mel jacobson on sun 6 nov 11
if anyone wants to do workshops and spill everything
they know about `their` precious technique......hell,
don't spout off about copy.
you got paid, you told it all and the folks get it.
just the way it is.
i cannot think of a thing i would worry about.
you can have it all.
do with what you want.
just another clay technique.
it took colleen about two months to move
into her own style. as it should be.
she can make my forms in a heart beat if she wants,
but, she does not want.
only a fool would copy anything. just make
pots. it all wash's out in the wash.
as a matter of fact...i cannot think of a soul
that i would even want to copy.
i have enough to do as it is.
and, who would copy most of the stuff
in pmi, cm or claytimes. i can hardly look
from: minnetonka, mn
clayart link: http://www.visi.com/~melpots/clayart.html
John Britt on mon 7 nov 11
mel, Are you applying for Andy Rooney's old job?
I know 3/4 of what you say is just rambling for effect but there is nothi=
with the stuff in Ceramics Monthly! It has actually improved a lot since =
Lee on mon 7 nov 11
Copying is, (working from a model) essential in the beginning, for
developing skill and allowing the eye/mind/hand to work together.
Many studio art programs gloss over skill in favor of expression, so
basic skills are never developed. But they are the foundation for
If you build without a foundation, your forms will always be weak.
Lee Love in Minneapolis
"Ta tIr na n-=3DF3g ar chul an tI=3D97tIr dlainn trina ch=3DE9ile"=3D97tha=
t is, "T=3D
of eternal youth is behind the house, a beautiful land fluent within
itself." -- John O'Donohue
May Luk on mon 7 nov 11
"It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to."
Twice I was talking about my work and its new-to-me direction, twice I
have potter friends who told me "You should look at Ron Meyer's
work" And I said, oh, that is not very appealing to me - already
digested and interpreted information. I'm sure Ron Meyer makes great
pots with paintings on them (cause I keep hearing about them!). But I
need to go elsewhere for my source materials. If I were making animal
paintings on pots, I look at photos or paintings of animals, but not
another potter, who makes painted animal pots.
That's my modus operandi on source materials as a ceramic designer-maker.
On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 10:15 AM, Lee wrote:
> Copying is, (working from a model) =3DA0essential =3DA0in the beginning, =
> developing skill and allowing the eye/mind/hand to work together.
> =3DA0 Many studio art programs gloss over skill in favor of expression, s=
> basic skills are never developed. =3DA0 But they are the foundation for
> =3DA0If you build without a foundation, your forms will always be weak.
> =3DA0Lee Love in Minneapolis
> =3DA0"Ta tIr na n-=3DF3g ar chul an tI=3D97tIr dlainn trina ch=3DE9ile"=
, "The land
> of eternal youth is behind the house, a beautiful land fluent within
> itself." -- John O'Donohue
Snail Scott on mon 7 nov 11
I hate students copying my own work. Not because
I fear their competition, but because it seems to
indicate that the MISSED THE POINT of the lesson.
In such cases they apparently fail to figure out the
broader purpose of the concept or technique being
presented, and focus solely on the particular
outward manifestation of it in the instructor's own
Hank Murrow on mon 7 nov 11
On Nov 7, 2011, at 7:15 AM, Lee wrote:
> Copying is, (working from a model) essential in the beginning, for
> developing skill and allowing the eye/mind/hand to work together.
> Many studio art programs gloss over skill in favor of expression, so
> basic skills are never developed. But they are the foundation for
> If you build without a foundation, your forms will always be weak.
Dear Folks concerned about copying......
I was present at demonstation by Joe Bennion about ten or fifteen years =3D
ago. He showed how he faceted a bowl form with a bandsaw blade while on =3D
the wheel, and then opened it with a rib on the inside, with no further =3D
'touching' of the outside. I went home and tried the technique, and was =3D
able to make funky shapes that in no way were the equal of Joe's. I did =3D
perhaps four more 'boardfulls' of these bowls; in the process making two =
wiretools to facilitate the faceting. By the sixth boardful...... they =3D
were mine. Complete departures from what he showed, and now quite =3D
elegant. So far, I have found around twenty patterns of faceting. Ask =3D
and you shall receive a photo....... or check out the PMI at:=3D20
Because I wanted to study the world of retail pricing and wholesale =3D
structure of 'business in America, I produced the third version in large =
quantities(1200pcs.). The exercise proved very informative, and now I =3D
can realistically and fairly price the tools I make for sale...... =3D
except that the postage keeps changing!
Anyway, I always credit Joe with the original notion when demoing my =3D
version at the workshops I present, and encourage my auditors to develop =
their own versions once they catch on to the technique. Sold around 600 =3D
of those "Hank's WireTools".......... 600 to go before I retire the =3D
Cheers from Eugene, Hank
PS: Go Ducks next Saturday @ Stanford!
Kathy Forer on tue 8 nov 11
I had a teacher first year sculpture at college who made us copy his style =
n minute detail. I had been taking monthly evening classes in an atelier sy=
tem for three years off an on prior to that and had a strong sense of what =
was doing and where I was going, nurtured by wise teachers who encouraged =
e but basically left me alone. This college teacher had a rigid and ugly ap=
roach to the model, completely contrary to my instincts and intelligence. Y=
t he was head of the department where I wanted to major. We had many conten=
ious arguments why I should have to "do it his way" and in the end I submit=
ed. I created a lifeless doll just like the twenty other dolls the other st=
dents made. I decided I'd work within but try to go beyond the restrictions=
nd requirements of the measure-with-a-ruler modeling project. I didn't succ=
ed or benefit and ended up leaving the department anyhow. A horrible experi=
nce all around.=3D20
Years later I was in a class where the best way to understand what the teac=
er had to impart was to follow his techniques. Though somewhat dogmatic, it=
as a fruitful and valuable exercise.=3D20
Then there are the teachers and subjects of adoration and emulation who ins=
ire us to assimilate their work. We learn to ask our own questions along th=
"Do as I say, not as I do" is yet another approach to teaching. Often didac=
ic and dull, it can be useful in the abstract.=3D20
And then there are beloved teachers who bring out the individual best in ea=
Beware teachers who bear sour fruit! Choose your teachers carefully.=3D20
marci Boskie's Mama =3D^..^=3D on tue 8 nov 11
At 11:00 PM 11/7/2011, you wrote:
>From: Snail Scott
>Subject: Re: copy the teacher
>I hate students copying my own work. Not because
>I fear their competition, but because it seems to
>indicate that the MISSED THE POINT of the lesson.
>In such cases they apparently fail to figure out the
>broader purpose of the concept or technique being
>presented, and focus solely on the particular
>outward manifestation of it in the instructor's own
let me play devil's advocate:
We're talking about students... Sometimes just the idea of learning
a technique or concept is daunting enough without having to come up
with a creative idea as well.......
Its been happening for years in the art world: " just do your own
thing.. " ....The problem is that you are then left with no tools to
express your ideas. I agree with Lee here...and it seems that the
art word is now beginning to see that students are hungering for
learning techniques like how to capture the glow of skin tones or
how to replicate the effect of light on an object. The best way to
learn that is to copy someone who is a master at getting that effect
, studying the way color is used on a piece or how a shadow was
painted. For centuries, that was the process: copy a master ,
then when you have the process under your belt, go off and
create... not, here's a canvas and a brush: go ! ...
The same with clay .... How can you understand how to make a
certain form on the wheel , for example , if you dont copy it? Just
handing someone a lump of clay and saying " OK , now make something
interesting" will leave most of them floundering.
Give them the bones of good design by letting them copy while theyre
learning ... and THEN turn them loose .
I know youre a great teacher... but maybe letting the students
copy a piece initially to learn the technique and then turning them
loose on a variation of the process to make them use the technique
creatively and originally would help. That way, they learn the
lesson without the stress and then can apply the lesson to their own work=
Of course, not everyone will be a genius . Just looking at the
art world in general shows that... lots of copiers and not a lot of
original ideas .. but thats the way it goes.
marci the chinapainter
Vince Pitelka on tue 8 nov 11
Kathy Forer wrote:
"I had a teacher first year sculpture at college who made us copy his style
in minute detail. I had been taking monthly evening classes in an atelier
system for three years off an on prior to that and had a strong sense of
what I was doing and where I was going, nurtured by wise teachers who
encouraged me but basically left me alone. This college teacher had a rigid
and ugly approach to the model, completely contrary to my instincts and
intelligence. Yet he was head of the department where I wanted to major. We
had many contentious arguments why I should have to "do it his way" and in
the end I submitted."
Hi Kathy -
I had a similar experience in undergraduate school. The following is kind
of long, but I think it is a good story and a good lesson for anyone
teaching or planning to teach. I got into ceramics and sculpture/foundry a=
the same time around 1969, and immediately loved both. The sculpture
professor had been hired to build a foundry but received relatively little
funding, so he required all of his advanced students to take technical
welding in the Industrial Arts Department and we scrounged material from th=
local sawmills and junkyards and built a foundry. Of course we had to
purchase a lot of refractories and other supplies, but this guy had so much
charisma that he attracted legions of initially faithful students and thus
the attention of the university, and they started coming through with
funding. From scratch, we built #40, #80, and #120 crucible furnaces,
melt-out kilns, 10" and 12" cupolas for melting cast iron, an overhead
monorail system for handling the ladles of molten iron, lift-out tongs,
pouring yokes, welding-fabrication tables, and so much other stuff. Within
a year we had one hell of a foundry going. This guy was such a good leader=
and we were a tightly unified group working towards common cause as long as
we were building the foundry and just starting to make castings.
Once the foundry was completely up and running, things started to go to
hell. I had been fumbling around making cast bronze, aluminum, and iron
sculptures that were strongly influenced by the professors work, just
because he impressed the hell out of me and I was very impressionable at
that age, and I got nothing but encouragement from him. But then I grew
more confident and came up with a vision of the work I wanted to do, and
signed up for an independent study in advanced sculpture to develop waxes
for casting. The sculpture tech and I had set up a workshop and wax-works
in the garage at my house, and with the encouragement of the professor I
worked at home.
I prepared waxes for a series of complex "temple" structures influenced by
old factories, and filled them with abstracted machine components. Machine=
and old industrial structures have been among my most important passions an=
influences since I was a little kid. I was on fire, really excited about
something that I knew was genuine and arose from my heart and my guts. I
knew it was good work. As these waxes took form I showed them to fellow
students who I could count on for an honest critique, and they were
uniformly enthusiastic. They could feel my commitment and accomplishment i=
this body of work.
A month into the quarter I made an appointment with the professor to come
over and critique my waxes. I proudly showed him what I had done. He was
silent, which baffled me. When I finally pressed him he said, "What?
There's nothing here for me to comment on. Nothing aesthetic. Nothing
worthwhile. I am not sure why you even asked me to come over." I was
crushed, of course, but I still believed in the work. I questioned him
further and he was adamant that what I had done was a complete waste of
time. I thought about it for a moment, and said, "Well, if you really
cannot see any worth in this work, then you and I have nothing more to say.=
I dropped the independent study and focused all my attention on ceramics,
and in the long run feel that this professor did me a favor, because I have
never regretted my focus on clay.
When similar things happened with a number of other advanced sculpture
students, it became clear that the professor was highly critical of any wor=
that was not similar to his own. He didn't want anyone to copy him, but he
wanted to see all of his students incorporating the exact same influences
and concepts that had provided a formula for reasonably successful work in
Fifteen years later when my wife and I finally got around to going to grad
school, I quickly became seriously involved in slab-building with laminated
colored clay pattern and imagery including complex masonry patterns. After
a series of large platters with colored clay narrative imagery I started
making temple-like factory buildings with abstracted machine imagery. I
unfortunately have no images of the waxes done in 1969-70, but they were
clear in my mind, and when I turned to slab-built clay sculpture in graduat=
school, I finally took up where I left off in sculpture/foundry. Go to
http://iweb.tntech.edu/wpitelka/gallery/early%20work/early_work.htm if you
would like to see some of those pieces.
Going back to my switch from sculpture to ceramics, in other circumstances =
might have been able to work with a different faculty member in order to
continue with the work I wanted to do, but that was a small art department
and there was no such option. I have thought about that experience so
often, and it had a lot to do with my own choices in becoming a teacher. O=
course it is the responsibility of every college art teacher to be a
producing artist with a strong body of work, but we must be very careful of
those who think imitation will bring reward. It's my responsibility to hel=
each student find their own voice - to find the direction that is most
honest and original in terms of who they are - their concerns, commitments,
Appalachian Center for Craft
Tennessee Tech University
Gayle Bair on tue 8 nov 11
That is precisely why I transferred from being a painting major to
printmaking major in my junior year (1966) at Phila College of Art.
Our class didn't have to copy in minute detail but if the student's work
didn't approximate the instructor's work and artspeak they were ostracized.
I roamed the departments until I found an instructor (the wonderful late
Gerome Kaplan) who would teach basics and whose ego was not as large as the
As it turns out it was the best move I ever made in my college career and
is reflected in most of my pottery work.
Bainbridge Island WA
On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 12:47 AM, Kathy Forer wrote:
> I had a teacher first year sculpture at college who made us copy his styl=
> in minute detail. I had been taking monthly evening classes in an atelier
> system for three years off an on prior to that and had a strong sense of
> what I was doing and where I was going, nurtured by wise teachers who
> encouraged me but basically left me alone. This college teacher had a rig=
> and ugly approach to the model, completely contrary to my instincts and
> intelligence. Yet he was head of the department where I wanted to major. =
> had many contentious arguments why I should have to "do it his way" and i=
> the end I submitted. I created a lifeless doll just like the twenty other
> dolls the other students made. I decided I'd work within but try to go
> beyond the restrictions and requirements of the measure-with-a-ruler
> modeling project. I didn't succeed or benefit and ended up leaving the
> department anyhow. A horrible experience all around.
> Years later I was in a class where the best way to understand what the
> teacher had to impart was to follow his techniques. Though somewhat
> dogmatic, it was a fruitful and valuable exercise.
> Then there are the teachers and subjects of adoration and emulation who
> inspire us to assimilate their work. We learn to ask our own questions
> along the way.
> "Do as I say, not as I do" is yet another approach to teaching. Often
> didactic and dull, it can be useful in the abstract.
> And then there are beloved teachers who bring out the individual best in
> each student.
> Beware teachers who bear sour fruit! Choose your teachers carefully.
> Kathy Forer
> Claypit Creek
Larry Kruzan on wed 9 nov 11
When I decided to go back to school 15 years ago (the decision that lead me
to trying ceramics) I had a professor who was very demanding of the quality
of the final submission, and the process that lead to that finished
photograph. He insisted that we use the finest materials locally available
and that the final work was presented matted, framed and ready for
exhibition. Most importantly, he taught a meticulous method that he expecte=
us to follow. Subject matter was assigned in a very general way, allowing u=
the freedom to follow where the muse took us, but the process leading to
presentation was very regimented.
After taking every photo class offered in this jr college and a few
independent study classes, I transferred to a 4 year school as a photo
major. With all the intro photo classes out of the way, and following a
review of my portfolio, I was placed midway through the program. Instantly =
became aware of just how much I had benefited from my first professor. The
general level of competence of my "peers" was a surprise. In our first crit=
work was to be matted, but most of what I saw was would not have passed
rough inspection at my first school, and it all looked the same. As the cri=
moved along I discovered that the reason the work all looked the same was
that the professor expected you to make the work she directed, process was
much less important than concept.
At the time I did not comprehend was how important the debate over concept
would become in my life - this was the first time I had ever gotten less
than top marks for one of my submissions. My finished piece did not "look"
like everyone else's photo. It was a flawless piece with a strong
composition that hangs over my desk today, but it was not the exact copy of
the example photo we were shown and it did not look like the others.
One crit and one assignment does not a pattern make, but after a couple
semesters I was pretty sure where the problem was. Fortunately, I also
needed a 3d class to fill out my class schedule and I found myself in a cla=
studio for the first time.
The result of all this adventure was that I ended up pursuing a double BFA
path. Photo and ceramics. Today I pick up a camera only as needed. It has
ceased to be my constant companion, as it was since 1969 when I was first
introduced to photography. Frankly, that one professor (and head of the
photo department) succeeded in sucking all the joy I'd had for 40 years, ou=
of photography. Fortunately she is now retired.
Thank goodness for clay and for every professor that allow their charges to
explore, experiment and follow THEIR muse, while demanding quality work.
They are nuggets more precious than gold.
Lost Creek Pottery
An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
We had many contentious arguments why I should have to "do it his way" and
in the end I submitted. I created a lifeless doll just like the twenty othe=
dolls the other students made. I decided I'd work within but try to go
beyond the restrictions and requirements of the measure-with-a-ruler
modeling project. I didn't succeed or benefit and ended up leaving the
department anyhow. A horrible experience all around.
Years later I was in a class where the best way to understand what the
teacher had to impart was to follow his techniques. Though somewhat
dogmatic, it was a fruitful and valuable exercise.
And then there are beloved teachers who bring out the individual best in
Beware teachers who bear sour fruit! Choose your teachers carefully.