Archives for the month of: March, 2007

This is where I just spent a sleepless night and a smoky morning/afternoon… I’ll write about the firing later tonight.

Advertisements

Apparently students at EMU are prone to driving through the yellow arms of parking gates — the kind that go up and down to let you into the parking lot (or not) when you scan your card. Along with hardwood strips from a flooring place, pine from Patrick’s dad’s pinebox derby car business, mulberry from my back yard, logs donated from somebody’s yard and assorted pallet wood, we burned dozens of broken gate boards.

When I close my eyes I still see swirling, licking, liquid flame patterns… maybe a good night’s sleep will cure it.

No WAY I was having a picture taken of me. I looked like a chimney sweep, smudged black with dirt in my smoky, tangled hair after firing 2am to 8:30 on my own. Not a glamour morning.

I pulled my pop-up to EMU’s kiln site yesterday, so we could sleep in shifts and still be nearby.

Wood firing: The cat’s away, but I’m wood firing this weekend with Patrick Green (fellow MFA student, pal, part time roomie and Dave McBeth’s former student. Patrick’s name is easy to remember, because if you cover up the “A” on the kiln posts they all say “P. Green”.) We had planned to fire on the 10th, but one helper bailed, the weather looked dicey, and then Diana came to town and offered an opinion that nothing on my shelves looked good enough for the wood, so we cancelled.
This time, though, we’re firing, come hell or high water. We’re looking at a short stretch until the end of the semester, when Patrick heads back to Tennessee and I start making pots for sale in my own Ohio studio to pay next year’s tuition. I have a batch of new pots at EMU, and either they are better than the last batch, or I have adjusted my level of giveashit about what my profs will say ;0) so they’re now in the train kiln waiting for flame.
P. and I are working out a process for parceling out shifts and work-slots for organizing future firings, and I would be grateful for any suggestions clayarters might offer. We’re keeping track of how long each task takes, with plans to make a “firing sign up sheet” to be used in the future by a rotating “firemaster”. We don’t want to get stuck with cleanup once everybody has done the fun part and gone home, or end up holding the bag when people don’t show up to stoke a shift. We don’t want to get stuck doing all the loading, and then be blamed when somebody’s pot doesn’t get good ash or flash. So we’re keeping track of time, and how many people might work together most efficiently on each project, and hope to come up with some kind of kiln-space-per-hours-worked formula.
Between putting the kiln shelves out on the glaze table to pre-plan how many pots go in what spot, making the wadding, getting the kiln site ready, and loading/stacking, P. and I worked about five hours tuesday night and wednesday just getting ready to fire. There’s still a lot of wood to cut.
We’re planning to start a small bright fire friday afternoon, stoke it slow-and-easy, one person shifts overnight, then really hit it early saturday morning to finish up by saturday afternoon. It’s mostly my pots and Patrick’s in the kiln, with a few pieces here and there from classmates who have offered to come stoke a shift.
We really are learning as we go, and know we’re operating on theories, but what a lot of theories we’ve developed! It’s like fishing… so many variables that we’ll never run out of things to try, and talk about, and speculate over. We’re using some pine this time to get a lower melting ash. (Patrick’s dad makes cub scout pine box derby kits, and he brought back bags of scrap.) We’re burning some wood with bark along with the usual hardwood strips because Jack Troy’s book suggests that provides better color. We’re burning some green wood because Tony C. thinks it helps push the heat down to the cool end and even out the firing. P. sprayed some pots with soda ash to see what it does, and I messed around with terra sigs. We’ll never know what, if anything, worked, but it will give us something to talk about later over hard ciders at the Side Track tavern.
I love how many decisions there are to make. I have made choices about my clay body. I have chosen to make pots that require lots of choices, and then proceed to the decoration choices, glaze choices, and now the firing choices. If I set this little ewer between Patrick’s big jars in the firebox end, where will the flame lick? Will the ash settle? Will a long slow firing give us warmer temps at the cool end by the next day? The farther we get into the process and the decision making, the more I find my brain completely engaged.
I’m not all that thrilled with the notion of being alone on the edge of campus after midnight, stoking, just as a safety issue. Patrick joked that I should bring a big stick, and I told him that I have a nice little stick made by Messrs. Smith and Wesson (I used to do documentary work in a tent, alone, in Pacific Northwest logging camps) but I am pretty sure campus regulations wouldn’t approve.
So I have pulled the pop-up camper out to the driveway and am airing it out and filling it with sleeping bags and mulberry limbs. I’ll haul it to the EMU parking lot near the kiln on Friday and then go to bed in it. It seems like the best of both worlds. One person can stoke alone, while another sleeps nearby, within shouting distance. If the flame attracts bar-closing drunks to come and visit and they’re not friendly (or they’re too friendly), I won’t need a stick if I can whistle for Patrick. He’s really a polite, friendly southern gentleman (just ask “Miss Diana”) but at 300 pounds he makes a pretty imposing backup.
I am off to cut mulberry branches. I’ll keep you posted. If I had wireless on my laptop I could send updates from kilnside but you’ll just have to wait ;0)
Yours
Kelly in Ohio, where it’s cold still but the grass is greening, the forsythia hinting at buds, and one purple crocus has stuck it’s head up in the lawn, still looking for the elderly lady who planted it 20 years ago…

NCECA report with lots of name dropping:

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig. This is one of those nights when

morning seems like a week ago, and the last few days feel like a movie I

watched, or an epic dream full of exotic people, bewildering escalators

and hallway-mazes. I suppose it will all process, over the next few

days, and seem more real.

If I had a memory-tag to distinguish this NCECA from the others, it

would be “the year I was really tired and not much fun, but learned a

lot”. I am sure there are some bleary-eyed digital photos of me out

there, lest you think I exaggerate. (I’ve been accused of exaggerating

sometimes. Can you IMAGINE?)

Wednesday night, as the arriving clayarters met in KY, I was at a

spelling bee in Toledo. My 13 year old son tied for 7th place in the

regional. We’re all proud that he did so well, and quietly relieved that

he didn’t win, so we don’t have to figure out how to schedule/budget in

a trip to DC’s nationals.

He correctly spelled vendetta, sputnik, precipitate, matriarch, and

egalitarian, and finally went out on zephyr. He’s the redhead in photos

number 1 and 4 at

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artikkelNoCache=1&Dato=20070315&Kategori=NEWS17&Lopenr=70315009&Ref=AR

We celebrated afterward, then took the kids home to bed. Just before

midnight, Jeff drove me to the Greyhound bus station in an especially

blighted part of downtown Toledo. I got the last available seat on a

very crowded bus. Having forgotten to bring earplugs, I spent 7 hours

bouncing and jolting, pretending to sleep, on a seat designed by some

sadist, with the bus heater stuck “on” (it was 86 degrees, no lie). I

got no more sleep than my fellow passengers (3 to 5 crying babies,

Charlie Manson’s twin brother, some tubercular coughers, a few prison

transfers, and a variety of bored, arguing, crabby, malodorous, drunk or

otherwise unhappy people). I know some did manage to sleep, because the

stereo snoring almost drowned out the “whack-SNAP!” of the windshield

wipers and the seven hour cell phone conversation of the bus driver.

I promised myself that if, for some reason, my ride home with EMU grad

students fell through, I would just get an apartment in Louisville. I’d

find a job, call Jeff, and say “Raise the kids without me, I can’t make

myself take a bus home.”

I arrived in the dark at 6am Thursday, rolled my suitcase into the Galt

House lobby and was amazed to find Mark Issenberg and Alisa from Denmark

awake (at that freakish hour? I’ll never understand people!) I got to

the room to find Stephani Stephenson just crawling out of bed to shower,

so I flopped face down onto her still warm pillow and slept for the

entire three days of the conference.

OK, well not really.

Due to the miracle of strong coffee, I managed to get to Marcia Selsor

and Stephani S’s lecture/slide presentation on Moorish tiles, which was

an eyefull and had lots
of interesting information as well. I made it to

a panel discussion on wood firing in an educational environment, by our

own rockin’ Karen Terpstra, a guy named Casey Clark, and Tony Clennell’s

prof from Utah, John Neely. (I managed to have a nice chat with him, and

get the scoop on hard-working Tony, who was badly missed this year!)

Lana Wilson was one of the presenters for a wonderful panel discussion

on balancing family and pottery. (Janis Mars Wunderlich, Adam Posnak and

Lee Puffer.) It was heartening to hear from moms and a dad who were

either working as studio artists or struggling through grad school

despite several head o’ children, and insane schedule conflicts. We saw

slides of babies and pots, and I heard some observations that made me

want to stand up and shout, “AMEN!”

1.) It’s easy to overcompensate. We can get so guilted out about the

possibility of falling short in either endeavor that we overdo on both

counts. Thus far, this had been my plan. There are days when I am

Mary-freakin’-poppins all morning at home, and then

potterwoman-on-steroids at school. Whether one can maintain this pace

for any period of time, though, is not yet clear. Stay tuned for nervous

breakdown, schedule to be announced.

2.) You’re gonna miss stuff, so get over it. I can’t watch Molly do

gymnastics, because it’s my class night; the fam left for vacation a

week before me, because I was at school; my few local friends think I

was abducted by aliens last september. Meanwhile the grad students work

on weekends without me, go to gallery openings on campus, and plan for

firings while I am home doing laundry and helping with algebra.

3.) This is the good news: potterparents can develop the ability to use

time in a very efficient manner. This isn’t necessarily a corporate,

productive notion: sometimes it can mean lying on the kitchen floor

making blue playdoh corrals for a child’s yellow playdoh horses and

making up stories about them. But one of the moms pointed out that you

learn not to waste time on things that don’t matter. Whatever you are

doing in your studio, it had damned well better be as important as your

kid. And when you’re with your family instead of getting things done in

the studio, you don’t take family time for granted. (In my life, TV is

not as valuable as pots or kids so it just doesn’t get a turn.)

One mom said, “I worried that I couldn’t keep up with the young, single,

childless students who could be there all the time. But some mornings

they would come in, make coffee, listen to NPR, hang around and wait to

get into work mode. Me, I was paying $8 an hour for a babysitter, so I

hit the ground running and got my money’s worth.”

Diana was at NCECA, of course, and so were many of the EMU grad students

I have come to think of as friends, family and sounding board. The

glamorous Reem from Libya is only weeks away from giving birth to baby

Selma. Joanne and Nancy were there, along with another Kelly I hadn’t

met yet. Patrick was truly missed, and next year will be hog-tied,

thrown in the trunk and brought along, other responsibilities or no.

It was weird and wonderful to have the grad students stop by the clayart

room and meet my other “family”. It was like the in laws meeting the

parents (when each group has heard tales about the other.) At least two

of the girls from EMU are going to join clayart now, and will join us in

the clayart room at NCECA next year.

The mug exchange went smoothly, and I would mention here whose lovely

piece I got, except I think it would be unbecoming of me. In fact, I can

hardly imagine gloating, or in any way acting smug about my good luck in

such a situation. It would be really shallow and immature. Don’t you

think?

The “La Mesa” show of tableware was a wonderful opportunity to talk

about what we loved and hated and why, and I tend to survey everybody

about that lately.

Lee Burningham was everywhere with his clay crew of Utah high school

kids.

Billie and Nan outdid themselves with the clayart show at Gallery

Jojobe. (I finally saw it today… I missed the opening, due to the

greyhound bus from hell.)

I had wonderful dinners with wonderful people. One meal included my prof

(Diana Pancioli) and my first throwing instructor (Mel). They are both

big hearted, hard headed teacher types, who (like good parents) take

good care of me, but also call me on my bullshit.

Last night (was it just last night?) a bunch of us ended up at a Persian

restaurant called Saffron, where the food was delightful. I got to spend

some time blathering at David McBeth, the former teacher of my best

mfa-bud and sometimes-roomie Patrick Green. Jaqui from Wales tells nice

stories, and I sat across from another clayarter whose name I won’t

mention, (coughchriscampbellcough) since folks will accuse me of

gloating about getting her cup at the mug exchange. That would just be

wrong.

It’s hard to see people so briefly, and not have time to really

reconnect. My cliff-jumping buddies from Appalachian Center for Craft

are graduating and moving on to jobs and adventures, full of energy and

new ideas (and youth! sigh…) A lot of clayarters get a hug and then

the days are gone and there was never time to talk. People get on planes

and into taxis and disappear, before you can find them to say goodbye. I

wandered around today thinking, “Damn! I never got to talk to…(fill in

several blanks here.)” And now it will have to wait until next year. A

LOT of people were missing altogether, and there are always new faces

(to me, anyway.) One elusive one I wanted to meet, but only spotted in

flight.

I missed a lot this year, unlike past years when I felt I had to do

EVERYTHING. I missed our clayarters’ too-early friday panels, though

they got great reviews. I never found the cup sale, and brought my sorry

cup home. I missed the bluegrass music at the Randall session, I missed

the day of bus tours, I missed the keynote lecture on the role of craft

(Diana said it was good.) There was no wench-dressing this year. I only

wandered down to the dance briefly and late, and for the first time in

all of life, just sat and watched. I was too pooped to dance.

But I am learning to accept that every choice un-chooses something else,

and that some things are missable. Instead of being in one place

thinking, “uh-oh, I’m missing the other option!”, I kind of settle into

the moment. Yeah, I know I’m late and headed to the emerging artist

slides, but right now it feels good to stand in the lobby and gossip

with Edith Franklin. Be here, now.

I had every intention of sleeping at night, but conversations in the

dark ranged from MFAs to life histories to clay philosophies. And of

course there is that point when you get very, very tired and stupid

things become incredibly funny. The pre-dawn morning when I arrived, and

then again on wednesday night, the room was so dark when I tiptoed in,

that mystery roomie Kerry Brooks (of Dock 6) was just a dark lump under

the covers of her bed. Though we ended up in an all night bull session,

she was an early riser and I never knew what she actually looked like

until I met her in broad daylight Friday afternoon! Kerry, thanks for

bringing snacks, but those mini marshmallows were really stale. (What do

you mean, they were earplugs?)

Over all, it was a very goal-focused NCECA for me, more info-seeking

this year than social party. What I am hungry for these days is a wider

context for critical conversation about pots. As skilled as I have

become at “Diana would say”, when it comes to looking at pottery, I have

a million questions in the back of my mind during critiques.

How much of what my prof says is considered true by general concensus,

and how much a matter of individual taste?

How much is her aesthetic influenced by Alfred, by the crits of her own

teachers, by her biases?

What might another prof say about the same pot? (My worst illogical fear

is that they might disagree on every point, and thus “good pottery”

really IS completely subjective.)

So I could not have had happier luck than I did today. The place was an

abandoned Louisville stoneware factory that has been transformed into

studio space, gallery space and shops. The show we students went to see

with our prof was the one with bourbon bottles, and a lot of other

nceca-chosen work.. and across the way, a student/faculty show from area

colleges.

I moved from pedestal to pedestal, just taking it in and measuring my

reactions. There are layers: gut reaction (wow! or eeewwww!) — then

cerebral reaction (speculation: how was it made, fired, glazed?) and the

inevitable crit, “WWDS? (what would Diana say?) This time, though, she

was nearby enough to ask.

Later, I looked up and saw three potters whose skills I respect — Vince

Pitelka, David Hendley and Dave McBeth — walking into the gallery. Now,

I am way too grown up to have heroes, but I can’t help myself. I was

always the little kid with a half-crush on teacher, the gushing geek

asking authors for autographs, the fan in the front row at concerts.

While these three guys feel like friends, I think they are impressively

smart.. and today, they could help me settle in my own mind those

questions about what makes a good pot, and who says so.

So I learned. I followed, watched them reach out and r
ock a boat-bowl or

casserole with a warped bottom, tsk over an ill fitting lid, or make

happy sounds about a nice form. I started following them around like an

annoying little sister, interrogating. You said you like this. Why? You

don’t like this. Why not?

Some combination of the three-profs-and-one-real-studio-potter went from

pot to pot, talking about what works and what doesn’t, what’s strong and

weak, what you forgive and what you can’t.

I was both enlightened and reassured to discover that these guys — from

different regions, academic-or-not traditions, and experiences — said

mostly the same things MY prof would have said. While they had different

tastes and favorites, and disagreed over nuances, a flaw was still a

flaw in everybody’s book.

Next month (on Friday the 13th) at Eastern, I have my mid program

review. I will have to defend my MFA progress thus far to a committee of

art department profs, present and defend an artist’s statement, and

justify my qualifications to continue and complete MFA next year. I’ve

been nervous about it, especially since there are no potters/ceramics

profs on the committee.

Today, though, made up for it. I have spent the better part of a year

trying to see what makes pots good or bad, and in order to see it, I

have had to learn to put it to words. Diana speaks fluent critique, and

I am at the phrase book stage. Today was kind of a breakthrough for me,

to be in a group of people who are fluent in the language of “why” when

it comes to pots. I’m thinking of this afternoon as a meeting with my

dream team MFA committee, all potters with a good eye and a willingness

to talk about pots. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to sic them on my

pots yet.

The long drive home with the EMU girls was a perfect wind-down. The

first few hours’ were for NCECA post-game summary and commentary, and

the last few hours were plans for upcoming firings and projects, pots

and installations. Dannon, you were right… I needed this! How a four

day span can simultaneously drain your body and recharge your soul is

just a wonder.

Now it’s 3am, again, and I will never catch up on sleep. I trust that

clayarters are for the most part safe at home, that the freezing rain in

the East won’t strand Alisa forever, that somebody will post NCECA pix

for us to enjoy with morning coffee.

May the folks who offered stories, hugs, beers, tips, meals, advice,

jelly beans, support, cookies, directions, pots, a patient ear, and

other generosities — (with me, or with anybody) — know they are good

souls and deserve whatever blessings Karma brings their way.

(My very tired version of “I love you guys”…)

Yours

Kelly, back in Ohio, with kids who missed me, and an appreciative

husband.

————————————————————————————————————–

Next post:

I am still not up to full speed, but life is settling back into a

routine. Last night, with Jeff out of town, I loaded up the kids and

drove to EMU, left them at Diana’s and went to printmaking to work on my

etching of a beetle collection (in rows, on pins). Afterward, Ben

Bigelow the printmaking TA and my roomie Patrick Green picked up a stack

of pizzas and we all had supper together before heading back down the

highway.

This afternoon I’m off to the clay studio with a box of greenware and a

head full of ideas. On the night I stay over, I can work late and come

back early, so if my body can keep up with my brain, I’ll be able to do

something about a notebook full of NCECA sketches.

I was supposed to take Patrick’s dancing shino mug to his old prof Dave

McBeth at nceca, and failed… David, I’ll ship you the pick of the next

litter. Sorry, both of you, for being such a bad messenger.

The benefits of NCECA are still making themselves felt. I realize that

the majority of the people in my life –though generally supportive and

non-confrontational — really have no idea why a “pottery hobby” is

worth disrupting family life, finances and schedules. After all, it’s

just pottery, right? So spending a few days in the company of folks who

“get it” about pots will keep my battery charged for a good long time.

(of course, a portion of the pot-heads can’t understand why I would

bother with children) ;0)

Maybe next year at NCECA we should have a clayart room gathering one

afternoon for parents with kids at home, to brainstorm about the

logistics of it and share some support and advice. Half a dozen

clayarters spring to mind who are in the midst of this same balancing

act, or are letting one side or the other win out. Elizabeth, will you

be at NCECA next year? Ken Nowicki and I talked about time issues

briefly, and Lana Wilson’s panel discussion on parenting and pottery

barely scratched the surface.

I am no stranger to the mommy-guilt-overcompensation-dance, but since I

took on school, I have noticed a lot of unintended benefits to my kids.

It’s heartening and I’d love to talk about it with others in the same

boat.

I ran into a clayarter or two at nceca who seemed to think I had

“crossed over to the dark side” now that I am in grad school… that

surely, next, I would be looking down my nose at unschooled potters, and

fluent in incomprehensible artspeak. I don’t suppose I could convince

anyone whose preconceptions are firmly rooted, and maybe some more

ethereal programs demand that sort of thing… but so far what I have

learned is that the key is TIME. How many years a potter has been in the

field seems more important than whether they learned at Alfred or from

an old timer with a wood kiln in the back 40. The number of hours I am

forced to put into my pots, because I am in school, has pushed me as far

as the prof looking over my shoulder.

Being assigned to work on the stuff I am worst at has been a valuable

exercise, but I still believe what clayarters have always said: that if

you took the time and money required to do an MFA and put it into your

studio and equipment, you’d be as far ahead — especially if you can

recruit seasoned potters with a good eye for ongoing critiques. For me,

though, without a semester’s demands, that kind of time would constantly

be eroded by all the other obligations in my days… and I don’t have

the self discipline to make myself do what I hate and what I am bad at,

without the prof over my shoulder holding a big stick.

A friend said, “You’re all about alternative education, why not just

homeschool yourself the degree?” and there’s only one answer, as far as

I can tell: you can’t get hired to teach at the college level with a

homeschooled degree. The credential is the coin of the realm, and if I

have to choose between selling at street fairs or working in a well

funded university or college setting, the second one has a certain

appeal. Especially now that I am getting excited about wood, salt and

“big melt” — none of which seem very practical in a home setting.

Anyway, I’m done for the year in at the end of April, and will spend the

summer making pots-to-sell to finance next year’s tuition. It will be

interesting to work in a private place with a monetary goal in mind, no

prof, no big stick.

Yours

Kelly in Ohio

http://www.primalpotter.com

Next post:

melvin wrote:

“diana pancioli has many wonderful glazes for cone 6 redu.

but, she is a `supreme smarty pants`.

she got in bob anderson’s face…big time. a long breakfast

and lots of talk. `don’t make raku, make stoneware, get your

new kiln done, make things that will last forever, make hard

pots, not soft pots etc.etc.etc.`

he did a great job defending himself…logical, good discussion.

but, she did not believe him. i think he is working on his new

kiln shed right now (5 a.m.)….he sees her coming out of the dark with

a big louisville slugger……………………..whack, `make

stoneware`.

bob’s big purple/red/platter in the clayart room convinced her….`if

he can make pots

like that one, why waste time with raku? just her opinion…

`but, we all see what kelly witnesses.` power and opinion.

good stuff. god, do i hate wishywashy.

mel

————————————————————————

——————————————————————-

Mel, are you implying that my prof is opinionated, outspoken, or direct

in some way?

The HELL you say!

I’ll be honest… there are days when I fantasize about being enrolled

in some self-esteem-camp program, where the profs just pat your head and

tell you everything you make is a wonderful exploration of your

individuality… (not sure where these mythical programs are, but one

hears stories…)

It didn’t take long to learn what kind of pots and comments would get

the hairy eyeball from Diana. We don’t make ashtrays or bud vases, we

don’t weave convoluted artist’s statements or wax on about “narrative”

work, we don’t dip our plates half-in-this-and-half-in-that, and god

help the newbies who ask where the raku kiln might be…

Every prof has biases, favorites, influences from their own teachers,

and pet peeves. Diana’s favorite pots are the ones made several

centuries ago (though she dislikes pots that mimic bronze vessels, and

flips past Iznik slides in a hurry.) A couple thousand years of pots to

choose from for inspiration is not too shabby, though.

Do I always think my profs are right? Nope. Do I like things that I am

not making in the MFA program? Sure. But I am here to learn what my

profs can best teach me. They know what that is, so I don’t spend much

time arguing a point or digging in my heels. I’m a good dog, I do what

I’m told. That’s what I signed up for and dammit, I want my money’s

worth.

I have my own studio (and the rest of my life) to make whatever moves

me. We veteran grad students, now just weeks away from the end of our

first year, have a sense of having come a long way. Our work shows it,

and our resilience in the face of, um, pretty straightforward crits. It

took time to get used to, and we’ve formed a small, tight group in the

process.

At first I felt protective of newbies to the program, offering hints and

“cliff’s notes” on how things work. Frankly, though, as I get more

involved with the challenges of my own pots, I spend less time worrying

about new students and their ups and downs. I have lost the clay-camp

feeling that we should all hold hands and sing kum-ba-ya. I just want to

be in my cave, and get my work done, and folks can sink or swim like I

did.

I am starting to appreciate the space the profs created as a grad

studio, apart from the main classroom — not because we grads think

we’re superior or somehow special, but because we’re in a different

place at this point. We’re planning our own firings, critiquing each

others’ work, sharing ideas, and we know and trust each other. The

general yabber of the classroom is distracting, and a student or two are

sufficiently annoying that I plan to bring earphones – plugged

into nothing but my back pocket — rather than make conversation when I

have to make clay or glaze pots in the shared studio.

(I’m such a shy, quiet little thing, anyway…)

Yours, home to a hubby who called me last night at EMU to say he’s

forgotten what I look like, after NCECA overlapped with his trip out of

town, then I left for school…

Kelly in Ohio

I haven’t checked this out yet, but the N
CECA podcast is apparently at

http://web.mac.com/brian.kohl/iWeb/NCECA.Podcast/NCECAPodcast/NCECAPodcast.html

Also, just a note to folks who have written to express dismay that we

don’t do raku at EMU:

The way I see it, college programs specialize, just like restaurants do.

The profs bring their strengths and dislikes with them, and if the

program thrives, it gets a reputation for that strength (ie: functional

stoneware.)

If I am craving sushi, I won’t pick a Mexican restaurant. If I was in

love with raku, I would have applied to Piepenberg’s program, another

half hour down the road: he’s a marvelous man and his program makes very

exciting work.

While I think it’s nice for ceramics programs to provide a wide range of

approaches and techniques, I’m not sure any program can try to do

everything and not spread itself too thin. I’ve had the luxury of a lot

of years and a lot of workshops to try this and that, and there’s a

whole lifetime more of things I haven’t tried. What I have learned so

far in school, though, is that I could spend two years of focused energy

and not master a plate, bowl and cup, much less a teapot — so I am

trying hard to sit on my ADD attention span and stay focused. Too many

choices just boggle me.

My dream restaurant would only have three things on the menu ;0)

Yours

Kelly in Ohio, at the library while two kids are at piano and a third

browsing teen fiction… then off pick up slides and stop at the bank,

then to walk laps while the kids do homeschool sports at the rec center,

then saxophone lessons, then home for family house-cleaning and laundry

and what-the-heck-is-for-dinner. Still worrying over the sound I heard

in the quiet kitchen, this morning, while having my coffee… it sounded

a lot like the mumbledy-squeak of baby raccoons in my kitchen ceiling…