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bfa, mfa, "putting in the time"

updated fri 31 mar 00


vince pitelka on wed 29 mar 00

> My sense is that by the time you are in a graduate program, you
> are no longer being taught technique; you should have the technical
> foundation by that point, as well as a ground of intellectual
> understanding gained form the art history. Anyway, feedback would be
> much appreciated, from the veterans as well as
> anyone else is in a similar quandry.

Centa -
I have to side with most of the other posts. Education is never a waste of
time or money, but all things have to be considered. If you want the most
intense educational experience, in order to maximize the development of your
work and the resulting opportunities in art/craft, and if you can afford to
go to grad school, then go the whole route - BFA and MFA. Otherwise, find a
BFA program which will give you the time and opportunity to further your
work and pick up the peripheral skills and information to allow you to
proceed in the direction of your choice. Do your research, talk to the
faculty, talk to the students in the program. If you can't find an
appropriate BFA program in your area, and are not able to move, then do
workshops and find opportunities in local private or community studios. The
most important thing is to just do as much work as possible, and get
feedback from others whenever possible to increase the learning curve. It
happens faster in a BFA or MFA program, but there are other ways to get

I had the pleasure of watching the demos at NCECA with Janet Mansfield, John
Glick, and Jullia Galloway. At one point Julia told a story about some
established clay artist watching her work, and commenting that she must have
"put in the time at the wheel." In other words, her work has a sense of
direction and maturity which can only be achieved by doing a great deal of
work, sorting out all the issues, finding one's own niche.
Best wishes -
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Home -
Work -
615/597-6801 ext. 111, fax 615/597-6803
Appalachian Center for Crafts
Tennessee Technological University
1560 Craft Center Drive, Smithville TN 37166

centa on thu 30 mar 00

Vince and others who have responded to my post,
Thanks for the feedback. I took a week long workshop with Julia Galloway
last summer and you are right about her having the maturity of someone
who has put in the time. I have been lucky to take some workshops with
some others who are likewise mature in their aritsitic visions and
expression. Mesmerizing to watch and listien to and compelling to
particiapate. I feel more ready now in my life (unfortunately tossed by
the winds in my youth) to focus and develop. I have tried on my own,
with workshops, private tutuoring, studio and community college classes,
but feel that it is a slow way to go for me. I think I can find what I
need in a BFA program, and as far as MFA, I'll see. I think the main
thing is I need help forming a direction within ceramics because left to
my own I want to be all over the map with what I want to explore and
focus and setting limits for rmyself is difficult. I haven't found that
balance yet and still building foundation skills, a part of that process
seems to be surveying the field. Anyway, thanks to all for the feedback.