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beginners pots, response to cindy

updated fri 3 nov 00


Cindy Strnad on wed 1 nov 00

Hi, Karen.

If I was teaching a classroom full of beginners, I would tell them the same
thing. You get what you say. Maybe if I was around them enough, I would even
come to believe it.

I've been telling my best friend her pots are beautiful for two years. (She
doesn't have a lot of time to practice.) Only in the last few weeks has she
begun to make me an "honest woman". I'm very proud of her. Of course she
knew they weren't what she wanted, but she didn't need discouragement from
me, did she? I gave her suggestions and encouragement, just as I'm sure you
do for your students. Their pots are beautiful, maybe in somewhat the same
way that children's art is beautiful.

It's just that when I look at the pots I was so proud of five years ago, I
want to incorporate them into a landfill. Problem is, they all belong to my
mother, and she still thinks they're drop-dead gorgeous. But then,
she still thinks *I'm* drop-dead gorgeous , so we might not
want to take her opinion too seriously.

Beginners may have fresh, lovely, charmingly naive ideas, but most beginners
also have a lack of technical skill that inhibits their expression of those
ideas. That was mainly what I was thinking of. Beginners don't want pots
with heavy bases, weak, wobbly bellies, and thin, wavering rims any more
than anyone else does. They just have yet to develop the skills they need in
order to make the clay follow their visions.

Cindy Strnad
Earthen Vessels Pottery
RR 1, Box 51
Custer, SD 57730

Karen Sullivan on wed 1 nov 00

I tell my beginning students that their pots are drop-dead gorgeous..
They can't see it, but they are. They are clumsy, naive, and stunningly
beautiful. I troll the shelves looking for ideas at the beginning of the
semester, and then...the students learn and lose the freshness.

I also tell my students that you are what you look at as an artist.

If they have been looking at K-Mart ceramics, they want to copy those... The
process of growing is looking and developing skill.
I wish I could copy some of the beginning student's work with the same sense
of freshness.
bamboo karen