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high school ceramics programs

updated sun 7 mar 99


Robert Pulley on wed 3 mar 99

I am in my second year of teaching in a high school ceramics program.
I have lots of experience teaching elementary school and lots of
experience with clay, but just had a chance to fill this job last
year. This year we almost doubled the students who elected to take

As it exists we have ceramics 1 and ceramics 2, each a 1 semester
class. Our facilities are old and severely limited by space and
funds. We have two Skutts, three Amaco electric wheels and an old
Walker pug mill. I am a little frustrated by the inability for
interested/ capable students to go on.

One of my best students visited a school in Indianapolis and saw some
knockout work and her friend said, "Oh, that is just 2nd year stuff."
I am becoming aware that some schools offer more than one year of
ceramics and wonder how they are structuring advanced classes. Do
they encourage independent studies? Focus on wheel throwing? Include
glaze formulation?

I would be happy to hear from anyone who thinks they have an
exceptionally strong high school program and if they are not too far
from Columbus, Indiana perhaps I could visit.
Thanks, Robert Pulley

Donn Buchfinck on thu 4 mar 99

I remember high school ceramics. I have an MFA in ceramics now but when I was
in high school I could NOT throw to save my life.
I didn't have a teacher just was in the ceramics room after school and was
trying it. But I couldn't sit still long enough to concentrate to throw, I
think it had something to do with girls???
you know hormones and stuff.
I teach now, continuing education classes and they are great, I get phyisists,
chemical engineers, bio tech people, and I have three high school juniors.
the high school kids are great, but they are interested in other things,
concerts, SAT's and the like. So I just try to keep them on track thinking
about how I was in high school. Hoping that if and when they come back to clay
that they will have remembered something, and remembered my lessons.

Donn Buchfinck

Paula Sibrack on fri 5 mar 99

I have a high school ceramics program that started out as you describe when I
got there. I arrived as a professional potter and subsequently attracted a lot
of students. I developed an independent study program for students that wanted
to advance. These students are selected by their talent and interest and
placed in Cer I and Cer II classes as apprentises. They have responsibility
for simple demonstations, loading, unloading the kiln, caring for clay and
glaze. Much of the time they work on their own pieces. Most of them are
working toward a place in the Senior Art Show adn hence need an impressive
body of work. In return I give them 2 hours each week of advanced training,
take them to various professional potters' studios, and have a pottery pot
luck dinner each year. This program has been very successful and you don't
need to change a lot of what you already have in place. If you want more info,
email me directely, as I am going off line today for vacation and NCECA. Good
luck. Paula Sibrack Marian, Sherman, CT

hal mc whinnie on sat 6 mar 99

you may wish your students to join my glaze of the week list
also i have a new glaze calculation online course beginning april 15 1999
ten weeks
one lesson per week