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Hi again! I saw a few posts relating to where to get your BFA in ceramics, but they were all circa 2012, and there weren't many school options. Does anyone have some more recent ideas of good ceramic undergrad programs? I'm based out of Portland, Oregon but I'm more than willing to go nearly anywhere for the right program. I'm used to/fluent in ^10 firings, glaze and clay mixing, raku, wood fire, soda & salt fire, and kiln construction and repair (to an extent). I mainly do handbuilding and slab work, not to mention sculpture in many different media, but I'm also familiar with wheel throwing, slip casting, etc. 

 

Little bit of background - 

I've been in college for nearly four years , I'm just about to be 20 years old now (started college early), I've been doing ceramics for fun since I was 14, and seriously/professionally (ie gallery shows and sales) since I was 17. I have also spent the last two years as a lab tech in the ceramics studio at my community college and have been auditing the class and racking up college credits as I go. I have three associates degrees; one AA, one AS, and one AGS. End game I'll be teaching ceramics either at the college level or in my own studio with my own classes. That's a whole different ballpark and will probably come later in life. My professional career seems fairly straightforward, I'm well aware that the job market is relatively small and slow moving, but I have the drive, portfolio and resume to kick major a$$ in terms of job competition. I'm also expecting to be a full time studio tech for quite a few years before I start teaching because it seems like that's how it normally works. My biggest concerns are 1. facilities/instructors and 2. tuition & financial aid availability. I'll also be going for an MFA afterwards, my ultimate goal being Alfred (but that's pretty far-fetched), but I'll start a new discussion post in a couple years for that one.

 

Thank you all in advance!

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I would pursue the Alfreds as a 1st choice as that paper chase has the most clout still in my view if you want to teach at collage level ,remember all things equal in a job interview the place of your degree will stand above the others-second choice schools all depend on facilities and instructors.

If the facilities are great but the instructor is just coasting in their career ( many get to that place in acadamia-sorry but it true) than thats no good for you.

The best teachers have the passion and fire so talking to them is key point on checking out schools and talking to others. At one time  Seattle had a great program but nowadays I have no idea.

Most programs have shifted to sculptural away from functional-I feel you need both and many do only the making of art.

You do not need to go to collage to learn how to open a jar of pre-made glaze and apply to low fire sculpture. Many an local art center can teach this.

I at one time planned on going to Alfreds after I got my BA in art and was told to take a year or two out and, well making pots for a living got into my way of that-never looked back or wish I had gone that route. I also was not bent on teaching as my whole family were teachers at that time.

I had no plan as you seem to have so do your research 1st before committing .

 

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@Stone Fig You don't have to go to a well know program to get a great undergraduate education. I went to a state school that had a teacher who was not well known as a potter, but he was excellent teacher. We also had good facilities that allowed me to gain a lot of experience in several different firing methods. I was accepted into 3 of the 5 graduate programs that I applied to. I think that what you get out of undergrad is all about what you put into it. If you have the basic facilities and teachers to support your drive, work hard you'll do well. I know people who went to big name ceramics schools, including Alfred,  but came out with average skills because they didn't work hard. It's as much about you as it is the program. You can go to affordable state schools and still become a great artist. Find a school with decent facilities and a teaching staff that fits with your style and you'll do well.

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On 1/20/2020 at 3:07 PM, neilestrick said:

You can go to affordable state schools and still become a great artist. Find a school with decent facilities and a teaching staff that fits with your style and you'll do well.

Hits the nail on the head! I must put in a plug for my ceramics education---a fantastic, high-quality state school, with top-notch facilities/instructors, the public, non-profit  Virginia Commonwealth University: School of the Arts.  https://arts.vcu.edu/     Do some research on it. Also, if you go to NCECA this year, it is being held in Richmond, which has a  deeply traditional and robust long-standing arts community.  https://www.visarts.org/nceca-2020/

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Ya know if after 4 years you are remotely close to a degree I would suggest finishing that as quickly as possible and then try and find an MFA program that will take you based on your unrelated degree, pottery experience and portfolio if at all possible. If you were just getting started that would be one thing but 4 years in I would be looking for ways to keep moving forward toward the end game you envision for yourself. Life happens and things change and now is the time to stay focused and move forward with your plans.

You mention financial aid so I assume finances matter and if you rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans (years and years of making big car\house size payments) and end up not being a college professor but instead starting your own studio like you mention then then that student loan money might be a real drag on how the studio turns out. Private studios  don't generally have any way to get funding and are generally bootstrapped with sales revenue, self financed with your own money/wages or possibly a gift from a relative. Loans are  generally not really an option for artist run studios so if possible I would really try decide what you are after before making time/money commitments.

Good luck! 

Edited by Stephen

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On 1/18/2020 at 11:28 AM, Hulk said:

Spend time touring schools, look, listen, with particular attention to students that have a few years in.

Definitely go and see for yourself!!! Find out about air bnb's near Alfred and hop on a plane to go see - maybe line up some prof's to talk to but not admissions until you're ready :)

Then go south to Berkeley and check out their art department & maybe join a studio down there for a bit to meet other potters. Did you read Ceramics Monthly this month? Head over to Heath and talk to others about what happens in industry- line up someone to talk to first. The CM article has names & I'd bet someone from that article would have advice.

Do some research and line up other places to check out - its really important for you now. If you have financial help there's Stoke on Trent in Britain for apprenticeships, etc. So many options and choices!!!

This expense is an investment in your future - you're so young - sigh - wish I was there again.....

 

Edited by terrim8

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On 1/24/2020 at 10:51 AM, Stephen said:

Ya know if after 4 years you are remotely close to a degree I would suggest finishing that as quickly as possible and then try and find an MFA program that will take you based on your unrelated degree, pottery experience and portfolio if at all possible. If you were just getting started that would be one thing but 4 years in I would be looking for ways to keep moving forward toward the end game you envision for yourself. Life happens and things change and now is the time to stay focused and move forward with your plans.

You mention financial aid so I assume finances matter and if you rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans (years and years of making big car\house size payments) and end up not being a college professor but instead starting your own studio like you mention then then that student loan money might be a real drag on how the studio turns out. Private studios  don't generally have any way to get funding and are generally bootstrapped with sales revenue, self financed with your own money/wages or possibly a gift from a relative. Loans are  generally not really an option for artist run studios so if possible I would really try decide what you are after before making time/money commitments.

Good luck! 

I was going to say the same thing -- get a degree from your current college and start researching MFA programs.  Most undergrad programs assume no prior knowledge of clay working, and probably won't challenge you enough. 

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