Teaching Ben to throw

Teaching Ben to throw

On the day I returned to teaching ceramics after almost leaving the studio for good, Ben arrived after school, eager to learn to throw a pot. When he departed a few hours later with clay on his shoes, he left me with much to consider about my approach to teaching. Ben...
Story Time

Story Time

When the art show approaches at the end of each semester, I ask my ceramics students to write artist statements. The reaction to this assignment is usually mixed. Some students took the class because they anticipated not having to write at all. Others ask for a...
The craft of feedback

The craft of feedback

My phone rings at quarter to midnight. I don’t have the sort of life in which anyone ever calls me so late, especially on a school night.  I am jolted out of sleep, expecting a nightmare of something-gone-wrong. But when I see who is calling, I smile my way to...
With eyes shut

With eyes shut

One of my students is teaching himself to throw pots while blindfolded. Actually, all of the teaching has already happened. The porcelain bowls he has been throwing are as lovely as anything made with full vision – soft, fluid, and graceful. He ripped a soft old...
Water

Water

There is a spot in northern Michigan where a creek that has been meandering through the forest rushes into a great lake. I won’t tell you where it is, because I would be giving away a secret gifted to me by locals – friends who, on my first visit to the place,...