Saturday, February 8, 2014

So you want to be a potter?

Here is some of the gang around the Ratagama. Judith Duff who just can't seem to stay away from a fire. Steve Driver one of Ron's former students and studio potter.   Micheal Hunt/Noami Dalglish with family dropped by the firing. Along with them was their new apprentice Jason Hartso. Now this guy is what I feel is on the right track of learning to be a studio potter. He started out working at Winchcombe Pottery in the UK ( Ray Finch and company), where he met my cyber buddy Dan Finnegan. He went to work with Dan for a couple of years. Thru Dan he met Michael and Naomi where he is now working. Does this path not make more sense than borrowing for a university degree? Jason will have the experience of three working potteries. I may be wrong but I think Noami and Micheal are also from a school of taking workshops and then going off to work somewhere. I think if a student offered a fraction of the money they pay for tuition to a potter to apprentice they would get an education that would provide them with the necessary skills to make and market their wares. I am still of the school of thought that that thinks school should prepare you to be gainfully employed. My parents were lower middle class and making a living is deeply engrained in my mindset.




6 comments:

John Bauman said...

I've spent hours this past week listening to the Red Clay Rambler podcast archives. I want a do-over. I want to be 18 again and apprentice with someone who can show me the way.

I wasn't even aware that world was out there. I wish I had been.

RichardA said...

My years working with Michael Frasca were the most useful part of my ceramic "education.". He taught me a proper work ethic, gave me an aesthetic sense, and was generous enough to then let me work with him. An earn as you learn school. Great post, T!

RichardA said...

My years working with Michael Frasca were the most useful part of my ceramic "education.". He taught me a proper work ethic, gave me an aesthetic sense, and was generous enough to then let me work with him. An earn as you learn school. Great post, T!

Hamish Jackson said...

I agree, thank you for confirming what I was thinking. I am 24 and trying to become a potter proper. I have been thinking about trying to apprentice with a potter sometime soon rather than burying myself in debt to get an MFA. I feel an affiliation to Jason too, being someone else who has worked at Winchcombe.

Dan Finnegan said...

Those are my 'peeps' Tony! Michael and Naomi met during a class I led at Penland... and I'm still missing Jason (who's gonna clean the kiln shelves?!) My path was similar...3 colleges in 3 years was leading only towards an academic career and i wanted something else...I just didn't know what it was until I got to Winchcombe! Sorry I missed this group...I've always wanted to meet Judith...and Ron! Happy unloading.

bfree clay said...

there's a huge difference between what a university will teach, and what an apprenticeship experience will teach, don't you think? a university will offer a broad range of ideas and ways of working. working with an established potter will teach you everything about how they work... either can be very intensive and good, or bad. like everything.... self motivation is key. I think the big thing here is that for a young person coming out of highschool, or even after some college.. do they really know they want to be a Potter and work as an apprentice or do they jump into the university system and see where they're interests take them? i owe a lot of money for my college education but i wouldn't trade anything for it.