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neon cat mugs

updated sat 30 apr 11


mel jacobson on fri 22 apr 11

remember marion, we have all had to start, be
first to ourselves. we all were new, not alert
to good form or style. we all make crappy loppy
pots at one time or another. it just hurts more when
one has been making it for 60 years..

so, keep working, keep trying, and every few months
you can say...`mmmm, getting a tiny bit better.`

we never listen to the word `sucks`.
we only expect those we care about and trust
to give solid advice.

if it is not given...then the suckee, becomes the
sucker. seems fair to me.

i have never used a negative when giving a critique.
i can be honest and brutal, but i will always say
how the work can progress forward.

as i say.....if you want praise, i can do that.
if you want to learn, then i will be honest.

i have critiqued many pots by new potters on this
list, and thousands of my own students.
they never get angry, or cry.
they learn. big girl panties on, chin high. learn. move forward.
your pots do not suck. they are a young potters pots, no
matter your age.

and, your advantage is your science background.
at some point, those two elements will come together.
science and craft. (art will take a bit longer.)
kelly was a recipient of a firm critique of mine a few years back.
she remembers one of my favorite lines...`good lord woman,
you are not good enough, or experienced enough to be
upset over your work.` get a few thousand pots done.
then piss and moan.

`the toughest nastiest critique is always self inflicted.`

from: minnetonka, mn
clayart link:
new book:

Neon-Cat on sat 23 apr 11

Thanks, Mel.
I wrote the post to contrast teaching styles.
Sometimes a good teacher need not say anything or much at all.
And that sometimes careless words have long-lasting impact.

I also didn't want any cloud of reservation to seep into the idea of
participating in the mug exchange. So I wanted to say my one
experience with mug exchange was great.

Although a story from my life I did not mean it to be about me.


Neon-Cat on fri 29 apr 11

Dear List, Mel=3D92s post triggered a lot of thought, hence this post and
a new, more narrow course for me in the future

For the record, I don=3D92t know Mel, have never talked with Mel, have
never seen Mel, have seldom emailed Mel, and I don=3D92t see how it is
possible that Mel has even seen my work, except for maybe some photos

Mayor Mel=3D92s impromptu, unasked-for, on-line critique of my work under
the thread =3D93neon cat mugs=3D94 has had people sending me
how-to-make-nice-mug references and emails.

For the record, I have never in my life sent out a mug, much less a
=3D93crappy loppy=3D94 mug or a mug that might harm.

Despite the thread title =3D93neon cat mugs=3D94 there are but two coiled m=
and one thrown cup in existence that I made and use. Company has used
each and survived unscathed. Mugs are not my =3D93thing=3D94; a couple of
others did hit the trash. The world is safe from =3D93neon cat mugs=3D94.

In retrospect, =3D93sucks=3D94 was pretty kind =3D96 it left me something t=
o work
with =3D96 my fledgling art, my fledgling craft that I could keep on
trying to improve. In Mel=3D92s critique I am a =3D91new, not-alert=3D92,
no-craft, no-art wanna-be filling the world with =3D93crappy loppy=3D94 pot=
and by thread-title-implication, mugs. That this is not so does not
seem to matter. I can count on my hands the things that I have sold
for next to nothing at the urging of my local guild; some I gave away
when asked; many I trashed; quite a few are out in the yard; a couple
remain inside. There is no sales or marketing venue, no on-line store,
no nothing. I made pieces to help develop my art and craft or as
experiment to deepen my practical knowledge of materials and
techniques. Some were examples of things talked about on Clayart only.
My last work-related post netted me a nice word of encouragement from
a potter, a few words from a friend by phone, a request by an
experienced professional for my lustre glaze recipe so his friends
could do something =3D93worthwhile=3D94 with it (he was pissed when I said =
saying: =3D93but your day will come, someday...=3D94), and a whole lot of
on-line grief involving working with calcium-containing clays and the
subtle accusation of cristobalite. So how is this Mel critique better
than =3D93your work sucks=3D94? Under the guise of kindness, it=3D92s all j=
pretty words that define and embellish =3D93sucks=3D94, all leaving a deepe=

Please do not write responses to this post =3D96 I=3D92m a realist; I=3D92m=
fishing for compliments; I do not need bucking up; I don=3D92t need more
opinions or tips on mugs (but thanks to those who took the time to
email them, who knows, maybe I=3D92ll become a mug-maker).

I did enjoy reading and getting ideas on the many aspects of
critiques, given and received, that many of you shared. Some of you
sound like you are fine teachers and mentors, or have been the
recipient of good sound advice from caring individuals, no strings
attached. The advice I got from several of our men whose opinion at
the time I did trust was to post and share my clay science talents. I
now see that this was a horrible mistake.

That we should all keep working is a given, especially us newbies. And
I=3D92m going to drop list posting now and do just that =3D96 work. I never
had any illusions about the quality of what I have made =3D96 more work is
what I need. Clay science is a different matter, but there is no
reason for me to continue with that on list, it=3D92s a distraction with
some extremely negative personal downsides. In its proper place,
science is something that may inform my own work, nothing more.

All the best,