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AveRenee

Sculpture, Pottery, Or Both?

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I'm in the midst of finishing up my grad school applications and I'm curious to know if there are any professionals out there who make both pots and sculptures; by sculptures  I mean things like Beth Cavener Stichter's work, not so much the nonfunctional sculptural pottery variety. I really enjoy both and haven't found a way to combine the two, since I like my pots to be super functional (I find the greatest joy in comfy handles, lids that fit just right, light but sturdy forms, etc...) I've picked schools that have the upmost respect for both worlds, as I found some schools steer away from pottery and vice versa. Should I consider focusing on one? Is there a divide that I don't know about? Thoughts?

 

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I believe the Ceramics/Sculpture degree can be pursued by finding schools that integrate both into their fine arts programs. I even believe that you can find examples of figurative sculpture that are made of wheel thrown pieces that are so distorted, that you would never know it. If you see yourself as a subtractive sculptor, then the standard route will fit you well. However, if you see yourself as a sculptor that is additive building from pieces whether slab, wheel thrown, extruded or coil, then what you have asked about should be your goal. Some of us find that working with clay is working on the wheel most of the time, but we do drift off at times using what we know in different ways to express a thought or inspiration.  I'm sure finding the right fit for yourself will definitely be a difficult, but rewarding step. Best of luck!

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Ditto to what Pres said.

 

If you find one to be more lucrative than the other, you could do the Hollywood actor thing.  You do the big budget, action flick to pay the bills, for the smaller, artistic films.  So you could make pots, and do sculpture in your "downtime", or vice-versa.

 

Best of luck in your ventures.

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In universities it really depends. UFO Fla. at Gainesville has Nan Smith who makes very large figurative pieces and Linda Arbuckle who is a master of Majolica. There are some others there too.

 

You should attend NCECA in Providence and talk directly to representatives of the schools. Many of the best ceramics Programs are represented there.

 

Marcia

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Check out Virginia Commonwealth University's School of the Arts, Crafts Department/Ceramics. Amazing sculptors and potters as instructors and co-students. Long history of educating in, and supporting, the highest levels of all types of claywork.

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Check out Virginia Commonwealth University's School of the Arts, Crafts Department/Ceramics. Amazing sculptors and potters as instructors and co-students. Long history of educating in, and supporting, the highest levels of all types of claywork.

Any place where the commencement speaker (graduate and MacArthur Fellow) can talk about kintsugi is worth checking out (VCU):

 

http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/12/29/teresita-fernandez-commencement-address/

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There are grad students who spend their time in the program trying to figure out what to make. This can be helpful for the individual, if not frustrating, however, the faculty response to a student pursuing many different interests isn't always positive. I would be cautious about trying to do too much, and not getting enough out of the program. Even if you're on a full ride, you can't really redo an MFA.

 

If you interview with the schools you've applied to, or submit a portfolio with work that's all over the place, some faculty may be dismissive or at least concerned. That being said, there's nothing preventing you from pursuing these interests after your MFA, and you may find a way to do everything within a degree program. There may be ways for you to decide whats important to you prior to engaging an MFA program (I'm not familiar with your experiences).

 

Also, be aware that no matter what the general stance of the program is, various faculty will have differing opinions on your work and the validity of your pursuits. This is part of the MFA experience. Friction is inevitable, but far more manageable if you have some sort of agenda while pursuing an MFA.

 

Good luck!

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