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Lesson Plans

Re: clay crit

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Robert Alexander Fromme (rfromme)
Mon, 30 Sep 1996 20:54:50 -0600

At 01:28 PM 9/30/96 -0400, Terry Barrett wrote:

>To the rest of the listserv: Are there professors out there who still
>break students' pots or mark on students' drawings?

Well, it has been several years since I worked on the college level in
ceramics, but I can remember the costs involved with keeping a ceramics
program working and the problems which would develop near the end of the
semester (near X-mas) when undergraduate students would try the system with
tons of objects (which had little if any relationship to the clay
curriculum). Clay instructors and assistants could frequently be found on a
short fuse with the volume of greenware, limited number of kilns and lack
of funds for clay, glazes, extra helpers and kiln fuel. Only a few students
were willing to participate after hours and into the night to help with the
real studio demands involving glaze mixing and kiln firing . Few people
really understand the physical demands of loading, firing, unloading and
repairing kilns in gauntlet fashion from semester to semester, year after

I can remember after critiques, my instructors telling me that only specific
forms could be continue beyond greenware. I can also remember a few of the
works with which I defied the instructor and completed by glazing and
firing, only to see him praise the finished forms without remembering that
he had instructed be to destroy them in the critique. Looking back, however,
I do not feel that the instructor was out of line. This world is full of
"ugly and poorly designed objects" and we certainly do not need to waste
fuel, pollute the air and fill the world with more "third rate clay objects"
. I think students should realize that their school costs do not include
the expense of production beyond the lessons and the intended learning. The
college clay operation is not a private studio for those who would take a
course or two in clay and expect all of their things to be fired. I also
think that the instructor has the right to determine just what is to be
glazed and fired. However, the responsibility for destroying the student's
objects should rest on the shoulders of the student.

When the student is out of school, is willing to pay for the raw materials,
develop and mix their own glazes....When they own or are willing build or to
rent a kiln, and learn to fire it correctly.....then they will have the
right to make, glaze and fire all of what they want. They will have "paid
their dues"........of course, keeping the wolf away from the clay studio
door is another matter.

Bob Fromme