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Stephen Robison

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About Stephen Robison

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  • Birthday 07/16/1966

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  1. ps recycled vehicle oil is a very bad idea as it contains quite a bit of bad stuff. But screened fryer oil works great!
  2. I would build a simple catenary arch form and build it out of raw brick. Then look at a drip oil system and use some diesels and cooking oil. That sounds like the cheeps source of fuel you have. Maybe some propane burners to get it rolling. Check out drip systems and a very slow fire schedule so you don't blow up your raw brick. Build a small one first and see how it goes. Do a web search on a catenary arch and check out how to build the form. Here is a fantastic link for oil drip. http://ceramicartsdaily.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/cmapr03vegoilbritt.pdf Good luck and have fun!
  3. So many directions you can go with tile. High output and non custom are hard to compete with on the price break. But custom tile work takes on many different directions. Are you willing to take custom orders for abstract and representational work on the tile? Are your painting and drawing skills developed enough for that kind of work? I guess a few questions are needed to asked of yourself. Architectural tile is different than floor, counter top and backsplash tile. Sculpted tile or molded tiles compared to floor tile or other "flat" tile take on different characteristics in relationship to clay body, firing temps, and drying techniques. In floor tile or "flat" tile drying evenly and using a good tile body are the most important issues one needs to tackle. Paula Winokur, http://www.paulawinokur.com and Peter King http://peterkingceramics.com/architectural_ceramics/ are some of the top in architectural tile. Paul Lewing paints mountain scenes on tile... Chris Gustin makes some of the most beautiful tile for bathrooms and floors that I have ever showered over!! http://www.gustinceramics.com/tile/ The history of tiles in our country and abroad is rich. Search out images for Pewabic Tile, Henry Mercer, Moravian Tile works, Gladys McBean http://www.gladdingmcbean.com/aboutus.html to start with. So much to think about in terms of education. I believe that for good architectural tile one of the best routes is to get a BFA at a strong ceramics program and understand sculpture and ceramics. But there are many other routes to education. Apprenticeships, workshops and learning solely through trail and error with good books and internet research are all other possible avenues for your education into the world of tiles. But again it is a very diverse world and so ask some of those questions of yourself. Most importantly, what kind of tile do you want to make.
  4. 8000 wow. Really??? So yes I worked at Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont and the Appalachian Center for Crafts. All fantastic! And as far as the costs look into those schools. There are many many more options then there were when I was younger. Anderson Ranch is also a great place! I think it gets down to what technique you are looking at or the person who you may desire to study under. These are concentrated blocks of time and the money is worth it to me if you can swing it. There are also many times opportunities to be a work study student. 8 grand is also around what you may pay as a special student at a university and maybe that could also be another avenue. As far as reviews... They are all great and it really depends on what you want to learn.
  5. Your work is not that bad that you would do a disservice. That is ridiculous to say, if students under your instruction gets excited and into clay and then pass you up great! You may want to direct them to other places of study or if they can't move from the area or afford workshops and other opportunities for learning then at least they have a place to work. The Archie Bray foundations motto is "A Good Place to Work".. If a community place can offer any opportunity to work then it is still an opportunity and a service and again certainly not a disservice. I think its great you are volunteering your time and I bet people around you are happy you are a giving person. If they start paying you for teaching and you feel bad about it, tell them to advertise the position and see if someone else wants to step up to bat. Its a team effort building a community program. The cool thing about students passing you up is you are also growing and learning and can grow and learn with them! Its a great path to travel together and not get petty. Keep pushing yourself to learn and grow both on and off the wheel! Have fun!!
  6. Post Bac degrees are decent, but an MA might also be a route. MFA requires as you said more investment in time and money and are also quite competitive. Residencies are good route too, but again are usually fairly competitive. As far as apprenticeships they vary quite extensively, but can also be a great experience. Taking workshops in the summer is also a fantastic way to grow, as they are often times directed at specific techniques in building, throwing and/or firing. I would not discount Community Colleges, many have fantastic people teaching at them. In WA state where I teach there are two in particular that are fantastic, one is Tacoma Community College and the Other I believe is at Shoreline CC. Doing some research into the work that they do can be fairly telling to their expertise in a certain direction you may be interested in going. For instance the person who is at Tacoma CC is amazing at wood firing and the instructor at Shoreline CC does some amazing work with black slip on white porcelain. Look at El Diablo Valley College on the edge of San Franciso, they have two full time ceramics instructors. Both GREAT, the two there are really great. Mendocino is good too! The idea of a certificate is not quite as relevant as just growing and learning. An AA degree is not needed, but building a good portfolio is and an AA degree or certificate may be a good way to continue your growth. There is no one path to growth. The main thing growth takes is your individual drive, work ethic and a day to day investigation into research that will drive growth in your ideas and your technical ability. It is not always a book on ceramics, it may be a book on genetic virology and the imagery under the microscope, (thats one of my influences). DVD's and videos from Ceramics Daily, Youtube videos and many other great resources are available to you that were not available to previous generations such as mine. But libraries also are still an amazing source for research, not everything is online or digital! It is a blast, so have fun!
  7. Tried to find Rick Price on google?? Maybe that wasn't his name?? I also know Rick Price was the bassist for ELO.
  8. I was involved in a very similar project in the 80's It was great. The percussion and horns were made by Rick Price from Australia. From my memory it was pretty cool! Belmont huh? There use to be an amazing artist who taught ceramics there. Jason Briggs. Actually I taught there, and was there when we designed the new art building. I never got to use the studio as I received a better job offer and moved. But Belmont would be a great place for this. Hell, any school with a good music department would be. In the 80's it was University of Wisconsin Whitewater and the music students played Ricks instruments and they were pretty good. I think the reed instruments and the horns used some standard month pieces. Some of the drums had thin steel heads. I have made several instruments including a violin, which needed to have an electric pick up on it to really sound good. It never went out of tune! When its all done it would be cool to see a video of the performance! Does this sound (no pun intended) like a fun/challenging course? YES What would you add to the course to make it more interesting? Intermediate or advanced levels in ceramics, (no beginners) If so it will be a head ache and the instruments will look and sound like crap! What challenges would you anticipate,particularly the ceramics process? Even with intermediate and advance ceramics students it will be a challenge .. Is there already a course syllabus that someone is using at another institution? Not that I know of. Good luck
  9. I take an artist statement seriously and hope that it can explain some of the individuals work. I try and lead my students out of statements that are bloated and irrelevant to their work. I also try to get my students to make work that does expand on our history of the media. Here is a link to what I give them as a guide to get started. http://formalconcernsandcontent.blogspot.com/2009/01/basics-on-writing-artists-statement.html I also find the critique of the monkey farter to be much funnier than what was posted above.
  10. PS there are plenty of political blogs out there so when you feel the need for discourse in that arena please seek them out. Thanks John for getting the post edited to be more relative to our agenda at Ceramic Arts Daily. Yes politics most certainly does fit into the education topic, but our mission here is to expand on knowledge directly related to Ceramics. Lets talk about the positive issues around our own learning and if we are teachers what our students accomplish and how we get our points across. What is the best way to get a student to focus and find their own voice?? Are we just conglomerations of appropriated imagery and the knowledge that we have been exposed or exposed ourselves to? Is there a reinvention of the wheel or are we using it to move down the road? Are the sights that we see in our journey in clay that much different than the previous generations that traveled a similar path. How did the previous generations influence how we see our path? What scenery did they shed light on? Is it a spout, a handle, a lid, a belly, a shoulder, an expression on a face, a texture or a firing technique or.... If its politics someone wants to talk about, put in your work like Richard Notkin's amazing work or Picasso's Guernica. Yes education in our country is looked at very differently by our two parties. But again we are specifically talking here about education in the fantastic world of CERAMICS. And what an incredible and diverse world it is! Go get your hands in the clay! Thats what I am going to do!
  11. This is for education in ceramics. Of course everything is connected but this almost doesn't seem like the appropriate place for this discussion. This is almost like a bunch of old people shouting at clouds. "Oh the problem with kids today" ... "I used to walk ten miles to school and back"... "oh yeah I had to lick the lake clean".. Monty Python .. So yes students have become slightly less engaged, but I find my students to generally want to learn and be challenged. we are talking about CLAY! It is so awesome! Along with that challenge I find it important not to dictate outcomes fully. To me the challenge in introductory classes is to pass on some technical skills and introduce them to formal and conceptual issues in art. Are they going to make great work, no but if they leave me understanding what it takes to make great work then I have succeeded. Of course there is maybe around 10% who leave without a clue. In intermediate and advanced coursework it is more about something Kirk Mangus taught me, and that is to "give them enough rope to pull them out of the they are stuck in or to hang themselves". Of course structure is very important also. If you let your students even look at their dam "smart" phones during class then you are doing something wrong. I have colleagues who complain about students all the time and of course there is the seriously humorous one or two every quarter that I also complain or laugh about. But in 20 years of teaching I have not seen a huge change. And I remember what kind of student I was! They are a raw product and you introduce exciting material to them and it molds them as much as you do. Getting most students excited about clay is easy for me and as they get excited the work ethic builds and builds.
  12. I would not be sneaky about it. I would educate the student on why things don't get fired or made in the first place. In the past I was sneaky. When I taught at VCU I did have a gal who made "bud vases". Holes place just right for the bowl slide and nicely placed car orator and they were made extremely well. It sanded me to toss them in the reclaim and watch them float and dissolve into oblivion. But I should have just pulled her aside and reiterated my lists of what can't be made. I have a page long handout explaining to students some of the rules around objects that are not appropriate for university level investigation. However now I am questioning the bong as an object. Hookahs are quite beautiful objects and do have some nice formal and technical complexities. I also live and teach in a state where these archaic rules against pot have been lifted. I have had beer stein assignments so now why not give an option of making smoking devises. Look at the beautiful history of the pipe and hookah. Something to chew on. What do you all think? Teapots are quite often made by potters who don't drink tea so why not other utilitarian objects such as bongs? I still draw the line at cheesy beer mugs that say bet you can't on them and coffee cups that say I love you mom or pot puri burners and candle holders that have cute little hallmark hearts pieced or painted on them. But beautifully formal and or conceptual ideas worked into hookahs, hum in CO or WA why not. Even though the law is on my side am I in jeopardy of losing my job over it because an administrator or parent brings a big stink on me? So anyhow not sure but I am pretty positive the best way to educate your student is to talk with them and not be sneaky. They don't learn and the chances of them being pissed at you are a little less if it is fully explained before they get a chance to waste their precious time on objects you don't find appropriate. Of course if your teaching HS then there are even more rules needing to be set. If you are teaching adults it is a little different.
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