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mfas

updated wed 26 oct 05

 

Lily Krakowski on wed 28 aug 02


I came into this debate late, and so I do not know where and how it all
began. Someone asking should I? Should I not?

If someone asks should I marry, the answer is NO. If someone asks should I
have a child, the answer is NO. If someone asks should I take Holy Orders,
the answer is NO.

Why? Because in these momentous decisions there is no room for the
hesitation asking involves. Doubts at the onset are the hairline cracks
that open up into regrets later.

ALL the answers given have been valid. Some have hinted at a point I want
to bring up. WHO ELSE IS INVOLVED? Several people have mentionned spouses
who helped support them through grad school; others implied spouses who made
sacrifices but were for it.

When you go off to grad school, you are tying up an amount of time, and a
great deal of money that may damage important relationships. I am not being
cute or evasive here. Your partner may have had fantasies of a house, a
child, a year abroad--stuff that would have to go on hold. Your children may
hate relocation--if needed.

I am not saying this will happen, but I have seen enough wrecked
relationships to know this does happen.

As to the MFA and teaching. Vince, as was suggested this morning, may be
more optimistic than reality warrants. I have several friends in fields far
more "popular" than clay, who sweated bullets getting PhDs and groveled at
universities to be denied tenure and booted out....Others thought they would
teach in college, because it seemed so fine to stand in front of a room of
impressionable minds and impress them, only to find that every aspect of
academia was hateful to them--and quit.

My one MFA suggestion. Think about it a year longer. Try to substitute
teach as a friend's guest. Try to go to the college of your choice for a
week or so and hang out; just looking at all the teacher has to do and ask
is that for you.

All good wishes.







Lili Krakowski
P.O. Box #1
Constableville, N.Y.
(315) 942-5916/ 397-2389

Be of good courage....

Katheleen Nez on fri 30 aug 02


Make Fun Always

Rush in Clay Times?
Nez in July SOUTHWEST ART

ramblin jack at thirsty ear saturday nite
http://www.thirstyearfestival.com/

Rock On nezbah
http://beam.to/katheleennez

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Wes Rolley on fri 30 aug 02


--=======65976E5=======
Content-Type: text/plain; x-avg-checked=avg-ok-221B7E59; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

At 03:43 AM 8/30/02 -0700, you wrote:
>http://www.thirstyearfestival.com/

Now this is one to catch while he is still with us.


Wes Rolley
17211 Quail Court
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
http://www.refpub.com

"When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only
how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not
beautiful, I know it is wrong." -- Richard Buckminster Fuller

--=======65976E5=======--

Earl Brunner on mon 2 sep 02


Seeking advice and opinions to the degree that more information gives
you more to base your decision on, but I like the answer by Lily below.
Why? Because many times we want someone to TELL us what to do. If
someone else makes a decision for us, we can blame them if it doesn't
turn out. Ultimately, it has to be your decision, and if you have to
ask, maybe the answer SHOULD be NO.

Earl Brunner
mailto:bruec@anv.net
http://coyote.accessnv.com/bruec


-----Original Message-----
From: Ceramic Arts Discussion List [mailto:CLAYART@LSV.CERAMICS.ORG] On
Behalf Of Lily Krakowski
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2002 7:12 AM
To: CLAYART@LSV.CERAMICS.ORG
Subject: MFAs


If someone asks should I marry, the answer is NO. If someone asks
should I
have a child, the answer is NO. If someone asks should I take Holy
Orders,
the answer is NO.

Why? Because in these momentous decisions there is no room for the
hesitation asking involves. Doubts at the onset are the hairline cracks
that open up into regrets later.

Linda Arbuckle on sun 28 aug 05


Good advice on picking programs and good program suggestions from
people. I think it's good to identify 4-6 programs that could work for
you for the reasons cited. Also, you have no control over how many
people are graduating in a given year, and what kind of work they do.
Most programs look for a balanced representation of approaches in
studio. So, if only one person is graduating, and everyone else
continuing in studio is a potter, most programs will favor sculptural
applicants for that one position. It's helpful to the students in the
program to have diverse peers.



Vince's point about finding someone good to talk with rather than
someone whose work you want yours to look like is spot on. And Mel's
reminder that many people apply to the very visible schools for limited
positions. There are a number of good programs that don't show up on the
'popular' lists. Don't be hesitant to go talk to people at schools not
mentioned on lists. If you're not in the school's area, e-mail and ask
for a phone date to talk w/faculty there to get a feeling for the person
behind the program, their philosophy about graduate education, and how
the program runs.



Other program suggestions:

Richard Burkett is at San Diego State w/Joanne Hayakawa. Richard was
on-site NCECA chair, which proves he engaged, informed about the field,
and giving for the greater good. He was a studio potter for about 10
years before he went to grad school and did sculptural clay during his
MFA study. He now does both, and makes good work. He's a very good tech
person, and his glaze calc program HyperGlaze is a good one. And, he's a
bluegrass musician and good cook - a real person. SDSU also has a strong
wood/furniture program, so people w/an interest in both camps might find
that interesting, as most programs require studio electives.



For sculptural clay, U of WA in Seattle, with Doug Jeck, Jamie Walker,
and Akio Takamori



Lee Rexrode at Edinboro University in PA. Good potter. The one drawback
is that they have a very strong faculty union and grad students are not
allowed to teach. So, TAs do other support jobs and don't get that
experience.



Peter Beasecker at Southern Methodist Univ in Dallas. Peter is a
wonderful potter and great educator. Grad program at SMU is small,
though. As I understand it, all art faculty select grads, and some years
no ceramic students might be selected. Hard to figure the balance of
such a great teacher against loss of a strong peer group. Could be great
for the right person.



RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) is very expensive, but Larry Bush
is a wonderful teacher. Jacquie Rice just retired, and I don't know
what's been done about that. Larry is very sharp, good to talk with.
Makes good pots, good tech background. Jan Holcomb, with a focus in
ceramic sculpture, also teaches there, and is good to talk with.. 2 year
grad program, which is short for most people.



Matt Long has just been hired at University of MS (Ole Miss), and has a
grad program he'll be stirring up.



Kathy King and Mark Burleson at GA State in Atlanta. They have a very
good relationship w/the sculpture department there and do a lot of
collaborative things, so this would be a good place for mixed media
people, as well as people doing graphic works on clay. Mark is involved
in printing on clay, and Kathy does illustrated pottery.



Jim Lawton at U Mass Dartmouth.



Many people who contribute to this list and are bright, helpful people
are teaching at places w/grad programs. Check them out.



And to be mildly self-serving, University of FL, with sculptor Nan Smith
and myself.





Linda Arbuckle, Professor

University of Florida

School of Art and Art History

P.O. Box 115801

Gainesville, FL 32611

http://www.arts.ufl.edu/artex02/html/ceramics/arbuckle.html

(352) 392-0201 x 219

primalmommy on mon 24 oct 05


At 2 a.m. on Saturday, I was in front of a blazing fire with the same
half dozen women friends who camp out with me every October. Savvy
professor-pal Susan turned to me and announced that it was time for me
to get my MFA.

I shrugged. I don't want to put my kids in school, (to get and MFA, or
to get a "real job") and Molly's only 7.

I can't say I haven't thought about it, though. I have taken evening art
classes at the local U for years, including some on the list in Tony's
email, and have thrown the idea out at this group in the past. I spent a
lot of time in Tennessee this year interrogating Josh deWeese about
programs around the country. I'm an easy commute from Bowling Green
State University and John Balustreri and Steven Roberts.

I will probably follow Tony's lead and get some info about the program
he mentioned.

I would like to teach at a small local college, someday. It seems that
ceramics programs can boom and become very valuable wherever they start,
if they have the right person at the helm -- small farm town colleges,
even high schools, seem to come up with some quality programs regardless
of not being well funded or well known. I like that wild card factor.

And I understand about the MFA being a weed-out factor. Still, I am not
a big believer that the document proves the value of the bearer... I
have taught in the local U's English department, and have seen how low
that bar can go. There are too many "credits" that never show up an a
transcript -- hours spent in the home studio, weeks of workshopping with
nationally known potters, late nights in bed with books "studying"
glazes and kilns and methods.

And in the end, maybe I don't want to teach. Even my one-day-a-week
teaching at the guild means time and energy stolen from my own studio.
Demos are just demos, y'know? Tony said it -- everything you do, there's
something else you're not getting done. With everything I have on my
plate right now, I have learned that song well.

And I get tired of looking at ugly, beginner pots.

There's something else, too. I get kind of blue anymore at summer and
weekend workshops. I don't want to be one of the ladies who does clay
for a week or two every summer and then steals hours in the studio here
and there the rest of the year. I want to be Wes and Aaron and the other
young grad students who live in the studio 24/7 and answer stupid
questions for the workshoppers. Or I want to be the workshop presenter
who goes home to a full time studio/program in clay. I want to be
immersed in it, wallow in it, not have to keep shifting from potter to
cook to potter to bookkeeper to potter to teacher to potter to mom to
potter to housekeeper to potter to gardener to potter.... answer the
phone, pay the bills, run kids to sports, come up with supper, teach
dividing decimals and iambic pentameter and then unload the kiln. It's
not a bad life right now, but not how I want to do an MFA.

If I went to grad school I would want to roll in it like a beagle rolls
in a dead thing. Spend all my nights in the studio, drink too much
coffee, know what everybody else is doing, rebuild kilns and make clay.
I don't want to show up after dinner, dip my pots in whatever's in the
bucket and hand them to the techs to fire. (Then go home and sort
socks.)

And since my kids are not negotiable, I'm thinking I will wait. Edith
Franklin is over 80 and has more energy than most people. Maybe one day
I will be the middle aged lady with the real life work ethic who shows
up in an MFA program, kicks ass and raises the bar.

But I am not on hold, until then. My kids got up today an hour before I
did and did all their chores, and had their homeschool assignments
mostly done before I had my coffee made. I have spent the morning
catching up on clayart (the acers digests, that is -- yahoo has not
printed a clayart post since the 16th) and will be heading for the
studio this afternoon to photograph the pots I have finally finished to
fill the 5 orders on my clipboard.

The bigger everybody gets, the more time and energy I have to do my
work. Remember that "quality vs. quantity" classroom experiment? I'll go
for the quantity curriculum, for now. Like my bumper sticker says --
"The world is the classroom".

Nice to look into all my options, though. Thanks for the heads-up, Tony.
Any chance you'd foot the bill for my tuition? Sell a couple of those
big baby-bath sized casseroles, maybe? I think Maryland is only about 13
hours away... you might need to send me plane tickets, too. And stop by
and watch the kids...

Once I get myself all self-educated, maybe I WILL go get the ticket...
meanwhile I have to go do the laundry ;0)

Yours
Kelly in Ohio... back to reality after a big weekend.






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Tony Ferguson on tue 25 oct 05


Kelly,

I feel your song. I too am thinking on how doing an MFA would affect our children and me and my wife's relationship. Academia can certainly be elitist as I was reminded of many job apps this morning "MFA required." There is an assumption that one who completes an MFA is at a level in which they can successfully pass information, content, inspiration, motivation, etc. on to their students--this has been discussed over and over. I recently was in the final two for a position here in MN and lost out because the other applicant had an MFA and was in more, as it was communicated to me, "prestigious juried exhibitions." I saw some of her work and frankly I feel sorry for the students--but that is my personal, filled high with expectations for any instructor's work opinion, (and perhaps a tad bit of hurt feelings in there) being expressed. It wasn't meant to be.

I have realized many folks never leave the system and this is producing students who do the same producing work I find poor in craftsmenship. If you are going to do conceptual work, @#$#@$#, make it well. Thank goodness for workshops where we can pick and choose to learn from people we feel can offer us something valuable to be added to our own experience.

I believe you would make an excellent instructor. I have met you, read your postings, found a strange similiarity in the way in which you process and express yourself. You are highly creative, intelligent and know project management, budgets, organization, interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, etc, etc. There is no need to feel insecure about anything and don't second guess your priorities. You appear to have your priorities where the should be which in my household, appears to be counter culture in many ways because of choices we have made--and yet we don't really care what others or the dominant culture thinks. We put our children first and perhaps ourselves (me and my wife) too far back in the line and yet we both feel strongly about serving their needs first as this is a very short and special place in time.

They are growing old so fast and so are we. It will not matter if you or I obtain an MFA right now--if an opportunity presents itself it will. The main issue is that you keep developing along with your family which is the dream and could not be the dream if you hadn't, or didn't place a few of your other dreams in a box for a while to play with when time allows. I understand the value of compromise, adapation, and love and so do you. Having a family, caring for them, taking care of them, teaching them is just a valid creative process as seeing a body of work through to completion. Your family is your body of work for now. Everything you need to know about teaching is right before you and is happening now. You feel students like children and that is why you feel empowered to teach them because you are very close to this process with your children and you understand truly how communicate, motivate, and guide.

The Hood MFA may be the way to go for us, to leave the box open and keep the dream alive without compromising what is most important to us that is beyond us and what we want for ourselves.

Kelly, you missed a great a firing, but I suppose that which was not meant to be is not surely missed. I hope you will be able to join us in the future.

Tony Ferguson



primalmommy wrote:
At 2 a.m. on Saturday, I was in front of a blazing fire with the same
half dozen women friends who camp out with me every October. Savvy
professor-pal Susan turned to me and announced that it was time for me
to get my MFA.

I shrugged. I don't want to put my kids in school, (to get and MFA, or
to get a "real job") and Molly's only 7.

I can't say I haven't thought about it, though. I have taken evening art
classes at the local U for years, including some on the list in Tony's
email, and have thrown the idea out at this group in the past. I spent a
lot of time in Tennessee this year interrogating Josh deWeese about
programs around the country. I'm an easy commute from Bowling Green
State University and John Balustreri and Steven Roberts.

I will probably follow Tony's lead and get some info about the program
he mentioned.

I would like to teach at a small local college, someday. It seems that
ceramics programs can boom and become very valuable wherever they start,
if they have the right person at the helm -- small farm town colleges,
even high schools, seem to come up with some quality programs regardless
of not being well funded or well known. I like that wild card factor.

And I understand about the MFA being a weed-out factor. Still, I am not
a big believer that the document proves the value of the bearer... I
have taught in the local U's English department, and have seen how low
that bar can go. There are too many "credits" that never show up an a
transcript -- hours spent in the home studio, weeks of workshopping with
nationally known potters, late nights in bed with books "studying"
glazes and kilns and methods.

And in the end, maybe I don't want to teach. Even my one-day-a-week
teaching at the guild means time and energy stolen from my own studio.
Demos are just demos, y'know? Tony said it -- everything you do, there's
something else you're not getting done. With everything I have on my
plate right now, I have learned that song well.

And I get tired of looking at ugly, beginner pots.

There's something else, too. I get kind of blue anymore at summer and
weekend workshops. I don't want to be one of the ladies who does clay
for a week or two every summer and then steals hours in the studio here
and there the rest of the year. I want to be Wes and Aaron and the other
young grad students who live in the studio 24/7 and answer stupid
questions for the workshoppers. Or I want to be the workshop presenter
who goes home to a full time studio/program in clay. I want to be
immersed in it, wallow in it, not have to keep shifting from potter to
cook to potter to bookkeeper to potter to teacher to potter to mom to
potter to housekeeper to potter to gardener to potter.... answer the
phone, pay the bills, run kids to sports, come up with supper, teach
dividing decimals and iambic pentameter and then unload the kiln. It's
not a bad life right now, but not how I want to do an MFA.

If I went to grad school I would want to roll in it like a beagle rolls
in a dead thing. Spend all my nights in the studio, drink too much
coffee, know what everybody else is doing, rebuild kilns and make clay.
I don't want to show up after dinner, dip my pots in whatever's in the
bucket and hand them to the techs to fire. (Then go home and sort
socks.)

And since my kids are not negotiable, I'm thinking I will wait. Edith
Franklin is over 80 and has more energy than most people. Maybe one day
I will be the middle aged lady with the real life work ethic who shows
up in an MFA program, kicks ass and raises the bar.

But I am not on hold, until then. My kids got up today an hour before I
did and did all their chores, and had their homeschool assignments
mostly done before I had my coffee made. I have spent the morning
catching up on clayart (the acers digests, that is -- yahoo has not
printed a clayart post since the 16th) and will be heading for the
studio this afternoon to photograph the pots I have finally finished to
fill the 5 orders on my clipboard.

The bigger everybody gets, the more time and energy I have to do my
work. Remember that "quality vs. quantity" classroom experiment? I'll go
for the quantity curriculum, for now. Like my bumper sticker says --
"The world is the classroom".

Nice to look into all my options, though. Thanks for the heads-up, Tony.
Any chance you'd foot the bill for my tuition? Sell a couple of those
big baby-bath sized casseroles, maybe? I think Maryland is only about 13
hours away... you might need to send me plane tickets, too. And stop by
and watch the kids...

Once I get myself all self-educated, maybe I WILL go get the ticket...
meanwhile I have to go do the laundry ;0)

Yours
Kelly in Ohio... back to reality after a big weekend.







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Tony Ferguson
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William & Susan Schran User on tue 25 oct 05


On 10/24/05 11:53 AM, "primalmommy" wrote:

> Savvy
> professor-pal Susan turned to me and announced that it was time for me
> to get my MFA.

Simple test - Check all of the universities/colleges/community colleges in
your area where you might possibly teach. Find out what terminal degree each
requires. Many require an MFA, some only require a bachelors with a number
of years working in the field. Depends on the program, whether it's a
transfer or occupational/technical one.

Perhaps this information may direct one one way or the other.


--
William "Bill" Schran
Fredericksburg, Virginia

marcia Selsor on tue 25 oct 05


Kelly,

to add to what Bill said. Here is how it worked in Montana. The AA/EOE
requires the most qualified person be hired. Ususally that means an MFA.
HOWEVER, the trend in higher ed for art classes among moorer schools is t=
o
hire part time without any benefits and low paying conditions with no
support staff. For example, a neighboring private college pays $1375 for =
a
semester with no support staff, three wheels and three electric kilns.
Montana state Univ. in Billings pays about $1600 for a 16 week semester
no benefits, no support staff, down to one gas kiln and abouth three big
computerized electric kilns, raku and a soda kiln. People can't afford to
move to take these jobs so they are filled by local people who don't have
MFA and sometimes don't have even a BA in the field and little experience=
.
So it would be a good idea to check around. Also it may be good to look a=
t
their catalog, read up on the faculty and estimate when they could be
retiring.
Marcia Selsor
Professor Emeritus and happily retired from that rat race

> Simple test - Check all of the universities/colleges/community colleges=
in
> your area where you might possibly teach. Find out what terminal degree
> each
> requires. Many require an MFA, some only require a bachelors with a num=
ber
> of years working in the field. Depends on the program, whether it's a
> transfer or occupational/technical one.
>
> Perhaps this information may direct one one way or the other.
>
>
> --
> William "Bill" Schran
> Fredericksburg, Virginia