Pausing

Pausing

My students finish out the school year by packing their bags.  They depart soon after the last class for service trips in foreign countries, sports camps at colleges, or down time at the shore house.  I need to pack my own bags soon, to begin my second summer of work...
Cups, Implication, Intention

Cups, Implication, Intention

Last week, my Ceramics I students set up their first bisqued mugs all over our studio tables for our second attempt at critique.  The first round, after they created simple pinch pots, was barely even a discussion of the work.  We talked about skills, and I asked them...
Beyond What is Necessary

Beyond What is Necessary

Holidays challenge me. In my role as a teacher, one of the hardest parts of a holiday is accepting gifts from my students. Post-Santa, I was raised to understand that celebratory gifts are, conceptually, an exchange – you give a gift, you get a gift, with some...
Thoughts in Slop

Thoughts in Slop

In the forming of the pot, it is the pushing from within that shapes the pot’s exterior. So too in our existence do our inner doubts and dreams shape the lives we live. -Chris Staley, The Hegemonic Eye During the thirty minutes I have for lunch, I am up to my elbows...
A Love Letter to ‘No’

A Love Letter to ‘No’

During my second year of teaching at a small-town high school in New Jersey, I met Shannon.  She came to my classroom by way of a few other art courses, and at first we were a little cautious of each other.  She was clearly talented in ceramics and meticulous about...
Habits and Journeys

Habits and Journeys

This summer took me me from seven challenging weeks in Michigan through a few troubling days in Pennsylvania to an August perch on an island in Maine. Here I’m a student, trying to figure out whether I am still supposed to make things.  I have been living out a...