Welcome 2012

I know we are already 13 days (Happy Friday the 13th) into 2012, but I just started back to work Monday. It’s been a good week organizing, planning, updating my show schedule, working on websites, and getting back into teaching.

I’m teaching again for the first time in two years.  I needed it;  I was burned out. In retrospect, I realize I didn’t set enough boundaries with my students and tried to do too much. I almost ran into a similar problem Wednesday night. I’m teaching a low fire class that is using red earthenware, but some students wanted to continue to use white earthenware.  Last semester students used white earthenware and fired the kiln, but to a different temperature than we are going to do this semester. Can you imagine what that would be like? A fiasco.

I explained why we would only be using one clay and one firing schedule. I apologized for any inconvenience. I may have some students drop my class, but that’s ok. My students will learn more by focusing on one style.

For years I’ve been all over the place.  I have been working in porcelain since 2000, but I’m always doing something else on the side.  For instance, I used to wood-fire, salt-fire, and low-fire.  I was driving myself crazy trying to do to many things at once. Now it’s all porcelain and I’m narrowing down my surface decoration. (Stay tuned.)

I’ve found that when I’m not focused on one style, I can’t grow that style, refine it and master it. By dividing your attention, your work is divided by time, attention, and style.

What are you focused on?

Here is a preview of my new focus:

5 Responses to Welcome 2012

  1. May Luk January 13, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    You are right that your students should learn one firing schedule at a time, then they understand the nuisances of the kiln, the clay and the glaze. I cannot imagine the logistics of having different color clays and different firing temperatures in a teaching studio, unless you have a very knowledgeable, tough & hardworking technician to help you out.

  2. Kathy January 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    I have just started teaching wheel throwing classes. I’m finding that it is a challenge getting everyone to stick to the plan, so to speak. I wonder if you give out a syllabus or some kind of printed piece to detail the objectives of the class? I am thinking about doing this.

    • admin January 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      Hi Kathy!
      That is exactly what I do! Since my class is at an art center (no grades) I ask students what they want to learn during their 12-week semester. On the second week I present them with a syllabus of throwing, handbuilding, and glazing demos. It’s easier to teach with structure. Good luck!

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