all too often people of all ages are afraid to fail. Afraid to get it wrong. I would like to suggest that along with that fear there can be a lot of JOY to be found in not quite knowing what you are doing.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

https://www.facebook...88317932?ref=hl

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#30 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,581 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:36 PM

" We discuss technology here would have been considered witchcraft in the 1500's. We use stains and encapsulated colors that never existed. Electric kilns-dark magic. Much of the basic science of clay and glaze, firing and kilns has remained the same, but would a Master of old recognize much of what we do today? I believe many of them would scoff at our lack of basic understanding clay as many of us would scoff at their lack of understanding our concerns for health."

Don't forget the automatic potter's wheels, that are powered by a couple of trained chipmunks, hidden on the inside.

Nice Simpson's reference Chris. The show is indeed a fountain of wisdom.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#31 Pres

Pres

    Retired Art Teacher

  • Moderators
  • 2,013 posts
  • LocationCentral, PA

Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:31 AM

" We discuss technology here would have been considered witchcraft in the 1500's. We use stains and encapsulated colors that never existed. Electric kilns-dark magic. Much of the basic science of clay and glaze, firing and kilns has remained the same, but would a Master of old recognize much of what we do today? I believe many of them would scoff at our lack of basic understanding clay as many of us would scoff at their lack of understanding our concerns for health."

Don't forget the automatic potter's wheels, that are powered by a couple of trained chipmunks, hidden on the inside.

Nice Simpson's reference Chris. The show is indeed a fountain of wisdom.


I used to tell the kids that "Can't can't do anything until Can't tries!".

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





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users