Linda Arbuckle on mon 27 jul 98
As I recall, the original suggestion was for the student to research
historic ceramics in order to find the threads that were interesting.
The whole point of this is to engage the student in the research. NOT
"I'll tell you what I think is important in historic ceramics" but to
get the student to invest some time doing first-hand looking and make
his or her own discoveries and choices. So, I think this professor was
wise, not making busy work, and was asking the student to participate in
his/her options and education.
Is it busy work to try to work in the footsteps of successful tradition?
It's really challneging to do. It's like asking why it's useful to use a
sketchbook and draw from things that you see in the world instead of
your imagination. Having a target or a model stretches one in different
ways than more free-form discovery. You learn things you hadn't
expected, and develop skills that are very useful for making your own
In an issue of Studio Potter some time ago, Clary Illian talked about
working with an apprentice. She said one day a week, she'd teach the
apprentice by throwing a form and asking the apprentice to duplicate it.
Early on, the apprentice thought she'd done it, but it really wasn't the
same form. Clary explained something I thought interesting... there are
One is being able to put the clay where you want it...
The second is being able to SEE where the clay needs to go to make it.
"Copying" reference work helps both skills grow. Just like drawing, once
you get into it, it's both harder and more engaging than you think, with
Not the only way to learn. Not the only thing you need to learn, but a
good exercise that helps.
Graduate Coordinator, Assoc. Prof.
Univ of FL
School of Art and Art History
P.O. Box 115801, Gainesville, FL 32611-5801
(352) 392-0201 x 219
susanford on mon 27 jul 98
> As I recall, the original suggestion was for the student to research
> historic ceramics in order to find the threads that were interesting.
> The whole point of this is to engage the student in the research. NOT
> "I'll tell you what I think is important in historic ceramics" but to
> get the student to invest some time doing first-hand looking and make
> his or her own discoveries and choices. So, I think this professor was
> wise, not making busy work, and was asking the student to participate in
> his/her options and education.
Years ago I was in an intermediate class and the assignment
for the advanced students was to make a pot from any B.C.
era. They had a few ceramics history books as references. I
was excited about the idea myself and looked up some pots.
Some of them were very strange and very challenging. I made
a replica of a piece from Cyprus, 200 B.C., which
required piecing. Then I made and exaggerated form just
loosely based on the Cypress jug. After that, I made on of
the best teapots I've ever made. So the assignment, which
wasn't mine to begin with, really made me work a bit
differently and gave me some good ideas.
Recently I made a replica of the same pot again. It is
miles better than the first one. I had a lot less trouble
joining the pieces, they fit better, and the pot is much
bitter than the first one. My skills had gotten that much
better, and I may not have realized it as much if I hadn't
had to two pots to compare. The Cyprus piece is a pitcher
with two spouts offset on the top, decorated in black and
white slip. It's a wild looking thing.
Susan K. Ford
Earl Brunner on mon 27 jul 98
In a message dated 7/27/98 9:06:05 AM Pacific Daylight Time, arbuck@UFL.EDU
<< As I recall, the original suggestion was for the student to research
historic ceramics in order to find the threads that were interesting. >>
sometimes people seem to get the idea that it's somehow bad to study other
works of art, because it might "influence " them somehow, as if that might be
a bad thing.
If we don't study the past we have to re-invent it. History is full of people
that haven't learned that leason. Pol Pot took Cambodia back to the stone
age. That was good?