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Two different worlds out there.


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#41 Biglou13

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 05:21 PM

My father had a saying, too. Almost every time I began a sentence with "I wish...", he would say, "Wish in one hand and take a dump in the other and see which gets full first." ..........

I think a lot of us battle tightness. Way back when I was in the Denver Potter's Guild we used to yell at each other, "Loosen up!" and I never could. Every pot was a test of how thin, how exact I could throw it and they were very thin and very exact but dead.

Jim



Loved the mug. And I'm glad you loosened up..... You bottles prove that....

I really Love your dads saying.............. Made me laugh ...... But there is zen like truth in that message. I'm going to,start saying that....

Im told than I'm (my style) is LOOSE.( I'm too old to be loose otherwise) I take it as a compliment/insult I need to leave out a super tall cylinder more often, for those with a handful of .....
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#42 Chris Campbell

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:13 AM

My father had a saying, too. Almost every time I began a sentence with "I wish...", he would say, "Wish in one hand and take a dump in the other and see which gets full first." ..........


You have to love that generation ... before PC strangled the life out of life. Neither of my parents had much patience with "wishes". Also, we were always told to "say nothing if you had nothing nice to say", but they seldom followed their own rule. If they had, we certainly would have missed out on a lot of family & neighborhood drama!Posted Image

As to whether or not you can be honest online without getting flamed .... "The Useful Critique" ....

http://ceramicartsda...__1

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#43 Sherman

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:21 AM

I was hoping a good discussion like this would result from that article. It's not as easy a topic as many of us sometimes assume. As several have stated already, in very eloquent terms, things often look different from the inside of a practice than from the outside. The article on Scott Cooper originated from a discussion I had with him about a blog post he wrote on the topic of difficult choices he had made in his career (primarily the choice to "kill the dream"). His perspective encapsulated what I have been seeing in the course of publishing articles about folks in this field for about a dozen years now: that most people seriously working in clay are not able to, or have chosen not to, exclusively pursue making pots as a livelihood. I've also seen that the idea that this is somehow a failure of fortitude has waned. In it's place, there is (appropriately) the understanding that people build their lives and livelihoods in ways that make sense to them personally, that fit their family obligations and lifestyle preferences. And of course, it resonated with me personally.

I remember having a discussion with my brother once (he's younger, but wiser, than me) a few years after setting up my studio after college and trying to make a go of pottery as a profession, and I was lamenting how much work it was, and all of the potential hazards and difficulties involved (I probably just had a very bad firing). He asked me the very simple question, "Why do you want to do this?" I was honestly stumped for several moments, which surprised me. I had been so focused on making this happen that I never bothered to revisit my original motivation for pursuing ceramics in the first place, which was a love of the material and the satisfaction of making things by hand—a good deal of which I had lost in the course of being in business in just a few short years. Not long after that, I realized that, while I may be interested in making pots and selling them, I was not going to do well if I was the one in charge of running the business as well. My decision to stop trying to make a living at it wasn't a pottery decision, it was a business decision.

So I find the part of this discussion that has to do with our own personal assumptions and fantasies about what it might mean to turn our passion into a profession very interesting. I suppose what I think about Claypple's original question is that there are about as many types of potters as there are people pursuing that dream. That's overly simplistic, of course, and perhaps an easy way out of answering the question, but I hesitate to claim one camp or the other. I've been making pots for a lot of years, and when I'm in my studio I feel confident and assured like a production potter might. I don't really lose pots anymore, and I can be as efficient or as inefficient as I choose with my studio time. So, in this respect, I feel I have professional skills. But when I look from the outside (on paper, so to speak) it is clear that I am a hobby potter. I don't sell work (I make gifts), I don't spend much time (a few evenings a month) in the studio. So I guess I'm both—and I would guess that many of us are some mixture of both.

Thanks for posting, Claypple. And thanks to everyone for thoughtful responses.

Sherman
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#44 JBaymore

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 11:44 AM

Sherman,

From my point of view, you are full time professional in the ceramics field. That life you've built has many aspects to it, each of which informs the others, but all revolve around clay.

Many of us full-timers take that approach either deliberately or out of necessity to make it all work. A blend of studio work, presenting workshops, formal teaching, doiong consulting, kiln building, writing, and so on. In today's complex world ..... this can often be the "nature of the beast".

As you said there are all manner of approaches to this issue of being a "professional" in the ceramics field. It is all "shades of gray"...... and that is NOT a cop out answer.



Our field is not alone in the difficulties of making a living as a "pro". I have a family member who is a doctor. Literally a "nationally known" level person with credential that amaze. He finally decided to close hisw own practioce because it was becoming too difficult to run his own business and be the doctor he wanted to be. So he now works for a group owned by a major medical center and gets to focus on being a doctor, not a business ownere and employer. Is he no longer a "professional" doctor? I think not.

best,

........................john
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#45 Pres

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 01:12 PM

Sherman,

From my point of view, you are full time professional in the ceramics field. That life you've built has many aspects to it, each of which informs the others, but all revolve around clay.

Many of us full-timers take that approach either deliberately or out of necessity to make it all work. A blend of studio work, presenting workshops, formal teaching, doiong consulting, kiln building, writing, and so on. In today's complex world ..... this can often be the "nature of the beast".

As you said there are all manner of approaches to this issue of being a "professional" in the ceramics field. It is all "shades of gray"...... and that is NOT a cop out answer.



Our field is not alone in the difficulties of making a living as a "pro". I have a family member who is a doctor. Literally a "nationally known" level person with credential that amaze. He finally decided to close hisw own practioce because it was becoming too difficult to run his own business and be the doctor he wanted to be. So he now works for a group owned by a major medical center and gets to focus on being a doctor, not a business ownere and employer. Is he no longer a "professional" doctor? I think not.

best,

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


Thank you John for some very wise insight into this obsession that many have with clay.

On another note similar, I have a niece, that was always teaching her younger sibling, and was good at it. She decided to major in Fine Arts. At the time she was doing this she was talking about doing the MFA, and working a studio. I interjected that maybe she should look at taking some ed classes and have a back up plan. I know that many of you out there will stomp on that, but it was my personal opinion. She went on to flounder around with a BFA, then picking up other credits here and there, never getting into grad school as MFA-don't know the full story there. Long to short she just graduated with a MED with her K-12 certification. Sometimes, maybe the dream is really no more than a shadow in the fog.

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





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