Friday, January 16, 2009

Creating connoisseurs of craft

The graduate students in the clay department here at USU are awarded assistantships that pay them a nominal stipend that helps cover some of the costs of getting their MFA degree, in return they are expected to teach undergraduate clay courses.

This semester Robin is teaching an introduction to clay class. He is one of four other grad students teaching this class. In total there are about 80 undergraduates taking this course. It offers basic wheel throwing and hand building skills. But more importantly these graduates are instilling in their students an appreciation for fine craft. 

Last weekend at the potluck party a few of us were discussing this important task. There will be a very small percentage of these students that go on to choose art as their major discipline. In fact only 2-4 of them will take an undergraduate degree specializing in clay. But all 80 of them will at least come out of this one class with a greater understanding of the field of ceramics, it's depth and breadth of influence, and exactly how much work it really takes! This is no basket weaving.

When faced with trying to make a living from your work, a great deal of the battle is educating the public. What better way to do this than teaching the joy of working with the medium to others.  


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