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pretty please, mfa's etc

updated thu 22 jun 06


Stephani Stephenson on wed 21 jun 06

just catching up with the list
my highly degreed mind is fortunately or unfortunately
connected to my highly intellectual working arms,
highly intellectual and fortunately still flexible wrists and fingers
and of course my
highly degreed and burden hauling heiny

which isn't my point

Lili , I think you can still manage to get through school by working
your way through.
A graduate Teaching Assistantship is one way to do it. The G in GTF is
not for glamor or glory but usually for gruntwork.....
added bonus is not only actual pay in actual $$$ (always useful to
exchange for food ), but you actually may load fire and build or
repair kilns, mix glazes, recycle clay , teach classes, and other
such 'intellectual' activities .

Some departments offer wonderful opportunities and excellent
instruction. others don't.
Yet... some do. Some undergrad departments will also give you
everything you need.

I would have never found a potter or sculptor to learn from out there
in the hills,
I feel fortunate that I bumped into the pottery and sculpture
departments in college, while fleeing other departments, I might
I tripped in the hallowed halls and fell down the hallowed stairs into
the dank and smoky basement of the college
where some truly wonderful stuff was occurring... furnaces, the damp
smell of earth and the like....
and decided to stay there and learn
I am a physical learner, a trogolodite at heart.

As a girl, admittedly, I had a tendency to keep my nose in a book, so
call me a nerd, I don't mind!
Tho' usually I hiked up a hill and climbed a tree to read that book and
often sported two rather scabby knees and a bit of cowpie in my tenny
so , call me a nerd with scabby knees! Ah yes, inevitably the type to
find clay in college! (hisss, sneer, dread....)

Clay has been a vehicle which has also taught me about history and
culture, movement and process.
what is so despicable about that?

One of the myths I most like to bust, is that of the lofty intellectual
who's feet never touch the earth.
why do we need to diminish either the brain or the brawn?
Don't we love both?
the sensible, sensitive AND the sensuous?
I say pecs and specs make a LOVELY combination!
male or female!
But I digress!

If you have a hunger to learn
you are going to learn
you are going to take advantage of every kiln, every everloving hunk of
clay you come near
you are going to read everything,
try everything, practice,
question and observe
if you have a great instructor you'll learn everything you can from them
if not, you'll learn from and with others around you
if you have a lousy department, you'll either roll on down the road or
roll right over them
don't you dare let them stop you
and don't you dare blame them for keeping you from learning
I have been in college clay studios with tobacco chewing rednecks,
uniformed marines, great grandma's and great grandpa's,
people of every race and many nationalities, punks,straights and gays,
quiet sensitive types, loud brash types,self absorbed nitwits,
generous big hearted souls, focused skilled potters, stoners,
fundamentalists, football players, chemists, accountants, janitors,
rich, poor, middle class, flakes, salt of the earth, birkenstock, high
heeled, flip flop, cowboy booted, moccasin, workboot and tennis shoe
wearing people, and many other stereotype categories I forgot to
some intellectual, some a-intellectual and quite a few
anti-intellectual, whatever that is.
who cares.

Most of us are far removed from a family lineage of potters, and an
identifiable apprenticeship system
and may not have any experience with clay in k-12. Quality of programs
vary, yet
Pottery/Ceramics has been bundled in , for better or worse, with the
university/ college system in the U.S.
these systems are still somewhat subsidized and accessible to most.
not perfect by a long shot

but, one of many doors. Any many types of people go through those doors
for many reasons.

Stephani Stephenson