“There is no better feeling than throwing a cold piece of clay on the wheel and centering it with your anxious hands. It’s not just about the class your taking or what grade you will receive, it’s about making a piece that will remain in the world for hundreds even thousands of years, and it’s yours. Your name will always be engraved into the bottom, and it is so fulfilling to make a piece that you can be proud of.
I have discovered so much about myself in clay. From the first time I tried to center clay to now when I can make a piece that I love, I have changed, and these changes have been for the better. Ceramics is not a class or an activity; it is a way of life. Clay can display feelings and emotions and I, the artist, must bring those emotions to the surface. I am always willing to risk something on a piece of mine, and sometimes I make mistakes, but one can only get better by learning from their mistakes.
Ceramics does not just teach us about how to throw a pot; it teaches us invaluable life lessons.”
–Brian T., Artist Statement, Spring 2012
“So perhaps the time is ripe for reconsideration of an ideal that has fallen out of favor: manual competence, and the stance it entails toward the built, material world. Neither as workers nor as consumers are we much called upon to exercise such competence, most of us anyway, and merely to recommend its cultivation is to risk the scorn of those who take themselves to be the most hard-headed: the hard-headed economist will point out the opportunity costs of making what can be bought, and the hard-headed educator will say that it is irresponsible to educate the young for the trades, which are somehow identified as the jobs of the past. But we might pause to consider just how hard-headed these presumptions are, and whether they don’t, on the contrary, issue from a peculiar sort of idealism, one that insistently steers young people toward the most ghostly kinds of work.”
Matthew Crawford, “Shop Class as Soulcraft”
“It was remarkable to see all of the boys diligently cleaning their implements and work spaces. This may seem like a strange way to put it, but I noticed several boys wiping off various surfaces with what looked like respect… or even a kind of reverence. One way or another, it was impressive.”
Administrator’s Class Observation Notes, 11-13-12
“The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on. Boasting is what a boy does, who has no real effect in the world. But craftsmanship must reckon with the infallible judgment of reality, where one’s failures or shortcomings cannot be interpreted away.”
“Why must we move through life so quickly? We, as humans, naturally travel through life on a direct path from A to B, as quickly and painlessly as possible, always regretting something form our past and looking toward the unknown future. We are cursed with blinders we don’t even know are there. This is why I create; art rips our blinders off, slows us down and allows us to live now, in the present.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. ~Buddha
I strive to follow this quote to the best of my ability and art gives me that chance to live. The act of creating, bringing something into being that was previously nonexistent, is so humbling that it is impossible to focus on anything but the present. Clay graciously gives me the opportunity to slow time, to step back from the world rushing around me, and live my life without dwelling in the past or dreaming of the future.”
Julian V., Artist Statement, Spring 2012
“Art inspires us to ask questions, and questions are profound things. Art, whether it’s a song, a poem, or a cup, has the potential to reawaken the childhood wonder we all once had. We live in such frenetic times that you think we would spend more time reflecting on what really matters in our one short precious life. When author Norman Maclean writes, “It is in the world of slow time that truth and art become one,” I believe he is saying that in order to have a sense of awe we can’t be working on our “to-do list.”
–Chris Staley, “The Hegemonic Eye”
“I like how the music plays while they throw bowls. It’s a great way to contribute to the sense that the space (the form) follows the intended purpose (the function) – namely, creative expression that also follows rules (which is exactly what music is).”
Administrator’s Observation Notes, 11-13-12
Art is a delicate thing. It is unique in the way that you can express yourself in an infinite amount of different ways. Art reflects your work ethic. It shows what you are passionate about and it also what kind of a person you are. Look at the curves, the size, the texture, and the glaze. It all comes together into one complete thought.
–Mike L, Artist Statement, Spring 2012